Press Releases

 Press Release

Save Skaha Park Society

(September 21, 2017)

Save Skaha Park Society (SSPS) is delighted with the news that the City of Penticton (COP) is severing all ties with Trio Marine Group and that Skaha Park will remain in the hands of the people who own it, namely the citizens of Penticton.

For the past two years the 5,200 member society opposed the building of the proposed waterslide and when that deal finally collapsed, publicly stated that SSPS was completely soured on every aspect of the entire business relationship between the COP and Trio Marine Group, and recommended the City end its relationship with them in its entirety.

At the public input session of November 23, 2016 when SSPS stated that opinion, there was a standing ovation.

It is unfortunate that it took the City of Penticton this long and at these costs, to realize it as well.

SSPS thanks all their members and residents of Penticton for their unwavering support these past two years.

 

Below is the link to the News Release from the City of Penticton web site regarding the termination of the City of Penticton Agreement with Trio Marine Group.

http://www.penticton.ca/assets/City~News/Press~Releases/2017/2017-09-20City%20Terminates%20Agreement.pdf

 

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Press Release

Save Skaha Park Society

(March 28, 2017)

 

The Parks and Recreation Master Plan (PRMP) Steering Committee will be meeting April 5 at City Hall. A critical part of the agenda will be a discussion on whether or not to include the term “unencumbered” in the definition of parkland.

Why is this important? Unencumbered park land is free for everyone to use and enjoy and by definition is land that is kept for rest, respite and recreation – not commercial development.

Save Skaha Park Society strongly supports the inclusion of this important term in defining parklands in order to protect our publicly owned parks and keep them free and accessible to all.

The final draft of the PRMP is expected soon. The PRMP Steering Committee must not be pressured into accepting commercial development in our parks as a foregone conclusion and that it is only up to them to determine to what level.

Rather, the PRMP should ensure that any infrastructure, commercial or not, added to a park must improve the park’s restorative value to its owners, the taxpayers. Under this rule, commercial concessions can easily be accommodated by asking if and how they contribute to the free enjoyment of the park by its users. This neither requires nor justifies a separate classification of permitted commercial uses, which would be a unique departure from Parks and Recreation Master Plans across Canada.

Any proposal for commercial development that would dispose of or otherwise encumber our park land must be subject to the assent of the electorate.

Parks and Recreation Master Plans are done to guide delivery of parks, open space, recreation and sport facilities, not to open the door to private developers. The people of Penticton are united in wanting their parks protected from commercial development.

How can you help? E-mail City Council or the editor of your newspaper voicing your concerns that our parks are still at risk. Attend the PRMP meeting April 5 at 11:00 AM at City Hall as an observer. Seating is very limited so plan to be there early.

Together we must ensure that there is never a repeat of the Skaha Park waterslide debacle.

SSPS Advisory Committee

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Press Release

Save Skaha Park Society

(March, 2017)

Hello to all SSPS members!

The Advisory Committee met on March 7 and we are on track with plans to keep the Save Skaha Park Society active until at least after the election of November 2018.

We acknowledge and celebrate the results that we achieved through your consistent support and hard work in preventing a waterslide from being built in Skaha Park. But there is still work to be done. This includes careful monitoring of the implementation process of the terms of the new agreement and meeting of conditions precedent.

The Parks and Recreation Master Plan (PRMP) Steering Committee is developing a plan that, if accepted by the City, will arguably be the most important guiding factor in determining what, if any, level of commercialization will be permitted in our parks in the foreseeable future. The second draft of this report is currently being developed and a major component of it will be the question of commercialization in our parks.

The PRMP Steering Committee meets on a regular basis and their meetings are open to the public to attend and observe. We strongly urge you to check the City Of Penticton website for upcoming meetings and plan to attend.

The SSPS Advisory Committee has several ideas to re-define our society and objectives and we will be planning a Special General Meeting (SGM) for all members to ratify a fresh mandate that may include an expanded role to be more proactive. In the meantime the Advisory Committee is working on a way to solicit input from our membership prior to an SGM, perhaps in a survey format. More information about this will be forthcoming over the next weeks.

