Before they even got to the stage of formal public input, the City of Penticton has announced revisions to the Settlement and Enhanced Marina Agreements proposed on Nov. 1.
Read more: Waterslides off the table for Skaha Park
The city, along with Trio Marine Group, have amended the agreements for developing the Skaha Marina area, removing a section allowing the city to develop a proposal for building a revenue generating park amenity.
“The city and Trio heard from the public that there was still concern over the loss of green space and we have taken steps to revise the agreements and address this issue,” said Mayor Andrew Jakubeit in a release.
The clause raised concern for the Save Skaha Park Society and others when it became clear that though waterslides had been removed from the agreement, there was still the possibility of a commercial development in the park where the slides would have been. This was at odds with a statement earlier in the agreement that it would preserve the green space in the park.
Read more: Future amenity for Skaha Park may be dropped
The controversial provision was replaced with one allowing the city, in 2019, “to work with the community on a facility to renew or replace the existing concession and boathouse.”
Any revenue-generating opportunities would be offered to Trio as a sole-source Request for Proposal, meaning they alone would be able to bid on a development.
Trio would be able to demolish the existing concession, return it to green space and then take up the same amount of green space to the west of the Penticton Racing Canoe Club’s storage building. Maps included with the proposal, however, show the development space as surrounding and including the clubhouse.
The revised agreement now specifically states the boathouse concession will not include a water park or result in any overall loss of green space (it would be swapped from one end of the park to the other).
Jakubeit said they can only use the amount of green space recovered by removing the current concession on the eastern side of the park.
“It can’t be bigger than that, because we are clear that there should be no loss of green space. If they need 10 feet of pavement to make their design fit, the end of that parking lot is more of a buffer zone anyway, so they should have a little bit of flexibility,” said Jakubeit. “There will be no loss of boat trailer parking or opportunity for boat storage there.
“The whole intention is the dragon boat (festival) and the rowing club still have opportunity to store their boats.”
The Enhanced Marina Agreement was also revised. A reference to a cold beer and wine store was removed and some of the early dates in the Conditions Precedent section have been pushed back two months.
Jakubeit said working with Trio and the public to move forward is still the best option for the city, taking into account the time and investment already made by the city.
“What started this process was looking at getting our marina enhanced, expanded and improved,” said Jakubeit. “Trio is still committed to doing that. To wash our hands of it, that comes at a cost.
“Is it worthwhile to expend ‘X’ dollars and still be in a position where we don’t have money going into the marina to expand it and improve it? It is more than just tired, it needs some serious attention and soon.”
The city has yet to release the total legal expenses incurred so far by the Skaha Park controversy and the two Supreme Court civil suits. Jakubeit said the city remains committed to doing so, but doesn’t want legal costs to pre-empt the conversation.
“Year to date billings for the litigation and the settlement agreements have not cracked six figures yet, but if you are asking me would a referendum have been cheaper? Yes. We have certainly spent more than $30,000, but not $100,000.”