New Skaha marina plan may sink business

Skaha waterfront could be getting a new development, according to business owner whose company may need to move to accommodate it.

Skaha Lake’s waterfront could be getting a major new development, according to a business owner whose company may need to move to accommodate the changes.

Mark Attrill, who co-owns Penticton Yamaha and Marine, said he’s been told by the City of Penticton that it will not renew his lease for the store and nearby marina when the deal expires on Dec. 31. He suspects the decision is related to the city’s public request for expressions of interest to redevelop the site.

Documents attached to that request, issued in May 2013, note “special consideration may be given to (proposals that include) intensive redevelopment of the site as a restaurant/hotel complex.”

Penticton Mayor Garry Litke declined comment on the matter, noting council is expected to discuss the issue at a closed-door meeting next week.

“There’s a good possibility that we’ll be able to make some comment about that at our public meeting Tuesday night,” Litke said.

Attrill believes there’s a slim chance his lease may yet be renewed, but said the future of Penticton Yamaha and Marine, which employs up to 15 people at the height of the summer,  is “unknown.”

“We have been looking at alternate locations, but there’s nothing confirmed at this point,” said Attrill, who owns the motorsports sales and service company with his brother, Matt.

The two have run the shop and nearby marina and fuel dock since 1998, but rented the land and building from the city on five-year leases that more recently turned into a one-year deal. They weren’t told why the relationship is ending.

The city “never talked to us in any way, other than giving us a letter stating they will not be renewing our lease. They have not been in touch with us in any way,” Attrill said.

His own reply to the request for expressions of interest consisted of a pitch to keep things as they are, but he has since heard unofficially that a restaurant and water park are now planned for the site. The expression of interest documents state the redevelopment is intended to act on the city’s vision statement as an “adventurous waterfront” community that makes the most of its two local lakes. Available to the right partner are three land parcels, including the 66-slip marina and Yamaha shop, plus a nearby parking lot and park, all of which totals about 4.5 hectares.

The successful bidder is expected to “create some vibrancy” and “take bolder steps in pursuit of realizing our vision at the northeast side of Skaha Lake,” the documents state.

It appears the city wants a lease of at least five years, but “the more intensive the level of development, the longer the lease term that the city would be willing to consider,” according to the documents, and help will be available to “navigate the public process required to amend land use bylaws so that the vision can be realized.”