Troubled waters in Penticton

Penticton reader says city council and/or staff have little regard for public process concerning Okanagan Lake.

In the city’s website about the Waterfront revitalization planning process, it states that the draft plan is to be made public in August and “The public will be invited to give feedback on the draft plan as well.”  So what gives down at the SS Sicamous?

Why were permits issued to run boating operations on both sides of the Sicamous before the waterfront plan was completed and approved?

Besides removing this popular swimming and walking area from public use, this action would seem to be a very clear end-run on the public process. Whatever were the city council and/or staff thinking or do they have so very little regard for the process and the citizens they represent or work for?

Aside from the above situation for people, these operations are directly affecting the wildlife, especially the waterfowl and their young that frequent that area of the lake and use the beaches as critical resting places. A friend of mine watched a female merganser a few days ago attempt without success to find a place to bring her brood of 12 young out of the water for a rest. Between this situation and the ill-conceived (because with unintended consequences for other birds) efforts on the Red Wing beach to dissuade geese from using them, the birds are rapidly being excluded from an important resting and feeding area.

I wrote a detailed letter in June to mayor and council on the negative effects that such operations would have on the critical bird habitat represented by the beach and lawn areas around the Sicamous and elsewhere along the waterfront. I have received no reply to my letter nor any acknowledgement that it was received.

In the face of these boat operations (plus the new one at the east end), it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that the city has no genuine interest in a) their much-vaunted public processes, b) the citizens of the city, and many of our visitors, and c) the wildlife with which we share (or should) the land and water.

I would be delighted if the above were shown not to be the case, but don’t hold out much hope that it will be.

Eva Durance

Penticton

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