For the better part of two years, Nelson Meikle waged a battle to preserve public parks, especially Skaha Lake Park.
He was an early driving force for Save Skaha Park Society. He became involved with the group and later separated from the group and ventured out on his own.
His primary objective was to preserve public park land from exploitation by government, private enterprise and any form of commercialism. He wanted public parks to be totally unencumbered and fought tooth and nail to achieve this goal to the point of an individually filed lawsuit. His mantra was to protect all parks so that his grandson and other young people might enjoy the parks now and in the future
For those who did not personally meet Nelson, you missed out on meeting an individual who was family oriented, very focused, very goal oriented and above all compassionate. I knew him as a friend and as a man with a definite purpose. He left no stone unturned. His records were exacting and complete to a T. His purpose and dedication were beyond reproach. I feel honoured to have known him and to be considered as both friend and associate.
Looking back at the recent announcement regarding the mayor and council’s decision to terminate the agreement with Trio Marine, I can only say that hindsight is 20/20 vision. Groups opposed to the agreements as set up by the city played an important part in the recent “mea culpa” of the mayor. Turning a deaf ear and ignoring protestations in the past has come back to haunt the City of Penticton. Mea culpa doesn’t quite cover it.
While it is true that taxpayers will pay the outgoing termination bill now, plus the already paid staff, legal and incidental expenses, only serves to emphasize the fact that taxpayers can only say, “See, we told you so, but you wouldn’t listen!” There is a lesson to be learned here. One can only hope that the city has learned. Who knows what other endeavours council may shoot itself in the foot for and taxpayers will pay for?
Sadly, Nelson is gone. However, soon there will be a park bench dedicated in his memory and each time that I visit the park it will be my quest to visit that bench out of respect and courtesy for an individual, who in my mind, is a local hero and a champion. I will visit the bench as a friend and as chairperson of Penticton Citizens First. I will look skyward and thank God for Nelson Meikle and his park preservation quest.