Once again, our past mayor, Jake Kimberley, has come up with a common sense approach to a development situation. He was involved and instrumental regarding our water treatment in the Greyback plant, as well as the much-needed South Okanagan Events Centre.
His current concern, regarding the casino situation, is a logistical consideration to purchase the El Rancho motel for a proposed $7 million. This would be a smart fit as it is adjacent to the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre and right across Westminister Avenue where a previous hotel was proposed but could not happen because this land was dedicated for parkland in perpetuity.
The El Rancho motel is a large land area in an ideal location relative to the convention and events centre. It would be large enough for a casino, as well as a hotel, and it is only one block from the beach.
The casino and hotel would fund the bulk of the land cost, either by re-sale or lease.
The site currently under consideration is adjacent to the curling rink, the old skating area, and the B.C. Wine Information Center would be strained for parking when there is a sell-out crowd at the Event Centre, or one or more of the other facilities.
There seems to be a state of desperation to locate the future casino that will provide a substantial kickback in funds to the city. But, again, we would be providing city land for private enterprise. This should never be another situation similar to the Skaha Lake Park fiasco. The casino, plus possible added restaurant(s), would require a good portion of the available existing space.
The parking situation, as described by the mayor, suggests we have tow trucks circulate through the area as a way to deal with the problem parking. He has also suggested, developing more parking in the proposed area. Take another look around the area. Where can you gain more parking and how Mr. Mayor? How would you mitigate the congestion?
This development will not be a dream come true, but more of a logistical nightmare. If it doesn’t fit, you must quit this consideration.