Booze with boats: wrong mix

Dear Editor:

When reading the 160-page council report on the new Skaha Park agreement by the time I got to the part about a retail space allowed, I knew this was not about bringing a wonderful family experience to Skaha Beach area. It was not about water safety, drowning prevention, visitor enjoyment using all sorts of water craft.

It was all about acquiring the right for people to come and buy booze. They can come via the road, or by boat or they can walk. They could come from Coun. Max Picton’s Barefoot Beach campsite, they could come from Okanagan Falls or Kaleden .

It’s turning into another case of the city giving up prime land on which to build a total money-making adults-only venture that includes beer, wine and dining…. just like the casino. Is Penticton ready for this type of activity and added traffic on Skaha Lake and Eastside Road? Will it ever be ready? What will happen to the dragon boat crowd?

Really, does it make sense to allow this private business a foot in the door to selling booze instead of providing a safe, fun for all beach area that has been marketed as not-for-sale, nation-wide prime recreational attraction?

We’ve watched Council improve a fantastic walkway with environmental enhancement dollars on Okanagan Lake. We’ve also watched them turn it into a tent beach this past summer. That was never in the plans. So we’re watchful regarding Skaha now.

Do we have to bring in additional police in summer just for the purpose of seeing that no boaters are using this marina as a shopping mall for liquor?

Skaha Lake in no way resembles Okanagan Lake. Most importantly we must insure that motorcraft should never reach boating overkill.

Before concluding, I would like to make reference to a recent letter written by a young man, a 30-year-old businessman who politely thanked all us old folks for all the work done in the past to make Penticton a better place to live. He also asked us politely to move over and make way for his generation to take the helm. Who knows, maybe he’ll one day be our mayor.

I would, however like to caution council that especially where marine activity and beachfront developments are concerned, conflicts must be resolved using common sense and respect for both the older citizens and the younger ones who are our future.

Always keep in mind that a “dead” lake is about as useful to a major tourist area as a hockey rink is without children.

Jean Mitchell