The Advisory Committee is once again meeting regularly and is committed to remaining an active voice for parks in our community for a very long time. We hope to have your continued support.

Cheers!

 

SSPS Advisory Committee

Gary Denton, Carolae Donoghue, Gerry Karr, Jake Kimberley, Duane Martin, Lisa Martin, Lenora Robson

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Press Release

Save Skaha Park Society

(November 3, 2016)

 

SPSS has completed an in-depth review of the new proposals for the development of Skaha Park and Marina which were presented at the City Council meeting on November 01, 2016.

From the beginning SSPS has advocated for the preservation of Skaha Park for unrestricted public use in its entirety other than lands currently leased as a marina.

As a result, on November 2nd, the Directors of SSPS unanimously resolved to take the following actions in regards to these new proposals:

  • not to oppose the Enhanced Marina Agreement, subject to rigorous public consultation
  • not to oppose the Marina Amenity section of the Settlement Agreement, subject to rigorous public consultation,  but
  • to oppose the Park Amenity section of the Settlement Agreement

In that the Park Amenity section provides for the potential commercialization of the area formally covered by the waterpark (minus only the Splashpad), SSPS will continue in its opposition to the Trio agreements unless and until this section is removed in its entirety from the Settlement Agreement.

SSPS will oppose the commercial development of Skaha Park by whatever means available including continued legal action.

Little has changed. The public has clearly stated that they have no interest in large-scale commercialization of Skaha Park. SSPS is dismayed that City Council has still not accepted the will of the people, as evidenced by their latest attempt to substitute a Park Amenity for Waterpark (aka water slides).

It is all the same, commercialization of a public waterfront park.

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The Skaha Park and Marina – Revised Proposal from Trio Marine Group can be seen at the following site.

http://www.penticton.ca/EN/meta/city-news/news-archives/2016-Archives/skaha-park-and-marina-revised-proposal-from-trio-marine-group.html

 

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Hello to all SSPS members!

We hope you have had a chance to read the “Save Skaha Park Society Letter to Penticton Residents” published in the August 26 Penticton Herald (page 3) and Penticton Western (page 9). We have inlcuded it below in case you missed it. 

Our purpose in placing it in the paper was to explain the difference between SSPS’s Civil Claim filed against the City of Penticton and Trio Marine group last September, and the Claim recently filed by another citizen. We hope this clears up any confusion about why the two civil claims must remain separate. 

There are busy days ahead as we anticipate the City’s response to our Civil Claim by month’s end. We are also ramping up our membership drive and are once again asking for your help at SSPS membership booths at various events throughout the city. We appreciate all the great work done by our wonderful volunteers. 

We will be in touch again after we have received the City’s response.

As always, thank you for your continued support.

It’s not over!
SSPS Advisory Committee

Gary Denton, Carolae Donoghue, Jake Kimberley, Duane Martin, Lisa Martin, Benoit Robert, Lenora Robson

 

SSPS/Communication Aug 27, 2016

                                        ___________________________

                                              Save Skaha Park Society

                                           Letter to Penticton Residents

Save Skaha Park Society (SSPS) Advisory Committee (AC) would like to clarify the difference between its Civil Claim filed against the City of Penticton and Trio Marine Group September 25, 2015 and the lawsuit filed recently by an independent citizen and clarify why we have not joined efforts.

SSPS’s mandate was and remains:
To advocate for the preservation of Penticton’s Skaha Park as an open natural park freely accessible to all, and
To oppose, including the right to seek remedy in court, commercial development within the park that is in our opinion not consistent with or ancillary to this role, without the approval of the electors.

The Civil Claim filed on behalf of SSPS reflects this mandate and argues that the City has exceeded its authority in leasing a section of parkland in Skaha Park for the purpose of building a commercial waterslide.

The other lawsuit has taken arguments from the SSP Claim verbatim. But in addition it raises numerous issues that we have been advised add no substantive legal argument that would assist our challenge.
One of the many issues raised in the other lawsuit is a demand that the City hold a referendum on the leasing of parkland.

Regrettably, it is too late for a referendum. The role of a referendum is to seek public approval of policy before it is enacted, not after. We now have a signed, legally binding contract in place between the City of Penticton and Trio. Only a successful legal challenge can overturn that agreement. Calls for a referendum are therefore misguided at this time and only serve to muddy the waters.

On August 4, our lawyer requested a response to our lawsuit from the City. We have been assured it will be received by the end of August. The next step will be examination for discovery. Should we end up going to court after that we would expect a court date sometime in late 2017. In the meantime, Trio will be unable to take any action to implement the Waterpark Agreement. We will remain open to negotiations taking place between the City and Trio that would bring a positive end to this fiasco without further cost to taxpayers.

SSPS remains true to its mandate to save Skaha Lake Park from Commercial development and is following our lawyer’s advice to achieve this goal. We won’t be distracted by other claims that only confuse an already complex issue.
SSPS is moving ahead with its lawsuit, increasing membership in the society and continuing to apply pressure on the City of Penticton and Trio Marine Group to abandon their ill-conceived idea. We will continue to responsibly represent over 4,560 SSPS members who have placed their trust in us.

SSPS Advisory Committee
Gary Denton, Carolae Donoghue, Jake Kimberley, Duane Martin,
Lisa Martin, Benoit Robert, Lenora Robson

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Hello to all SSPS members!

We would like to update everyone with information about the media press conference the SSPS Advisory Committee held this afternoon at the Penticton Lakeside Resort.

The purpose of the press conference was to mark the one year anniversary of the rallies protesting the proposed commercial development in Skaha Park held last summer, and to release new information to the media.

We were pleased that the following media outlets were in attendance:

Penticton Herald

Penticton Western News

Locals Supporting Locals

Castanet

Global Okanagan

Be sure to tune in this evening at 6:30 or 11:00 (channel 4 or 211) to see the coverage.  Also please see below a copy of the statement that we presented to the media at the press conference.

And just to clear up any remaining confusion, the meeting scheduled tonight in Skaha Park is not organized by SSPS.

As always, thanks for your continued support!

It’s not over!

SSPS Advisory Committee  -  Gary Denton, Carolae Donoghue, Jake Kimberley, Duane Martin, Lisa Martin, Benoit Robert, Lenora Robson, Louella Sloboda

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Save Skaha Park Society Press Conference August 19, 2016

Statement of purpose

We cannot let this council destroy what has taken many past councils over 100 years as a city to create.

We have passed the one year anniversary of two of the biggest rallies in this city’s history that were held in front of City Hall to protest the agreement to lease 20% of Skaha Park to Trio Marine Group for a commercial waterslide.  It’s worth remembering that the Mayor signed the lease the very day that 700 residents were demonstrating against it, virtually within earshot of his office.

What was the Mayor’s response to the hundreds who rallied?

        “…opinions…are based on misinformation…some fight change every step of the way…the current model of public engagement needs enhancement.” (Penticton Herald, Aug.17/15)

Soon after came the “Mark Skaha Park” event in September when 1,000 people demonstrated in the park standing shoulder to shoulder and forming a human chain around the entire area that would be lost to the waterslide. Petitions have been circulated that oppose the waterslide (with 8400 signatures), SSPS membership has reached 4650 members and soon it will be one year since SSPS launched its Civil Claim on September 25, 2015.  

It has been a long and frustrating year during which SSPS held off on pursuing its law suit as the COP and Trio tried to negotiate a resolution. The hope was that they would find a resolution that would meet our mandate without having to go to court and thereby save SSPS supporters and taxpayers potentially over $100,000 in legal fees for SSPS and the City.

SSPS needs to clarify a statement made by the Mayor in the July 29/16 Penticton Herald, “With recent gatherings of all parties at one table we are optimistic that a resolution with Save Skaha Park Society can be found outside of the courtroom. We feel this would be the best outcome for all involved.” This inference that SSPS was in negotiations with Trio is categorically false. We have requested the Mayor to retract his statement in writing, but we have not received any response.

