Approximately 11 years ago, a consortium of developers wanted to build a cabana at Skaha Park.
The outcry was so huge against the loss of public park land that special meeting was held at the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre. Over 300 people attended, standing room only. The mayor of the day, David Perry and council cut the project. They listened to the citizens of Penticton because they respected the democratic voice.
Now, here we are again and yet another consortium wishes to develop Skaha Park. They want to build a waterslide, take a quarter of our public park and erect a chain link fence and if you cannot pay you cannot get in.
In the late 1990s, Skaha Park was rezoned and the city has been prudently and progressively, purchasing the houses on Elm Avenue. My mother lived on Elm for over 32 years, her house was expropriated by the city and she was assured that one day her property would be part of the park land in perpetuity. By the time the city purchases the fourth house on Elm they will have spent close to $4 million to accumulate more park land — wonderful — only to lease it to a developer for a few months of the year — ludicrous.
Remember the park has been paid for by our tax dollars and belongs to everyone. If we allow 25 per cent of Skaha Park to be turned into a for-profit venture, it will be gone forever. The detrimental impact to the remaining 75 per cent will decimate the unique ambiance and beauty of the park and we will never see it again as it stands today.
I wish to respectfully remind mayor and council that under the community charter, section 7 municipal purposes, the purposes of a municipality include providing for good government of its community, providing services, laws and other matters for community benefit, providing for stewardship of the public assets of its community and fostering the economic, social and environmental well being of its community.
Referendum or recall?