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City fails to learn from mistakes

Penticton council fumbles with decision to allow work to begin before land sale is finalized

Penticton council needs to take a refresher course in Nursery Rhymes 101, it seems. You know the ones that most of us had pounded into us until they were a part of us so that our parents might show friends, relatives and others how sharp we were at an early age. The one particular nursery rhyme of reference would be Simple Simon. You know, the one where showing of the penny before tasting the wares is quoted.

It seems that the trite expression: “Fool me once; shame on you, fool me twice shame on me,” apparently didn’t sink in. One only has to reflect on the illustrious water slide development fiasco to see this. It seems funny that old trite expressions come to the fore with reference to some city council decisions as of late. I refer to ones such as: “It’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks.” I might offer this corollary to that: “Before an old dog can learn new tricks, he should master the old ones.”

One might argue that this is different. But is it? Visualize the scenario that I am about to describe. Advance notice is given to Penticton that a famous world-class chef is coming to Penticton to prepare a dinner for a celebration in Penticton. The council has promoted this to the nth degree. The menu (a chef’s specialty) is advertised as the bill of fare. All the ducks appear to be in a row. The excitement grows. The day of the dinner comes and all patrons are served a stylish form of Kraft Dinner. What does the city do: cry foul; make excuses for it or ignore it altogether and say “Oh well!” I won’t insult your intelligence with the answer to that one.

The city dropped the ball on this one. Good faith alone doesn’t seem to cut it in business dealings. It seems that the chef, so to speak, sort of prepared the meal and ended up with egg on its face. Deja vu or what. How much more “fumble football” are we, the taxpayers, supposed to endure?

With all of the hoopla over this development from day one, I am wondering how it is that eight or nine properties were purchased to acquire the land. The then-premise, as we have been led to believe, was that there would be no high-density, highrise construction on said land. Evidently, some of the other developers in the area had submitted ideas for redevelopment of the property, but their requests were turned down for zoning reasons. How is it that the city, in all of its wisdom, was able to offer this same area to someone else with a “would-be preferred rezoning plan” in place? We still don’t know and probably never will. In the interim, we have a beautifully excavated with partial foundation monolith to see as we pass. One that has not been paid for.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t care to dine on stylish Kraft Dinner anymore.

Ron Barillaro