Hallmarks of democracy

Dear Editor:

Never have I seen so many credible letters to the editor over one issue as with the commercialization of Skaha Park! No matter what one’s position is on the issue, it is time to consider why it exposes some major flaws in the operation of Penticton City Council. Whatever happened to public process?

A current letter to the editor traces the minutes of City Council back to the council of the day in 2013, where the Trio proposal first came to light. There was ample time here for the City to do its due diligence as well as informing the public as to what was being proposed.

This process should have culminated in a full Public Hearing at a suitable venue where everyone interested could fit in the room, where the details of who the Trio group were presented and what they had planned for Skaha Lake Park. Then the opportunity should be provided for the public to ask questions to clarify fine points.

Public hearings are the hallmark of the democratic process. They are the primary way that council communicates major plans to the public and gets their buy-in. They are not to be feared nor avoided.

To say that one is elected to make decisions and that it supersedes the public hearing process is clearly wrong and one of the main reasons that council is in this difficult position today.

 

The only solution to this dilemma which is dividing our community is to hold a referendum, another cornerstone of democracy.

 

David Perry

Penticton