Two major development deals flawed

EDITORIAL

Could City Hall please get its ducks in a row?

This new, progressive group of thinkers has launched two ambitious development projects involving city lands and both have accomplished very little other than wasting everybody’s time.

First there was the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre hotel/casino complex which upset the city’s major employer — hoteliers. This project involved significant staff time with a series of public meetings.

After putting the proposal out for expressions of interest, they eventually had to pull it off the table because it was discovered a referendum would be required due to an old covenant from the 1900s on public park land.

Nothing was accomplished except for a lot of unrest and anger in the community.

That was the under card, next came the main event — Skaha Park Marina.

Without rehashing its history, the latest bombshell was dropped Monday night when the city revealed there are some issues with the province of B.C., one of three joint lease-holders. Additionally, the Penticton Indian Band has rightfully requested both an archeological and environmental study as they lay claim to some of that land.

It’s quite possible that ancient artifacts or even humans are buried there.

Council was fully warned about this well in advance by Kaleden resident Tom Siddon. Tom pleaded with council not to proceed until a “proper environmental study” was completed and consultation occurred with First Nations. None of this appears to have been done. This council doesn’t like to take advice.

What does Tom Siddon know? He was a Richmond city councillor, has a doctorate degree and served in Parliament in two key cabinet positions — fisheries and aboriginal affairs, both of which relate directly to the problems council now faces.

An environmental study is going to be expensive, ask anyone whose built on water. The party picking up the tab is “yet to be determined,” the mayor says, but it will likely be the developer.

Like most Penticton residents, PIB Chief Jonathan Kruger supports the marina and restaurant but has extreme reservations about the waterslides.

I decided to do my own detective work and on the Saturday of the dragon boat festival I went for lunch at the new Skaha Marina. It was noon and there were 2,000 dragon boaters on a 45-minute lunch break from competition and it was only me and a table of three on the patio and it was a beautiful day.

I think the possibilities are endless for a restaurant there. Bring in a live DJ, the Coors Light girls, Elvis Evolution, and make it a destination similar to what’s been done so successfully at The Barking Parrot.

That, I believe, is something Penticton would support.