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Community support for city project exists but more data needed, City of Penticton says

Click to play video: 'Community support for city project exists but more data needed, City of Penticton says' Community support for city project exists but more data needed, City of Penticton says
Community support for city project exists but more data needed, City of Penticton says – Dec 8, 2021

There are still several unanswered questions surrounding Penticton’s Civic Places and Spaces Asset and Amenity Management Project.

The city announced on Tuesday that 60 per cent of people who were surveyed are in favour of the project, meaning they would at least like to see a proposal.

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“Our goal with these engagement activities was to gather feedback on the recommendations to help determine next steps,” said JoAnne Kleb, public engagement program manager for the City of Penticton, in a press release.

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Among the four recommendations is a plan to demolish both the Memorial and McLaren arenas and build a brand-new two-rink facility.

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Officials with the Penticton Minor Hockey Association say they are on the fence about the project.

“Our stance is that it isn’t neutral but we aren’t opposed to twin rinks, but this is also our home and taking down two new rinks and building two new isn’t going to solve any of the space issues,” said Penticton Minor Hockey Association administrator Darla Roy.

“Our historical ice needs to be retained, and our banners and history need to be moved, too. It is really important that we maintain our home rink feel.”

Roy added that Penticton Minor Hockey appreciates being included in the conversation but still has more questions on how the new rinks would look.

Read more: Penticton, B.C., council backs outdoor public skating rink; mayor calls it a great idea

Also proposed is a new cultural centre that will house the Penticton Art Gallery, library and museum.

“The Library Board is open to exploring this opportunity to collaborate with the city and the groups identified with the arts community in Penticton,” wrote the Penticton library’s co-chair, David Folstad, in a letter to the city.

“We feel that further discussion and collaboration is required as the diverse needs of the various arts groups will require a great deal of negotiation.”

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The twin arenas and the arts and culture centre were the most contentious of the four recommendations, according to Kleb.

The city is considering tackling each proposal separately in order of priority. Beginning with the public safety and protective services centre.

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Nearly 400 people attended various events, including online meetings, and another 400 completed an online feedback form.

“These are major decisions that will affect life in our community for decades,” said Penticton Mayor John Vassilaki in a press release. “I’m encouraged by the thoughtfulness of the participation to date.”

The city says there wasn’t much pushback on the condition of each building but there were questions on how the project would look when it moved forward.

Another update is expected in early 2022.

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