The return of the very popular Downtown Community Market run by the DPA is at stake of not happening this year, according to directors of the BIA. (File photo)

The return of the very popular Downtown Community Market run by the DPA is at stake of not happening this year, according to directors of the BIA. (File photo)

Downtown Penticton Association issues desperate call to members after council decision

A notice sent to members warns that the DPA is likely facing dissolution

The Downtown Penticton Association (DPA) issued an urgent notice to its members on Friday, March 18 to claim that the organization is on the edge of being shut down.

The notice points to the recent decision by Penticton city council to require the DPA to go out and get approval from property owners in the downtown business improvement area to go forward with renewing the BIA status and updating its levy.

“This process comes with an overwhelming amount of work to be completed by April 30 and is a direct obstructionist move to normal operations of the association and is essentially an affront to the businesses within the BIA to take away any representation we provided on your behalf to the city,” reads part of the notice.

The notice says that if they are unable to complete the process by April 30, then the community market, graffiti removal program, the community safety program’s monitored cameras and the events the DPA put on would come to an end.

Initially proposed to council was a ‘reverse approval’ process, wherein a lack of response would be considered approving of the changes. Council voted that recommendation down in a 2-3 decision, with councillors James Miller, Campbell Watt and Frank Regehr opposed.

Coun. Judy Sentes was absent for the vote and mayor John Vassilaki had recused himself.

READ MORE: Downtown Penticton Association doesn’t get business levy approval just yet

Council instead unanimously voted to have the DPA go out and complete a petition for service, which requires the support of at least 50 per cent of property owners and 50 per cent of assessed property value to keep the BIA active.

According to the DPA, as well as the Business Improvement Areas of BC (BIABC) which represents the province’s 67 BIAs, the petition for service process is unlikely to succeed and not be used anywhere else in the province.

In addition to a plea to businesses downtown to reach out and contact the property owners on behalf of the DPA, the notice also calls on city council to hold a special meeting to reconsider their vote.

“We as an organization do not have direct access to the required information on building owners and their contact information due to regulations around Privacy Protection Legislation,” reads the notice.

“We literally need to contact all 330 building owners to get their vote.”

The notice ends with a call to businesses in downtown Penticton to contact the city’s councillors to express their thoughts on the decision and to remind them that 2022 is an election year. The notice calls out the councillors who voted against the negative approval process in particular.

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