Questions to raise for Penticton council

I will personally be away, so when you attend the Nov. 23 Skaha Park meeting, you should consider having council explain the Parks and Recreation Zoning bylaw,

Permitted uses 1) carnival, 2) community garden 3) government service 4) indoor recreation 5) marina 6) outdoor amusement, entertainment and recreation 7) outdoor market 8) public parking lot and 9) accessory use, building or structure.

Is it possible to further refine the above permitted uses or do we simply remove item three, six and nine from permitted uses.

If items three, six and nine were removed from permitted uses, then council would then be forced to present a referendum question to be placed before the electorate to approve the requested uses of park lands. The electorate would then vote via a referendum question to approve or deny the requested use that has been proposed by council.

Further, someone needs to question council on the legalities of securing the dedication of Skaha Park and other park lands on title.

A recent article noted that Summerland will use this method to protect Conkle Mountain as a park in perpetuity. Certain non eligible park uses today would not be enforced by city employees, which will reduce any conflicts with current park users.  According to the article, Ian McIntosh (director of development services), states that this form of park dedication is the most power tool to protect the park and only the electorate can undo the dedication.

Mayor Jakubeit and council have indicated to me that the parks and recreation committee will accomplish the same goal, however, the parks and recreation committee are not permitted to make any  binding recommendations on Skaha Park.

If you can comprehend this comment, please call me and explain where I am lacking understanding on the process in progress.

Penticton residents, you need to negotiate the level of park protection that you envision today and for the lands into the future.

An individual at the parks meeting stated that when Okanagan Lake Park was protected 35 years ago, that the parks and recreation zoning bylaw should also been amended at the same time. We now learn that of our mistakes in the past, come back to haunt us.

Ted Wiltse

Penticton



 

Tear up Skaha Park contracts

You know of course the “new amenities” agreement of 150-plus pages is just more smoke and mirrors on part of city council and Trio Marine Group.

The only possible solution is to tear up all Trio Marine agreements  with the City of Penticton.

Tear up all contracts, including the marina at Skaha Lake. No contract with the Trio — period.

We don’t want any more intrusions or any further commercialization of any of our park lands, especially Skaha Park, the jewel of Penticton.

No more commercial footprints, other to what’s already existing there, no further expansion. And, no more 39 (40) year leases, preposterous! Two generations give away (almost a sale).

Negotiate or buy out, I’m not even sure we need to negotiate.

This is the only practical solution! And, let the healing begin.

Cheryl and Georges Jansen

Penticton



 

City must abolish Trio’s proposal

Dear Editor:

After two years of acquiring permit approvals, Penticton Water Park Ltd. was incorporated spring of 2015 by father and son local to Penticton. Our Penticton company was underway following a successful first year of operating a Wibit aquatic water park in Kelowna; we quickly become the largest and most recognizable company in North America, within our industry.

Through an extensive hands-on approach to the details of our business we have been awarded with exclusivity to industry leading equipment and have become a consultant to Wibit aquatic water park in order to uphold company and industry standards.

As a company pioneering aquatic water parks in North America it is critical we provide safety, knowledge, experience, and quality in order to minimize risk and assist positive growth. As a relatively new industry it is essential that an appropriate company be awarded the great responsibility of providing the proposed amenity; a company, in association with the City of Penticton, hold in their hands the liability of each and every customer.

By omitting purchase process for a company without history showing the ability to manage proposed amenities the City of Penticton would pose a tremendous risk to itself, the safety of locals and tourists, and the positive image Penticton Water Park has worked hard to acquire within the community. This shows disregard of the prominent liability associated with an amenity of this nature along with the responsibility required in safely operating it.

Wibit Sports is the foremost leading equipment manufacturer of aquatic water parks, and is the only company to pass German TUV safety testing. Specifically engineered safety consisting of: anchoring plans, elimination of all entrapment hazards, equipment size and height restriction, material quality – environment safe, non chemical leaching materials, along with over 10,000 actively protected patents.

Alternative products carry with them excessive liability risks to the customer, operator, and municipality in which they operate. Increased liability including, but not limited to: entrapments hazards, environmental harm, patent infringement, quality and durability of equipment in relation to daily use as well as anchor security and safety.

Its is essential the City of Penticton Council abolished the proposal regarding Trio Group’s enhanced marina agreement and marina amenity proposal due to concerns of safety and excessive liability.

