Saturday, March 31, 2007

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

No comments: