Put the Skaha Park issue to rest with a referendum

I attended the rally against development of Skaha Park and was amazed at the turnout. There really are some very passionate people in this city.

Both sides were present, with the “No” side being much more prevalent. From what I witnessed, the “No” side greatly outweighed the “Yes” side by about 40 to one. Mayor Jakubeit claims there is overwhelming support from the “silent majority.” Where were all the silent majority at the rally last night?

Mayor and council, you have no choice now but to listen to us, especially when there is a rumour that Mayor Jakubeit was overheard making a comment to the effect that council is pushing this through anyways. What a great attitude. Screw the people who hired you.

My mother (rest her soul) had a term for people like this. She would call them a “Pompous ass.” Mayor and council seem to forget they are supposed to represent the interests of the people of this city, not their own interests. Maybe frequent letters to the editor writer Elvena Slump could do some research to see if there is a way to impeach municipal politicians.

The mere fact that there is such overwhelming opposition to this plan coupled with the fact that mayor and council continue to be adamant about pushing this through gets my suspicious nature going and makes me wonder if maybe there isn’t something a little shady going on behind the scenes. Sorry, I’m funny that way.

Former Mayor Jake Kimberley said it best when he said “$30,000 can decide the outcome of this, and we can stop being a divided community.”

I have no problem having my tax dollars spent in this fashion when it comes to such an important issue. Let’s have a referendum and put this baby to rest once and for all. And this time, have more than one voting station, please.

Mark Billesberger




Details released for Skaha Marina plans

Andrew Bayston, operations manager of Trio Marine Group, stands in the 90-seat restaurant part of the new additions to the Skaha Marina.

Andrew Bayston, operations manager of Trio Marine Group, stands in the 90-seat restaurant part of the new additions to the Skaha Marina.

Developers who are looking to bring a massive upgrade to the Skaha Lake Marina want to assure Penticton that public amenities won’t be compromised.

“The true work of what we’re doing is enhancing this waterfront and area; taking it from an industrial point of view to full recreation,” said Andrew Bayston, operations manager of Trio Marine Group.

Last month, the company proposed to city council a substantial waterfront development – they plan to build a modern marina; replace and expand the docks, construct a new dragon boat clubhouse; relocate and enlarge the splash pad water park; and on the top of most minds – a new waterpark.

“It was well-received,” he said. “Everyone was ecstatic about the presentation we did.”

Waterslides were once synonymous with Penticton, Bayston said, as the city was home to two water slide attractions over the past 20 years.

In the second of two phases, the proposed project will include four large waterslides, attractions for small children and other amenities to cover 10,200 square metres. Bayston said the slides and features are geared to cater to the common demographics of Penticton’s residents and visitors. Depending on the success of the operation, he said there’s a possibility of adding more attractions to the water park.

To make it all fit, the nearby splash pad at Skaha Lake Park will have to be relocated to another part of the park. The time of its move and the new location are still tentative, but the waterpark will be relocated during the off season, made bigger and ready to run for the start of the following summer season.

The team has already upgraded the existing 86-slip dock. They’re planning to completely replace the docks and offer an additional  30-or-so slips, but to avoid spoiling the summer boating season, that project will commence and finish during the 2015-2016 offseason.

While the approval process is still underway, the Trio Marine Group was given permission by the city to start operating the marina at the beginning of 2015. In demonstrating their stewardship as developers, Trio has already begun renovating the existing marina space into a 90-seat restaurant in addition to repairs made to sections of the docks.

“It’s kind of like we’re putting a Band-Aid on the project before we take full charge.”

The new restaurant will be called Slips, and will be working with Burger 55 this year, creating a menu offering a taste of the popular restaurant.

“But we’ll have a lot more than just hamburgers,” he said, mentioning a variety of dishes and a liquor license.

The Slips will be easy to access by any mode of transportation – in addition to the parking lot for automobiles, there will be three first-come-first-serve boat slips, and the restaurant is situated right in front of the waterfront walkway, which offers the public free movement from one end the property to the other (except late at night when only slip holders will have access). Seating at Slips gives diners a panoramic view of the waterfront, and also offers beachgoers to order lunch through their pickup window.

But the brand new restaurant in a (soon-to-be) refurbished building will likely only spend one season in operation before Trio Marine Group tears down the old building to make room for the new. The new marina will feature an upscale casual restaurant and a retail outlet. Bayston said cater to the wants and needs of both slip holders and beachgoers.

The marina this year will is also bringing in new boats to their rental fleet this summer, which will include four jet skis, two pontoons and a runabout. By the start next season, the docks will be brand new, and grow by around 30 slips. Bayston said there’s a large enough boating demand to expand further, but the design is limited by space.

“We’re going to have a waterpark that is close to the marina, beach, and park – it’s a one-stop shop.”

Marina lease holders will announce plans early-2015

Trio Marine, the new lease holders for the Skaha Marina, are trying to get in touch with current slip holders as they prepare to take over.

“We’re trying to get everything organized and go at the end of the year,” said Rob Campbell, spokesman for Trio, adding that their lease takes effect Jan. 1. “We will be in there right away to start cleaning up.”

One of the main goals, though, is to prepare a list of current slip holders who want to continue.

“We don’t know who they are. We are not getting much assistance in that regard,” said Campbell.

“It is making it a little bit difficult for us. We don’t want to have any bad feelings with the current people that have been in there for years, we are just trying to find them,” he said. “If they have been in there for a number of years, we want them to have the first opportunity to retain their slip.”

