Saturday, March 31, 2007

Ian Birds: Badminton Club sets sights on gym

The following letter appeared in the Penticton Western News Advertiser, Mar 25 2007:

Re: Acquisition of Pen Hi north gymnasium/auditorium for badminton/sport purposes:

We are pleased to confirm that the Penticton Badminton Club has recently re-established itself as an active, viable group, capable of joining other interested sporting/artistic groups in taking over operation of the use of the above-mentioned facilities. The PBC for many years, leased the facilities from the Penticton school district and operated both adult and junior badminton programs in the evening and valley-wide tournaments on weekends.

All of these activities and associated social functions came to an end when the school district discontinued use of the Pen High gymnasium and relocated our activities to Wiltse School gymnasium. At a later date, the city made available the recreation centre on an ad-hoc basis. This facility is inadequate due to poor lighting and inappropriate wall colours. The Pen Hi gymnasium is far superior in this respect. Badminton activities have therefore suffered. Tournament play is now non-existent except for the other centres in the valley that attract the better players. A sad state of affairs for local merchants who benefited from local players and the influx of outside players from other areas coming to Penticton.

The PBC has, over the years, accumulated a substantial fund from membership dues and tournament registration fees. This income has been well invested and members have expressed a wish to explore investing in the establishment of the PBC in the Pen Hi gymnasium. We also encourage the efforts of other clubs and organizations who would wish to join with the PBC in entering a long-term lease through the City of Penticton of the lands containing both the gymnasium and the auditorium.

PBC would be available on short notice to enter into negotiations with municipal staff to formulate a policy of use for the said facilities and look forward to your support and reply in this regard.

Ian A.Birds President,
Penticton Badminton Club

Errol Anderson: Losing building inconceivable

The following letter appeared in the Penticton Herald:

Dear Editor:

Being a subscriber to Penticton Community Concerts, I have enjoyed many theatrical and music productions over the years in the Penticton Secondary School Auditorium. This little gem of a theatre is quite unique with its approximately 700 comfortable seats, all with an unobstructed stage view, its marvelous acoustics and its central location.

The thought of losing this heritage building to the wreckers’ ball due to a lack of foresight or intention is inconceivable. What is there to take its place to serve the arts in this community?
I am pleased city council has managed to negotiate a revised decision date with the school board, to June 1 in order, as quoted, to conduct a facilities inventory. Mayor Jake Kimberley has also stated that the city has finite resources and “must be proactive in determining where facility dollars will be required in the future.”

Undoubtedly, this is a task to be undertaken but there is no commitment at this time by council to save our auditorium by their action. Nor will there be, in my opinion, unless those who pay council’s wages make it clear the city must act on the taxpayers’ wishes to retain this fine building for the benefit of us all. Bear in mind the necessary cost to separate this building from the school gymnasium and renew its air-conditioning and hearing systems and upgrade other services can only be miniscule compared to the staggering $17 million cost overrun negotiated by this council in relation to the South Okanagan Event Centre contract.

Do not assume, fellow citizens, that in the review and facilities inventory proposed by council that our auditorium will be given any special priority in their decision-making. It will have to be made clear to them we want our Pen-Hi Auditorium saved for our continued use and for our amateur dramatic societies to be encouraged and supported by its presence. So, make that call, mail that letter, talk to our councilllors. Otherwise, we shall be lectured on finite resources, competing demands and conflicting priorities by our local politicians and lose this treasured facility in the ensuing debate.

Let us unite in our determination in this and ensure council carries out our wishes in the matter.

Errol Anderson