Future amenity for Skaha Park may be dropped

A controversial section in the proposed settlement agreement with Trio Marine group might not make it into the final version.

The Save Skaha Park Society aren't withdrawing their lawsuit until they are assured there won't be any commercial development in the park

The Save Skaha Park Society aren't withdrawing their lawsuit until they are assured there won't be any commercial development in the park

A controversial section in the proposed settlement agreement with Trio Marine group might not make it into the final version.

Mayor Andrew Jakubeit said the city has heard concerns about a section of the proposal outlining a portion of Skaha Lake Park for a future amenity, to be discussed in 2019. Depending on what they hear at the Nov. 23 public meeting to gather input on the proposed Trio agreements, Jakubeit said removing the section might be considered.

“Council might direct staff … this is a common concern and if we are to move forward, that has to be rectified or taken out,” said Jakubeit. “I think Trio is certainly aware of this, and they don’t want the suit to continue.”

Read more: Penticton’s park saga isn’t over yet

Jakubeit also suggested Trio might be attending the meeting, with a statement to address that concern.

“That is the next step. We need to resolve that,” said Jakubeit. “The public meeting on Wednesday is to get comment from the public and fully understand what concerns the community has.”

The future amenity has been a sticking point for the Save Skaha Park Society, which filed a civil suit against the city and Trio last September to block Trio’s plans to build a water slide complex on parkland leased from the city.

Dr. Gerry Karr, a member of the SSPS advisory committee, said society is mandated to oppose commercial developments in the park, not just Trio’s water slide concept.  That means the society won’t be backing away from their civil suit until they are assured there will be no commercial development in the park.

Duane Martin, a director of the society, said they aren’t willing to drop the suit based on the city’s assurances about public consultation and developing a policy to address commercial activity in parks.

“Based on everything we have seen to this point, how can we trust them?” asked Martin,  who said the agreement only takes the future of that section of park from the known (water slides) to unknown.

Karr said the society isn’t interested in playing into a scenario where they remove the suit, only to find the park given over to another commercial venture two years down the road. The only thing that would bring the society to drop the civil suit would be an assurance the park would be permanently saved from commercial development.

Karr admits the ongoing controversy triggered by the original Trio proposal 18 months ago isn’t good for the city’s image. The best way to deal with that, he said, is for the city to get away from the deal altogether.

“As long as we have this turmoil in the community, fractured community, this has to be a deterrent to people wanting to start a business here,” said Karr, who doesn’t expect those effects will continue after the matter is settled.

“This is a specific case that has to do with misuse of public land. It doesn’t have anything to do with developing private for commercial purposes.”

The argument that Penticton needs the income from developing parks also fell flat.

“It’s like burning the furniture to heat your house,” said Karr. “They got themselves into this mess, they are going to have to find a way out.

“It’s about developing a taxation policy … it is about explaining that taxation policy in a way that people can understand and accept it.”

Karr said parks are a long term positive for any city’s economy, and a city that is well-served by parks is a city that attracts high end business.

“If they want to diversify, make sure they emphasize the importance of a livable  city with a high quality of life, and that is what parks do,” said Karr. “They really are making a huge mistake if they further degrade the attractiveness of this community by commercializing its parks to pay the bills now and scare away even more people who might want to come live and work here.”

 

Just Posted

The Pierre family, an Indigenous family, once lived in what is now downtown Summerland. Today, Pierre Drive is named in honour of the family. (Photo courtesy of the Summerland Museum)
Pierre family played role in Summerland’s history

Downtown Summerland was once Penticton Indian Reserve #3

This parking on the east side of Martin Street will be removed permanently Monday morning (June 21, 2021) to put in the Lake to Lake bike lane. (City of Penticton)
Parking removed permanently to make way for bike lane in downtown Penticton

Work begins Monday morning to replace parking spots with bike lane on Martin Street

Jaimee Peters photo of a Willow Midwives helping with a birth. Willow closed its doors March 31 because of a shortage of midwives. (Contributed)
South Okanagan’s only midwifery to re-open this summer

Willow Community Midwives was forced to close because of a shortage of midwives

Gord Portman getting ready for the Father’s Day dunk tank fundraiser for Discovery House. So far Portman has raised $3,000. (Facebook)
Penticton man takes the plunge for recovery house that helped save his life

Gord Portman said Discovery House and Pathways have been everything in his 1 year sobriety

(File photo)
Supreme Court Justice rules Bay has to pay Penticton’s Cherry Lane mall

The ruling found that there had been no unavoidable delay preventing the Bay from paying their rent

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

FILE – Most lanes remain closed at the Peace Arch border crossing into the U.S. from Canada, where the shared border has been closed for nonessential travel in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. The restrictions at the border took effect March 21, while allowing trade and other travel deemed essential to continue. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Feds to issue update on border measures for fully vaccinated Canadians, permanent residents

Border with U.S. to remain closed to most until at least July 21

A portion of the George Road wildfire burns near Lytton, B.C. in this Friday, June 18, 2021 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, BC Wildfire Service *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Blaze near Lytton spread across steep terrain, says BC Wildfire Service

Fire began Wednesday and is suspected to be human-caused, but remains under investigation

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

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

Most Read