Prema Harris, right, and Jeanette Beaven of the Protect Our Park organization at Saturday’s rededication and celebration of the commemorative bench at Okanagan Lake Park. Mark Brett/Western News

Fight to save city parks nothing new

Defending the sanctity of public parklands is nothing new for Penticton’s Prema Harris.

On Saturday she joined a group of people at Okanagan Lake Park for the rededication of a bench that was commissioned in 2002 after that property was spared from commercial development.

That situation was not unlike the events at Skaha Lake Park recently where public outcry convinced civic politicians to nix plans for a waterslide operation.

“I just get so mad and what happened at Skaha Lake Park was deja vu,” said Harris who became a member of the Protect Our Parkland group and helped lead the fight 15 years ago. “I did it for her (pointing to daughter Mia). It was organized because of the threat to this beautiful piece of land, to be developed into a time share, or condo or hotel which was proposed at the time.

“It was just a shock to us because we thought this was always park.”

The fight against the development started in the late 90’s and carried on until 2002 when a public referendum was held in which 91 per cent of the electorate agreed to a bylaw dedicating 12 parcels of city-owned land as park land.

Harris added in her eyes and many other people’s that meant no development but as seen with Skaha Lake Park, that was not the case.

Penticton Citizens First and Save Skaha Lake Park Society lead the opposition to the waterslides and members of both groups were in attendance Saturday.

“It’s a very important day because as we’ve seen over the last few years people’s memories can be short. Elected officials memories can be short,” said David Perry a former Penticton mayor and opponent to the waterslide development. “It’s important to have a day like today where we rededicate and remind everybody of the importance that went on in the battle of 2002 to save this beautiful park space.”

Dr. Gerry Karr was another member of the society in attendance who spoke of the work of the efforts of the Protect Our Parks organization.

“They got their referendum,that proved this was not just a fringe group,” said Karr.”This was a group that truly represented public opinion within the city.

“It wasn’t a city divided it was people united against a council that had made a foolish decision.”

Harris had a final warning to people: “We can’t leave the running of our community to politicians and business interests. We have to become engaged in order to protect and ensure that we have the quality of life that we all came to the Okanagan for.”

 

The new plaque on the bench in Okanagan Lake Park. Mark Brett/Western News

Just Posted

UPDATE: Rockslide keeps Coquihalla northbound lane closed

Highway 5 is closed in one direction.

Coal dust escaping rail cars spurs petition

Local governments on board with Shuswap resident’s request for better control of escaping particulate

Okanagan a hot spot for film industry

Despite wet, smoky year Okanagan attracts $30 million in film production

Mamas for Mamas founder survives with new lease on life

Kelowna’s Shannon Christensen escaped a dangerous situation and lived to tell about it

Similkameen farms highlighted in foodie show

Several local spots are highlighted in this year’s season of Quest Out West: Wild Food

Your Jan. 22 Morning Brief

Check out the top stories of the day in the Okanagan-Shuswap with Carmen Weld’s Black Press Morning Brief.

Police fear fewer fentanyl imports don’t signal the end of the overdose crisis

RCMP say it’s just as likely that criminal are getting more clever

UPDATE: Two people die in ATV accident south of Campbell River

Third person survived attempt to cross a creek

Lawyers slam ‘de facto expulsion’ of student guilty of sexual interference

Calgary student guilty of sexual assault of a minor allowed to finish semester

B.C. NDP set to restructure union bargaining

School trustees to regain control over employer group

$130K could get you on a dive to the Titanic

Hot summer ticket: $130K could get you on a dive to the Titanic off Newfoundland

UK’s Princess Eugenie, daughter of Prince Andrew, engaged

Princess Eugenie, the daughter of Prince Andrew and his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson, will marry Jack Brooksbank in Autumn 2018

German nurse charged with 97 more murders

Niels Hoegel, serving a life sentence for two murders, has been indicted in nearly 100 more killings.

Two men guilty in murders of Alberta family could face 75 years

The pair were found guilty of first-degree murder in the shooting deaths of Klaus’s parents and sister in a rural home near Castor, Alberta

Most Read