PENTICTON - Several hundred residents converged on city hall Monday to voice support for and against a Skaha Lake Marina waterfront proposal, but Penticton council appears to be unfazed by demands of those opposed to the plans.
Those against the plan called on council to call a referendum, or otherwise force a re-thinking, on the issue.
Penticton Mayor Andrew Jakubeit says today he wanted to give everyone on council some time to think about the July 20 rally before gauging their interest in revisiting the proposal by Trio Marine Group for revitalization of the Skaha Lake Marina waterfront.
“Today I canvassed council. They were united in their support to continue forward with the Trio Marine Group,” Jakubeit says, adding council was disheartened by a few citizens’ passion that 'took a turn sideways' and impacted the formal council proceedings. “Everyone has a right to their opinion and should feel safe to voice it and be respected for having a dialogue or showing an interest. Last night I felt democracy took a back seat and we didn’t have civilized or respectful dialogue.”
Coun. Helena Konanz agrees with the mayor, saying a few citizens lost control of their emotions and respectfulness.
“This was not a positive for anyone, but especially negative as this was in front of children whom attended the rally. This was a concern, especially when we’ve been putting such an emphasis on anti-bullying in our community,” she says.
Konanz says it’s an exciting time for the city, noting a growing voice for change in the community for activities supporting youth and young families.
“A referendum would cost $40,000. The referendum actually occurred last November during the election, when at every debate and forum citizens called for changes in our community, then voted for this council,” she says.
“Good public policy isn’t based on who shows up at the front door. Each of us on council platformed for change and moving Penticton forward, receiving overwhelming support. Our decision to create part of Skaha Park into a waterpark was based on what council felt would provide benefit for the community, and aligns with a strategic priority of waterfront enhancement,” Jakubeit adds.
The mayor says of 39 emails he received yesterday about the waterpark, 27 were supportive and 12 were opposed. A look at the comments section on the story posted to Infonews Facebook yesterday about the rally indicates a similar, if not higher ratio of supportive comments over those opposed.
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