By invitation, SSPS did meet with Tom Hedquist of Trio on June 17 when we were told that Trio was considering an alternate development that would be contained entirely within the existing marina footprint. On this premise, SSPS accepted the invitation to view the new plan. At that meeting Mr. Hedquist presented a rough plan that did not involve any intrusion into Skaha Park and kept to the already-developed area of the existing marina.  Furthermore at that same meeting Mr. Hedquist stated, “the water slides are not going to be built.”

There were no negotiations. SSPS does not know the Mayor’s motivation nor reasons why he would state that we have been negotiating with Trio but we do know that his statement as reported in the Herald is false. SSPS’s position was that the rough plan met our mandate, but we made it very clear with Mr. Hedquist that any approval for the hybrid plan must come from Penticton residents through public consultation.

In mid July SSPS placed a paid advertisement in both local papers updating members and supporters of its actions for the past several months, and stating that while they had been patient with the City and Trio to negotiate a resolution to the waterslide debacle, they would not wait forever.

What was the Mayor’s response?

          “We just have to be patient…we are hoping there is a bit more direction soon, hopefully before summer is over.”(Penticton Western News, July 15/16)

A bit more direction, from whom? Shouldn’t the Mayor be giving direction?

As soon as it became evident some weeks later that a negotiated resolution was not forthcoming, SSPS instructed its lawyer to reactivate the Civil Claim and send a letter to the COP’s legal counsel requesting a response to the Civil Claim without further delay. At the same time a second lawsuit against the City was launched by a private citizen.

What was the Mayor’s response?

        “We are still very optimistic that we can get to some sort of resolution without going to court…to get all players to the starting line…” (Penticton Western News, July 29/16).  Well … it’s August 19 and we don’t see any starting line.

SSPS politely, and respectfully, requests the Mayor to do the right thing, and that is … to put his money where his mouth is – or as SSPS says … put taxpayers’ money where his mouth is and bring an end to this.  

On August 04, we requested a response to our Civil Claim by the end of August, and that time is fast approaching. If there is no public declaration that the waterslide project is terminated, SSPS will vigorously proceed with its campaign to increase its membership, and to raise funds through public rallies and to hold various events throughout the city. Is this the kind of publicity the Mayor wishes to see continued?  

Mayor Jakubeit, please get the waterslides off the table, and then perhaps our divided community, which you caused by not holding a referendum in 2015, thereby negating democracy, will heal.

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Open Letter to Penticton Residents from Save Skaha Park Society 

 

The Advisory Committee of Save Skaha Park Society (SSPS) believes it is time to provide our many members, supporters and financial contributors with an in-depth view of the course of action the Society has taken over the past seven months.

Save Skaha Park Society (SSPS) filed a Notice of Civil Claim in the Supreme Court of B.C. against the City of Penticton (COP) and Trio Marine Group on September 25, 2015. Subsequently, on advice from our legal counsel, SSPS conducted a comprehensive historical search of all matters relating to the origins, assembly of lands, historical use and character of Skaha Lake Park. These records will be required as an integral part of our legal claim opposing the authority of the COP to allow the construction of commercial water slides in the park. This research was substantially complete in December, thanks to innumerable hours spent in the museum archives by SSPS volunteers and members of the Advisory Committee. When that research had been completed, SSPS was ready for the next stage of the legal process, the Discovery of Documents phase. However, at that point in December, three months after the filing of the Civil Claim, no response had been received from the COP.

Since the inception of SSPS in August 2015, over $62,000 has been received to fund its legal challenge of the water slide agreement. These contributions came from Penticton and area residents, ranging from under $100 to between $500 and $1,000. By December, SSPS had expended over $17,000 in legal fees. The Advisory Committee was cognizant that the next phase of the legal action would cost SSPS $70,000 – $80,000, to be raised from Penticton taxpayers. With this figure in mind, SSPS explored the possibility of a negotiated, diplomatic resolution to end the dispute which would avoid going to court – a possible win-win for all parties.

