Outspoken city councillor John Vassilaki announced this week that he will be seeking a fourth consecutive term on Penticton Council in November’s municipal elections.
Vassilaki said he decided to run again because he wants to advocate for a proposed moorage dock to be built at the S.S. Sicamous and run by the heritage boat’s restoration society. And because he wants to help the city get back to its “grassroots” as both a tourism destination and a place where people move to raise their families.
“Development is necessary,” said Vassilaki. “But we have to be more selective with the development that we allow in Penticton.
“We need development that is more suited to the city. For example, we don’t have to reach to the sky. We can stay at more moderate heights — anywhere between 10 and 15 storeys — rather than going up to 20 to 25 storeys.”
And, he said, when council does approve “moderate” sized buildings, it should only be in non-residential neighbourhoods, in locations where they are close to amenities and services, such as the downtown core or in the city’s village hubs.
Vassilaki said the city must do a better job at appealing to family-orientated tourism.
For example, Vassilaki said the city needs to find a location to build a six baseball-diamond complex to compete with other municipalities for tournaments. And he said the city has to do a better job advertising its agricultural tourism, giving it equal attention to the wine industry which he said attracts a different kind of clientele. Then there is the proposal Vassilaki presented to council in March to build a marine park and museum centre, boat launching facilities, and an 104-boat day and night dock at the S.S. Sicamous site — although the plan is to start with a smaller design and then expand as revenues grow.
“We have to bring in a facility for boaters to leave their boat in the water overnight so that they can stay here for two or three days,” he said. “We have been losing the people with the disposable income to Osoyoos and Kelowna because we don’t have the moorage for them here.”
Vassilaki said he thinks his chances of winning are as good as anybody else’s.
“If people want a councillor who takes action; who is not afraid to tell the truth and who will look after their interests as though it were his own interests then, I am their guy,” he said.