The city of Penticton held one last community engagement forum before residents head to the polls on Saturday to vote on whether they support a private operator taking on a long term lease of up to 25 years for Skaha Marina.
The Facebook live forum saw 17 people listen in and 360 views on Monday.
City general manager of community services Anthony Haddad explained that Skaha Marina was built in the 1950s and the dock and marina are in need of replacements and repairs.
Around $1.5 million is needed to do this, he added.
One resident asked how is this deal different than the controversial 29-year Trio agreement at Skaha Marina.
“It is very different because residents get to decide this time if they want this,” said Haddad. “Lots of lessons were learned from that.”
In that situation, there was no referendum. After protests, petitions and lawsuits the city ended the proposed 29-year lease agreement with Trio Marine Group to upgrade and operate the marina beyond the 2018 season.
The city of Penticton paid a $200,000 termination fee for abandoning a development agreement with the Trio Marine Group for the marina and restaurant.
The referendum about Skaha Marina has been put on the Penticton city council by-election ballot. Whatever voters decide on Saturday is binding. If the vote is not to go ahead with a long term lease, the city will continue as is, to have short term lease operations at the marina.
“The downside to short-term leases is that the operator has uncertainty,” he said.
Parking is one of the top concerns if the new operator brings in a bigger restaurant or bigger rental business, city staff heard on Monday.
The fate of the Nautical Dog Cafe, that currently runs out of the marina, would also be up to the next operator of the marina, according to Haddad.
“The size of the moorage area won’t be changing but the restaurant size could, yes,” said Haddad.
If residents vote to go ahead with a long term lease agreement with a private operator, the city would send out a request for proposals and then decide on the best candidate to operate the marina. But it would first go through the parks advisory committee first.
Here is the exact yes or no question that will appear on the ballot: “Do you support the City selecting a private operator and entering into a long-term agreement of up to 25 years in order to fund the marina improvements and provide marina services at Skaha Lake Park?”
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