The city provided an engagement update on the Civic Places and Spaces project on Tuesday (Dec. 7). (File photo)

The city provided an engagement update on the Civic Places and Spaces project on Tuesday (Dec. 7). (File photo)

Twin rinks, arts centre most contentious in Penticton’s Civic Places and Spaces project

Over 60% of survey participants support the project but still much to be determined

When it comes to Penticton’s controversial Civic Places and Spaces project, there are still a number of questions the city can’t answer.

Even though there is still much to be determined before the project officially has the green light, council did learn that over 60 per cent of the survey’s participants were supportive of the plan, meaning that they would at the very least like to see a proposal presented to council.

The twin arenas and the arts and culture centre were the most contentious of the four recommendations, given the range of user groups involved, said JoAnne Kleb, the city’s public engagement program manager who spoke to council on Tuesday.

A possible location for an arts centre hasn’t been discussed and affected user groups also have many questions about access and affordability in these new facilities, she added.

“Through the feedback form, we wanted to gauge if there was enough interest or support for the recommendations to take it to the next step,” said Kleb in her presentation to council.

Specifically, the project focuses on 10 key facilities in Penticton, including the city’s museum, art gallery, library and arenas.

A total of 398 citizens took to to give their thoughts on the plan that the city forecasts will take 10-15 years to complete. Out of the people that provided public feedback, 43 of them had never been to any of the buildings in question.

“There are a number of questions raised (by the public) that require more information and data before we can actually invite the community to confirm their support for the recommendations,” she added.

There are several outstanding issues that require further analysis and discussion with groups like the Penticton Minor Hockey Association and the ones who speak on behalf of the city’s library, according to Kleb.

Modern functionality and financial sustainability were the two most important pieces of criteria when looking at the construction of new buildings or the demolition of the old ones, according to the citizens that completed the voluntary survey.

The city’s future plan for the arenas and cultural centre made up two of the four recommendations. To the surprise of no one, those two recommendations were the most disputed by the public.

Despite that, support for the recommendations was still lent, according to the results of the public feedback form.

VIDEO: Penticton’s Civic Places and Spaces: Asset and Amenity Management Plan

“These are major decisions that will affect life in our community for decades,” said Penticton Mayor John Vassilaki. “I’m encouraged by the thoughtfulness of the participants to date and look forward to hearing options on how these initiatives can advance.”

City staff added that they are planning on providing another update to council in early 2022.

Vassilaki finished the update by encouraging staff to continue to gather public feedback on the Civic Places and Spaces project.

READ MORE: Feedback lends support to plan for replacing Penticton’s aging arenas, library and museum

READ MORE: Last day to give feedback on Penticton’s civic buildings

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