Benefits to parkland

This Herald file photo was taken in 2015 at Skaha Lake Park, an example of how people in the Okanagan cherish their park space.

Four years after plans for an ill-fated waterslides development in Skaha Lake Park kicked off one of the most turbulent eras in Penticton’s history, the city is set to take a fresh look at the future of the area – but with public consultation this time.

Council at its meeting Tuesday is due to receive a presentation from staff on creation of a new master plan for the eastern side of Skaha Lake Park.

“When looking at the entire park, city staff and several key stakeholders now hold the common view that any long-term planning for Skaha Park should focus on the east side,” Ben Johnson, the city’s acting director of development services, said in a press release.

“Much of the park is functioning well and is in good condition, however there are challenges and opportunities to explore in this part of the park, including the need for a long-term vision for the marina, aging facilities like the spray park and boat house, a desire to improve walking connections between areas of the park, and beach erosion concerns.”

Johnson promised the plan “will be informed through a public engagement process,” and include ideas from a recent citizen-led park design process, which built on the work of Penticton resident Peter Osborne, who has spent years refining his own vision for the area.

As outlined, the process differs greatly from one used by the last city council in 2016 to ink a 29-year lease with Trio Marine Group to build a waterslides development over the splash pad, plus upgrade and operate the marina.

That lease was signed without gaining public assent, leading to protests and rallies, along with a $200,000 payout to Trio tear up the deal.

Also on the agenda for today’s meeting is a staff recommendation to declare the home at 377 Winnipeg St. a nuisance and begin the process of having it torn down.

The rental home, a magnet for drugs and property crime, was boarded up in August 2018 in response to complaints from neighbours and others in the community.

Since then, the owner, Malvinder Randhawa, has done nothing to clean up the property or pay the city the $5,650 he owes in fines and fees.

Declaring the property a nuisance is the first step towards taking legal action to compel Randhawa to act or for the city to do so on his behalf.

“Staff considers that this nuisance condition discourages economic development and negatively impacts neighbouring property values,” bylaw services supervisor Tina Siebert writes in her report to council.

“Derelict or vacant properties project a negative image of the city, impacting tourism, investment in business and development, and new resident attraction.”