Andrew Jakubeit (left) and John Vassilaki (right) listen as Jukka Laurio responds to a question Thursday night at a Penticton mayoral candidates' forum.

Andrew Jakubeit (left) and John Vassilaki (right) listen as Jukka Laurio responds to a question Thursday night at a Penticton mayoral candidates' forum.

Election 2014: Curveballs liven up Penticton mayoral candidates’ forum

City of Penticton: Trio vying to lead city asked about protecting the past and the vision for its 40-year future

Besides exploring issues of the day, Penticton’s three mayoral candidates were also asked at Thursday’s public forum to discuss their visions for the city’s far-off future and the preservation of its past.

For two hours, the crowd of about 400 people inside a ballroom at the Penticton Lakeside Resort listened as the men gave one-minute answers to a range of questions, with few rebuttals and no fireworks.

One of the curveballs thrown at the candidates was whether they’d support moving Penticton’s museum onto the SS Sicamous, which would free up space for the library to expand.

Jukka Laurio, a local restaurant owner, called it a “brilliant idea.”

“That would be a workable solution and would also provide the Sicamous with an additional draw,” he said, adding the library could then grow “without the big cost expenditures.”

Two-term city councillor Andrew Jakubeit cautioned, however, that there’s more to the museum than meets the eye.

“The basement underneath is all their archive storage and it takes up a lot of space,” he said.

“Perhaps a better combination might be the museum and the art gallery. We need to create draws for people to see these wonderful cultural entities we have in our community.”

John Vassilaki, who has served three terms on city council, agreed something should be done for both the Sicamous and the museum, but didn’t say what.

“To me, the most important thing any community can have is a heritage site,” he said.

While the Sicamous is currently “sitting in the mud,” Vassilaki continued, “what better place can you put that beautiful ship but on the water? I think it should be refloated, but the cost is prohibitive.”

Candidates were later asked what Penticton would look like in 40 years’ time if they get to put their stamp on it as mayor.

Vassilaki said his ideal city of the future would have a greatly expanded industrial base.

“That’s our No. 1 priority is the industrial area. And how well are we looking after it? Not very well. We should be devoting more time to where we can actually improve this community, and that’s through jobs,” he said.

“We can no longer depend on folks who are on fixed income to pay the taxation for all the money that we spend year after year, and a lot of it is waste. Trust me, I know.”

Laurio said large-scale industry will be a tough go, since the city isn’t located on a major highway, so the focus instead should be on “niche markets.”

“If we were the boating capital of Canada or the water sports capital of Canada, we would have all kinds of miniature industries,” he said.

“We could be making things for sport boats, surf boards for windsurfers. It’s the kind of industry that we could use here, because it (capitalizes on) the type of resources we have.”

Jakubeit said his Penticton of 2054 would be built on a high-tech industry that allows families “to actually have the opportunity to enjoy living here.

“Many of us, young and old, have our nose to the grindstone, we’re working maybe two jobs. We don’t have a chance to really go experience the beaches and peaches, go do our wine tours, go float down the channel,” he said.

“I want to be the mayor that restores Penticton to be the envy of all other communities.”

There are still plenty of all-candidates’ forums still to come before the Nov. 15 election.

 

 

Just Posted

The Eyes of the Tigers on the 2021 Beer Rune on June 19. (Brennan Phillips - Western News)
Penticton Beer Runners take trip around local beaches and brews

Over 160 people signed up to come back after the 2020 run was cancelled

There was high voter turnout for the first of three advance voting days for the Penticton city by-election.
Penticton city by-election general voting day is today, June 19

737 voters on June 9 in comparison to 2018 general election, which had 1,001 on first day

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 Penticton-area men charged with Kamloops brothers’ double homicide

Brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May in Naramata

(File photo)
Penticton not holding Canada Day activities out of respect for Indigenous people

Cities across B.C. are cancelling the holiday after an increased spotlight on Canada’s dark history

Fruit farmers in the Okanagan and Creston valleys are in desperate need of cherry harvesters amid COVID-19 work shortages. (Photo: Unsplash/Abigail Miller)
‘Desperate’ need for workers at Okanagan cherry farms

Fruit farmers are worried they’ll have to abandon crops due to COVID-19 work shortages

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed Eli Beauregard facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

Starting in 2022, the Columbia Shuswap Regional District is extending dog control to the entire Electoral Area D. (Stock photo)
Dog control bylaw passes in Shuswap area despite ‘threatening’ emails

CSRD board extending full dog control in Electoral Area D starting next year

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Most Read