Concerns remain about parks and rec master plan

 Save Skaha Park Society encourages residents to have their say on draft master plan

The reasons might vary, but if there is one thing the City of Penticton and the Save Skaha Park Society might agree on, it’s the need for residents to be involved in the process of creating a parks and recreation master plan.

The second draft of the plan is available online now, and the city has set May 1 for an open house on the plan.

The society, who, along with Penticton Citizen’s First, led a successful opposition to the city leasing a portion of Skaha Lake Park for a waterslide development, continues to have concerns with the approach to parks expressed in the draft master plan.

“From what we have seen thus far, we do not feel it will not provide the guidance our city needs in planning our parks for the next 10 years and beyond,” reads the release.

“Lack of trust is a fundamental barrier to real progress in maximizing the benefit of our parks to our quality of life and our environment. It is the elephant in the room and it needs to be dealt with openly.”

The SSPS suggest the master plan, which will be a guiding document for the city rather than policy, should include an amendment to the 2002 Parks Dedication Bylaw.

According to the society, the 2002 referendum question asked voters to agree (yes or no) to accept the bylaw dedicating 12 parcels of city-owned land as public park land.

“However, the bylaw that was adopted (93 per cent approval of the electors) included a clause that reads, in part, ‘Council may from time to time lease or license all or part of the public park land’,” reads the SSPS release. “We believe that the city relied on this clause to justify leasing 20 per cent of Skaha Park for commercial development without first obtaining approval of the electors.”

The SSPS said the master plan fails to address issues directly and make firm statements.

“The report uses deliberately ambiguous language, such as ‘inappropriate development’ rather than ‘commercial development,’ and ‘preferably unencumbered’ rather than just ‘unencumbered.’ This is misleading,” according to the society.

The SSPS, like the city, is encouraging concerned residents to attend the May 1 open house at the Trade and Convention Centre. The draft plan can also be reviewed, and feedback given, online at shapeyourcitypenticton.ca. In the week since the draft plan was released, only one comment has been made in the discussion forum.

The SSPS is also concerned the draft master plan, prepared by consultants from Urban Systems, diminishes the opposition against large scale commercial developments in parks, describing the community as divided regarding amusements in parks.

Instead, the society describes the opposition to commercial developments as “overwhelming” noting “several rallies attended by hundreds; petitions with over 8,000 signatures and letters to the editor (96 per cent opposed to commercialization).”

A July 2016 telephone survey by Urban Systems showed support for small food vendors and concessions, along with small merchandise vendors.

Comments collected during the survey show that when it comes to new commercial uses in parks, 26 per cent (50) of the 193 comments opposed the idea altogether, and another 21 per cent (41) opposed waterpark or waterslide developments. At the other end of the spectrum, only 18 comments were in favour of waterslides or waterparks, and another five responded that any new commercial uses were OK.

 


Save Skaha gives failing grade to new parks plan

The newest draft of the city’s Parks and Recreation Master Plan has failed to win the support of the Save Skaha Park advisory committee,

“From what we have seen thus far, we do not feel it will provide the guidance our city needs in planning our parks for the next 10 years and beyond,” spokeswoman Lisa Martin said in a press release Thursday.

Among the elements with which the committee takes issue is an apparent lack of any admission that “lack of trust is a fundamental barrier to real progress in maximizing the benefit of our parks to our quality of life and our environment,” and that the plan uses “deliberately ambiguous language, such as ‘inappropriate development’ rather than ‘commercial development.’”

The society, which was formed to oppose an ill-fated waterslides development in Skaha Lake Park, is encouraging residents to have their say on the plan at an open house May 1 at the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre.

Presentations on commercial uses of parkland are scheduled for 4:30-5:30 p.m. and 7-8 p.m., with a general overview on the plan set for 6-7 p.m.


EXCLUSIVE POLL: Just 17% support for Skaha Park waterslides

waterslide-approval

Opponents of a plan to build waterslides in Skaha Lake Park say they’ve been vindicated by a public opinion poll commissioned by The Herald that found just 17 per cent support for the project.

“That right there explains why (the city) didn’t have a referendum. Nobody wants the waterslides,” said Lisa Martin, spokeswoman for the Save Skaha Park Society, which now boasts 5,100 members and has filed a lawsuit to block the development.

“The other thing people need to keep in mind is that this is just one battle in the war, and the war is to develop Skaha Lake Park. The city is hell-bent on commercializing Skaha Park,” she continued.

