According to the definition in Wikipedia, a dog and pony show is “a colloquial term which has come to mean a highly promoted, often over-staged performance, presentation, or event designed to sway opinion for political, or less often, commercial ends. Typically the term is used to connote distrust of the message being presented.”
Does this sound like something that is coming to you in Penticton in the form of the Penticton mayor and city council’s “so called” engagement process? This well- hyped process must be regarded as a “dog and pony show” until there is some evidence that this council has any intention of considering input from the public in their decision making process.
This group has zero credibility with respect to public consultation, and they are a show-me story until they prove otherwise. A good start would be reversing some of their recent unpopular decisions such as leasing out part of Skaha Lake Park for a waterslide and paid parking in the beach areas. This would be an absolute minimum to obtain any credibility whatsoever and for the engagement process to have any chance of success.
At a recent council meeting the newlyhired engagement consultant, Joanne Kleb, gave a summary of her forums conducted to date as well as her discussions with individual city residents.
Some of her comments were as follows: “old wounds will have to be healed first if she’s to make any kind of headway”, and “there are many unanswered questions that need to be addressed in order to rebuild the trust with the community.”
She hit the nail right on the head, and I give her full credit for an honest and forthright appraisal of a bad and deteriorating situation.
In response, Mayor Andrew Jakubeit suggested some new question and answer sheets be created to address the most burning queries. This has some merit if the questions are posed by the residents, and the city responses contain facts and figures and not generalizations.
Some sign of considering residents views on items such as the waterslides and paid parking at the beach areas as noted above will lend some credibility to the engagement process. Barring this it is DOA.