Skaha Lake Park, a beautiful, quiet area with Skaha Lake along one side, and access to parking along another, is used 12 months per year by those wishing a quiet stroll, or enjoying themselves in small groups.
It is a favourite spot for our extended family, both those residing locally and those visiting from across North America. It doesn’t have the crush of mid-summer crowds; but it also is not deserted for much of the year as is seen with commercially developed outdoor structures.
Attempted removal of similar Penticton park land in the past has been turned down; but not without considerable dissension and discussion. The most notable example was the proposal to develop a high rise where Okanagan Lake Park now exists.
At present Okanagan Lake Park is very well used and enjoyed by tourists and residents alike, an important part of Penticton’s summer activities. What a loss it would have been to Penticton, residents and visitors alike if we had then allowed a high rise instead of having this wonderful park for all to use.
Removal of park status should be done only following well-publicized public information sessions: stating exactly what is intended to happen to the park lands, then explanations to the public why lands other than park land, could not be used instead, for the proposed purpose.
Finally a polling of the population involved should be carried out, to ascertain the level of public approval for this removal from park land. If a majority is against a proposal to remove an area from park land status, then that proposal should be axed.
In articles and letters to the editor I have seen those who oppose removal of park land to commercially develop it, called: “nay-sayers, anti-development and a vocal minority.” We have had several impressive demonstrations, and been given an idea of how big this “minority” is. We have also seen how tiny, in comparison, the number of “park pavers” who turn out to demonstrate for their cause.
Unfortunately this parkland loss will be permanent, with restoration impossible once clear cutting of the trees and paving over of the area has been allowed. We must not allow this to happen, and continue to show support for parkland protection.