In January, the Advisory Committee deemed there was sufficient justification to put our legal action on hold pending the outcome of on-going discussions between the COP and Trio Marine Group. No further legal fees would be incurred by either the COP or SSPS as long as there was optimism that a mutually satisfactory resolution could be reached through negotiation. SSPS’s legal counsel was unconditionally supportive of this course of action. Complete confidentiality regarding these legal matters has been, and continues to be, a requirement.

During this same time period, SSPS undertook a membership drive, again on the recommendation of its legal counsel, who advised that if and when our case goes to court, the Society will need to demonstrate that it represents a substantial number of taxpayers. SSPS now has 4300 members and is increasing by an average of 120 a week.

The SSPS Advisory Committee has heard the frustration of many of our supporters regarding the time this divisive debate has been allowed to continue in our community. We understand your concerns that little has been said, and that nothing much appears to be happening, and we share those frustrations and concerns.

The mandate of SSPS has been clear from the onset –  

    – to advocate for the preservation of Penticton’s Skaha Park as an open natural park freely accessible to all and

    – to oppose, including the right to seek remedy in court, commercial development within the park that is in our opinion not consistent with or ancillary to this role, without the approval of the electorate.

We remain optimistic that a resolution, consistent with the Society’s mandate is achievable without having to go to court.

If however, a satisfactory resolution between the COP and Trio Marine Group has not been achieved within an acceptable time frame, the Advisory Committee will have no recourse but to instruct our legal counsel to proceed with our Civil Claim.

SSPS’s legal options have in no way been compromised by our decision to wait for a negotiated end to the water slide agreement. In fact, time is on our side. We have been patient but we will not wait forever. We have a healthy balance in our bank account and pledges of significant additional funds if and when they are required.

We will keep you informed of new developments as appropriate.

It’s not over!

 

Save Skaha Park Advisory Committee

Gary Denton, Carolae Donoghue, Jake Kimberley, Duane Martin, Lisa Martin,

Benoit Robert, Lenora Robson, Louella Sloboda

SSPS/Communication July 9, 2016

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PRESS RELEASE – February 18, 2016

SAVE SKAHA PARK, PENTICTON BC

 

Save Skaha Park Society (SSPS) has been advised that a Response to the Notice of Civil Claim will be filed by the City’s lawyers by the end of this month. SSPS filed the Civil Claim against the City of Penticton in the Supreme Court of B.C. on September 25, 2015 in order to prevent the construction of waterslides in Skaha Park by Trio Marine Group.

SSPS looks forward to finally receiving the City’s response but fully expects the City will deny the claims put forward in the Civil Suit.

The plan to build commercial waterslides in Skaha Park has been unpopular from the beginning. Thousands of Penticton residents and non-residents alike have signed petitions, joined the Save Skaha Park Society and contributed funds for a lawsuit to voice their opposition to the commercialization of this natural park and especially to the undemocratic manner in which the decision was made.

SSPS will continue to work closely with our legal counsel to review the City’s response once received and to prepare for the next phase of this legal process.

In the meantime we thank you for your patience and continued support. We look forward to welcoming you to upcoming events planned for the near future.

It’s not over!

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PRESS RELEASE – September 28, 2015

SAVE SKAHA PARK, PENTICTON BC

Save Skaha Park Society today served a civil claim against the City of Penticton and Trio Marine Group Inc. aimed at preventing implementation of their plans to lease 5.83 acres (28 %) of Skaha Park to Trio for up to 39 years for commercial development including a fenced waterslide for paying customers. The 60 foot high structure would be located on 3.43 acres (16.3%) in the heart of the 21 acre natural park. The balance of the land would be used by Trio to expand the existing marina and restaurant operated by Trio.

The decision to sign this agreement was made without either a public hearing or approval of the electorate (referendum) following 2 years of backroom negotiations between Trio and the City. An informal opportunity for residents to comment on the proposed agreement at a June 29, 2015 Council meeting generated overwhelming objections and calls for a referendum, which Council ignored, voting unanimously to approve the agreement after an 8 minute recess and no discussion.

