Hello to all our members!
A special meeting of City Council will be held at 6:00pm Wednesday, November 23, 2016 at the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre to receive community input regarding the newly announced Skaha Lake Marina and Water Park Development.
If you believe that Skaha Park must remain a peaceful and contemplative, freely accessible greenspace with no commercial development, it is imperative that you attend this important meeting and express your opinion.
Unfortunately, the danger to greenspace in Skaha Park has NOT been eliminated.
There has been much discussion, and some confusion, over the City’s Settlement Agreement announced at the City Council meeting November 1. The new agreement consists of 3 parts; the Enhanced Marina Agreement, the Marina Amenity Agreement and the Park Amenity Agreement.
Following is a brief synopsis of the 3 agreements, and an explanation of our response to them:
A. Enhanced Marina agreement –
1. Trio agrees to increase the number of boat slips to 100.
2. Trio to construct a retail space consisting of 225 to 4000 sq. ft. (operating seasonally May 1 to Sept.30)
3. Trio to construct a restaurant of 1360 to 2500 sq. ft. accommodating 85 to 156 customers (operating seasonally May 1 to Sept.30)
4. Trio to take over the operation of the south parking lot south east of the marina building and the existing boat trailer parking lot
B. Marina Amenity agreement –
1. Trio agrees to develop a plan for a seasonal aquatic play structure to be located on the foreshore (not in the water) of Skaha Lake in the area opposite the boathouse and concession. This will be subject to public consultation. No further details are known at this time.
C. Park Amenity agreement –
1. Beginning January, 2018, Trio will take over the seasonal concession within this space and will be permitted to operate a ticket sale kiosk for the Marina and the planned Park Amenity.
2. In 2019 the City will begin to conduct public consultation, as they deem appropriate, to revitalize Skaha Park.
3. The area to be revitalized is the same greenspace (minus the splashpad) where the waterslide was planned to be built. That is to say, virtually all of the greenspace that was part of the original waterpark agreement could be impacted.
4. At the City’s discretion they will identify a new and as yet unidentified park concept within the aforementioned greenspace, that “best balances their plans for a revitalized park and public input, exclusively to Trio to construct any revenue generating facility.”
Q. What part(s) of the Settlement Agreement does SSPS support?
A. SSPSneither contests nor approves the Marina Enhancement or Marina Amenity proposal as long as there is rigorous and authentic public consultation and input. Marina development that stays within the current footprint and does not take up additional greenspace is not part of SSPS’s mandate.
Q. What part of the Settlement Agreement does SSPS oppose? Why?
A. SSPS opposes the Park Amenity section of the Settlement Agreement.
It is our opinion that the City and Trio have merely replaced “waterslide” with “park amenity.” Details of what “park amenity” means are completely unknown at this time and will remain so until 2019.
Furthermore, the City is waiving its own purchasing policy as it relates to the Concession, the Marine Proposal and the Park Amenity, meaning they do not have to tender for bids for any of these projects.
Of greater concern is that the City is exempting itself from having to follow any restrictions or guidelines for commercial development in parks that may come from the Parks and Recreation Master Plan, ironically a process that was initiated by the City becuase of the opposition to the waterslide in Skaha Park. In essence this gives the City and Trio carte blanche (after public input) to build whatever they deem appropriate in the greenspace SSPS is fighting so hard to preserve. Based on their record to date, we have no confidence that the City will heed public opinion, no matter how clearly expressed it may be.
We must remember the Expression of Interest to develop Skaha Park that was issued by the City in 2013. It requested responses to “create some vibrancy at … these significant waterfront locations. The types of developments that could meet this vision include: hotel, restaurant, retail, marina, sports, entertainment or recreation.”
The City has ignored public input in the past with respect to the TRIO development proposals and SSPS has no reason to believe anything will change with the Park Amenity process.
For these reasons it is critical to voice your concerns about the new Park Amenity proposal and plan to attend this very important meeting at 6:00pm Wednesday, November 23, 2016 at the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre.
It’s not over!
SSPS Advisory Committee
Gary Denton, Carolae Donoghue, Gerry Karr, Jake Kimberley, Duane Martin, Lisa Martin, Benoit Robert, Lenora Robson
Hello to all SSPS members!
We are pleased to report that recently a group of UBC Faculty of Management Masters students, as part of a pilot project, requested a meeting with members of our Advisory Committee to learn about the history of Skaha Park and in particular Save Skaha Park Society.
Five members of the Advisory Committee met with the 15 students for an hour in the park and provided them with a brief history of the park and its special importance to Penticton residents. We took them on a walking tour of the perimeter of the space that would be leased for the proposed waterpark and provided them with a history of our Society.
The students, many of whom were familiar with the waterslide issue, were particularly interested in the environmental impact the waterslide would have on the riparian area, and of course, the loss of so many trees.
It was a great opportunity to share our values with them. They asked many excellent questions and offered some great suggestions. All of them were very grateful for the time we spent with them. We were pleased to meet with them, particularly since they were from Kelowna and would undoubtedly spread the word, especially since we sent them on their way with memberships forms!
In other news, our membership is now at just over 5,000 members, thanks to the efforts of our volunteers who worked so tirelessly at the Farmers’ Market and other venues in the city. A sincere thanks to every one of you! It is just matter of time until we surpass 5,126 members – the same number of votes that the Mayor received in the 2014 election!
These days the Advisory Committee is busy preparing for our Society’s first Annual General Meeting (AGM) coming up Wednesday, November 2 at 7:00pm (registration starts at 6:30) at the Penticton Lakeside Resort.
Within the next couple of weeks we will issue an AGM informational package. We are hoping for an excellent turnout at the meeting and look forward to seeing you there.
In Legal news, our lawyer is making progress on the Discovery of Documents stage as we move ahead with our Civil Claim. We will update you as information becomes available.
Gary Denton, Carolae Donoghue, Jake Kimberley, Duane Martin, Lisa Martin, Benoit Robert, Lenora Robson