Penticton city Coun. James Miller made a motion asking city staff to make a presentation on the city’s Request for Proposal process. (City of Penticton council meeting screen grab)

Penticton city Coun. James Miller made a motion asking city staff to make a presentation on the city’s Request for Proposal process. (City of Penticton council meeting screen grab)

Penticton city staff asked to explain how decisions like controversial Peach concession contract are awarded

Coun. James Miller called for city staff to explain how they award contracts

City staff will be explaining the Request For Proposal process and how decisions are made like the contract awarded for Penticton’s Peach concession.

The presentation from city staff will be made at the next city council meeting in May after the issue was raised by Coun. James Miller at the end of the April 5 council meeting.

The request comes following two recent RFPs that caused controversy in the community; the Skaha Marina contract being awarded to the Penticton Yacht Club, and the contract that has a Calgary-based company taking over operation of Penticton’s Peach concession stand from a local operator for the next three years.

Coun. Julius Bloomfield expressed his confusion over Miller’s initial request for a review of the RFP process, as he noted it had gone before council before it is put out for bids.

“We’re well aware of the fact that the result of the RFP for the Peach was unpopular with some members of the public and some members of council, but this is a democracy and I believe the process was fair,” said Bloomfield.

Miller took issue with Bloomfield bringing up the Peach, noting that his original notice of motion was for a broad review.

“I said nothing about the ice cream issue, that is an assumption on your part, sir,” said Miller. “I think you’re out of line.”

Mayor John Vassilaki called on Miller to act with more civility following the exchange.

READ MORE: Feeling the squeeze: Penticton tries to explain choosing lemonade stand over The Peach

Once the topic was raised, Miller put forward that the beloved nature of the Peach deserved better communication, and expressed his concern over what he felt was a lack of communication over the decision.

“There was immediate outrage, partially because council was not told the final outcome of that specific bid, which was very dear to very many in this community.”

According to Bloomfield, he and every other member of council had received a confidential email informing them of the results of the concession bids on Thursday, March 31, well before the news broke on social media on April 3.

Vassilaki also stepped forward to speak to the public’s uproar.

“The public was concerned because of all the disinformation that got out there before the city had the chance to put the results out to the public,” said Vassilaki. “Somehow the losing end got the information that they weren’t supposed to get by someone who wasn’t supposed to get that information out there.”

It is not clear what disinformation Vassilaki was referring to, as the press release issued by the city did not contradict what had been written by the Peach’s previous operator, Diana Stirling.

Stirling, who owns and operates Local Landing Adventure Park and Lickity Splitz, had expressed her regrets over not winning the contract on social media and thanked the community for their support.

READ MORE: The Peach is no more — Penticton awards lease of the iconic stand to Alberta company

The presentation about the RFP process by city staff will take place during the next council meeting on May 3.

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