It is imperative the public know Wibit is exclusive to the owners of the existing aquatic water park in Penticton. The proposed works by Trio are in no way association with Wibit, nor meet our company’s business standards, quality and safety management procedures.

City Council and the public must retain the capability to have the best-suited company provide the proposed service, if the aquatic park is proceeded with. We cannot in good faith increase risk to the public and existing business of Penticton, nor should Council provide superiority or an upper hand to those our public has shown such powerful resentment toward.

Rylie Gallagher

Owner/Operator



 

Brilliant strategy by city council

Dear Editor:

It is my sad duty to inform MLA Dan Ashton that politics in Penticton has reached a new low.

Penticton Mayor Andrew Jakubeit and council made a great show of giving citizens weeks to prepare for the Nov. 23 public meeting on the new Skaha Lake/ Trio Marine deals. Two days before the meeting, a new revised contract has been announced. Two days for new research, weeks of work useless.

I must credit mayor and council for a brilliant strategy to cripple public input. They are masters of blindsiding any effort to bring concerns to their table.

After this move, voter trust will be questionable. This issue has become so toxic, that in my view the only answer is to dissolve the whole deal with Trio Marine, pay up and get out. I’m respectfully suggesting that this latest stunt on the part of the Penticton’s mayor and council will become an embarrassment to politicians in general and will immobilize Penticton city council for the next two years.

Lynn Crassweller

Penticton



 

Council is ruining city

Dear Editor:

From my hotel room in Hong Kong I still think of how my adopted city is being torn apart by this council.

Please tell me why this council has built a new road with six-foot sidewalks through the south-side of Gyro Park? Have they no vision?

The vision would be to have expanded the park with trees and grass right up to the north end of city hall! Plus new permanent washrooms constructed on the south west corner are now long overdue.

When we’re told the city has no money this council spends, I’m sure almost a half a million dollars putting this roadway from Main Street to Martin. Trees and grass are less expensive and are more attractive and also would increase the now, after the Skaha Park fiasco, the city’s future park requirement.

When oh when is this council going to think things through on the consequences of their extremely poor approach to planning this city. What future council will come into office and decide we need more grass and decide to tear this roadway up at great expense to the taxpayers? More parking means downtown becomes more convenient for more cars, which equals more cost to build parking lots?

OCP planning for the now controversial Kinney Ave. development when I was involved was to work with the school board on that subject property to jointly purchase it to create another ball diamond, another green space. All the sports fields on the school properties were developed when the SOEC took out a soccer field and a ball diamond.

Council please make planning decisions with a vision for how this beautiful city will grow into the future, not just because your friends need a place to live!

Jake Kimberley

Penticton



 

Unhappy with council

Dear Editor:

I’ve lived and sold in the City of Penticton for 34 years. The first beach I went to was Skaha Beach and I have lived in the area since. Penticton is indeed a place to stay forever!

I never thought after all these years I would be writing this kind of letter. Shame on you Mayor Jakubeit and council. Some who I know have lived in Penticton even longer than me.

I sit here with approximately 50 pieces of “negative” articles regarding the disregard for the environment of Skaha Lake. I also have photos of seniors, semi-retired, teens, children, grandchildren, pets, runners, swimmers and folks from all walks of life appreciating what Skaha Lake Park has to offer. This is not Disneyland, it’s free and open access to a beautiful park.

It’s so sad when we human beings take for granted the environmental, conservational and the beauty elements of our surroundings.

Something is wrong with this Skaha Lake picture Mayor Jakubeit and council — too much is happening too soon!

I see it coming, paid parking and paid access to the beach.

I ask council to take note of the following:

1. Review your platform prior to the election, 79 per cent of the public now says do not commercialize Skaha Lake Park.

2. Mayor Jakubeit, you failed in your bid to be re-elected as vice-chair of the Regional District of the Okanagan Similkameen board in a vote of your peers.

3. Why did the mayor and council not share with the public in detail the plans prior to signing a legal contract with Trio about Skaha Lake Park?

4. Mr. Mayor, where is the transparency you promised in your electoral platform? Council where is your loyalty to the public that elected you?

5. A 29-year lease contract on public land in which the public had no part in the decision… not even a side vote of confidence was called.

6. No background has been given on the Trio company. Prior mayors called for a tendering process which included blueprints, specifications, insurance, financial security, and bonds!

In closing, debts have been incurred from this project and it’s the public that pays.

Yet the public is given partial information.

The public has lost trust in this council. They are clearly not doing their best for the citizens of Penticton and protecting parkland for future generations.

