Company behind Skaha Lake Park development responds to lawsuit

Residents who’ve been fighting a proposed development on a portion of Skaha Lake Park are not giving up.

Save Skaha Park Society has filed a lawsuit against Penticton mayor and council and the developer, Trio Marine. The lawsuit asks the courts to force a referendum so that residents are given the final say.

The controversial project which includes an expanded marina, new restaurant, and a waterslide park was already approved by council, who said the rules didn’t require a referendum to change the land use.

“We’re not opposed to a marina expansion, and we’re not opposed to a nice restaurant on our end of town. What we are opposed to is seven people deciding what should have been decided democratically, by all the residents of Penticton,” says Carolae Donohue, who speaks for the group.

The lawsuit isn’t the only thing slowing down the development. The Penticton Indian Band sent a letter to Penticton council Monday night asking for more consultation about the environmental and archaeological impact.

Trio Marine issued a statement Tuesday evening responding to the lawsuit and the band’s letter. In the statement, the developer says it plans to keep moving forward with the project.

“We would like to recognize people’s passion for this project, both the positive and the not so positive. Trio Marine Group will continue to work together with the City of Penticton, Save Skaha Park society, and the Penticton Indian Band to discuss concerns of all parties involved while working towards a positive advancement of the Skaha Lake project,” says Trio in its statement.

Trio was supposed to have a joint lease between itself, the city, and the province, ready to sign by October 1. That deadline has been extended for another 12 months.

If and when the project gets going is now up in the air.

“Over the next year and with a pending suit, I think all parties will evaluate things and go from there,” says Mayor Andrew Jakubeit

The question of a referendum will decide the park’s fate once and for all, is now up in the air.

 

Media Statement September 29th, 2015

Trio Marine Group would like to acknowledge papers received on September 25th, 2015 from the Save Skaha Park society filing a civil lawsuit claim in B.C. Supreme Court and a letter dated August 28th, 2015 from the Penticton Indian Band requesting further consultation with an environmental and archaeological impact study.

Trio acknowledges there was information to be submitted to the City of Penticton by October 1st, 2015, taking into consideration a lease agreement with the province of B.C. which had not been received by the City of Penticton and the letter from the Penticton Indian Band, the City of Penticton and Trio engaged in discussion of possible lease extensions. Recognizing the above uncertainties, Trio felt it would be in the best interest of all parties not to submit a detailed financial plan by October 1st, 2015 until the above conditions had been satisfied.

We would like to acknowledge with this matter now being a legal issue, further comments have to be kept limited. We would like to recognize people’s passion for this project, both the positive and the not so positive. Trio Marine Group will continue to work together with the City of Penticton, Save Skaha Park society, and the Penticton Indian Band to discuss concerns of all parties involved while working towards a positive advancement of the Skaha Lake project.

Trio Marine Group


Seniors good for economy

Dear Editor:

Many times have I heard these words “we need more young families in the city,” or, “we need jobs for young people,” “everything is for the seniors in Penticton.”

Do those who so often make these statements ever consider the number of young families who have found employment here caring for  seniors? Working in retirement homes, in healthcare and the hospital, mostly professional well-paying jobs?

The services and the employment the senior population create add a considerable amount of economy to the city and please don’t overlook how much the seniors themselves put back into our local economy.

Many retired professionals come hear with disposable income over and above their pensions, purchasing new cars, etc. Yesm Penticton is is very fortunate to have the employment and the additional economy that the retired seniors provide to the city.

So let’s stop suggesting the senior population is turning young families away from wanting to live here, they encourage many young families to come here for employment.

I have a difficult time accepting the Chamber of Commerce statement: “that we need a water slide to support our economy and encourage young families to move here”.

Don’t they realize the business their members derive from the senior population is so much, much more year round than a water slide? I know the Chamber has a responsibility to encourage new businesses but I do take exception that a seasonal water slide is be a great new business and is going to boost our local economy.

