In response to concerns about the city’s deal with Trio Marine Group to develop water slides in Skaha Lake Park, Penticton’s mayor is hoping to revive a parks master plan to provide guidance on future projects.
“It’s time we look ahead, and while we’re moving forward with the Skaha Marina water slide project, now is the time to initiate a community dialogue about parks,” Andrew Jakubeit said at Monday’s council meeting after filing a notice of motion to discuss the plan fully at the next session Sept. 8.
The need for such a master plan was made clear by months of loud public opposition to planned development within Skaha Lake Park, he continued.
“I think if nothing else, this last few months has really bought out the passion in people for parks, and the need for us to really look at putting some more clarity around what happens in and around parks and what’s permitted or allowable and, moving forward, how we should view parks,” Jakubeit explained.
He said the last parks master plan was completed in 1993 and revisited again about 10 years ago, but it “sort of just stayed in limbo” after the city staffer responsible for it was laid off.
If council agrees to restart work on the plan, the mayor hopes to appoint a committee drawn from the public to run a “transparent and respectful process” that’s built “on a solid foundation of broad-based community consultation.”
During question period, Jakubeit said it’s unlikely the new plan will derail the city’s deal with Trio, since whatever proposal the committee comes up with has to be acceptable to council.
Coun. Helena Konanz added that it would be problematic if the committee recommended against commercial activities in all parks.
“That would be major. Not just talking about Trio and what’s happening there, we’re talking about what’s happening all over the city,” she said.