Don Stayko

Penticton



 

Revitalization unnecessary

Dear Editor:

This Wednesday, Nov. 23 we, the people of Penticton, will once again have a chance to voice our views on the future of Skaha Lake Park. Only this time, Council will be listening.

Nearly a year-and-a-half after this saga began with a sham public hearing on June 29, 2015, the power of public opinion has finally forced our council to revise their plans, and to sit up and listen.

But is the new settlement agreement really a significant change in plans or just a new dress on the same old wolf? Council has announced it will “listen to citizen comment regarding the proposed marina and waterpark development at a Special Council meeting …. the City will then identify a Park Concept that in the City’s discretion best balances the interests of revitalization of Skaha Park and the expressed desires and concerns of the citizens.”

Who says this perfect natural park needs to be revitalized? This term is usually used to describe the rescue of a decaying downtown core. That we can understand. But how do you rescue nature? It appears that our Council still doesn’t get it: Skaha Lake Park is not for sale! It’s not just about a waterslide, it’s about commercial development of public green space. Once again, our voices must be heard.

This new agreement would have our Council enter a 29 year contractual relationship with Trio to enhance the marina. This is not an issue for us. But knowing this developer covets Skaha Lake Park’s green space, what will come next?

The Confidential Termination Agreement contemplates cancelling the proposed new agreement with Trio down the road. Given the uncertainty that has plagued this relationship to date and the developers known interest in commercial development of Skaha Park, why wait until further conflict arises? Why not choose cancellation of all ties with Trio now as the best, and ultimately the cheapest outcome among all the possibilities.

So, citizens of Penticton, now is your chance, once again, to let our Council know just how determined we are to save Skaha Park from commercial development. Please come out to the Trade and Convention Center at 6 PM this Wednesday and make your voice heard. Let’s find out if they are really listening this time.

It’s not over – yet.

Dr. Gerry Karr

Save Skaha Park



 

Mayor needs to listen

Dear Editor:

Mayor Jakubeit recently stated in the local press, “we all have the best of intentions when it comes to moving our city forward.” I suggest that he stops leading us in the dark.

This mayor and council consistently bring forth new images developed in camera. The use of secret discussions, negotiations and decisions is the problem here. This practice is paternalistic, ingenuous and sneaky. Penticton is not “Father Knows Best.” We are not to be shuffled off upstairs while the adults have the important discussions in secret.

Making a good impression with sound decisions takes consistent application of principles. We are not impressed with “wow” or “gee.”

What began as a scavenger hunt for the “underutilized,” has resulted in a frantic approach to revenue generation.

Instead of using a clipboard to itemize potential revenue, spend some quality time in the peaceful quiet which our parks provide. Unless you have walked in our shoes, you just can’t get the pinch we’re screaming about.

In short city council, listen.

Barry Salaberry

Penticton



 

Questions are unanswered

Dear Editor:

I submitted 21 questions to the mayor and council. So far, the mayor has answered 12 of them. Some of his answers involved non-disclosure excuses.

After considering the new agreements offered to Trio, it is my personal opinion that this whole issue will blow up in our faces again in 2018/2019 because Skaha Lake Park’s green space is not protected from commercialization. What will Trio propose — any guesses because that’s all we’ve got. Trio will have full monopoly of the park and beach, jeopardizing local concession operators and vendors, the dragonboaters, along with their 2,000-participant festival, along with public access in general. Council has shown no proof to the contrary or agreements with the dragonboaters.

We know the local concession and vendors will be out. The mayor’s answers show these deals have been biased to ensure Trio succeeds in taking over the park by lowering their costs, increasing their profit and extending their deadlines.

According to the mayor’s email to me, while negotiating these new agreements, Trio claimed that, without the waterslide, the old deal’s percentage rate would undermine the economic viability of the project, so city negotiators cut the percentage rates. Trio claimed that they can not improve the marina without revenue from the park. To lower costs Trio no longer needs to replace the Rotary splash pad. City negotiators are bending over backwards to sweeten the pot for Trio.

The mayor admits that the city is not looking into whether the city can terminate the Trio deal on the grounds that Trio does not have a formal lease with the B.C. government (Herald, Nov. 14). Why not? What else is the city overlooking? Has Trio secured financial backing from an approved financial institution? Is this business even viable?

It is the mayor and council’s job to examine all possibilities to protect the taxpayers’ assets.

Lynn Crassweller

Penticton