City councillors received a pep talk Monday from the head of the Penticton and Wine Country Chamber of Commerce.
President Jason Cox stuck around until the public comment portion of a three-hour council meeting and offered a counterbalance to criticisms levelled earlier by a three-person delegation opposed to water slides in Skaha Lake Park.
“I think enhancing public park land is what we’re talking about,” said Cox.
“Know that that park will be used much more, regardless of how they may try to shame you or threaten exploding gas lines that will blow up parks and presumably water-sliding children at the same time,” he continued, referencing an earlier comment by ex-mayor Jake Kimberley about a sensitive gas line under the park.
“Don’t be dissuaded, carry on forward, and thank you for your leadership in this.”
Cox also noted the six former mayors who have spoken out publicly against the city’s deal with Trio Marine Group all likely signed or renewed leases of some type on park lands during their terms in office.
He allowed that the uproar against giving up part of Skaha Park for water slides “has shown a real passion for parks in the community, but blades of grass and trees are not always the only use of parks.”
“We have many examples in the community of public parks space that’s been leased long term for private enterprise,” Cox said.
Later in question period, Mayor Andrew Jakubeit said the criticism from his predecessors in office didn’t bother him.
“Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion,” said Jakubeit. “Council went through a process, and we’re moving forward with our process.”
Tourism Penticton has also publicly supported the city’s deal with Trio Marine Group.