Despite not being able to protest in front of city hall, the crowd at a rally Tuesday was no less enthusiastic as the one that rallied for the same cause just one year ago.
With work starting on the revitalization of the 100 block Main Street, about 500 people attending a rally protesting the agreement leasing part of Skaha Lake Park to Trio Marine for a commercial waterslide development was forced to take their signs around the side of Penticton City Hall and into Gyro Park.
Organizers of the protest say they are doing their best to remind council of their opposition to the agreement that allows the southeastern corner of the park to be leased.
We want to show them that we haven’t forgotten and we are not going away, said Cliff Martin, one of the organizers. “We have to keep this going.”
When the deal with Trio Marine Group was made public last year it caused a rising tide of opposition, resulting in large rallies outside city hall in July and August, followed by the newly formed Save Skaha Park Society filing a civil claim in B.C. Supreme Court in September of 2015.
“I think we really shocked them that hundreds of people rallied,” said Hannah Hyland.
That civil claim was joined by another on July 28 of this year, and the City of Penticton filed their responses, denying they had acted outside their powers, on Aug. 31. (read more on the lawsuits here: Penticton responds to Skaha lawsuits)
Martin said a second civil suit isn’t muddying the waters, but making the will of the people clearer.
“I think it’s great. More fuel on the fire,” said Martin. “The more things go against the city, the more they are going to realize they have to address this. Most think they have been stalling and stalling hoping we are going to go away. We are not going to go away.”
For Lynn Crassweller and her husband Garry, it’s about democracy.
“The mayor and council took 20 minutes to decide that they would literally give away millions of dollars of real estate for private business,” said Lynn. “What we are going to leave is for our grandchildren or our great grandchildren if they build a waterslide there.”
Martin said the issue of the waterslide has grown to larger concerns over how council is taking care of the city’s assets.
“Some people speculate we have a rogue mayor and council and they have an agenda.”
Lynn Kelsey advised the crowd to keep writing the letters and expressing what they feel in their hearts
“Say what you think, and passion really counts,” said Kelsey.
A regular council attendee, Kelsey is concerned councillors make up their minds too quickly.
“You need to speak for your grandchildren.”