Many times have I heard these words “we need more young families in the city,” or “we need jobs for young people” and “everything is for the seniors in Penticton.”
Do those who so often make these statements ever consider the number of young families who have found employment here caring for seniors? Working in retirement homes, in health care and at the hospital in mostly professional, well paying jobs?
The services and employment the senior population create a considerable amount of economic activity to the city and please don’t overlook how much the seniors themselves put back into our local economy. Many retired professionals come here with disposable income over and above their pensions, purchasing new cars etc. Yes, Penticton is very fortunate to have the employment and the additional economy that the retired seniors provide to the city. So let’s stop suggesting the senior population is turning young families away from wanting to live here, they encourage many young families to come here for employment.
Having therefore considered the seniors contribution to our local economy, I have a difficult time accepting the Chamber of Commerce statement, “that we need a waterslide to support our economy and encourage young families to move here.”
Don’t they realize the business their members derive from the senior population is so much, much more year round than a waterslide? I know the chamber has a responsibility to encourage new businesses, but I do take exception that a seasonal waterslide will be a great new business and is going to boost our local economy. Let’s consider what has been done for the young families. The biggest investment made by any council since the city’s incorporation was the South Okanagan Events Centre. Which was promoted as a project for future and younger generations and was to replace the Memorial Arena, which was constructed many years ago for just the same reasons.
The SOEC serves the younger population more so than the seniors and yet the seniors helped to pay for it. It also does more year round for the local economy and chamber members than any seasonal waterslide operation ever will. The SOEC also employs 45 full time, well paid employees, plus additional jobs for the events.
Persons working at waterslides and those using them two months of the year are not going to stimulate Penticton’s economy and bring in the tourists as being suggested by the chamber. I can’t imagine a family planning a vacation to Penticton just because we have a waterslide.
They come here because we are one of the only two cities in the world between two lakes, which I might add, I have never seen promoted in our tourist advertising.
Waterslides are certainly enjoyed by the younger generation and families that can afford them; public parks are enjoyed by the young and old for free.