It’s a question the answer to which Pentictonites will probably never know.
Who signed off on the extra-large tiles for the community centre pool that must now be replaced because they are too slippery?
Taxpayers are footing the $150,000 bill for replacement tiles around the pool, but according to Mayor Garry Litke, it’s not known how the wrong tiles were chosen when the pool was renovated only three years ago. In the grand scheme of things, it might seem like a small question, but it points to larger problems with city hall, both staff and council.
When it comes to a major project like the $28-million pool renovation, no one expects city councillors to be design and construction experts. That is why professionals like architects, designers and contractors are hired. It’s also a function of city staff. While they aren’t experts either, it is part of their function to review and advise council.
This system, from contractor through staff to council, is designed to provide a series of checks and balances to avoid this kind of situation.
Regardless of the system, mistakes will happen. But over the last few years, several problems have arisen that indicate council is getting bad advice or is ignoring good advice when making its decisions: the Eckhardt hockey dorm fraud, along with the ensuing lawsuits and the dispute with the Penticton Hospitality Association that resulted in the city going to court against the city’s leading businesses and employers are just a couple of examples besides this latest debacle.
Decision-making at city hall needs to be taken out of in camera meetings, so the people of Penticton can better understand why the checks and balances aren’t working and they are having to pay extra many for council’s ill-advised moves.