14 candidates who think neighbours should pay for more Penticton services - InfoNews

Current Conditions

Cloudy
9.1°C

14 candidates who think neighbours should pay for more Penticton services

Penticton's municipal candidates speak out about non-resident use of city facilities and infrastructure, and what, if anything, should be done to ensure non-residents pay their fair share.
October 16, 2018 - 7:00 PM

PENTICTON - It hasn’t been a hot election topic yet, but it sounds like it could be.

Most candidates were quite direct and more than willing to discuss their thoughts about how the city shares costs facilities with outlying residents.

Somewhat surprisingly, opinion appears heavily weighted in favour of having out of town residents paying more, somehow, for their use of the city’s arenas, ball fields, community pool, etc.

We asked candidates: Do areas outlying the city pay their fair share for use of city amenities? (i.e, community centre, SOEC, city rinks) If not, what would you do to level the playing field?

Immediately below you fill excerpts of their answers. Complete answers as submitted are at the bottom of the page. 

They need to contribute more:

Andrew Jakubeit (for mayor): In the past there hasn’t been the political will amongst the regional district directors to create a service (lump sum payment) going towards city amenities…We should attempt to capture lost revenues to lower the burden on our current tax base, and if each neighbouring district doesn’t want to contribute we should consider a two tiered fee system for users.

Jason Cox (for mayor): A new shared services agreement needs to be negotiated with the RDOS and surrounding communities.

Dominic Wheeler (for mayor): It’s worth considering a reduced rate for residents of the city to offset the contribution they make through their taxes. The reduced rate would have the added benefit of encouraging higher usage of these facilities.

Mayoralty candidate Dominic Wheeler.
Mayoralty candidate Dominic Wheeler.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED

John Vassilaki (for mayor): The challenge is to create a win-win scenario that Penticton and the regional district will agree to over the long term, and I think we can get there.

Campbell Watt: The per centage of outlying users using our amenities at last count was about  30 per cent and the outlying areas are going to develop quickly as the land in the city becomes less available. I would like to see areas including Kaleden, Okanagan Falls, West Bench, Naramata, Skaha Estates, Red Wing and the Penticton Indian Band contributing through the RDOS base on population.

Marie Prior: Outlying areas do not pay their fair share for use of our city amenities, a reasonable suggestion would be to have all RDOS residents pay a small fee to lighten our tax burden.

Daryl Clarke: No, they do not pay their fair share, and under the current setup on the RDOS they never will. The outlying areas have more votes on the regional district than Penticton does, so things will never change.

Kevin Proteau: No they are not. We need to work with our council and staff to engage the Regional District to find long term to help fund these facilities.

Julius Bloomfield: The issue is how far out do we draw a line? It would not be fair to charge residents of Keremeos and other remote areas.

Doug Maxwell: I have always maintained that any large project should be shared by a per centage of population with RDOS and the Penticton Indian Band.

Glenn Clark: Outlying areas should be contributing their fair share; there is no low income housing in the Benches.  But there’s more to it. The P3 model the city went to is hurting the citizens.

Jake Kimberley: The only solution is to have an agreement with the regional district where they pay the city an annual lump sum.

Connie Sahlmark: I would like to have the community centre and rinks have specially discounted family and individual memberships for local residents. This does not include organized sports clubs. Our youth and young families need things to do that don’t cost money every time they go out. All other users pay the going market value.

Frank Regehr: I’ve obtained enough information to know our recreation facility losses are in the millions of dollars and cost sharing agreements with regional areas a common practice.

These candidates are okay with the status quo:

Jukka Laurio (for mayor): The city should encourage people from the outlying communities to come and use the facilities, maybe even offer discounts. Every cent we receive from outside of Penticton reduces the amount the city is obligated to pay.

James Blake (for mayor): Simple, clear taxes and fees should be standardized across the board.

Max Picton: I believe that as a community we actually benefit financially from regional visitors utilizing our facilities.

