City seeing improvement

Penticton should do more to create accommodation for tourists with modest incomes

It is nice to see City Hall making an effort to improve city parks. The seeding and planting of new trees at Skaha park will be a great asset to locals, tourists and the image of Penticton.

Parks are image makers. The SS Sicamous is also a huge image maker, and in tourist season it is hard not to see a multitude of cameras at work. I believe more funds should be invested to preserve this historical landmark of Penticton.

Rapidly disappearing landmarks are the campgrounds, (waterpark gone) and old motels that made Penticton a fun, affordable place to visit. Past administrations tried to make Penticton a place for the rich and famous and did zero to preserve tourism for lower/modest-income families. In recession times this narrows the industry to the wealthier of tourists. How many working families can afford $200-$400 a night for a motel in the summer?

While campgrounds are not huge in revenue, it opens tourism to those who normally cannot afford to come here and brings spin-off into restaurants, souvenirs, etc., not to mention big on Penticton’s image — the same image that attracts small business.

There should be more campgrounds/affordable accommodation, not less. Many small cities have municipal family campgrounds. Does the city have land available for this? Can we not bring more provincial campgrounds to the area? Even Pyramid day-use park between Penticton and Summerland could be used as a “tent-only” campground using the existing parking area. Should some of the last existing RV parks, campgrounds and 1950s motels not have zoning freezes and be given historical recognition and tax breaks to make them sustainable, rather than torn down with another condo or strip mall in its place? Could the city not give tax breaks to investors putting in seasonal tourist/recreation attractions like water parks, etc.? Tourism is most successful when it caters to all income and age groups.

Downtown revitalization is next. Problem with downtown shopping is free parking. In the daytime, it is almost impossible to find Main Street parking. In the shopping core of downtown, there should be free two-hour parking with a decent grace period. No one likes parking meters and many will just drive to Wal-Mart or the mall just to avoid them. I am guilty of this myself. Yanking the meters is the best start to improving downtown shopping.

After a rough start on the Eckhardt property, I think the mayor and council may prove to be worthy of being elected. Keep it rolling.

Cliff Martin