Walking down a dangerous path

EDITORIAL

One of the easiest, and probably most common, ways to dismiss an argument you don’t agree with is to say the other person “doesn’t understand.”

It’s an argument that Penticton city hall has been using for a while to dismiss the concerns being brought forward by those opposed to leasing public land in Skaha Lake Park to a private company.

The fallacy to this line of reasoning, of course, is that your opponent might understand quite well, and maybe even understands more than you. For it to be otherwise in all cases, you would need godlike omniscience, which doesn’t usually come with being elected to public office. At least, the last time we checked, our city councillors were as human and fallible as the rest of us.

Granted, there has been some misinformation spread about Trio Marine’s proposal for Skaha Lake Park. Some of it may have even been spread willfully to create more opposition.

But the opponent’s core argument, that they don’t want to lose green spaces to a private interest, is not one that could or should have been dismissed.

But it was, and since the contract with Trio Marine has been signed, the debate is really over. Mayor Andrew Jakubeit and other councillors have acknowledged that public consultation was not well done on this proposal, so we can hope that they will ensure future proposals go to the public before, not after, council makes up its collective mind.

City council has walked down a dangerous path by categorically dismissing the concerns brought to them about the marina/waterslide project. Let’s hope they have learned something from this debacle and will be less willing, in future debates, to rush to a position they can’t back down from.