Compare us to Nanaimo

Dear Editor:

It’s informative to look at what other municipalities do when proposing to lease parkland for commercial use.

Here’s a another tale of two cities named Nanaimo and Penticton.

In a report dated Aug. 11, 2014 from the City of Nanaimo, staff requested authority to negotiate the lease of about 900 square metres of parkland subject to the approval of the electors. That compares to almost 11,000 sq. m. in Penticton.

Between August and the 2014 B.C. municipal election, there were several media reports where Nanaimo’s politicians supported a referendum to dispose of a small piece of park green space.

One news article from September 2014 in Nanaimo said that this isn’t the “first time our politicians have considered offering our waterfront to developers and it’s hard to understand why it’s given up so easily.

This legacy was preserved for us and we have the opportunity to maintain it for the enjoyment of future generations.”

What was Penticton’s administration telling citizens just before the 2014 election regarding the marina lease and Skaha Lake Park?

In the Sept. 16, 2014 council highlights they said … “Although details of the final agreement is still being negotiated, public amenities will be preserved including the … splash pad amenities for children.”

Take a look at the May 19, 2015 presentation to Penticton’s council and you’ll find the architects drawings for the Skaha waterslide are dated (June) 06/2014.

Could it be that the City of Penticton was just trying to keep the plans ‘hush hush’ before the election?

There’s a time and place for ‘back room deals’ but something like disposing of a substantial area of almost priceless Skaha Lake Park green space certainly isn’t one of them. Why would they say ‘preserved’ when there were plans to the contrary?

Preserved means to maintain something in its current form. It doesn’t mean dispose, relocate, convert park green space to commercial use, pave 110,000 square feet, install red, green and yellow plastic tubes, charge the public a fee to enter the space and so on.

On April 21, 2015 Nanaimo had the following announcement: “Georgia Park Lease – Off Table” and “Council was presented with a staff recommendation to rescind approval in principle to lease a portion of Georgia Park to support the Hilton Hotel project.”

Wayne Llewellyn

Penticton