Why is Penticton City Council so against a referendum on any and all major changes to public land use?
Why, because they lose control.
As in the past, bylaws can and do get changed by city hall — e.g. height restrictions in Skaha Lake Park to allow for the waterslide height. No worries, we can now have a three storey hot dog stand.
The Official Community Plan can and is ignored and changed, e.g. Kinney Avenue development, restriction on the number of residences within a certain distance of a school. No worries. Change the bylaw and the developer can build it anyway.
If we had a binding referendum/vote, on any and all major changes to public land/park land, changing bylaws would not get the job done for the city or the developers, it would get the job done for the citizens.
A referendum will protect parkland/public land and ensure voters have a say in how public land is used. A simple yes/no vote. It will eliminate the need for more committees, government or appointed boards — e.g.parks boards — saving money and time.
If it is mandatory, both governments and citizens guess work and suspicions are eliminated. We all have an equal say. We would all know the rules and play by them. What can possibly be wrong with that? It is democracy at work.