According to the survey conducted earlier this month by Oraclepoll Research, 79 per of residents oppose the city’s plan to lease a portion of the park to Trio Marine Group for a commercial waterslide development. The other four per cent are unsure on the issue.

Mayor Andrew Jakubeit said in a statement a recent poll conducted as part of the Parks and Recreation Master Plan process found people nearly split on the idea of commercial development in parks, “so we knew that the community was divided on the question.”

But, “In terms of the waterpark at Skaha Park, I thought the level of support would have been higher.”

Jakubeit declined to state directly whether he believes the city still has a mandate to go forward with the lease.

“I believe the situation has become complicated and we’ve been trying to work with the developer to have them consider revising the scope, size or concept of their plans.

“I think the community concern for Skaha Park is so polarizing and so monopolizing of focus that other important issues that have larger impact to or for the community are being overshadowed and not receiving constructive input, attention or consideration by the public.”

Trio Marine Group didn’t respond to a request for comment Monday.

The company had until Oct. 1 to meet several conditions, such as proof of financing, for a separate lease of the Skaha Marina.

Trio did meet the deadline, but its submission has not yet been made public. Jakubeit said council “is committed to bringing closure or clarity to the entire status of Skaha Park and Trio Marine Group by the end of October.”

The Herald’s poll found support for the waterslides development decreased with age. It was highest at 24 per cent among those ages 18 to 34, and lowest at 12 per cent among those 65 and older. Those 35 to 50 were 22 per cent in favour, and those 51 to 64 registered 15 per cent support.

Eighteen per cent of supporters were males, just one point above females.

In terms of income, those whose families earn between $50,000 and $75,000 annually registered the highest level of support at 22 per cent, while those in the range of $75,000 to $100,000 showed the least at 16 per cent.

People whose families pull in less than $50,000 registered 20 per cent support, while those with incomes over $100,000 were 19 per cent in favour.

It’s no surprise to find the strongest support from young people who are more likely to have children and have the cash to take advantage of such an attraction, said Oraclepoll Research founder Paul Seccaspina.

He noted, however, that commercial developments in parks, particularly those near water, are virtual non-starters these days.

“It’s 2016: People want parks,” said Seccaspina.

“People want their water protected, people don’t want commercial development around water. So when you’re talking about putting in this kind of development, these numbers don’t surprise me.”

Toronto-based Oraclepoll Research, which has done work for the big three federal political parties and government agencies, was commissioned and paid solely by The Herald.

The poll is based on responses received Oct. 5-7 from 300 randomly selected city residents who were contacted on land lines and cell phones. The results are considered accurate to within 5.6 per cent, 19 times out of 20.


EXCLUSIVE POLL: Council approval rating just 21%

council-approval-rating

 

It’s not easy being a city councillor, according to the pollster who determined Penticton’s elected officials have a collective approval rating of just 21 per cent.

Results of the poll commissioned by The Herald show 71 per cent of voters disapprove of the job council is doing, while another eight per cent are unsure.

Support was highest among wealthy, male, middle-age voters, according to the survey conducted earlier this month by Oraclepoll Research.

Company founder Paul Seccaspina said councils typically poll poorly because they’re first in the line of fire when something goes wrong.

“It’s that level of government that really is closest to the voters, so (voters) tend to be more critical,” said Seccaspina.

“The street wasn’t plowed. Who do you blame? My water’s off. Who do you blame? There’s a pothole that blew my tire. Who do you blame? You tend to blame council.”

Penticton’s current council is at the midway point of its four-year term.

Excluding the mayor – whose approval rating will be revealed separately on Friday – the group is composed of two women and four men.

All of the men – Andre Martin, Max Picton, Tarik Sayeed and Campbell Watt – were elected for the first time in 2014.

The women, Judy Sentes and Helena Konanz, took office in 2008 and 2011, respectively.

Sentes wasn’t shocked by the group’s poor showing.

“Given there is a very organized group stating some dissatisfaction with the current council’s leadership, I am not surprised by the poll’s indication of a low percentage of approval,” she said in a statement.

“I had hoped for a better outcome as this council has achieved several positive outcomes which always seem to be overlooked in conversations of criticism.”

Sentes pledged to take the approval rating to heart as she goes about her political business.

“Councillors must gather as much information as possible on matters requiring our authority and so I will be cognizant of this poll’s information as I continue in the process of ongoing governance,” she said.

