New information possibly coming on Skaha Park development

According to Mayor Andrew Jakubeit, there is hope the public will hear new information before the summer is over

Protesters opposed to leasing a portion of Skaha Lake Park to a private developer have taken their battle from the streets to B.C. Supreme Court.

Protesters opposed to leasing a portion of Skaha Lake Park to a private developer have taken their battle from the streets to B.C. Supreme Court.

Leasing a portion of Skaha Lake Park to developers remains a hot topic almost one year after the City of Penticton signed a deal with Trio Marine Group.

In an open letter to Penticton residents this week, the Save Skaha Park Society noted they heard frustration from many of their supporters regarding the time the debate has been allowed to continue in the community.

According to Mayor Andrew Jakubeit, there is hope the public will hear new information before the summer is over. In January, he suggested the next step was for Trio to gauge their resolve on how to proceed and perhaps meet with the society to discuss issues.

“I believe they did meet at least once and we are trying to put some pressure on Trio to publicly declare whether they are proceeding as planned, amending, modifying or walking away,” said Jakubeit.

Tom Dyas, one of the principals of Trio Marine, didn’t want to go into detail, but agreed with Jakubeit that the public would have new information soon.

“There is some communications that is going on between the City of Penticton and the Save Skaha Park society. We look forward to more information coming forward in the next little bit,” said Dyas.

Lisa Martin, spokesperson for the society, said Save Skaha Park has had a single meeting with Trio, which happened in the last month.

“There was one, and it was simply to further the cause of trying to get this resolved without going to court,” said Martin. “We thought it was encouraging.”

The society filed a civil claim against the City of Penticton and Trio Marine last September, which they put on hold in January, pending the outcome of talks between Trio and the city. That, they advise in the open letter, can be re-activated should no satisfactory resolution be achieved within an acceptable time frame.

Jakubeit said there have been talks between city staff and Trio, but the developers haven’t come to council to state their intentions publicly. That, he said, is the next step.

There are two leases with Trio, one for the Skaha Marina and another for the park land where their plans show a water slide complex. Trio is expected to present council with details of their plans to improve and expand the Marina this fall, while the parkland lease is expected next year, though Jakubeit is hoping for more information on Trio’s direction before that.

“There are still hoops they have to go through in the process,” said Jakubeit. “It is 2017 where they have to provide a detailed design we have to approve and they have to provide their proof of financing.

“We just have to be patient and we are hoping there is a bit more direction soon, hopefully before the summer is over.”

Meanwhile, the Save Skaha Park society is continuing their efforts to recruit 10,000 members, to show the extent of community support of the civil suit does go to trial.

“We slowed down a bit over the summer, but still they are coming in at about 100 a week,” said Martin. “We know we are going to be shy of the 10,000, but every member that comes on is an important addition. We are pleased with how it has rolled out.”