Everyone pays and everyone loses with the park

Maureen Wood’s letter the editor (Penticton Western News, Nov. 27, Points to ponder about Skaha Lake Park) lists 10 points she finds significant regarding the city’s lease of waterfront parkland to Trio Marine.

One point that she included is the amount of public green space in Skaha Park designated to be used for waterslides: 14,500 sq metres or 3.5 acres. That is more waterfront parkland than the City of Kelowna just purchased at a cost of $12 million. Penticton is disposing of public parkland while Kelowna is adding to theirs.

Of course, the intrusion of waterslides in Skaha Lake Park would affect more than the 3.5 acres they sit on. They would disrupt the character and ambiance of the surrounding green space and natural parkland.  To quote Dr. Gerry Karr from his recent letter on this subject: “Skaha Park is a natural open space park. Increasingly, research has shown that natural parks play an important role in countering the stresses of urban life.”

One clause that Ms. Wood did not find in the Trio lease is “this agreement shall be subject to obtaining the assent of the electors.”

If that short and simple clause had been included, this protracted and divisive debate could have been avoided. A referendum could have been held and the taxpayers could have decided whether or not this disposal of public parkland for commercial purposes would proceed.

Now, alas, it appears that the court will decide. Too bad and so sad. Everyone pays and everyone loses.

Gary Denton

Penticton