Save Skaha Park will have to wait until Aug. 17 to address council

A group that’s opposed to a development proposed for Skaha Lake Park in Penticton is upset it won’t be allowed to speak to city council about the project on Tuesday.

Gary Denton, a member of Save Skaha Park (formerly known as the Concerned Penticton Residents Association), applied to speak at Tuesday night’s council meeting but learned Friday afternoon he had been denied.

Denton said he was told by corporate officer Dana Schmidt that “the timing wasn’t good” and that, ultimately, what goes on city council’s agenda is up to the mayor.

At issue is a proposed waterslide at Skaha Lake Park that will be leased by the city to Trio Marine Group on 11 per cent of the park’s current green space.

“It’s frustrating that an issue that’s important to so many people is not on the agenda but a bow-and-arrow firearms bylaw is,” said Denton, a city councillor from 1996 to 2002. “The mayor is apparently not interested. They clearly won’t listen and they don’t even want to hear the concerns of citizens.”

Mayor Andrew Jakubeit said Friday the Save Skaha Park group will be invited to make a presentation at the Aug. 17 meeting.

Jakubeit noted two public hearings are already scheduled for Tuesday, including one dealing with rezoning property at 3388 Skaha Lake Rd. for condo units and a time-share hotel complex.

“We have building capacity limits,” Jakubeit said. “Council has endorsed continuing to move forward with Trio Marine, so giving the delegation the following meeting won’t change things and perhaps might give them time to suggest a more holistic or encompassing proposal or suggestion regarding public spaces versus targeting only Skaha.”

Meanwhile, Save Skaha Park has scheduled a rally — its second — for 5:30-6 p.m. Tuesday outside the steps of City Hall. Denton stresses the peaceful demonstration “is not a debate.”

Meanwhile, local citizens Ernie and Elvena Slump are taking up two recall petitions. One refers to a lack of adequate public consultation on city issues in general and the other deals with a lack of polling stations during the 2014 civic elections.

Although B.C. doesn’t have a recall law covering municipal politicians (except in the case of being convicted of an indictable offence), the couple plans to submit the petitions to Premier Christy Clark.

The Slumps begin their petition drive Saturday morning at the Penticton Community Market. They will have a booth set up from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the 200 block of Main Street.

Volunteers from Save Skaha Park are at Skaha Lake Park nightly from 5 to 8 p.m., near the site of the proposed water park, conducting a separate petition that would force the issue to referendum. Thus far, they have collected 1,500 names of local residents.