Parkicide

It’s unbelievable that the Penticton Chamber of Commerce supports the 40-year lease of the green space at Skaha Lake Park which will restrict its usage to paying customers only.

The president stated that “there seems to be general support among the members that we’ve spoken to.” What can I do to protest this faulty thinking? I can avoid any business that is a chamber member, withhold any exchange of money for goods and services they might offer. It appears that the chamber does not have its heart with what is the highest and best for our community, but rather business for business sake. Is pursuit of money the only value its members hold?

As the city council encourages more and more high-density housing including high rise condo “developments,” the need for more and more public park lands will be crucial. Any good urban plan includes public green space in its long range plans. What happened to the Official Community Plan paid for by our tax monies?

A well developed park system is a huge tourist attraction and a beacon for quality of life, healthy and gracious living, the priorities that attract business, permanent residents and visitors. We were on our way to having an enviable developing park system that embraced the natural features we have been graced with here.

The wise city fathers had been acquiring land adjacent to Skaha Lake (with our tax money) for the purpose of parkland for 50 years.  People faithfully donated and planted trees in memory of loved ones on those lands.   There are nearly 30 well established trees on the parkland that will be lost to the proposed waterslide and marina development, many are installed with bronze memorial plaques. I wonder how many family reunions, picnics and celebrations those trees have witnessed?  This Penticton City Council is acting with total disrespect to all the citizens who helped build this beautiful parkland and to those who have and could joyfully gather there at no charge. Parkland is real and true value for our tax money. When I explained what was happening here to a phone contact from eastern Canada he exclaimed “That’s disgusting!” This council will become infamous for its disgusting acts against the very people who elected them unless they change course and listen to the people.

Okanagan Falls recently (and very wisely) had a successful referendum to purchase more beachfront to add to their park inventory.  I salute them. If Penticton City Council and the chamber stay on this park destroying track, visitors to the Okanagan will bypass Penticton for a new destination:  “Okanagan Falls, the little community with a big park heart.” They will avoid Penticton: “The parkicide place, you’re only welcome if you pay.”

Suzie Anderson

Penticton