Incumbent Penticton councillor Max Picton.
Incumbent Penticton councillor Max Picton.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED

Katie Robinson: I believe the system is working reasonably fairly at the moment, however this always needs to be reassessed regularly.

These candidates did not respond to our questions:

John Archer
Duffy Baker
Karen Brownlee
Christopher Evison
Joe Frocklage
Isaac Gilbert
Lynn Kelsey
Jesse Martin
David O’Brien
Christopher Millin
Darryl Sanders
Judy Sentes

Below is each candidate’s full response to the question, "Do areas outlying the city pay their fair share for use of city amenities? (i.e, community centre, SOEC, city rinks) If not, what would you do to level the playing field?”

Jukka Laurio: The outlying communities did not decide to build these facilities and incur the costs that go with them. They are the responsibility of the city.  The city should encourage people from the outlying communities to come and use the facilities, maybe even offer discounts. Every cent we receive from outside of Penticton reduces the amount the city is obligated to pay.

Andrew Jakubeit: Only the West Bench has a formal agreement ,and they pay $25,000 for use of some the facilities (library and community center). That number has never been indexed and the formula or model never introduced to other regions. Most minor sport organizations have 22-24% of their registrations from outside of Penticton proper.

In the past there hasn’t been the political will amongst the regional district directors to create a service (lump sum payment) going towards city amenities. Services and amenities cost so there should be some way to recoup costs from those outside our taxation base. Especially now as we consider aging recreation facilities and public amenities needing repair or replacement. We should attempt to capture lost revenues to lower the burden on our current tax base, and if each neighboring district doesn’t want to contribute we should consider a two tiered fee system for users.

James Blake: I believe every person and business should be treated with equity and consistency.

Simple, clear taxes and fees should be standardized across the board.

Jason Cox: A new shared services agreement needs to be negotiated with the RDOS and surrounding communities. A portion of the budgets of surrounding communities should be contributed to the City of Penticton for the operations and upkeep of our recreation infrastructure. Not all of our facilities have admission fees, our parks and beaches and cycling routes for example, that is why a shared services approach is more effective than a “pay to play” approach.

I am not in favour of having individual citizens or visitors to the city pay higher admission fees in order to use the facilities. We are a welcoming community where everything that makes Penticton a great place to live is also what makes it a great place to visit. We should not treat visitors like second class citizens with policies that act as a barrier to participation.

I think that there are larger budget items that can be shared between the City of Penticton, the regional district and even the school board. A regional approach to transit, economic development and even a shared Emergency Operations Centre could yield large savings for the taxpayers, eliminate overlapping services and improve effectiveness through increased cooperation.

Dominic Wheeler: Penticton taxpayers shoulder the majority of the costs to run and maintain city amenities that benefit neighbouring communities and tourists alike. It's worth considering a reduced rate for residents of the city to offset the contribution they make through their taxes. The reduced rate would have the added benefit of encouraging higher usage of these facilities.

John Vassilaki: This is always a challenging debate between municipalities and regional districts. Penticton is the hub for our region, and attracting people from a larger trading area is important for our businesses.  As the hub we have built some great public properties.  However, these properties that we share in the region require ongoing upkeep and I think it is important that the outlying areas contribute to these assets. 

The challenge is to create a win win scenario that Penticton and the Regional District will agree to over the long term, and I think we can get there.

Connie Sahlmark: I would like to have the community centre and rinks have specially discounted family and individual memberships for local residents. This does not include organized sports clubs. Our youth and young families need things to do that don’t cost money every time they go out. All other users pay the going market value.

This would be part of an initiative to better represent the fine arts and community health in the budget. Though the arts are not associated with community centre, SOEC, city rinks they are equally of value in providing quality of life to the community. Healthy outlets provided through access to recreation, creativity and socialization go far in enriching the mental and emotional well-being of a community.

