I have attended many meetings regarding park lands in Penticton, including the Parks and Recreation Steering Committee meetings.
There seems to be some critical issues missing. Maybe it’s because we’ve gotten use to having a marina at Skaha Lake Park. There is a huge difference between Okanagan Lake Marina which services approximately 190 square miles of lake and Skaha Lake Marina services approximately 20 square miles of lake.
Over the years we’ve become more sophisticated regarding clean water. Our sewage is no longer dumped into the lake and the sprays used in the riparian areas which are the waterfront flood plains have been changed, reduced or cancelled. Let’s not forget that the Penticton Indian Band has spent $5-million plus on developing a fish hatchery. However, there is one area in Skaha Lake Park which we seem to want to continue polluting, that being the marina.
Why in a park and at the waterfront do we continue to have gas, oil, anti-freeze, sewage and garbage? It is also a place that the city wants to lease for 40 years so this will continue. In fact, the city has spent approximately $57,000 of taxpayers’ money to protect Trio Marine Group to continue to commercialize and to give them all vendor rights for the whole park as Trio does not want competition.
This area can be changed and should be changed. It has a restaurant, the building itself having a subdivision line running through the centre half, B.C. and half city land and within the riparian area. Removing all these issues, including the wharf and moorage and in its place build a launching ramp, adequate parking close to east side road for trailers and their vehicles and not on the waterfront, installing an area for cleaning boats, and ensuring the milfoil is removed with appropriate sewage and garbage facilities. As you will find in Oroville Park where the boating public can come and enjoy the lakes, then removing their boats when completing their visit. This will also give us at least 100 feet more beach front. Just imagine, increasing beach front instead of decreasing. This would also show the Penticton Indian Band that the citizens of Penticton appreciate their interest in cultural, archaeological, environmental and title rights. This is one way we can help to make their efforts successful.
This council of seven seems determined to commercialize our parks, ignoring the 80 per cent of taxpayers who oppose any commercialization of our parks. A reminder these parks were purchased by the taxpayer, are owned by the taxpayer and supported by the taxpayer. They are not real estate and not to be used for revenue purposes. The parks are for the enjoyment and pleasure of our citizens as well as their health and welfare.
Our parks identify this city as a place to stay forever.