Water Slides

Every resident of Penticton should take time to review Council’s decision to proceed with the Skaha Lake Water Slide Project.  They should investigate thoroughly the pros and cons of the Council’s decision that could result in dire consequences for the City and ultimately the taxpayer. I have read numerous letters in the editorial pages, some well written and command a reader’s attention.  Both sides bring valid points for consideration.  Others lambasted with rhetoric and inflammatory comments do nothing for stating one’s case, whether it’s for or against.  What do we know so far about this proposed development on the business side of the issue?    What I’ve read from the media accounts and my searches on the internet, the Trio Marine Group is not revealing much about themselves or for that matter their business plan for the project.  I find that unsettling, shouldn’t we the taxpayer’s and residents of Penticton be privy to vital important information that could affect ours and future generations.  I ask myself this question how many projects have failed (not just in Penticton)  because of poor project analysis, review and consultation?  Think of these recent political blunders the HST, Trans Link and our own backyard fiascos.  All doomed to failure, costing you and I money.

For those who don’t know me, yes I am a senior, yes I worked in a environmentally sensitive industry (Sawmills and Pulpmills) and I am definitely not a “tree hugger”.   However, from my business background I have many questions about how this project even got on the Council’s table for new business. So in point form not necessarily in order of importance:

Trio Marine Group Inc. who are they? how long have they been in business? who manages this group?  can I find any information about them on the internet, the Better Business Bureau (I already checked and couldn’t get any information), do they have other businesses in British Columbia, Canada, or the United States?  have they been involved in other Waterslide projects? if so where? How successful of a company is Trio Marine Group?  Do they have viable assets?  How much profit did they turn over in 2014?  How long have they been Incorporated? Who was the first person from Trio Marine Group to approach City Council?  Who did they talk to first (Mayor, councillors, City Manager, etc.)? Is their business plan for the project available to the press, the public or is it restricted information? Does anyone on the Council know if they were willing to post a “performance bond”? What about the liability, environmental, access and egress issues, have they been resolved? In the Trio Marine Group’s business plan did they investigate thoroughly the market potential for this area?  Is it reflected in their business plan for payback on investment, how long to recover capital from the initial project?  This is extremely critical for a successful business plan and in most companies approved by a director’s board and their CEO? What happens if the Water Slide Park is an unsuccessful business venture and they have to shut down the Water Slides?  Who pays to put the park back to it’s original standards? What are their long term plans for that part of the Park?  Would more commercial ventures come forward?  Would further expansion be in their long range plans? Did the present council offer any incentives for their project?  If so what are they?

Next on my “hit list” are points to ponder:

In my short time in Penticton I have noticed a rapid expansion of multi-dwelling units on the Skaha Lake side of town.  As I write more expansion is underway and I believe more Condos and single dwelling units are planned.  This influx of new residents will contribute to Penticton’s already congested streets.  Adding the Waterslides for the 3 month peak period, will put us up there with Lower Mainland gridlock.  One of the letters likened Skaha Park to Vancouver’s Stanley Park.  I agree every city should have a Stanley Park, this is your Stanley Park Penticton, keep it as is for all of us and future generations to enjoy. Did Council consider sending out for tender a Water Slide Development project to other like Companies i.e.., Trio Marine Group? The majority of accommodations are on the north side of town, did the Council consider that people using the park would have to travel down the Channel Parkway or through town to access the slides. Restaurants and food kiosks are limited on the south side of town, will more be built to accommodate the Water Slide consumer? How fortunate you are Penticton to be blessed with two beautiful lakes.  I can think of no other place (I am sure there are) that are this fortunate.  These are your greatest assets, treat them wisely. If the project is cancelled, please Council consider removal of “Pay ’n Park” for the boaters using Skaha Lake.  Little (not so little) Cowichan Bay on Vancouver Island has free parking for their boaters.  Sometimes paying attention to even a small detail like this, can result in big returns.

I ask this question to the Mayor and Councillors, why is this project being fast tracked?  Surely you must realize that this is an extremely sensitive issue, it must be thought out well before proceeding.  All sides must be given equal opportunity to voice their opinion why not spend 32K and let the people of Penticton speak, not just a few councillors and a mayor.  I think I am still living in a democratic society though I wonder at times.

And finally a word of advice to the Mayor and the Councillors about spending other people’s money.  Don’t ever box yourself into a corner that you can’t negotiate your way out of.   If you have already committed to the Trio Group and there is a penalty for cancellation to the City of Penticton, you’re in big trouble.  You have just committed the cardinal sin of poor business planning and should resign.  You do not have the business acumen for public office or for that matter any business.

John Spurn