The train wreck has left the station

Dear Editor:

Regarding the waterslide issue, if the city fails to complete its obligations under the signed agreement with Trio Marine Group they may, depending on how the agreement is worded, be responsible for damages based on the projected profit from the failed endeavour.

I would expect that the profit estimate will be vastly inflated, and I have heard a figure of $8-million bandied about. Also, based on the fairly recent Eckhardt Avenue fiasco where the city, contrary to sound business and legal practice, allowed the developer to begin building on the site prior to closure, I would not hold out much hope that the signed agreement will favour the City’s position.

I should note that this can be considered speculation, but, in the absence of facts from the City to the taxpayer, speculation will prevail. Many will recall the Blackwell lawsuit against the Naramata Water Board that was extremely costly to the Naramata ratepayers.

If such a lawsuit by Trio Marine against the City proceeds and is successful, who will be responsible? Will it be the residents who, lacking details of the agreement through public forums and consultation, demanded a referendum on losing our parkland to commercial development (and rightfully so)?

Or will it be the mayor and city council that approved and signed the binding agreement? In this context, it must be kept in mind that there was evidence of major disapproval by the residents to this project prior to the completion and signing of the agreement. This was evident at the well-attended City Hall protest rally which occurred about a week before the signing. It should have been obvious to anyone who was even mildly observant and had the smallest concern for the residents’ (park owners’) opinion, that the project would be strongly opposed. Considering this fact alone, I declare the protest group not guilty.

Who is left to blame if not City Hall to encompass the mayor and council and possibly the well-paid administrative and advisory staff? I believe that the mayor later admitted that the run up to the finalizing of the agreement was poorly handled, but this was apparently not sufficient reason to delay the signing. I believe he stated that he was anxious to move forward and that it was now a done deal.

This impending train wreck has left the station, and will proceed slowly to its ultimate conclusion. I say slowly as the wheels of justice proceed at an excruciatingly slow pace while the meter continues running on legal costs. The possibility that this will not end well is very high.

Claude Bergman

Penticton