Council’s approval rating was highest at 29 per cent among those ages 35 to 50, followed by 26 per cent among those in the 18 to 34 range. It tapered off to 17 per cent among those ages 51 and over.

Men came up with an overall approval rate of 23 per cent, well up on females who checked in at a collective 19 per cent.

Wealthy people also tended to give a more favourable assessment of council.

Those whose families earn between $75,000 and $100,000 annually registered 29 per cent approval, followed by 25 per cent support from those making over $100,000.

The approval rating stood at 18 per cent among those earning under $50,000, and 17 per cent in the $50,000 to $75,000 range.

Toronto-based Oraclepoll Research, which has done work for federal political parties and government agencies, was commissioned and paid solely by The Herald.

The poll is based on responses received Oct. 5-7 from 300 randomly selected city residents who were contacted on land lines and cell phones. The results are considered accurate to within 5.6 per cent, 19 times out of 20.


Save Skaha signs up 720 new members at weekend rally

Heather Bryant lives near Skaha Lake Park and the highlight of her day is bringing her five-year-old there.

“We love running around in all this wide-open green space and watching the tourists and locals enjoying all of the space,” she said.

“It’s one of the few spaces of its kind left enjoyed by people from all ages and walks of life… and it’s free. To think they want to convert the area to accommodate a large, plastic monstrosity that won’t be operational at least eight months of the year.”

At issue is the proposed waterslide and miniature golf course for Skaha Lake Park, an issue which began about a year ago when Penticton city council approved a 29-year lease to Trio Marine to build and operate the commercial venture.

Wanting to do her part, Bryant is collecting $20 for lawn signs.

Organizers of the Save Skaha Park Society have set a lofty target of 10,000 members from Penticton. On Saturday they launched a membership blitz, complete with guest speakers and live entertainment, signing up 720 new members within four hours.

Lisa Martin of Save Skaha Park Society said they now have more than 2,150 members and will continue recruiting new ones at $2 each over the next several weeks.

It was the third official event organized by the Society (not counting two large rallies outside Penticton City Hall) and although numbers appeared thin by comparison to those earlier functions, the crowd Saturday trickled in and out over the four hours.

Anyone interested in joining the society may contact www.saveskahapark.ca.


Save Skaha Park Society drives for 10,000 members

by Steve Kidd:

The celebration may be a day late for Earth Day, but the Save Skaha Park society is hoping to make  the park a very busy place on April 23 for their own celebration in honour of the day.

“We have always been about keeping the green space at Skaha Park, so we thought it was a natural fit … make it all about why we want to save Skaha Park as it is, green and open and free.” said spokesperson Lisa Martin.

The event takes place around the Rotary Pavilion from noon to 3 p.m. on Saturday, with speakers, performers, walking tours and displays. There will also be free tree seedlings for the first 100 people that ask.

The poster from the event features a stunning image of the resident painted turtles courtesy of local photographer John Poon. While their aim isn’t only to protect their habitat, Martin said that is certainly part of the society’s agenda.

“We don’t want anything, any of the riparian landscape in that park to be affected, which it most definitely would be. Turtles, ducks, anything that lives down there by the stream,” said Martin.

The Saturday celebration has another purpose. It’s also the launch of the society’s drive to increase their membership to 10,000. Considering they currently have 1,400 members, that is a long way to go.

“It is very aggressive, but this is just the kickoff,” said Martin.  “We also have other events planned, we are going to be doing fan outs, we are going to be putting membership forms in local papers. We have a number of ideas for ways to get membership forms in people’s hands.

“We will have online registration through our website. We are making it as easy as possible.”

Martin said the reason for trying to reach 10,000 members is because of advice from their legal counsel. The society is backing a civil suit in B.C. Supreme court to block the 29-year lease on a portion of the park granted to Trio Marine Group by the City of Penticton. Trio’s original plans were to build a waterslide complex in the eastern corner of the park.

“Should we actually end up in court, it is good for us to have as many members in our society as possible,” said Martin. “Any judge that we go in front of will of course say that they really do have the support of the community.”

Martin said they have support beyond their 1,400 members. On ongoing petition has been signed by 5,207 residents and 3,182 non-residents.

“We know we have got it, we just need to have it in a tangible way,” said Martin. “We have put the invitation out to everybody. We want to get our members, we want to get brand new people and anybody who is interested in saving the earth, and in particular, saving Skaha Park.”

 


EDITORIAL: NIMBY prevalence

If you haven’t been accused of being a NIMBY, just be patient. Chance are you will be, sooner or later.

