Public hearing on waterslide, marina expansion, Monday at City Hall

A public hearing on a proposed water park and marina expansion for Skaha Park will be the main item of interest at a special meeting of Penticton City Council scheduled for Monday at City Hall beginning at 6 p.m.

At issue is a 29-year lease for a large section of Skaha Lake Park. Last year, the City awarded a management contract of the public marina to Trio Marine Group. In addition to operating the marina, they are proposing additional boat slips, a pair of waterslides and mini golf and a full-operation restaurant.

Harvey Quamme, a retired scientist, is among the project’s detractors. In less than 10 days he’s collected 67 signatures on a written petition plus an additional 150 on the webite ipetition.com (www.ipetitions.com/petition/save-our-green-space-in-skaha-park),

“We went to an information session sponsored by Trio and we suddenly realized how much land it would take up in this beautiful park,” Quamme said. “My wife and I are concerned about a lack of information. Doing rough calculations, it’s about 25 per cent. It’s by far the best and most beautiful park in the city and they’re wanting to put in waterslides.”

Admittedly not an expert on waterslides, he’s reviewed the proposed numbers many times and describes the concept as “fuzzy” and fears the city could be entering into “a pig in a poke.”

Former mayor Dorothy Tinning is also opposed.

“I am the first to admit that young children and teens love using water slides two or three months of the year, but a proposal such as this needs to be built on private land, not land that is for the enjoyment of all citizens,” she wrote in a letter to the editor. “There is a cost for families to use a commercial enterprise, that they currently enjoy in an area that is free.”

Following the public input session on Monday, council could green light the initial stages of the project. A nearly 150-page staff report is now available on the City’s website.

Thus far the concept appears to be receiving a warm reception from city councillors.

Coun. Helena Konanz previously said that when a privately-owned waterpark closed in the mid-2000s, Penticton began to see a drop in tourists because there were fewer family-oriented activities.

Resident Crystal Olson, who administers a Facebook page on positive changes for Penticton, praises the idea.

“With Barefoot Beach blooming, I think this is so amazing for this end of town,” Olson wrote.

Fellow group member Robyn Hebert echoed, “Now we have waterslides again. This is terrific!”

Two additional items are also on Monday’s agenda.

Council will give the first three readings of its fees and charges amendment bylaw which will include an amendment to the electrical service payment plan.

Council will also discuss the naming of a new street in a subdivision at 2750 Cedar Road.

To view the entire agenda package visit www.penticton.ca (follow the links: City Hall; Mayor and Council; Council meetings; 2015 Council Meeting Agendas; June 29.)