Listen to input

Mayor Jakubeit was pretty vocal about the fact he chose not to include anyone from the Save Skaha Park Society (Penticton Western News, Dec. 30, Parks group doesn’t include Skaha society) on the Parks and Recreation Master Plan Steering committee, basically indicating that if you disagree with him he is not about to include you in the discussions.

That stance speaks volumes as to the way he is running our city. When looking at some of the people he has chosen to include on this committee, I recognize names that have previously been in the paper expressing their agreement with the Trio Marine development at Skaha Lake, interesting. Now Mayor Jakubeit has decided to spend our tax money to hire a contract consultant to “inventory and review the city’s parks offerings and recreation and sports facilities programs.”  Why are we paying someone to tell us what we already have?

Mayor Jakubeit adds that “my view of the park is different from your view and other people’s view.” Well that is obvious. That is what  generated the development of the Skaha Park Society. Why do we need to pay a consultant (that will unlikely be from Penticton) to tell the residents of Penticton what we should/should not do with our park and recreation facilities? Mayor Ashton looked at other small communities to see what they had to offer with their waterfront. He then obtained public input and the result is the beautiful upgrade we now enjoy at Okanagan Lake.

The article goes on to say that “once a consultant is hired, according to Jakubeit, one of the first priorities will be going out to the community.”  Also an interesting comment since that is not what he chose to do with the Trio Marine development, thus the protests and lawsuit. What seems to be happening is that Mayor Jakubeit is looking for support and/or justification to change what numerous mayors and councils before him have established with regards to use of our precious parks purchased by the people for the people.

I am sure there are people on this new committee and in the community that can respond to “what we need for facilities and for usages” as well as how to handle the “city’s aging facilities.” We know that repairs are needed on our aging facilities — just ask those people who use them — it is the money to do those repairs that have to be raised and allocated. Perhaps the money being paid to this consultant could be better used to do some of these repairs?

But this committee and the mayor have to be willing to listen to the input from the people of this community including all interest groups. Case in point, the use of Memorial Arena by the lacrosse teams. Lack of communication and consideration to this group was appalling. Then the response to justify this lack of communication and the choices made,  Dean Clarke (VP for Spectra Venue Management) stated  “Penticton is a hockey city.” This is insulting. I guess those involved with hockey would agree, but those involved in other sports strongly disagree and it leaves us feeling devalued and frustrated. Just another example of the city promoting what they decide is appropriate.

Susan and Pieter Koster

Penticton