Today we, the people of Penticton, will once again have a chance to voice our views on the future of Skaha Lake Park.
Only this time, council will be listening. Nearly a year-and-a-half after this saga began with a sham public hearing on June 29, 2015, the power of public opinion has finally forced our council to revise their plans, and to sit up and listen.
But is the new settlement agreement really a significant change in plans or just a new dress on the same old wolf? Council has announced it will “listen to citizen comment regarding the proposed marina and waterpark development at a special council meeting.
The city will then identify a park concept that in the city’s discretion best balances the interests of revitalization of Skaha Park and the expressed desires and concerns of the citizens.” (emphasis added).
Who says this perfect natural park needs to be revitalized?
This term is usually used to describe the rescue of a decaying downtown core. That we can understand. But how do you rescue nature?
It appears that our council still doesn’t get it: Skaha Lake Park is not for sale! It’s not just about a waterslide, it’s about commercial development of public greenspace. Once again, our voices must be heard.
This new agreement would have our council enter a 29-year contractual relationship with Trio to enhance the marina. This is not an issue for us. But knowing this developer covets Skaha Lake Park’s greenspace, what will come next?
The confidential termination agreement contemplates cancelling the proposed new agreement with Trio down the road. Given the uncertainty that has plagued this relationship to date and the developers known interest in commercial development of Skaha Park, why wait until further conflict arises? Why not choose cancellation of all ties with Trio now as the best, and ultimately the cheapest outcome among all the possibilities.
So, citizens of Penticton, now is your chance, once again, to let our council know just how determined we are to save Skaha Park from commercial development. Please come out to the Penticton Trade and Convention Center at 6 p.m. this evening and make your voice heard. Let’s find out if they are really listening this time.
It’s not over — yet.
Dr. Gerry Karr
Save Skaha Park Advisory Committee