By ROY WOOD
The town of Osoyoos has agreed to help pay for a study aimed at getting better service at Penticton Regional Airport, but the amount turns out be more tokenistic than substantial.
Penticton chief administrative officer Peter Weeber earlier asked for financial help to pay for a consultant’s study aimed at developing a business case for Air Canada and WestJet to upgrade service at Penticton Regional Airport.
Weeber’s Osoyoos counterpart, Barry Romanko, gave council a report at today’s meeting, recommending that the town kick in $4,000 of the $30,400 cost of the proposed study by SNC Lavalin.
Romanko argued in his report: “The community’s residents and the tourism industry are well served out of Penticton Airport and any additional services will enhance the community.”
Romanko noted that Penticton agreed to pay $10,000 and the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen $4,000.
Councillor Carol Youngberg championed Romanko’s view, proposing a resolution to contribute the $4,000.
Councillor CJ Rhodes objected, suggesting that the study will go ahead with or without Osoyoos participation and “I don’t the see the benefit to us from the $4,000.”
Rhodes added that decisions about service to and from the airport will be made by the two companies based on whether they make good business sense. “I just don’t see the benefit of a study that’s not going to do anything.”
Youngberg’s motion was defeated, as were one from Councillor Jim King to contribute $1,200, another from Councillor Mike Campol to contribute nothing at all, and a Hail Mary compromise from Youngberg for a $2,000 commitment.
Finally, King harkened back to a comment from Rhodes that he might support something on the order of $600-$800 and proposed a figure of $700. By that time, even the staunchest opponents had grown weary enough to vote in favour.
Penticton is also seeking financial help from Oliver, Keremeos, Summerland and Princeton.
(Editor’s note – Council of Town of Oliver received the same letter and at a meeting one week prior to this report – received and filed the letter declining any financial participation. Summerland was to decide July 9th.)