Beach access should be for everyone

Last summer, a truck parked on Lakeshore Drive just east of the SS Sicamous.

The sun was still low in the early morning hours, but it was going to be another hot August Saturday. A father and son proceeded to unload chairs, tents, tables, ice chests and a barbecue. They were setting up for a family reunion, and chose a logical location in between two large trees, an area that was protected from the sun.

The location they had selected, however, was on a section of beach that the city had leased to the green and yellow floating playground. Two hours later, the floating playground owner arrived to set up. The father was informed that his family reunion had to move because he had a lease from the city, and that section of beach belonged to his playground.

A debate of the rights for usage of a public beach ensued. A short time later, following the threat of calling a city bylaw officer for enforcement, and casting a negative atmosphere on a festive occasion, the family reunion reluctantly moved further east, just past the tattoo tent vendor, to an area where there were no shade trees.

Keeping this incident in mind, now switch your thoughts to the Skaha Lake development.

Also last August, the mayor and city council voted  to give Trio exclusive control of the entire length of Skaha beach. If the Trio development proceeds as planned, in addition to losing part of Skaha Park for waterslides and a miniature golf course, the community will also lose control of more than 1,000 feet of Skaha beach. For the next two decades,

Trio will have the first right of refusal for leases on the beach to private contractors and concessionaires.

If you disagree with the privatization of Skaha Park, and believe that the community should have unfettered access to Penticton’s  beaches for events as simple as family reunions, perhaps you should consider making your displeasure known to the mayor and council.

C. Otto Knaak

Penticton