Letter: The forever mistake

Letter: The forever mistake

(File photo)

What do Oliver and Penticton have in common? Both communities have booted out their mayors. What did both mayors have in common? Both mayors gave away a park to a developer, a decision that was not popular with the peasants.

In the case of Penticton, the people had to go to court to get the mayor to back off; the process cost the town well over $200,000 to appease the developer. Little old Oliver was not so lucky; a big box like hotel with all the style and class of an oversized Lego kit got built in the downtown park, and all those big beautiful trees were torn out. Looking back, it’s clear that council gave in to a short-term gain.

The hotel, without a doubt, should have been built farther down the road on Highway 97, on land that was for sale and ready to go at a fair price, and had abundant highway frontage.

Oliver council was easily able to put in place all the successful permits needed with the many government agencies and then build a structure as big as the hotel alongside a free flowing river – a main fish-bearing link to the lakes in our part of the Okanagan.

We in Oliver needed a hotel and nobody is disputing that, but the location is a “forever mistake” that even beats the Skaha Park waterslide debacle in  Penticton.

No doubt that over time losing the Oliver park in its original state will cost the community in its intrinsic value. How many towns do you know of where there is (was) a beautiful little tree-lined park that has a fantastic river running along side it? It was a jewel and it’s gone, all thanks to a short-sighted council.

These two councils are proof positive that four years is too long a term considering the damage that can collectively be achieved when decisions are made behind closed doors. 

Don Smithyman, Oliver


  1. Except it wasn’t a “Park”. It was private property that was being used as a RV park, and not open to the general public to roam through.

    Unless you had a motorhome parked there and paid the fees, you would have been trespassing.

    We also went from a seasonal place for a minimal amount of tourists, to a full season year round facility for tourists and snowbirds. The RV park employed 2 or 3 people, the new hotel employs dozens.

    • We are talking about the hotel that is mediocre at best and resembles the prison right? The one they tore out all the mature old trees for? And isn’t it the property that had a covenant on it to prevent exactly this kind of development from destroying the park? What happened to that covenant? What dozens of employees?? How about the 4000 visitors to our town every summer that now have to drive on through to Penticton or Osoyoos? Who the hell comes to Oliver in winter for a vacation? And where’s the common sense in placing a hotel beside a children’s park? It was wrong on oh so many levels. I’m pretty sure you won’t be able to hang out in the Coast Hotel without paying them a heck of alot more for a little square box room. That would also be “trespassing”. The beauty of the area has been destroyed for a box that looks like the prison.

  2. I know I for one do not like being referred to as a “peasant, that said, the hotel has been great for this town, there have been sports teams that have stayed there from out of town for volleyball tourneys and a lot of the high performance car drivers have been staying there as well, not to mention a celebrity or two as well.

    Location is everything, as is with everything building wise. Besides with it being as close as it is I as well as my fiances kids have the ability to walk down and see her at work or bring her food when its dinner time.

    Its here to stay, get over it, move on, let bygones be bygones, pic the spec out your own eye before going after the log in someone else’s, turn the other cheek…..I could go on but I won’t…….the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence…ok last one.

    • Location is everything. That property could have been turned into a park for the community and the hotel located on the highway where mediocre hotels belong. Celebs don’t stay at Coast Hotels. Someone lined their pockets with this one and unless the town notices and speaks out it will continue to happen. It’s not about bygones – it’s about politicians putting personal interests before those of the town and it’s citizens.

  3. It’s not even a park yet, until the fences come down, after how many years of keeping locals out, even in winter. Lots of space left, as we never had much access to it anyway, a beautiful place for a picnic! Many winters I’ve walked by, without a footprint in the snow, there. The town realizes revenue from the site, we actually have better access, I don’t see a problem. Let’s get a gate in at the south end, and it’ll be great.

  4. As a tourist checking out Oliver as a retirement location, the riverside RV park didn’t have any appeal to us, and we stayed at a lovely rv park right on the lake ( which is still there) A later visit without the RV, had us looking for a over night acomodation with all the small old motel,hotels full of golfers. When we saw the plan for the new hotel that helped seal the deal as a progressive town.We have built a home here and the convenient location of the new hotel is great for visiting family and friends. The access to the walk path make for a unique location and special. Sound to me like the author just doesn’t like change or had a vested interest in having nothing change , or is just too close to it all. There were many other reasons for new people in the town administration. Time to look forward not back.

  5. To All: The issue was never about the hotel, clearly we needed one. It was about whether or not the people of this community supported the location, which they overwhelmingly did not. They spoke and as usual were not heard. The inability to act as the electorate wished had a profound impact on our recent elections. I now quote from Lincoln:

    “If you once forfeit the confidence of your fellow citizens, you can never regain their respect and esteem. It is true that you may fool all of the people some of the time; you can even fool some of the people all of the time; but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time. -Speech at Clinton, Illinois, September 8, 1854.”
    ― Abraham Lincoln

    Thanks, Michael Guthrie Oliver

  6. Wow !! I cannot believe some people . The Coast is there. Get over it. Station Street has never looked better . We have plenty of R.V. parks and green spaces already . I see the parking lot at the hotel always occupied. I appreciate some people quoting famous American Presidents but it is time to move on. Looks like a Prison ? Really ?
    The election is over . Let’s have a fresh start and stop dwelling on the past.

    These negatives comments do nobody any good. Move to on…

  7. I have a question, How do people like the pool they got out of the hotel? I know that was a large selling point. I for one was skeptical that what we would get from it would not be what most people thought they would be getting in terms of an indoor pool the community could use.

    I do agree we needed the accommodation and also agree with Mike Guthrie that it came down to the locations appropriateness for the community.