Penticton City Council approved the sale of city-owned properties at 298 South Beach Drive and 300 Sudbury Avenue, highlighted on the right in yellown, on Tuesday night. (City of Penticton)

Penticton City Council approved the sale of city-owned properties at 298 South Beach Drive and 300 Sudbury Avenue, highlighted on the right in yellown, on Tuesday night. (City of Penticton)

‘A sad end’: Penticton council vote to sell city-owned waterfront land at Skaha Lake Park

It was a vote of 5-2 to sell the land the city originally purchased in 1992

A 30-year old Penticton dream ended abruptly on Tuesday night.

Penticton city council voted to sell city-owned land at Skaha Lake Park during a meeting on Dec. 7, ending the ownership of the waterfront properties on 298 South Beach Drive and 300 Sudbury Avenue.

The land was originally purchased by the city in 1992 and according to coun. Judy Sentes, Tuesday’s decision marked the end of what could have been a great dream.

“The way that the price of land has gone, it’s above our reach,” she said. “I think we have to recognize that.”

The land’s worth has skyrocketed in recent years, prompting the discussion of whether the city should sell and use the money elsewhere.

Before the official vote was conducted, Penticton mayor John Vassilaki said the pending decision was one he’d surely lose sleep over.

“I feel awful that we have to make this decision,” the mayor stated. “I won’t be able to sleep tonight thinking about this.”

Vassilaki added that even though he has a reputation of not selling city-owned property, the decision to move on, in this case, is both necessary and ethical.

“Circumstances come along sometimes when being stubborn and sticking to your beliefs isn’t economically feasible any longer and in this case, that’s what’s happening.”

The decision by council to sell the land was not unanimous. Councillors James Miller and Frank Regehr opposed the sale, citing that the proposal lacked urgency.

The bylaws overseeing the ownership of the land, the Official Community Plan Amendment Bylaw and Zoning Amendment Bylaw, were among the most controversial at Tuesday’s city meeting.

While Miller and Regehr opposed the proposal, Sentes, as well as fellow councillors, Julius Bloomfield and Katie Robinson, were in favour of selling the land.

“I did very much believe in the vision 30 years ago but unfortunately, nothing was done about it,” said Robinson. “None of the properties that did come up for sale were purchased and I believe it’s just getting to the point where it’s going to be unfeasible financially for the city to continue that.”

To conclude the vote and officially put an end to the city’s ownership of the properties, Vassilaki said that he believes the price to sell off all the properties combined will be more than originally anticipated.

“I believe it will be more than $20 million to purchase those properties in order to join into the rest of Skaha Lake Park,” he said to close out the portion of the meeting. “One property alone is $5 million, that’s a quarter of it right there.”

READ MORE: Eastern portion of Penticton’s Skaha Lake Park could get a $2.8M makeover



logan.lockhart@pentictonwesternnews.com

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