If you haven’t run across the term, NIMBY stands for Not In My Backyard.

There are few developments that happen in Penticton without meeting opposition from Nimby’s. Their presence is entirely predictable; whether it be a waterslide, condo tower, high rise, low rise, parking lot, duplex or any other development, there are always those who say ‘This is a great idea, but this isn’t the right spot for it.’

It’s so prevalent that various organizations, including the Province of B.C. and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities have published guides to help local governments deal with it. The FCM guide even lists common concerns (and how to respond) that might seem eerily familiar to anyone who has attended a public hearing at Penticton city council: Our property values will go down; more density will cause too much traffic/parking problems; services and infrastructure won’t handle the density; it will spoil the character of our neighbourhood.

This isn’t to say that Nimby’s aren’t sincere in their opposition and belief that their lives will be negatively affected by whatever they are opposing, but when it comes to development, it’s up to city council to determine which are the valid arguments and which can be set aside. That’s not an easy thing to do, and at times they get it wrong, as with the Save Skaha Park movement, which they initially disregarded, but which has shown through time, dedication and the ever-increasing size of their organization that their concerns go far beyond simple Nimbyism.

More times than not, NIMBY is at the root of opposition to development, but not always. Council needs to develop a conscious, flexible framework to identify true Nimbyism from complaints worth taking seriously — in the heat of the moment, politicians don’t have a good track record of making such distinctions.

 


Save Skaha Park Society – Message to our supporters

March 23, 2016

Almost 9 months have passed since the Skaha Lake Park waterslide proposal first raised its ugly head, and almost 6 months since we filed our Civil Claim in BC Supreme Court challenging the City’s authority to approve this agreement. What has been going on? Why haven’t we heard more? Why haven’t we been campaigning more aggressively? Does the delay harm us? Can we still win the battle to save Skaha Park? We will answer these questions. But we want to state up front that despite the long delay we have been busy in many ways, always focussed on winning; that our lawyer is confident we have a strong case; and that the SSP Advisory Group is more confident than ever that we can and will prevent the commercial development of Skaha Park.

The legal world operates differently for government affairs than it does for private sector. The process has been a learning experience for us.

BC Supreme Court rules state that the defendant named in a civil claim has 3 weeks to respond. Our lawyer, an expert in municipal law, has introduced us to a different reality. Civil claims against government bodies often take much longer, and this is tolerated by the courts, which are (understandably) reluctant to rule against elected bodies without being certain they have been clearly heard. Beyond the statement of claim, there are many steps to the claim process, including the defendant’s response to the claim, filing of documents for discovery, and finally, the trial. We assumed that this might take a while, but, like you, we expected there would be steady progress toward resolution.

The City has not yet filed its response. Our lawyer continues to reassure us that this is not a problem. There may be many reasons, none of which put us at a disadvantage. Meanwhile, the Advisory Group and several of our loyal volunteers have clocked hundreds of person-hours in the Penticton museum archives, where we have uncovered a wealth of locally available information that will support our case in discovery.

The path to success isn’t always linear or simple

Our primary goal is to prevent implementation of the waterpark agreement that was approved by the City in a blatantly undemocratic process. The civil claim was our only recourse at the time. The passage of time creates a changing reality for both the City and the developer. From this, alternative steps, not initially considered by the City or developer, may well emerge that could achieve our goal without compromise at significantly less cost to taxpayers and to our supporters. While we will remain open to such potential developments, we will not let up in pursuing and preparing for the possibility of discovery and a trial.

 

 

Time has always been on our side.

As long as the civil claim is before the Court, the waterpark agreement is stalled and the City operates under a cloud of public mistrust, resentment and even contempt. This cannot be a good thing for either the developer or the City. While we have no wish to delay a resolution to this dispute, if the City chooses to delay the process, we will be patient but ever resourceful and determined

Our position is strong

First, our legal case has a strong underpinning that defines the many ways in which the City has made a commitment to the developer that exceeds its authority or violates its own rules and bylaws. In support of this, our research has identified historical facts that strongly reinforce our claim. Second, the petition signed by over 5200 residents and 3200 non-residents makes it clear to the City that the movement to save Skaha Park from commercialization represents dominant public opinion. This fact clearly has not yet led them to re consider their role as public servants, but it certainly must give them cause to pause and reflect on their chances of getting re-elected. They must also be aware that a City that has lost the trust of its electors is not an attractive place to invest. Surely, as this reality becomes apparent, it must motivate them to find an off ramp.

