Chamber, Tourism backing waterslide project

Two of the city’s most influential industry groups are publicly backing plans to redevelop a corner of Skaha Lake Park.

Tourism Penticton executive director Kelly Hopkins said her group “supports the Trio Marine Group and project in its entirety as it was presented to us in June 2015.”

She said none of the tourists to whom she has spoken has expressed concern about a loss of green space in Skaha Lake Park, but “they do welcome the attraction and the idea of having more attractions and thing to do with their families.”

“This is going to be a draw for Penticton,” Hopkins added.

She was unsure, however, if public backlash against Trio’s plans to build water slides inside the park will affect the city’s reputation or Tourism Penticton’s ability to market it.

“I can’t really speak to park loss or anything like that, but in terms of supporting Trio Marine Group, in terms of what they’ve proposed, we are in support of it,” Hopkins said.

The head of the Penticton and Wine Country Chamber of Commerce said his group is also behind the concept of devoting a portion of Skaha Lake Park to the water slides.

“This is not a loss of public space, it’s an enhancement of public space, much like many examples that exist in town: LocoLanding, the golf course, even the Peach on the Beach,” president Jason Cox told the Herald previously.

He downplayed concerns that Trio will have a tough time making a go of a seasonal operation, because it will have multiple revenue streams from the marina, restaurant and water park on which to rely.

“The chamber is not out there saying that this is going to solve all the employment issues in Penticton or going to be the crown jewel that attracts thousands more tourists to the area,” he added, “but it is one more piece of attractive inventory that will be here for visitors and residents to enjoy and make this a more liveable city.”

The Penticton Hospitality Association, which represents accommodations providers and markets the city with revenue from the hotel room tax, has not yet taken a formal position on Trio’s plans, according to president Barb Haynes.