Penticton Western News letters to the editor.

Letter: Standing behind Skaha Bluffs protected land

Our recreational community’s first priority is to protect this crown jewel of Penticton

As a concerned spokesperson for the local climbing and outdoor recreation community, our community is delighted to see the gift of 150 acres of protected land to Skaha Bluffs Park in the proposed new land development.

After review of the proposal we applaud the developer and Penticton council for presenting a frame work ensuring non-motorized recreational opportunities while protecting the unique ecosystems and species at risk in that area and additionally protecting Big Horn Sheep corridors.

Our recreational community’s first priority is to protect this crown jewel of Penticton for future generations while respecting the need for sustainable growth in our community.

Skaha Bluffs is a world-renowned destination for climbing enthusiasts and recently a favoured hiking destination for tourism visitors. The City of Penticton receives direct economic benefits from these visitors. Economic impact studies have estimated a minimum of a $4 million contribution to the local economy at the critical shoulder tourism season with an additional indirect contribution of the same amount.

Speaking as a local resident, my hope is to see Penticton grow as a city focused on our natural beauty and enhance community with developments that improve our livability such as this proposal.

Research shows a relationship between health, well-being and the benefits of open spaces and local parks. I’m pleased to see this unique development retains green space and trails, a refreshing approach from the traditional Penticton developers who clear cut all vegetation and blast rock faces into submission. Every tree retained helps fight global warming by reducing the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

The outdoor recreation community stands behind this proposal.

Rolf Rybak