Rally to show heart in the park

Supporters of the planned developments in Skaha Lake Park want to make sure they are heard too.

Signs supporting developing Skaha Lake Park vie with those of protestors at a rally in front of city hall in July

Signs supporting developing Skaha Lake Park vie with those of protestors at a rally in front of city hall in July

There is always at least two sides to any issue, and supporters of the planned developments in Skaha Lake Park want to make sure they are heard too.

On  2 p.m. on Nov. 7, they are asking people to gather in Skaha Lake Park to show their support for council’s decision to lease a portion of the park to the Trio Marine Group.

“We are going to make a heart in the park with people and we are going to get a drone to go up and take a picture of us,” said Miranda Tumbach, one of the organizers. “We are going to join together to show our support for the marina improvements including the waterslides.”

Tumbach said she has been frustrated to find that posters and signs advertising the Nov. 7 event have been removed, and even has photos of someone removing a sign posted on a tree.

“I have actually replaced one poster on one pole five times now. I am a little bit frustrated,” said Tumbach. “We don’t have donations coming to us and this stuff costs us money and time.”

On June 29, Penticton city council voted to move ahead with agreements to lease the Skaha Marina and a portion of the park to Trio Marine for 29 years. Trio’s plans include upgrading and enlarging the marina, building amenities like a restaurant and constructing a waterslide complex on the portion of the park currently occupied by the children’s splashpad.

The lease immediately became a subject of controversy in the community, sparking two rallies that featured both protesters and supporters. The protesters eventually filed a civil suit in B.C. Supreme Court, and most recently held an event in the park which brought out about 900 people to form a human chain around the affected area.

“We just want to show support. There are people that are wanting this development to happen and think it will be good for business and think it will be good for locals and tourists,” said Tumbach. “We are not affiliated with Trio or the city, we are basically a group that got together and wants to show our support for the development.”

Tumbach admits Heart in the Park is in response to the Save Skaha Park group’s human chain event.

“We think there is a lot  positive that can come from this and we want to show that there is a wide range of people that are definitely interested in it and are supporting our council and the decisions that they made,” she said. “Maybe that side of the lake has been dying a bit. I feel like the development would definitely help maybe bring some businesses back to life there.”

Tumbach said their support group is also working to dispel any misinformation about Trio’s development plans.

“We just want people to know there are places they can find facts,” she said, adding that they have created a Facebook page, which is hosting City of Penticton files related to the development as well as Trio Marine’s plans.

“There are certain things that people are not seeing every side to I think. We think Save Skaha Park did a great job of raising awareness for their side too, but there may have been some misinformation that is going on,” said Tumbach. The supporters Facebook page can be found by searching for “support Skaha Marina improvement project.”

“We just want people to know that if they want to ask questions, where to look and we will help people find what they need to know about it if they would like to learn more.”