Make Penticton memorable
I wonder if we are snatching defeat from the jaws of victory with the watered down north green concept.
We have a chance to create something truly memorable but instead opted for mediocrity.
At the last TEDxPenticton, Christof Appel gave a great talk on Being Memorable (to watch it go to tedxpenticton.ca). A big part of making Penticton “vibrant” is to make it memorable so folks will want to come back.
Christof suggests the keys to being memorable are 1) something must have aesthetic or intellectual appeal (the wow factor) as well as 2) have a strong emotional reaction (good or bad). Think of losing one’s virginity, 9/11, JFK assassination, birth of a child, Lady Di : they all have a strong sense of uniqueness to them, the wow, followed by a strong emotional reaction. For these reasons we will always remember these events and where we were when they occurred.
The Gyro Park and War Memorial Park are in the heart of our city. Main Street should be truncated just past City Hall with access to the City Hall parking lot to the west and court house parking lot to the east. This creates a wonderful, people friendly space with no cars. It is a blank canvas which allows us to create an amazing wow space that residents and visitors alike will fall in love with; two key factors for making Penticton memorable.
Think of what makes wonderful urban experiences. A large gazebo with lots of benches inviting folks to relax. A portion of the roadbed could be converted into a skating rink in the winter and roller rink in summer. We could have a solar powered carousel. At lunch and in the evenings a portion of the area could see food trucks plying their trade and diners eating au plein aire. Entrepreneurs’ could rent out bicycles, Segways and other things.
Other business ideas are the Saturday markets but during the summer there might be an area for a daily market to service the downtown residents with fresh produce every day. Artists could sell their art, there could be a speaker’s corner for sharing ideas, Ping Pong tables, bocce pits, Frisbee golf; the list goes on.
It becomes a fun, people place.
The current plan to allow cars to divide these two parks is sadly predictable. Cars take precedence over people in our community as we see with the lip service granted cycling commuters. The north green plan is a yawner and proves we talk a good game about being “vibrant” but once again, come up short on vision.
Punt the road and invest in some infrastructure and suddenly you have something special.
City of Penticton services
I have a medium sized construction and engineering business that I started from scratch in 1995.
As a result of my business and career, I have had extensive dealings with the City of Penticton (COP). I also sit on the development services committee and have done so for at least the last 15 years. Whether it was securing a development or building permit or a variance to a subdivision application, I know first-hand what it is like to deal with the COP.
I have witnessed dozens of people come and go at the COP. It finally seems that we have a core group of experienced people working at city hall and yard.
I can say with certainty that city hall including city council runs in the most efficient manner that I have ever witnessed since I moved here to Penticton in 1989. City staff are pleasant and professional in their dealings with the public. Turnaround times on building permits are reasonable and at an all-time low. The city is open for business. This cooperative or new attitude over the last few years is a result of direction from senior management and city council at the COP.
I say all this, as I see a lot of negative news directed at senior management at the COP.
Yes, everyone makes mistakes and if we had perfect hindsight we would not make any mistakes. But this is impossible. We make the best decisions we can and base it on the best information that we have available.
When I look at all of the recent decisions and recommendations made by senior COP staff, I see some positive ones. Examples include: full core review in 2010 with recommendations acted on, three years with zero tax increases, numerous collective agreements negotiated, downtown revitalization, economic incentives, etc. These are good sound decisions which directly impact all our citizens and businesses.
I see attention directed at the city’s CAO salary. The negative criticism seems to suggest that the salary is too high. The City of Penticton is a business and one that is difficult to run. I think we are lucky to have such a professional and competent person in this role.
The salary earned in this position is completely in line with industry standards.
Thanks for taking the time
I recently lost my driver’s licence while I was at the farmer’s market. I didn’t discover the loss until after the market was closed and the street returned to normal traffic.
Although I did go back and check, it was hopeless. Besides the loss of this important piece of identification, I could not drive for the weekend until the licence office opened on Monday. Fortunately, someone found it and went to the trouble of returning it to my house. Since I was not at home, I would now like to thank the person who was so kind. It is very heartwarming to know there are kind people who take the time, and I feel very fortunate to be living in the city of Penticton where these things happen.