Please define engagement

Dear Editor:

Mayor Jakubeit made the following statement with respect to the committee that he has formed to look at the future of parks in Penticton: “the committee will only be directing the process and that it will be community engagement that will give it shape” (Western Feb. 24).

Sounds very democratic, but is he referring to the type of community engagement that took place with regard to the city’s plan to put a commercial water-slide in Skaha Lake Park?

It seems to me that the community engagement over that parks matter took the form of massive protest rallies outside City Hall, thousands of names on a petition to require a referendum and another for a recall, a  massive protest rally at Skaha Lake Park, hundreds of letters to the editor against the project, and a lawsuit against the City to require a referendum.

In spite of this “so-called” engagement by the majority against the project, city council voted to proceed with the project, and, from all appearances, still plans to proceed.

If this is the type of engagement he is referencing, why bother with a committee at all? The main reason is that having this committee could provide legitimacy to future hair-brained schemes similar to the water-slide proposal, and give the appearance of a democratic process being in place. It provides a convenient “smoke screen” for the existing Skaha Lake Park fiasco.

The mayor should be well aware by this time that actions speak louder than words.

Claude Bergman

Penticton