Skaha Park is Penticton’s only natural park, located on Skaha Beach and graced with hundreds of beautiful trees, meandering paths, and a small creek. Abundant grassy areas for social gatherings are tastefully complemented by a playground, splash pad, soft recreation facilities and a small pavilion. It is a relaxing, restorative place and needs no enhancement. A commercial waterpark is totally inconsistent with its purpose and will destroy its serene and healing ambience so valued by Penticton residents.

Over 4,850 residents have signed a petition demanding a referendum, to no avail. Hundreds have attended two protest rallies and over 950 residents came out on September 27 to form a human chain around the open green space that will be lost to the commercial development.Letters to the editor opposing the waterpark outnumber those in support 315 to 14. The City and Trio have not budged. Save Skaha Park has hired legal counsel and we have filed our civil claim on September 25 in the BC Supreme Court challenging the lawfulness of the City’s deal with Trio..

Save Skaha Park thought long and hard before making this decision. We wish no ill to our Mayor and Councilors or to Trio, but we cannot let this bad decision go unchallenged. We feel there is just too much at stake for the future of our City. What happens with Skaha could become a precedent for other parks. Commercializing Skaha Park without voter consent would make it a lot easier for this and future Councils to dispose of other parks for commercial interests. We simply can’t stand by and let this happen without a fight.

We believe that the purpose of our parks is people, not profit.

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PRESS RELEASE – September 23, 2015

 

SAVE SKAHA PARK, PENTICTON BC

August 4, 2015 Penticton City Council signed a 39 year lease with private developer Trio Marine, giving them just under 20% of publicly owned Skaha Park for a commercial waterslide. That the lease was virtually signed while a protest rally was going on outside City Hall only increased the ire of citizens.

Penticton City Council has proceeded with the plan despite opposition from the almost 5,000 residents and 2,820 non-residents who have signed petitions requesting a referendum on the waterslide, several presentations to City Council voicing concern about the project, 2 protest rallies attended by hundreds of people and hundreds of letters to the editor opposing the plan. The people of Penticton have overwhelmingly voiced their disapproval of this project but no one at City Hall is listening.

Every city in BC should be paying attention to what is going on here. If Penticton City Council can decide to “dispose” of publicly owned park land and hand it to private developers, with no input from the people who own it, then your parkland is in danger too.

Sunday, September 27 at 2:00pm Penticton residents will be joining hands in Skaha Park to form a human chain around the park land they are about to lose to the waterslide that no one wants. Hovering above, a helicopter will be recording the event with aerial photographs and video of the demonstration. It will show hundreds of people joining hands to encircle magnificent trees tagged with yellow ribbon to mark their future destruction. Viewers will see the green space that Penticton will lose when the 60′ tower with 4 plastic multi-coloured waterslides is built in order to make a profit for private enterprise, for three months of the year.

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PRESS RELEASE – September 2, 2015

SAVE SKAHA PARK, PENTICTON BC

Save Skaha Park has obtained legal counsel from a lawyer who specializes in municipal law. The lawyer representing us will require time to determine how best to have the Skaha waterslide decision overturned. We do not have a specific timeline but we continue to look forward to a positive outcome. In the interim we will continue to demonstrate our opposition to this project in every possible legal way to bring pressure on City Council to stop this travesty.

Save Skaha Park continues to gather signatures for our petition which now numbers over 4,000 local residents and over 1,600 non-residents. In addition the Valley First community account for legal funds continues to grow. While we are dismayed that residents of this city are having to use their own money for this legal battle, it is both humbling and heartening that so many people are supportive in the fight against commercializing our beloved park. Legal counsel does not come cheap, so we encourage everyone who abhors this plan to contribute according to their means.

The ever growing petition and increasing contributions to the legal account are tangible evidence of the support Save Skaha Park has.

Save Skaha Park is also proud to be organizing “Celebrate Skaha Park,” an afternoon of rock, pop and blues under the trees at the Skaha Park pavilion this Sunday, September 6 from 2 until 4. All entertainers have volunteered their time for what is promising to be a great performance by outstanding local singer songwriters from Penticton, and from as far away as London, UK. Admission is free. We hope you can join us.

 


 

 

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