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A recent poll suggests Penticton residents may have concerns about city council’s recent announcement of a private partner to operate the new South Okanagan Events Centre and the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre.

A public opinion poll conducted  in early June for the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) found that 83 percent of British Columbians want to see their local government, not private companies, providing parks and recreation services.

Carolae Donoghue, president of CUPE 608, which represents workers at Penticton facilities, expressed disappointment at the recent decision to allow an American company to take over operation of recreation services in the city.

“The process in Penticton was very much closed to the public,” she said. “I am hearing a good deal of surprise at both the estimated cost of the proposed new events centre and the fact that it represents a wholesale privatization of the operations. I don’t think this is what Penticton residents thought they were getting themselves into.”

Donoghue added that her members will be watching the next steps that council takes very closely. “I anticipate quite a public debate around the proposed cost, management and operation of this project over the coming months,” she said.

The poll, conducted by Ipsos Reid for CUPE, found that in the interior of the province, 83 per cent support public provision of parks and recreation services (54 percent strongly and a further 29 being somewhat supportive). Provincewide, 59 per cent are strongly and 25 per cent are somewhat supportive.

Barry O’Neill, president of the B.C. division of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE BC), said the strong support is heartening.

CUPE members provide great services in part because they live in those communities, and they themselves, along with their friends and families, use the services,” he said.

Ipsos Reid surveyed 800 British Columbians provincewide (18 years of age and over), providing an overall margin of error of ±3.5 percentage points.


Carolae Donoghue, CUPE 608 president, 250.493.4468
Barry O’Neill, CUPE BC president, 604.340.6768