LETTER: Maybe it is time for a change in Penticton

The people of Penticton should have the right to say what kind of town they want to have.

Councillors Sayeed and Konanz, and some others from City Hall, you came to the gathering last Friday at Skaha Park and you saw hundreds of people gathered there and heard several speak.

Most of us were there because we object to leasing and changing any of our beloved Skaha Park. The event was typical of several other of the large gatherings and hundreds of protest letters in our newspapers this past year over this matter.

Was it obvious that people are not ready to simply accept that the mayor and council could bypass a very important bylaw which states that “disposition of public park land must seek the approval of the electorate?”

Was it obvious to you that the people of this town are not ready for the kind of change to our park(s) that is envisioned by the Dream Team, or the Master Parks Planners?

Many many dreams, tax dollars, donations, time and effort have gone into making and preserving the park, perfect as it is.

Perhaps some day Penticton people will be ready for the change. I feel sad to think someday this beautiful, refreshing Skaha Park, as we have it now, with beach and green grass and trees, free and accessible for all to enjoy,  would then become a place with busy, noisy commercial pay-to-enter activities, more concrete and less greenery, with reduced public access,  and with condos or hotel, available only for private users.

Perhaps Penticton is ready for that change now? Then it should be ascertained the fair way, by a referendum. The people of Penticton should have the right to say what kind of town they want to have. We still live in a democracy don’t we?

P.S., and this is not just the sentiment of old people who are going to die soon, many appreciative and enlightened younger people, as well as city planners, realize the value of preserving passive parkland, and democracy.

Hannah Hyland