The possibility of a Skaha Lake waterfront development should leave residents with many questions.
Penticton Yamaha & Marine, located on the east end of the lake, said their lease with the city was not renewed and that a restaurant and other amenities may be replacing it. Little information has become public. The mayor said perhaps next week they can comment on it after a closed-door meeting. Hopefully at that point residents will be able to get a feeling for the development plan. The land includes the full parking lot near the boat launch, a park and picnic area up to but not including the paddling club and water park.
In the heat of summer, the parking lot is full with boat trailers as is the adjacent area. This leaves questions as to where those vehicles will go. Will there still be a boat launch? If not, that leaves nowhere in Penticton boundaries to access that lake. Not to mention it could leave groups like the dragon boat racers in a lurch.
If a business is coming to redevelop the area will they be getting the benefits of economic incentives? These can eliminate building permit fees and property taxes for up to five years. According to the city website, incentives are applicable to the area along Okanagan Lake waterfront. There is no mention of Skaha.
There are lots of questions to be asked of city council who, in 2011, adopted the vision statement that Penticton is an innovative, adventurous, waterfront city that focuses on sustainability, community and economic opportunity. If a restaurant and water park are being planned for that area, council may have decided that this fits better into their vision statement.
The west end of Skaha Lake Beach is starting to move with development from the Penticton Indian Band and investors. Could a project on the east side complement it? Penticton is in desperate need of more high-end hotel space.
With so many questions being floated, it sounds like this piece of land could have the potential to become an election issue.