Penticton Western News letters to the editor.

Letter: Commerce and park space don’t mix

City hall continues to see the park as ‘underutilized,’ a term which belies their misunderstanding

Our recent city elections brought a team of business people to the table, who have a perspective that a city should be run like a business.

We thus can expect even more fervor of excited grooming of the paths to commercial opportunity: democracy has legitimately spoken. Penticton City Hall shows to be driven by a commercial zeal, fostering the ever-expanding zoning, bylaw and building permit frenzy. We are indeed experiencing a boom in what is politely referred to as development.

Alarmingly, the recent news about Skaha Lake Marina must give caution to the optimism spawned when the park was freed from the grasp of Trio this year. We now hear that the commercial aspect of our Skaha Lake Marina will include, among other things, boat slip expansion, liquor sales and a long-term lease agreement with our provincial government to facilitate such plans.

However, city hall, including our council and staff, still don’t see that commerce and park don’t mix. City hall continues to see the park as ‘underutilized,’ a term which belies their misunderstanding. The benefits which are freely available to all of us in our Skaha Lake Park are not to be measured in money. If we have to make a profit at every turn, then our lives certainly are governed by a much too narrow and mean measure, indeed.

Obviously, the park planning so diligently pursued these past couple of years has missed the mark. The loopholes in the plan are gaping wounds, threatening to allow a pursuit of profit folly at the expense of our greater needs. We must preserve some small vestige within which to experience the pursuit of a quiet walk, a few breaths of fresh air and perhaps a picnic or two within the embrace of trees, our lake and ourselves.

Barry Salaberry

Penticton

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