Mayor aims to polish city’s image

Dan Ashton says Penticton needs to capitalize on its assets to become a premier tourist destination

  • Dec. 27, 2011 5:00 p.m.

Grey skies are going to clear up, so Penticton should put on a happy face.

That’s the prediction Mayor Dan Ashton offered on what’s on the horizon for the Peach City in the year to come.

While many residents were winding things down for the holidays, Ashton said councillors and City Hall staff were plugging away on strategic planning sessions and early budget inquiries.

“We’re going full bore. Traditionally the budget is not available until the end of March, but we’re trying to make it a lot quicker,” he said.

Ashton said the visioning process indicated the city could go back to its roots — with a bit of elbow grease investment.

“The visioning is what we want to be in Penticton. It reinforced again that we’re a tourist area and we want to take a look at opportunities and get the shine back on the municipality. That’s one of my initiatives I’ll be bringing to council is this is the opportunity to re-landscape,” he said. “We’ve slipped a little bit, and a lot of it is the economic turbulence that everybody’s been going through.

“But if we are going to be a resort, tourist community, we’re going to have to start buffing it up a bit. We have to take a look at some of the things available to us that will put the shine back on.”

While programs like Communities in Bloom can help focus the city’s efforts, Ashton said changing the face of the community requires effort from more than just parks staff.

“It’s not only the city’s operations, but the residents and bringing pride back to the community. That’s really important. There’s some outstanding examples of individuals out there … who keep it esthetically beautiful,” he said. “So we’re going to have to take a real good look at how we do it, and how to make improvements. There’s a lot of places for people to go to in the world for holidays, and if you want to be a resort tourist community, you have to be welcoming.”

Projects like these have to fall within the budget, he adds, and the financial discussions are currently underway. Ashton said more than 40 staff members have been working on the budget, and that is leading to efficiencies and a greater sense of ownership among those in City Hall.

“You’ve got skin in the game,” he said. “We’re all working to a common cause instead of just working in silos. Unfortunately, we had a lot of that before. But by being so inclusive, we’re breaking down those silos, breaking down those divisions and everyone’s working toward the same entity.”

Working together is going to be key, Ashton explained, given the state of the current economic conditions around the globe that have trickled down to the South Okanagan. A recent report from the chief financial officer found the number of building permits in November down nine per cent year over year, representing a 71 per cent decrease in the estimated value of construction in town.

“We’ve been fortunate, we’ve got a couple of things taken place … It’s been a difficult fall and is shaping up to be a difficult winter. It’s a reflection of what’s going on,” he said. “We hear about people who have to leave the community to find work. We hear that all time. It’s indicative of what’s happening elsewhere.”

Ashton said he thinks macroeconomic conditions will affect confidence, both in business circles and residents who shop.

“Until this issue gets resolved in Europe, the whole world’s on hold,” he said. “This stuff seems to be moving its way around the globe. The question is, ‘Who’s next?’ When you take a look at what’s transpiring in some of the debt ratios and gross domestic product, well the United States is starting to ring bells, Japan is really ringing bells.

“When we get those types of things settled, we’ll get the confidence back in the general public.”

Locally, Ashton said the arrival of 2012 means pushing himself further to boost staff morale and connecting City Hall with residents to achieve the area’s goals.

“What we have to do as a community is we have to put a few things that transpired behind us and start rallying together.  If the direction we want to go in that I hear is a resort tourist community, we have to heal some of the wounds that have taken place … and start pulling together and working together and bring Penticton back for what it was always famous for, which is a place to come, visit, stay, vacation,” he said. “We have all the amenities; we have all the ingredients.

“We just have to get the mix right.”

 

Just Posted

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

Summerland cidery Millionaires' Row is hosting a Father's Day car and art show. (Facebook)
Vintage cars, art and cider for Father’s Day

Summerland’s Millionaires’ Row Cider Co. is hosting the car and art show

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