City’s retail sector is being stretched thin

This is an open letter to Penticton council.

We write to voice our concern and opposition to the proposed amendments to rezone the existing resort property at the former waterslide site to C2 – Shopping Centre.

Over the past decade or so, additional retail/ commercial development has been supported at the Canadian Tire site, Lordco auto parts site, the new Riverside Plaza at the northwest entrance to the city, the entire south side of the West Duncan Avenue extension and most recently the West Castle Glass site as rezoned to accommodate Value Village.

The majority of this acreage was rezoned from the city’s scant industrial lands. The proposed Channel Crossing shopping centre, while beyond the jurisdiction of the city, will further dilute the retail concentration in our community. Substantive commercial development works best for everyone when it is done in reasonable concentration. We are in real danger of mutating our community to rival the soulless and sprawling retail development of West Kelowna.

Penticton has an oversupply of retail/ commercial space throughout the community. There are vacancies across the spectrum of existing development. The downtown core has many unaddressed opportunities for property assembly and retail expansion. The Three Gables site is now in its second decade as an unaddressed opportunity. The spirit of the OCP, the public interest and existing businesses are all best served in not supporting the proposed amendments.

We support the residential component of the proposed amendments. We also support the city’s vision as expressed in the recent Official Community Plan for “additional small shops” in “Skaha Village” as one of the five identified “urban villages”.

Gary Leaman, general manager

Cherry Lane shopping centre