Now that Penticton Mayor Andrew Jakubeit has set a precedent by formally signing an agreement with Trio, perhaps I, too, can get a chunk of beachfront property handed to me to develop a business.
All I need is a hectare of land next to the beach volleyball courts for an annual amount based on expected profits, and I will construct a putting course complete with lakefront restaurant and maybe even cold beer and wine sales.
Given we once had a putting course in town, there must be a need, even if the previous course went out of business due to lack of use. Golf is a favourite pastime of many and our golfing season is quite long, so I am certain I can generate a share of profits for the city for at least six months of the year, double the time a waterslide is to operate.
Once I get that venture up and running, I would like a portion of Okanagan Lake Park leased to me to construct another business; I do not have a concrete idea for this second business yet, but since we can talk behind closed doors for a couple of years prior to it being publicly announced, I am confident a good idea will come to me.
On a more serious note, developers have until 2018 to build the waterslide. Much can change in three years and is it possible Trio’s real reason for acquiring this land is to build a hotel/resort or condo project on prime lakefront property?
A project of that magnitude wouldn’t be attempted with a short-term lease, but a 29-year lease offers some stability and if they decide a waterslide is not viable, why not use land for a definite money-making project?
Even their restaurant and marina is a seasonal venture, but a hotel on the same property would make it more feasible.
Has the city put sufficient safeguards into the agreement to ensure the land is to be used only for the purposes we are now being told of, or have the secret talks already raised the possibility of other development?
Now that the door has been opened, where will council draw the line for development in our parks? Are we to lose more parkland to private business because someone has the right contacts at city hall?
Let local businesses compete on an even footing by developing on private land, not land owned by the taxpayers. Skaha Lake Park is a wonderful asset as it is; always busy with people enjoying the area in a multitude of recreational pursuits.
Continue to make improvements to it as a public park, but otherwise, leave it and our other parks alone.