After attending both the Nov. 23 public hearing and Dec. 1 council meeting, it has become apparent that mayor and council have tunnel vision and have only publicly addressed what council feels is the only issue with the Skaha Park fiasco — the loss of green space and that the latest agreements between the City and Trio Marine meets this perceived objective.
However, questions on the City’s failure to comply with statutorily mandated procedural requirements set out in both provincial and city bylaws have still not been addressed and the citizens need them answered.
The Interpretation Act defines “dispose” as “means to transfer by any method and includes assign, give, sell, grant, charge, convey, bequeath, devise, lease, divest, release and agree to do any of those things.”
This question alone should have automatically established the need for public input and approval of the electorate as outlined in the Community Charter which sets out the requirements that councils must follow for property disposal.
Leasing the Skaha Lake Park land as part of a private/public partnership with a 29-year lease with option to renew for two five-year terms is a form of disposal as referenced in the Interpretation Act and Charter.
Then there is the decision to forgive the approximately $36,000 owing to the City by Trio for the lease and taxes; which once again is in violation of the Charter which sets out the restriction on providing assistance.
Section 25 of the Charter states that unless expressly authorized under the Charter, a council must not provide a grant, benefit, advantage or other form of assistance to a business, including any form of assistance referred to in section 24 (1), or an exemption from a tax or fee.
Then there is non-compliance with City Bylaws Bylaw 2002-20 Office Community Plan, Zoning Bylaw No. 2011-23, Chapter 8 – Specific Use Regulations P2 – Parks and Recreation, and Bylaw 2002-42 Parks Dedication Bylaw does not allow for restaurants or retail.
My question to mayor and council would be: “How did Trio get a business license to operate without the proper amendments to the bylaws which again requires electorate approval?”
I find irony in the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce president Tom Dyas’s — who is a principal owner of Trio Marine — NIMBY (not in my back yard) statement to Global Okanagan and Chamber press release in opposition to a land use (supervised consumption site on Leon Avenue) issue in Kelowna, but Dyas feels it is OK to come into Penticton’s backyard destroying prized parkland with commercial development.