Commerce in parks still a question

How much commerce in parks does the public want?

It looks like the issue of commercial developments in Penticton parks, highlighted by the 18-month controversy over leasing a portion of Skaha Lake Park to a developer who wanted to build a commercial waterslide complex, still hasn’t gone away.

You might have thought the discussion ended when the city finally renegotiated the deal, eliminating the prospect of a major commercial intrusion in that park.

The Parks and Recreation Master Plan Steering Committee is having trouble working out a policy for commercial activity in parks, and the Save Skaha Park Society vows to stick around and keep an eye on city hall, at least where it comes to preserving parkland.

On one side, there is the city’s ongoing desire to increase revenue in the face of economic pressures like aging infrastructure and on the other, the public’s clear desire to preserve green space in parks.

Core to both sides is question of what is an amenity. When this controversy started, the city seems to be working on the idea that an amenity in a park is simply defined by it adding to the recreational experience.

According to a survey conducted by the master plan committee, the public is okay with temporary commerce, like jet ski rentals and those more typical to parks, like a concession. But they’d rather see green space than buildings, free splash pads than private waterslides.

Getting to a policy for commerce in parks, might be easier if you don’t try to leave the door open for future deals like the Skaha Park waterslides. Yes, there are existing examples like LocoLanding that clearly add to Penticton’s recreation profile, but there survey showed a limited desire for adding similar operations.

Let’s just scale back that definition of amenity to only include free or temporary additions, along with pre-existing, and leave projects that require land leases to public referendum, where they always should have been.

Just Posted

Hwy. 97 reopened after Trout Creek collision

No details on injuries or cause yet

Souper Sunday raises Soupateria profile

The competition pits local chefs against each other to make soup for the those in need.

Supporting survivors of breast cancer

Survivorship shows there is life beyond cancer

Foreigner feeling like the first time after 40

Foreigner doesn’t miss a beat after 40 years

Octoberfest is the toast of the town

Eighth annual night of fun, music and brews

VIDEO: Sears liquidation sales continue across B.C.

Sales are expected to continue into the New Year

Family worries about missing Malakwa woman

Discovery of human remains has put family members on edge

WATCH: 10,000 signatures gained to stop ‘no pets’ rental policy

Pets OK BC said about 1,700 animals were surrendered to the BC SPCA last year due to housing issues

A golden opportunity

Orthodontist offers sweet deal for the pocketbook

Who is Curtis Sagmoen?

The Observer reveals what we know about the man attached to the Silver Creek property where human remains were found

VIDEO: Oprah Winfrey and a celebrities attend ‘B.C. Miracle Concert’

Fundraiser featured Foster, Steven Tyler, The Tenors, Matteo Bocelli, Laura Bretan, Carly Rae Jepsen

Reel Reviews: Nothing left to lose

We say, “Grieving Quan kicks butt”

New B.C. acute care centre opens for young patients, expectant mothers

Facility aims to make B.C. Children’s Hospital visits more comfortable

Search ramps up for B.C. woman after dog, car found near Ashcroft

Jenny Lynn Larocque’s vehicle and dog were found in Venables Valley, but there is no sign of her

Most Read