Penticton council wants to involve us in consultations. Called Engage Penticton the purpose is to provide feedback and interaction with city residents.
In order to engage the citizens in Penticton in a trustful two-way relationship council needs to display some good faith and not the mockery we have seen so far.
We had a good method of public consultation with the long-standing committee program. One member of council sat on the committee and ordinary citizens studied projects and brought solutions and ideas in a report to council.
Previous mayor Dan Ashton appointed a fiscal review board to provide oversight on finances. In a fit of pique former mayor Garry Litke disbanded this committee when fiscal review wanted access to all financial matters at will instead of what the mayor gave them permission to review.
The public process was further degraded when council engaged with Trio and developed a plan to disembowel Skaha Park without what I consider any proper consultation with the public. The mayor should tell us exactly how much consultation he and council did with the Parks and Recreation committee before signing this document. Show us a copy of the meetings on the subject held by that committee which proves they studied this.
The mayor tells us we are in desperate financial straits yet he did not reinstate the Fiscal Review Committee when he took the reins. Instead the first action taken by this new council was a raise in pay and ground-breaking gold-plated dental and medical benefits.
City council’s most definitive action was to break faith with the people of Penticton by refusing to have a referendum on Skaha Park despite hundreds of people rallying at City Hall. Signing the Trio deal on the very day a protest rally was held at City Hall was spiteful; arrogant and showed an inability to listen to the people they were elected to serve.
Mayor and council broke trust with the public. It could have been fixed: council could have denied a time extension to Trio.
It could have been fixed by having a referendum. It could have been fixed by being open and transparent.
Council needs to take remedial action and show good faith. It doesn’t work otherwise.