LETTER: Free access to Penticton parks

This mayor and council are totally out of touch with Penticton’s citizens.

This mayor and council are totally out of touch with Penticton’s citizens.

Are they actually considering placing metered parking along our public lakes and parks? Public places that we already pay for with our (high) tax dollars to maintain? These are public spaces that should always and forever have free access for all to enjoy. The only people who could afford to do this, are all those folks at city hall who make salaries over $75,000 a year, as listed in this paper last week.

Many citizens in Penticton are on fixed or low incomes while city hall has raised our taxes 5.5 per cent this year alone. Our Fortis bills have gone up 3.5 per cent. So, I ask those of us affected by these increases to stand up to city hall and ask them to back off on placing a further cost for living in Penticton and enjoying our public spaces. I would even suggest a few of us good citizens protest in front of city hall with our placards demanding they reverse their stance on this issue. Do let this slide and leave it for the new mayor and council to deal with, if the current council persists in going forward with this, this will become an election issue just as the debacle that is the privatization of Skaha Park.

Many of our citizen’s and retired folk and youth, simply cannot afford to pay to go for a daily walk along the beach, picnic, swim or play in these areas if we are expected to park and pay each time we visit our own backyard. Does city hall not remember a few years back when the provincial government tried to implement paid parking in provincial parks? No one went, the parking lots were empty. They finally saw the error of their ways and reverted back to free parking and people went back to enjoying the parks and beaches, Sunoka comes to mind.

We are a town, barely a city of 33,000, our population has not doubled in over 40 years.  We are not Vancouver, Kelowna and Calgary. City hall needs to know that Penticton is unique and we need a unified vision for this town, one that no one at city hall seems capable of creating. You guys (city hall)  are too busy chasing the “out-of-town” dollar while ignoring those who live and work here year round, a place we call home.

No pay, free play! Do not let this slide, if you’re reading this and you have had it with the extra costs this mayor and council have burdened you with, say so. No pay, free play!

J. Nichols