Let’s consider what has been done for the “young families”. The biggest investment made by any council since the city’s incorporation was the SOEC. Which was promoted as a project for

future and younger generations and was to replace the Memorial Arena, which was constructed many years ago for just the same reasons.

The SOEC serves the younger population more so than the seniors and yet the seniors helped pay for it!  It also does more year round for the local economy and Chamber members than any seasonal water slide operation ever will.

The SOEC also employs 45 full-time well-paid employees, plus additional jobs for the events.

Persons working at water slides and those using them two months of the year are not going to stimulate Penticton’s economy and bring in the tourists as being suggested by the Chamber.

I can’t imagine a family planning a vacation to Penticton just because we have a water slide. They come here because we are one of the only two cities in the world between two lakes, which I might add, I have never seen promoted in our tourist advertising.

Jake Kimberley

Penticton



 

Penticton residents still fighting against marina and water slide plan

PENTICTON — Residents have been told it’s a done deal, but they refuse to give up. Hundreds rallied at the steps of Penticton city hall Tuesday against a marina and water slides development on Skaha Lake.

This is the second major protest against the project in the last two weeks.

WATCH VIDEO: Heated protest in Penticton over public park space

Council revisited the project’s approval at a meeting last week, where all but one councillor (Campbell Watt) voted for the development.

WATCH VIDEO: Penticton waterslide park moves forward despite vocal opposition

Now, thousands of residents are signing two separate petitions, one against the development and what they say was a lack of public consultation and the other to recall council itself.

“We have a dictatorship in Penticton today,” says petition organizer, Elvena Slump. “We don’t have council that represents the people of Penticton.”

While residents have been told the case it closed, they’re taking it upon themselves to reopen it.

“[Mayor Andrew Jakubeit] is trying to ignore the public has much as possible. It’s going to be legal action from here on through,” says rally organizer Clifford Martin.

Martin didn’t expand on when and how they will approach taking legal action against city council, but says he will use the 3,000+ signatures as proof the development isn’t what residents want.

The developer is also speaking out to clear up any misinformation on the project.

WATCH: Penticton water park developer dispels misinformation

Penticton’s mayor, Andrew Jakubeit, believes the project will draw more tourists.

“We think this is a good opportunity for waterfront enhancement and re-establishing Penticton as a premiere place for people to come and creating another attraction,” says Jakubeit.

The 30-day window for the project to be put back on council’s agenda has come and past.

Construction for all the water park won’t begin until 2018.


Penticton water park developer dispels misinformation

PENTICTON — A contentious development project in Penticton has been making waves this past month. At the heart of the issue, some residents are upset that publicly-owned park land will be leased to a private business.

READ MORE: Penticton waterslide park moves forward despite vocal opposition

Tom Dyas, a principal of developer Trio Marine Group, says there’s been some hostility towards the project because of misinformation, so he wants to dispel the myths.

Beginning with the popular Splashpad, Dyas says it will be enhanced and relocated to a different section of the park. The City of Penticton has yet to determine the location.

In response to some outrage regarding how the water slides will be built on park land, Dyas believes the area in question is hardly used.

“This green space isn’t used a lot because if you sit here, you’re not looking at water or beach, you’re looking at a bunch of vehicles with trailers on them,” says Dyas.

He says the water park will be built on less than 10 per cent of the green space of Skaha Lake park.

The developer will also be adding some green space closer to the shore with a waterfront view that will be accessible to everyone.

Trio Marine Group has never built a water park before. To address its inexperience, Dyas says it has joined the World Waterpark Association and is receiving help.

“It’s a fabulous organization which assists us in making sure that we have the right consultants to allow us to design a park that is fitting for this area, and also very economically friendly,” he says.

Penticton’s mayor, Andrew Jakubeit, believes the project will draw more tourists.

“We think this is a good opportunity for waterfront enhancement and re-establishing Penticton as a premiere place for people to come and creating another attraction,” says Jakubeit.

Construction for all the water park won’t begin until 2018.  But before Trio Marine Group develops on land, it wants to improve the experience on the water.

