What a frustrating and utterly disappointing evening at the city council meeting on Monday night.
Despite over 30 concerned citizens passionately voicing/pleading their opposition to the proposed waterslide in Skaha Lake Park, council voted 5-2 to support the application. They voted in favour of a 39-year lease of public land, bought by generations of taxpayers and donations from service clubs.
Council, in their shortsightedness and lust for tourist dollars, have decided to basically steal 20 per cent of our beautiful waterfront park and give it to a profit-driven enterprise for their use exclusively. What was once a beloved natural green space for us all to enjoy will soon be a megalithic, plastic, chlorinated structure making the park totally unrecognizable.
The vast majority of speakers stated repeatedly that they weren’t opposed to the waterslide itself, but to the proposed location. Even though this statement was reiterated many times by many speakers, council didn’t get it. It fell on deaf ears.
Council responded by saying some “massaging” of parking configuration and admission costs would be reviewed. There are many empty, privately-owned lots within Penticton and on the Penticton Indian Band land that would be more suitable and equally profitable.
Public land being handed over for exclusive use of a private business is abhorrent. Certainly there is a conflict of interest here. How can council financially benefit from a business relationship based on city land and still be mandated to protect and ensure the sanctity of that same land?
We can’t blame Trio Marine group, whoever they are. Who wouldn’t want their tourist-based business given to them in a well used public waterfront park? It’s this city council who is to blame, and who are treading on dangerous footing.
If you opposed the waterslide park or its proposed location in Skaha Lake Park, please sign the petition at: www.ipetitions.com/petition/save-our-green-space-in-skaha-park.
This council needs to be ejected from power before they pave over every green space we have.