Trio does hope to expand the number of slips available, but that won’t happen in the 2015 season.

Trio is planning a major redevelopment of the marina site, but Campbell still isn’t willing to say what shape that will take.

“Early in the new year, when a couple of things are settled, then we will be going out for complete public announcements with all the information pertaining to what is going to happen down there,” he said, adding that Trio’s silence on plans is at the request of the City of Penticton.

“We had to sign an agreement with the city and they just want to make sure that when this process rolls out it is done the right way with the least amount of backlash,” said Campbell.

There will be some changes in 2015, possibly including a small restaurant with a lakeside patio, which will be placed in front and beside the existing retail building.

“That is the tentative plan,” said Campbell. “We’re still working through that with the city right now.”

Campbell also said boaters can expect some safety upgrades to the existing docks as well as some aesthetic upgrades to the building and grounds. Other changes to the operation will be minimal. The Marina will continue to operate and provide slip rentals, fuel sales, boat rentals, water sport recreational rentals and sales with additional retail space.

“We are working with another group to provide things like all of the lake or water sport retail, that would be things like stand-up paddleboards and kayaks and beach clothing, any of that kind of stuff,” he said. “There will also be, as part of the fuel sales, things related to boats: fenders and lifejackets, oil and batteries, that type of basic stuff.”

Questions remain about future of Skaha Lake Marina

Mark Attrill of Penticton Yamaha and Marine Ltd. at dockside of the business he has operated on Skaha Lake.

Mark Attrill of Penticton Yamaha and Marine Ltd. at dockside of the business he has operated on Skaha Lake.

Penticton City Council’s promised announcement about the future of the Skaha Lake marina area Tuesday still leaves many questions unanswered.

During an in camera meeting Tuesday afternoon, council approved Trio Marine Group as the new leaseholders of the area, replacing Penticton Yamaha and Marine, owned by Mark and Matt Attrill.

The nearby splash park will not be affected, and the boat launch and marina will continue operating, but answers about the future development of the area will have to wait until negotiations with Trio are complete, according to Mayor Garry Litke.

“We are just doing our due diligence at the moment,” he said. “There is not much more that we can say.”

The new $33,000 lease is only for a one-year term, starting Jan. 1, 2015. Mitch Moroziuk, director of operations, describes it as an interim lease.

“The terms and conditions … are the same as have been in place with the previous operator. Over the one-year period, Trio intends to address the following: boat storage, boat rental, slip rental, fuelling, lake sports related retail,” said Moroziuk, listing similar services to what Penticton Yamaha and Marine currently provides.

Moroziuk said Trio may also be looking at other improvements to improve the experience for those using the marina, but refused to elaborate on rumours of significant developments, which include a waterslide, restaurant and possible commercial developments in the Skaha Lake Park area.

“This process is still in negotiation. That has not concluded, so we are not in a position to do that right now,” said Moroziuk.

The city has been negotiating with Trio Marine since Nov. 2013 after receiving four responses to their May 2013 expression of interest request. The Attrills’ proposal, said Moroziuk, failed to make the cut and two companies were asked to submit proposals, but Trio Marine was the only proponent to follow through.

Mark Attrill said losing the lease didn’t come as a surprise, but council’s announcement of a one-year interim replacement did. He expected to hear about a longer lease and a larger project.

“I have been told it was a 30-year term,” he said, noting that the original EOI request specified special consideration may be given to intensive redevelopment of the site as a restaurant/hotel complex.

“It was for a long term, they were looking for someone to come in and put in big dollars,” said Atrill. “How could anyone invest what we have for one year?”


Skaha Marina malaise

Like many people I have some concerns with what is going on at the Skaha Lake Marina.

What happens there concerns me directly because I have been renting a berth there for years. I and most others agree that it is more than time to renovate and upgrade the marina. When they speak of new, large attractions such as waterslides it makes me wonder where they will find the space.

Boat beach is barely adequate for all the people that want to use it and the same is true about the parking there.

I remember the old waterslides fondly and although I would love to have new ones in town I remember how much space the slides and parking required. I believe that if you paved everything from the turtle pond to the green space behind the marina buildings it still would not be enough. Also, without the green spaces it would be as unattractive as the fair that is held in the mall parking lot.

Another item that I have heard bandied about is that there may be a round-about (traffic circle) used to organize people going in and out of the boat launch. That is such an obvious failure waiting to happen that I cannot believe that even our council would consider it.

There is also talk about a restaurant and a beach store. Done right that could be an asset. I repeat, done right.

Finally the docks themselves’ would be upgraded and the marina enclosure will be cleaned up.

Everyone wants that but every offer to the city included this as I understand it. The most important things to be done at the marina location all should be hinged on boating. These include launching, docking, servicing, rentals, seasonal storage and so on.

Restaurants, boutiques and tourist attractions can be accommodated at other locations.

Now we come to the final, and perhaps most important point. If the city actually has an approved plan of what will be undertaken on that spot, then why are they withholding it from the voters and taxpayers of the city?

If on the other hand they do not have plans that show in detail what will be undertaken, what the cost of this undertaking is and proof that the company has the wherewithal to meet these costs, then why is the city giving this company the lease?

I am sorry to say that it sounds like we are being offered a pig in a poke.

Would it not be more businesslike and prudent to have a new company submit their complete plans and proof of financing before we send away the people that have been successfully running the marina for years?

Would that not help to ensure continuity of service and protect the best interest of the people of Penticton?

Kevin Noonan