We need to show our strength: Strength in numbers.

Don’t let the relatively quiet time over winter months lead to false conclusions that we are weak or have lost motivation. One hugely disappointing challenge we faced in reaching out to our community was the refusals by all of the shopping malls to allow us to set up a booth to meet the public. This includes Cherry Lane, Walmart, Safeway and Superstore. Without these venues, it was very difficult to reach out to our public, and easy for observers to think we’re weak. We owe deep gratitude to David Prystay for allowing us to sell memberships at the Lakeside last November; we were inundated with supporters who happily joined us.

But now our most important objective must be to translate the huge support for saving Skaha Park that we know exists into paid memberships. The reason is simple, but extremely important: Petition signatures are one thing, but Society members are a much firmer indicator of our depth of support. And it is this measure of support that will both weigh heavily in a judicial decision, and also reinforce to our Council the hard reality they face.

We know the support is there. Members can join on line or by completing a membership form. Many of our supporters prefer the latter, and as well, the personal contact makes a big difference in catching attention. So, the Advisory Group has placed a top priority in organizing a membership blitz and in creating the events and other opportunities to make it happen. We now have 1354. Knowing how strongly our citizens feel about preserving Skaha Park, we are confident that a target of 10,000 SSPS members is both realistic and achievable.

 

 

 

Good Questions:

  • Why has the City taken so long to respond to our claim?

We can only speculate. Possibilities include: they think we will lose interest and fade away; they feel our claim is strong and are having trouble refuting it; there may be issues between the City and the developer of which we are unaware; the PIB demands for an environmental and archeological assessments may further complicate their options.

  • Why haven’t we pushed the Court to declare a default judgement?

The BC Supreme Court is always very cautious about overturning a municipal government decision because they were elected to make decisions and they will often be unpopular with a segment of the voters. If we appear aggressive and strident that could work against us. Besides, time really is on our hands. The longer the pall of civil action hangs over Council’s head the harder it will be for them to do business and to get re-elected.

  • Why haven’t we heard more from SSP leaders about what’s going on?

We have sent out periodic newsletters. But with the civil claim on hold while we await a response from the City, there is not much we can say that is newsworthy. But a big reason you haven’t heard more is that we have been denied access to all of our malls, greatly limiting our ability to meet the public during winter weather. We have some great plans for the spring. Stay tuned.

  • Is the developer still committed to the waterpark?

We don’t know the answer. Rumors abound that there have been significant changes at Trio, and we can only wait and see.

  • Is there any indication some Councillors are having second thoughts about the waterslides?

Not to our knowledge. Given the civil claim, we and they have been understandably cautious in initiating dialogue due to the risk of miscommunication.

  • Why didn’t the City terminate the agreement with Trio when they defaulted last October?

We don’t know all the reasons, but one reason was that the controversy is over the waterpark agreement, but it was the marina improvement agreement that faced a financing deadline, and none of us are opposed to the marina. Another factor could have been the surprise action by PIB to seek environmental and archeological assessment.

  • The City’s lawyer said the City’s response to our claim would be filed by the end of February and we are still waiting. What are you doing about it?

We are advised by our lawyer that this should not be an issue for us. As previously stated, time is our friend. Our goal is to see an end to the Skaha Park Waterpark agreement. That could occur by the court proceedings, but it could occur in other ways at less cost to all and as time passes, the likelihood of that happening increases.


The system of selecting City committee members is often flawed

Posted: Thursday, February 25, 2016 7:51 pm

JAMES MILLER |

Why do people seem  surprised that Dr. Gerry Karr was not chosen to be on the Parks and Recreation Master Plan committee? Selections to municipal committees have been stacked for years.

What is Karr’s background?

He’s a retired cardiologist. He’s been active with the Healthy Living Fair for years. For a man his age, he’s extremely fit. I often see him at City Centre going twice the speed on an exercise machine as someone half his age. He’s a Rotarian. He takes a keen interest in the city.

No, don’t want him. The problem is, the good doctor is also a vocal opponent to the Skaha Lake Park waterslide.

Enter Bruce Millington.

In a letter to the editor in today’s Herald, Millington revealed that he too was interested in that committee.

His credentials sound good — 34 years with Penticton’s Parks and Recreation department, previous experience as a facilities coordinator and a lifetime Pentictonite who also cares deeply about the city. He’s also an athletic guy who has played a lot of sports.

