LETTERS: Penticton mayor weighs in on hotel development

Until we actually have options to consider, it’s unproductive to speculate or guess on what’s next.

There have been a few letters discussing the topic of hotel development in Penticton. In light of the tone of some coming in, it might be beneficial to put this rampant speculation in check.

Some letter authors have discussed “ethics” of the city. It’s important to note the City of Penticton is bound by the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act — provincial legislation that requires us to be a transparent organization while also ensuring certain things are protected. Those protections include Sec. 21(a) — “Disclosure harmful to business interests of a third party,” particularly if it was supplied in confidence. When any business comes to the city we keep their conversations and inquiries confidential, and we have to treat each business and taxpayer fairly.

We recognize that the owner of the Lakeside Resort is a good corporate neighbour who contributes greatly to the community. This is why, out of courtesy and respect, Mr. Prystay was contacted in advance of the rezoning application to make sure he was aware of the situation before it was public and he read it in the newspaper. He is, rightly so, protecting his own business interests. Council, however, must look out for the taxpayers who subsidize the convention center and economic development for the entire community.

At the end of the day, this matter was not about any potential developer or tenant, but an identified community need. Tourism stakeholders — the ones who are booking room nights and hearing directly from visitors — have told us loudly and clearly that premium hotel rooms are needed to expand opportunities for Penticton. It is as simple as that.

People are jumping into the fray on a supposed frenzy when there’s nothing concrete to talk about. Until we actually have  options to consider, it’s unproductive to speculate or guess on what’s next.  We are committed to respectful dealings with the business community members — those who operate presently and those considering future opportunities.

Andrew Jakubeit

Mayor, City of Penticton