We all lose

I offer this lament for times lost.

For generations, Penticton has had the foresight to enhance the natural beauty of this unique spot on the globe, dredging lake bottom to expand and form beautiful beaches, draining swamp lands and channelling creeks to protect and recover fragile downtown real estate from swamp-forming floods, and assembling picturesque parklands on and between our two lakes.

We owe a great deal of gratitude to the visionary civic leaders who moved us in this direction. Recently, however, our city representatives seem to have become myopic. The short-sightedness set in when the city failed to take action that would have prevented construction of a very ordinary hotel that blocks the world-renowned lake-view from Main Street, and permitted an ugly concrete garage and casino on the best waterfront in town.

More recently, we have covered great swaths of hard-won beaches on Okanagan Lake with cold and uninviting concrete, leased a large chunk of waterfront park on Skaha Lake to private interests for construction of an ill-located waterslide, and enticed private investment for a new hotel off Power Avenue by offering, as a perk, rights to public land and facilities.

On top of all this, we are now entertaining a proposal to transfer more public land for use as a semi-private bike racetrack on historic Munson Mountain. How short-sighted!

Does the city have even a modicum of vision for this magnificent city? Have we totally lost appreciation for the natural beauty of this fragile strip of paradise — the appreciation that brought us all here in the first place? What a shame! By permitting short-sighted focus, we — to our collective detriment — fail to distinguish between private interest and public good. In the end, we all lose.

Ken Johnson