Marina expansion will begin next year, which includes adding 30 slips and improving the docks.

It will also be building a restaurant and expanding the patio.


Penticton waterslide park moves forward despite vocal opposition

PENTICTON — Opponents of a proposed waterslide park in Penticton have been working feverishly this past month to put a stop to the project — but to no avail. Wednesday was the deadline for mayor and council to reconsider bringing the issue back to council. In a six to one vote, they’ve decided to move ahead.

Clifford Martin says he’s stunned and outraged by the outcome.

He organized a massive protest against the project last Monday that saw hundreds of people clog Main Street.

READ MORE: Heated protest in Penticton over public park space

“They’ve got no respect for the public. There’s so many people opposed to it and they’re not looking at the whole big picture of it all,” says Martin.

Opponents say they don’t want to see publicly-owned land turned into a private development.

Despite the rally’s turnout and loud opposition, Mayor Andrew Jakubeit says he stands by the project, adding the water park and marina expansion will enhance the Skaha waterfront experience.

“It is a difficult decision for council to make but at times, that’s what council is asked to do, is to make difficult decisions on behalf of the community. As much as there are people saying ‘No, no, no slow down,’ there are people saying ‘Yes, yes, yes, this is exciting,’”  says Jakubeit.

But Hannah Hyland believes the number of people against the project outweigh those who support it. She’s been collecting signatures from local residents and even tourists.

So far, she has over 3,000 signatures.

“We believe in democracy and we believe our council needs to listen to the voices of the people,” says Hyland.

Campbell Watt, the lone councillor who voted to bring the issue back for reconsideration, says there’s still time to make a critical decision.

“In my mind, there are still some unanswered questions. There’s a significant time frame to deal with the project; it isn’t going  to happen for a couple of years. I didn’t see any harm in taking a break and reevaluating the whole thing before moving forward,” explains Watt.

The water park construction is expected to begin in three years. Developer Trio Marine Group still needs to provide detailed drawings of its plans, get financing and provide a bond.

 


Heated protest in Penticton over public park space

PENTICTON – Hundreds of Residents clogged Main Street in Penticton Monday night protesting a proposed marina expansion and waterslide park by Skaha Lake. Emotions were running high and that’s exactly what the city’s mayor says he and council don’t want to make a decision based on. Neetu Garcha explains.

 


Proposed water slides making a splash

PENTICTON — Penticton council gave the go-ahead for developers to expand a marina and build a new water slide park last month, but there’s still choppy waters ahead. An hour before Monday’s council meeting, a large crowd is expected to gather outside of Penticton City Hall.

Clifford Martin is one of the residents voicing their opposition against the project.

He doesn’t want green space to be turned into private enterprise, so he would like to see the issue to go a vote.

“A referendum gives a fair vote for both parties. If they vote for a water slide, then so be it. If they vote the other way, then so be it. At least that’ll be fair,” says Martin.

Mayor Andrew Jakubeit says referendums are expensive, costing taxpayers at least $30,000 each time.

He says the plan is moving ahead and points out it isn’t the first time the city has leased public space to a business. Loco Landing is one example of a business on a public park.

Jakubeit says more tourism is needed on the south end of the city and believes developer Trio Marine Group will help rejuvenate it.

“They’re putting a $4 million investment into improving the park experience, something the City of Penticton cannot do alone,” says Jakubeit.

There was strong opposition against the proposal in June’s public hearing.

But supporters such as Tracy Dodd say many of them have been voicing their support through emails.

For Monday’s rally, however, they will be holding up rally signs of their own so council members will know they have support.

“There’s so many more people who are mobilized now because they see how much the against people are speaking out and they want to show their support,” says Dodd. “I think the water slides can bring nothing but good to the city: bring more people, bring more business and it’d be so much fun for the kids.”

Even though the Skaha Lake marina and water slides park aren’t on council’s agenda, people in support and against the proposal will be making a strong presence at City Hall.