November 13th, 2020
TO: Chair and Directors of the RDOS Board
RE: Park naming and signage at the Heritage Hills Park
That the Parks & Recreation Commission rejects the proposed Garnett Family Park signage.
That the Parks & Recreation Commission rejects the Garnett Family Park name for the park in Heritage Hills.
SUBJECT: At the November 12th, 2020 Okanagan Falls (Area “D”) Parks and Recreation Commission meeting, RDOS staff presented signage options for the park at Heritage Hills. The staff showed the Commission members pictures of the proposed sign, with the name “Garnett Family Park” and explained that the name Garnett was there because of the donation made by this family to create the park. It was pointed out by a Commission member that the Garnett family had donated nothing and contributed nothing to create the park in Heritage Hills. The Garnett family only financed the Chadwell Place subdivision. During ensuing discussion of the signage, Commission members commented that the signage was “distasteful and inappropriate”.
BACKGROUND: A discussion followed regarding the history of the park at Heritage Hills, as follows:
In 1990, 100+ residential lots were created as “Heritage Hills” subdivision and sold for over $100K each, $10 million+ in revenue; the area covered over 100 acres. The developer promised and committed in printed material to provide a park in the subdivision. The developer, under Provincial Legislation, was obliged to give either 5% of the land or 5% of the cash value of the lots for parkland; No park was provided; The RDOS took no land for parkland; The RDOS allegedly received approximately $40,000.00 in cash-in-lieu of land. (The records are inconsistent and vague).
The original developer’s agent gave the RDOS staff a memo stating that no additional land or financial contribution for parkland would be required on future phases of this development. (There are no Board minutes or staff reports in existence to confirm this assertion.)
On all future phases of this development, following the assertion of the developer’s agent, staff advised the Provincial Subdivision Approving Officer, beginning in 1993 that parkland dedication had been satisfied. (Notwithstanding land had not been provided and it is questionable the funds received were in order)
Over 100 additional residential lots (Heritage Hills, Vintage Views, Chadwell Place) were created in the development without any parkland contribution (land or money).
In 2010, the Heritage Hills/Lakeshore Highlands Community Association was created as a non-profit society under the BC Society Act;
A key objective of the Community Association was to secure the park which had been promised to the community and to which it had a right. The Community Association facilitated negotiations with the developer of Chadwell Place for the purpose of acquiring land for a park, which later occurred.
Area “D” Director, Tom Siddon, secured funding through a referendum and Park Reserve Account to assist in the acquisition of the parkland the community had identified.
The developer of Chadwell Place Subdivision eventually agreed to the financial benefit that the RDOS offered and sold two un-serviced half-acre lots for $200K each and donated an un-serviced, undevelopable lot of 3 acres for a tax receipt of $385,000.00, well in excess of the actual value of the 3 acres of land; the RDOS rents a fourth half-acre lot and has an option to purchase it in 20 years. This lot was recently appraised at $175,000.00 in value. The developer saved in excess of $350,000.00 by not having to service these four lots.
The Community Association has raised $210,000.00 in Provincial Gaming Commission grants, has raised $10,000.00 from Fortis BC and this money has been matched by Federal Gas Tax Funds via the previous and current Directors of Area “D”, Tom Siddon and Ron Obirek, in excess of $460,000.00. All of this money has been used to develop the park as it now stands.
The Community Association continues to apply for grants for further park development and enhancement.
Thousands of hours of volunteer time and expertise have been donated by the Community Association members to designate the park area, acquire the land, design the park and have the park developed.
SUMMARY: The issue of naming the park was raised by RDOS staff in October of 2018 at an RDOS Board Meeting. Area “D” Director Siddon made a Motion, carried by the RDOS Board, referring the naming back to the Parks & Recreation Commission and the community to carry out a consultation process in their community to recommend an appropriate name for the Heritage Hills Park. The Association Executive developed a survey and comprehensive process and reviewed the process with the Okanagan Falls Parks & Recreation Commission. The Commission congratulated the community on the process and endorsed it. The consultation process resulted in the name “Skaha Vista Park at Heritage Hills”. The name was submitted to the Parks & Recreation Commission and Director Siddon. The Parks & Recreation Commission unanimously moved adoption of the name and forwarded that motion to the RDOS Board.
The recommendation reached the RDOS Board in June of 2019 and was deferred because of a conflict with the developer’s proposed park name. The deferral was for a one-year period to provide for a consultation between the community and the developer. The item was inappropriately returned to the RDOS Board agenda in September of 2019, three months into the one-year deferral period. There was no significant change in the name recommended by the developer. It is alleged that the return of this matter to the RDOS Board was in contravention of the Policies and Procedures of the RDOS Board.
In September of 2019 the RDOS Board approved the name “Garnett Family Park” for the park in Heritage Hills. There is clearly a misunderstanding amongst some Board Members with regard to the contract language between the RDOS and the developer. The contract allows for an “agreement on a name between the two parties”. It does not provide the developer with the exclusive right to choose a name. The RDOS Board ignored the process to name the park that it had initiated by motion in October, 2018.
The naming is in contravention of 14 (c) of the Donation Policy -”person who significantly contributed to a specific project or community at large”. No contribution was ever made to the park project by the Garnett family and no contribution to the community of Heritage Hills was ever made by the Garnett family. (This community does not fall within the Apex or Penticton areas. Perhaps a review of the Donation/Naming Policy is required and the Garnett Family name could be more appropriately recognized elsewhere in the RDOS).
There is a question as to whether the developer of the land should have been accepted as a “donor” under the terms of the RDOS Donation Policy. The donation of the land for the park in Heritage Hills is in contravention of the RDOS Donation policy 5 (j). The donor has had ongoing violations to the Zoning Bylaw, Temporary Use Permit and ongoing and current violations of Provincial Regulations in relation to various operations the developer owns.
The Heritage Hills/Lakeshore Highlands Community Association members have contributed thousands of hours of time, expertise and money to the development of the park in Heritage Hills. According to the RDOS Donation/Naming Policy, Section 14(b) provides that “where multiple donors are involved, donors are encouraged to reach a consensus (on the name) among the donating parties prior to forwarding their input to the RDOS”. Certainly, the Heritage Hills/Lakeshore Highlands Community Association is a “donating party” to the park.
In the Contract between the developer and the RDOS, it states that the donor (developer) may install a park bench as a memorial on the land donated. There is no mention of a sign.
CONCLUSION: The Parks & Recreation Commission reviewed the naming of the park at Heritage Hills at its November 12th meeting, and unanimously approved the following Motion to go to the RDOS Board:
That the Parks & Recreation Commission rejects the proposed Garnett Family Park signage.
That the Parks & Recreation Commission rejects the Garnett Family Park name.
The Parks & Recreation Commission also seeks an explanation as to why the recommended name “Skaha Vista Park at Heritage Hills” was rejected, and consultation with the Parks & Recreation Commission and the community was never initiated by the RDOS Board before approving the name “Garnett Family Park”.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the Parks & Recreation Commission
Kelvin Hall, Chair,
Okanagan Falls Parks & Recreation Commission
This matter delayed for some time will be debated at the next regular RDOS meeting, Thursday April 1st.
The matter is a new notice of motion from Area D Director Ron Obirek – with this quote
““The issue here is really about respect,” said Obirek.
Obirek filed a notice of motion that calls for the matter to be referred to a board committee to discuss a possible name change.
Thanks to the RDOS for supply of the letter and to the Penticton Herald