The name of a park at a development near Okanagan Falls came under scrutiny at the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen board meeting on Sept. 5.
In October, 2018, Johnny Aantjes of Vintage Views Developments Ltd., the donor of a majority portion of the new Heritage Hills Park, submitted the name “Ted Garnett Park” to the board for consideration.
The submission was deferred to the spring of 2019 and at the June 6 meeting, the proposed name and one other name, proposed by the Okanagan Falls Parks and Recreation Commission were presented.
The commission had suggested the name, “Skaha Vista Park at Heritage Hills.”
In 2015, the regional district accepted a donation of parkland as part of an agreement with Vintage Views Development Ltd.
The donated portion of land was 1.21 hectares, with another 0.2 hectares purchased for $400,000.
At the time, Aantjes said he wanted to hold naming rights to the park.
He said he wanted to name the park after Garnett in honour of his role in completing the Vintage Views subdivision.
According to a regional district policy, donors who contribute towards a special project are permitted to have input into the naming rights of the project.
Aantjes later suggested another name, “Garnett Family Park.”
“A plaque with information regarding Ted Garnett would help with keeping this a memorial for Ted,” he said.
However, Doug Lychak of the Heritage Hills Homeowners Association said the Garnett name would not be appropriate, since Garnett did not live in the area and was not involved in efforts to develop the community.
“We would find the name of the park as ‘Garnett Park’ an offence,” Lychak said. “There’s no connection.”
He said the members of the homeowners association would rather have the park unnamed than to have the Garnett name used.
Dir. Riley Gettens said the park should have a name.
“It saddens me to think of a park not named,” she said.
Penticton mayor John Vassilaki said the regional district must respect the agreement made with Aantjes.
“A contract is a contract is a contract and we’re going to abide by it,” he said.
Jake Kimberley, a Penticton councillor, wondered how the naming dispute had escalated.
“Why has this gone this far?” he asked. “We shouldn’t even be involved in this.”
In an 11-8 decision, the regional district board voted to go with the Garnett name for the park.
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