Skaha Lake Park and beach is in the process of being privatized.
Using the provincial parks along Okanagan Lake as an example, privatization has resulted in the tripling of camping fees, charging for fire wood and handsome profits for the operator.
Camping fees went from $12 to $35 and fire wood went from free to being sold by the box or bundle.
Residents can expect the same result at Skaha Lake Park as dock fees have already risen.
It is imperative that taxpayers understand the long range ramifications as well as the size and scope of the Skaha Lake Park Development .
Starting by Googling: PDF City of Penticton 2015, then scroll down to June 29, 2015 and click on 9.9 MB. You will find 172 pages of documents that your tax dollars paid for. The glossy artist renderings, predicted incomes, market techniques and parking diagrams clearly defines the fate of your park.
Next Google: City of Penticton, Expression of Interest, May 17, 2013. Pay special attention to Bylaw 2002-42 that defines the use of parks which reads in part: “Lease uses that do not fit this definition will require an amendment of the bylaw, which would include assent of the electorate.” A waterslide park, hotel, casino or condominium project are not included in the definition.
Assent means a referendum. Referendum means getting public approval. Public approval is the final step before signing agreements.
The mayor and council have chosen to circumvent this entire process by using a convoluted definition of the use of park land.
Educate yourself by reading the documents, then get involved, be active, donate and help decide the future of your city parks. Make no mistake about it, what’s happening in Penticton is being closely watched by developers elsewhere.
If Trio is successful, Skaha Lake Park will become a blueprint on how to acquire valuable public land at bargain prices.
C. Otto Knaak