Other councils sought input

Dear editor,

The following weblinks are very informative and one needs to question why Penticton’s council has disposed of a huge portion of Skaha Park without asking the citizens that own the park. It is also interesting to ask what other councils do.

A government Discussion Paper from October 2001 said the Community Charter “will also create a new accountability framework for citizens to make sure government remains accessible and accountable in every community. Its vision continues to be based on principles of open, accountable and financially responsible municipalities.”

The discussion paper also has this: “before moving park boundaries or disposing of parkland, the Community Charter proposes to make assent of the electors a requirement.”

In a report dated Feb. 19, 2007, The City of New Westminster took actions to dispose of parklands through an exchange and said in that report, “The Community Charter requires that the assent of the electors be obtained before removing park dedication.”

In an April 8, 2015, report the Town of Lake Cowichan ìa Council may, by by-law adopted with the approval of the electors, dispose of park land.î

 An Oct. 2, 2015 Bowen Island Municipality report said, “Whenever a municipality proposes to dispose of or exchange land which has been dedicated as parkland, it is required to obtain approval of the electors.”

https://www.nanaimo.ca/assets/Departments/Legislative~Services/Municipal~Elections/Alternative~Approval~Processes/RPT151005_AAP_LinleyCottleLakeParkExchange.pdf

In an Oct. 5, 2015 report the City of Nanaimo said that “Section 27 of the Community Charter [Exchange or other disposal of park land] must receive the approval of the electors.”

It’s obvious that the intent of the Community Charter was to make councils responsible to the electorate when disposing of parkland.

And, while every situation is unique, other councils in British Columbia are asking their citizens if they want to dispose of parkland before actually doing so.

The drawings that I’ve seen about the proposed plans are dated June 2014.  There was certainly enough time to go through a referendum or other formal process.

Why wouldn’t Penticton’s council also ask?

Wayne Llewellyn

Penticton, BC