Parks master plan lacks credibility

Dear Editor:

When I read the article “City Wants Feedback” (Western News, May 11), I thought that I was in Wonderland with Alice, but I had no recollection of following her down the rabbit hole.

The statements made by Mayor Jakubeit regarding the City wanting public input on the future Parks and Recreation Master Plan are so far out of sync with what has gone on with Skaha Lake Park in the recent past that, in a word, they lack credibility.

Two statements made by the mayor in particular stand out, those being;  “My hope is that a broad cross section of the community takes some interest and provides feedback and comment”, and “This engagement process is I feel, a lot more robust”.

What is more robust than two protest rallies at City Hall of 500 people or more protesting against the installation of commercial waterslides in Skaha Lake Park? Thousands signed a petition for the matter to go to a referendum. Hundreds of letters to the editor protested the perceived negative change to the park. As 90 per cent of the letters published on the issue were against the installation of the slides, I believe that this represents the broad section of the population taking interest that the mayor now refers to.

All the above public outcry fell on deaf ears as the mayor and council chose to ignore all this input, and proceed with their plan to commercialize Skaha Lake park while destroying many of the amenities that make it a truly great facility for the vast majority of the population and tourists.

To now ask for input on a parks plan strains credibility, and makes the current exercise seem like a dog and pony show to give the appearance of a council that is willing to accept input that is not in line with their idea of what a park should be.

There is a saying that to be credible, you have to “walk the talk”.

Claude Bergman

Penticton