LETTER: Penticton’s jewel and five-star beach

I want to thank the Save Skaha Park Society, Mr. Meikle and thousands of taxpayers for their diligence and persistence.

First, as a taxpayer, I want to thank the Save Skaha Park Society, Mr. Meikle and thousands of taxpayers for their diligence and persistence to stop this mayor and council from selling off our assets, piece by piece.

The attraction to small towns is their uniqueness. Nature gives that to us — two gorgeous beaches within our city limits, one north and one south, within four miles of each other, clean water and clean air.  It’s all free – natures gift. A wine and agriculture landscape, a tourist industry and let’s not forget, the retirement industry which brings in millions from the federal government and is a generator for good paying jobs for the medical systems which service this group.

The mayor and council accepted our votes to look after our assets and treasures. One of our treasures, being Skaha Lake Park and Beach, described by Chatelaine as a jewel and many other travel agencies rated it as five -star, a place you must visit.  Why are this mayor and council trying to downgrade this  five-star and this jewel which is a huge draw for tourists and our own citizens, the owners of this property?

The mayor has stated, “It’s been decades since there has been a review of the usage of these valuable spaces.” But, no, the year 2002 was the last time in which our lake parks and others were reviewed. The consensus, by eight to one vote, was our waterfront parks should be open and free.  Leasing to commercial ventures will not make them open. Parking meters will not make them free.

The mayor and council selected a Recreation and Parks Committee to study and report their consensus on parks. This committee is wasting their time because no decisions can be made until the court cases have been concluded. This mayor and council is forming committees, bringing outside advisors in to do anything possible to get a decision to take them off the hook or to justify a disastrous judgment when a referendum is necessary.

The mayor and council have even ignored this committee when they suggested parking meters at the waterfront parks. Surely, that should have been on the report of the Recreation and Parks Committee.

Let’s be very aware that we’ve already lost one of our largest parks, Queen’s Park. It is now covered in concrete and with facilities all owned by the city which we have voted for in the past. However, we have never replaced the lost acreage.

Peter Osborne

Penticton