I was disappointed to witness city council’s unanimous approval to utilize the Alternate Approval Process — rather than a referendum or plebicite — to obtain electorate approval for the expansion of the city’s boundaries to include privately-owned property in the Skaha Bluffs area.
This process assumes that all 26,810 or so registered voters support the expansion unless they are sufficiently informed and motivated to submit an Elector Response Form within the next 30 days.
This decision, in my opinion, demonstrates council’s lack of respect for the citizens it is elected to represent. The onus should be on the City of Penticton to convince its electorate that the benefits of the expansion far outweigh any financial costs that would be borne by residential ratepayers.
Based on the presentations at tuesday’s council meeting no one has yet bothered to tally-up the potential increased costs for utilities, policing, emergency response, schooling, public transportation, bylaw enforcement, wildlife management, etc. Nor was there an estimate of the financial liability the city would inherit from Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen and the current land owners for climbing incidents on Skaha Bluffs. How can council members, city managers or Penticton residents make an informed decision in the absence of this essential information?
I was also disappointed that there was absolutely no mention of the environmental impacts associated with residentlal development in the proposed area during and after the construction phase; increased GHG emissions and human-wildlife encounters are inevitable.
When this matter comes before council again on Oct. 3 take the honest and forthright approach and put this matter to the electorate in the form of a referendum or plebicite.