Two years of Jakubeit’s time on city council were spent dealing with the fallout of a project that would have seen a private waterslide development in Skaha Lake Park.
Council voted to approve the project in 2015, and after two years of court cases, renegotiations and ongoing protests, the city was forced to pay out on a penalty clause to cancel the deal in mid-2017.
“I feel over the last four years I’ve grown and gained the experience that will provide consistency, stability and the leadership needed to continue the momentum we have generated during our term,” said Jakubeit.
Approving the deal was a decision of the whole council, but as mayor, Jakubeit was the focus of a lot of the backlash.
“That is one of the negatives of the job. It is frustrating. I think that discourages a lot of good people from wanting to participate on a council,” said Jakubeit. “It does wear on you, or take some of the enthusiasm out of your sails, but then you come across someone who says, I really like what you did with downtown’s walkways or the lakeshore.”
Jakubeit lists the waterslide controversy as his biggest regret as mayor.
“Lack of a clear process and community engagement resulted in two years of conflict and ultimately overshadowed what has been an exciting time for our community,” he said, noting factors like the development of 1,169 homes in the community, the city’s ongoing support of the Youth Engagement Strategy project to build a youth centre and convincing Gateway Casinos and Entertainment from moving Cascade Casino outside city limits.
“We have so much potential here and it is such a great community to build on,” said Jakubeit. “Right now we have a fair bit of momentum that has been created. That is why I think it is good to have some experience, consistency and stability to continue moving forward.”
Policing and housing affordability are much talked about issues in Penticton and Jakubeit puts social issues like mental health, homelessness and addiction high on his list of challenges.
“I think the community is starting to get a bit more frustrated around that. It is a national crisis or issue that people expect the local city to solve,” said Jakubeit. “When we have social issues that are bigger than us alone … that is more difficult to tackle. Meeting people’s expectations is going to be a challenge with that kind of social problem.”
Jakubeit said he’s committed to continuing the work started during his first term as mayor.
“I certainly have a big passion for our community,” said Jakubeit.
“I think anyone that goes into public office, I think they have the best intentions at heart to make their city the best place to live work and play, not just for now but into the future.”
Senior reporter, Penticton Western News
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