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Penticton Peach’s change of operator draws criticism from city councillor

FILE PHOTO - The Peach on Lakeshore Drive.
FILE PHOTO - The Peach on Lakeshore Drive.

A Penticton councillor says he wished he was notified about who would be the new iconic Peach’s operator before the decision was made by city staff.

The former operator of the iconic ice cream stand on Lakeshore Drive Diana Stirling announced on Facebook that she would no longer be the operator for the coming season. Stirling also owns Coyote Cruises, LocoLanding and Lickity Splitz.

The Peach’s operating agreement expired in January 2022, so the city began looking for new licensing agreements from businesses. The peach-shaped concession stand is owned by the city. The new contract was awarded to Family Squeezed Lemonade, a Calgary-based business with stands across Canada and parts of the U.S.

Coun. James Miller, who is also the managing editor of the Penticton Herald, published a Facebook video this morning, April 4, in front of the concession.

“I am deeply concerned of the recent decision by city staff to not re-award the contract of the Peach concession stand to its current operators,” he said in the video. “The decision was not made by council, in fact, I only learned of this Sunday night.”

Miller said he is prepared to bring a notice of motion forward during the city’s next public meeting on Tuesday to discuss the decision.

He responded to the decision because of community concern, he told iNFOnews.

“In the format that it is now with the ice cream and the creative marketing that they’ve done over the last several years, it’s a much-loved institution in the form that it is,” Miller said. “I knew the contracts had gone out to tender, which they have to, but I was unaware of the result.”

A petition has been created to push for the return the Peach's operations to Stirling, because she's a local resident, has gathered more than 2,800 signatures but it incorrectly states the peach could become a lemon. Amanda Chickloski, petition creator, could not immediately reached for comment.

Penticton's communications manager Phillip Cooper said the Peach has been an icon for decades and they are very clear that operators can’t change it into something else.

READ MORE: Penticton's iconic Peach will stay a peach as it gets new operators

Family Squeezed Lemon co-owner Jennifer Andrews said the business was started in Alberta by herself and her husband to teach their children business values and has since spread across Canada and into parts of the U.S. The company is still family-owned and operated as Andrews said her cousins and their families are running other stands across North America.

Family Squeezed operated in Kelowna's City Park last year and it was very successful, she said, so they decided to branch out to Penticton.

"We were very welcomed and we always have our cousins there but we also hire locals as well to help run it," Andrews said.

"Even though there are lots of people who've had concerns, some for personal reasons and some for other reasons, we'd had an outpouring of welcoming and DMs and messages from people saying... 'we're really happy to welcome you,'" she said.

"We plan to make the Peach proud."

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