PENTICTON - Penticton councillors needed no persuasion one way or the other, and appeared to have made up their minds prior to last night’s special council meeting to decide the fate of the Skaha Lake Marina and Water Park development.
Council took less than 45 minutes last night, Dec. 1, to state their views and vote 5-2 in favour of accepting the revised settlement and enhanced marina agreements.
The meeting continued another 45 minutes, however, as several members of the packed gallery expressed their views in opposition to council’s decision.
Councillors Max Picton, Andre Martin, Helena Konanz, Judy Sentes and Mayor Andrew Jakubeit all voted in favour of the option, which they believe answer most of the concerns of those against the revised agreement that would see Trio Marine Group invest 1.5 million to upgrade the marina, restaurant and add retail space.
Councillors Campbell Watt and Tarik Sayeed voted against the agreement.
City staff presented alternative motions to council, including refusal to accept the revised agreement, sorting out matters with Trio in an alternative way, or simply waiting to see what would happen with respect to the existing waterpark agreement.
Coun. Konanz noted her research into the Save Skaha Park Society’s website included reviewing a number of letters to the editor. She said most of the concerns expressed in those letters — preservation of green space, no watersides, no further commercialization of the park and marina upgrades — had been met with the revised agreement.
Mayor Andrew Jakubeit said the decision was a difficult one for him because of the division the incident had created in the community, adding calls to completely tear up the agreement and pay Trio Marine $200,000 to $300,000 didn’t make sense. He said the city simply didn’t have enough money to make the investment on its own.
Coun. Watt said he wanted to agree with the rest of council, but said settling was not something he wished to do, adding he thought the best option was to start negotiations all over again.
Coun. Tarik Sayeed, who appeared at the meeting via video link, waited until the other councillors had expressed their opinion before saying the 39 year lease Trio Marine would have on the marina "isn't a partnership, it’s domination.”
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