Campbell Watt:  I don’t feel the outlying areas pay their fair share of city amenities. In fact, I am concerned with the potential growth of the outlying areas that we will be facing a much larger impact to our city amenities in the very near future. The percentage of outlying users using our amenities at last count was about 30 per cent and the outlying areas are going to develop quickly as the land in the city becomes less available. I would like to see areas including Kaleden, Okanagan Falls, West Bench, Naramata, Skaha Estates, Red Wing, and Penticton Indian Band contributing through the RDOS based on population for the usage of our recreational facilities.

Marie Prior: Outlying areas do not pay their fair share for use of our city amenities, a reasonable suggestion would be to have all RDOS residents pay a small fee (annual/or quarterly) to lighten our tax burden and help with the cost of maintenance of infrastructure. As well we need to renegotiate the 40 per cent fee charged to cover their administration costs. Some cities have already threatened to leave the RDOS, but did stay after renegotiating a lower rate. And there is talk of building a new office across from city hall and we will be paying 40 per cent of that. What do we get out of that…Good will???

Daryl Clarke: No they do not pay there fair share, and under the current setup on the RDOS they never will. The outlying areas have more votes on the RDOS than Penticton does so things will not change. In the past there has been several municipalities that have opted of the regional districts and forced the province to become involved in order to get a fair and equitable deal for that municipality. If we can’t work out a more fair and equitable deal maybe it’s time for Penticton to do the same. We are the hub but it’s not fair for us to pay more in taxes so the outlying areas can enjoy our amenities at a lower cost to them. I believe the money should come from all who use not just us.

Kevin Proteau: No they are not. We need to work with our council and staff to engage the regional district to find long term to help fund these facilities. (i.e, community centre, SOEC, city rinks)

Frank Regehr:  Total operating costs for Penticton’s recreation facilities are not identified in the city’s financial reports. I’ve obtained enough information to know our recreation facility losses are in the millions of dollars and cost sharing agreements with regional areas a common practice.Loss-reduction requires either cost sharing arrangements or a two-tier rate structure.

Max Picton: I believe that as a community we actually benefit financially from regional visitors utilizing our facilities. These users spend their dollars in our town and that the money spent outweighs the subsidy that our taxpayers cover on their facility use.

Julius Bloomfield: I think most people on the outlying areas would be prepared to contribute to the costs of city amenities, but it would not be fair to charge residents of Keremeos and other remote areas. The issue is how far out do we draw a line? Finding a fair solution is the work that needs to be addressed by the city and the RDOS.

Doug Maxwell: I have always maintained that any large projects (SOEC, community centre, curling rink, indoor ice surfaces, skateboard parks and more) should be shared by per centage of population with RDOS and PIB. This eliminates the discussion of any two-tier pricing ( which will not work ) and just seems fair!

Katie Robinson: I believe the system is working reasonably fairly at the moment, however this always needs to be reassessed regularly.

Glenn Clark: Outlying areas should be contributing their fair share; there is no low income housing in the benches.  But there’s more to it. The P3 model the city went to is hurting the citizens.  Minor hockey used to get a break on rink costs until our rinks were privatized, now they pay full price, with the majority of profits going to you guessed it, not the city. How many of you have to pay to park in front of your own home now? It’s one thing to pay ten bucks to park at a hockey game, but it’s tough to swallow knowing none of that money is returned to the community, after the millions we spent to build the new barn.  What did the city get from the casino for the almost new wine centre? It’s wrong. None of these profits are going back to city coffers.  There is a lot of work that needs to be done.

Jake Kimberley: No, I don’t think they do but it is a difficult issue to address. The only solution is to have an agreement with the Regional District where they pay the city an annual lump sum. You cannot and will never find a single person user fee when someone outside the city uses our recreational facilities.


To contact a reporter for this story, email Steve Arstad or call 250-488-3065 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

We welcome your comments and opinions on our stories but play nice. We won't censor or delete comments unless they contain off-topic statements or links, unnecessary vulgarity, false facts, spam or obviously fake profiles. If you have any concerns about what you see in comments, email the editor in the link above. 

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2018
InfoTel News Ltd

  • Popular kelowna News
  • Comments
View Site in: Desktop | Mobile