Although not as vocal as Dr. Karr, Millington too is opposed to the waterslide.

Get the hook.

Council’s actions are undemocratic according to the B.C. Civil Liberties Association. Their report went public this week.

I have never applied to be on a committee because frankly, I hate it. Although I’m a team player, I like to make my own decisions and I’m willing to wear it when the mistake is mine.

In 2010, a city councillor asked if I’d be interested in serving on the SOEC advisory committee based on the fact I know music fairly well and I enjoy hockey.

Sure, why not?

I was soon told that it would be a conflict of interest. Instead, they put on an ad guy from the Western News whose name escapes me at the moment.

I don’t care but trust me, you don’t want James Miller on your committee. He asks the uncomfortable questions when something doesn’t seem right.

The way these committees work is they welcome input but when it comes to something controversial they want people who will agree with their standpoint.

Think of the famous Saturday Night Live sketches “Da Bears” with Mike Ditka or Ed McMahon to Johnny Carson or Boo Boo to Yogi.

Democracy and business work best when there are different points of view. Parliament and provincial Legislatures, believe it or not, work because there is an official Opposition and quite often a third party.

Cutting the City some slack, subjective decisions are always open for criticism.

In a small city such as Penticton, backdoor politics will always enter into things like this.

That’s why the best solution would be to ask someone from Vernon, who doesn’t know any of the applicants, to review the resumes and choose who they think would be best.

This would also take the City off the hot-seat.

Mayor Andrew Jakubeit’s excuse that Dr. Karr is involved with a lawsuit against the City is contradictory.

Unless this is a criminal case where there’s a restraining order against an individual, that shouldn’t apply.

It’s my understanding that a present member of city council once sued the City of Penticton for a slip and fall. Should that councillor be banned from serving on council?

Of course not.

Should David Prystay deny service to all members of city council at The Barking Parrot because they are involved with a legal issue against the Penticton Lakeside Resort on power bills?

Again, of course not.

But the same should apply to Dr. Gerry Karr.


Mayor stands by decision to deny spot on parks committee to member of group that sued city

Posted: Sunday, February 21, 2016 3:58 pm

Penticton’s mayor stands by a decision to deny a seat on a new parks committee to a member of a society that filed a related lawsuit against the city, a move that has now drawn the attention of a human rights group.

Garry Karr applied late last year to sit on the Parks and Recreation Master Plan Committee, which was created in the wake of public protest against a commercial waterslide development envisioned for Skaha Lake Park.

He’s also a member of the Save Skaha Park Society, which has asked the B.C Supreme Court to squash the city’s deal with the developer behind the project.

Karr said he was taken aback when Mayor Andrew Jakubeit told the Penticton Western News in December that “if you sue the city, you sort of negate your right to sit on one of their committees.”

“I’m hoping he’ll acknowledge a serious attitude problem that needs to be corrected,” said Karr.

“This is not about our society; it’s about what happens when anybody takes action against an authority – they must not lose their rights.”

Karr, a retired physician, believes people selected for the 11-member committee were picked based on their unique backgrounds and what they could bring to the table, and the society ought to have been included on that basis.

“We are not destroyers; we’re builders, and we want to take part in the process in building the best parks system for our city,” he said.

Barring opponents from city committees will have a chilling effect, warns the B.C. Civil Liberties Association.

“In a democracy, it is vital that citizens feel able to express critical or dissenting views (through lawsuits or other means) without fear of being shut out of the democratic process, or of reprisals of other kinds,” policy director Michael Vonn wrote in a Feb. 18 letter to Jakubeit.

“In this regard, your comment – that you consider the actions of the Save Skaha Park Society to have negated their right to be considered for participation in the select committee – is very problematic.”

But the mayor didn’t back down in a statement issued Sunday.

“I should have done a better job of articulating that when council deliberated endorsing Parks and Recreation Master Plan Committee members we felt that Mr. Karr had a direct conflict as he was suing the city on park usage and then wanted to be on a committee about park usage,” said Jakubeit.

“We respect the good intentions of Mr. Karr, but if you are in the middle of suing the city about park use and continue to be very vocal about the city’s park processes, not only are you in conflict but the likelihood of your views being biased or jaded would be higher than others in the community that had put their name forth.”

The mayor went on to note there will be “significant public and stakeholder engagement” during creation of the plan – a previous version of which hasn’t been updated since 1993 – so there will be a chance for the society to offer input that way.

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