It’s unusual to hear clapping in Penticton city council chambers, but when council voted unanimously in favor of considering a special lease renewal for LocoLanding, the gallery erupted in applause.
Though the adventure park’s lease is only about halfway through, proprietors Diana and Dustin Stirling asked council to renew the lease, which would currently run out in 2028.
The reason for the request is the Stirlings are planning to invest in about $2 million in the park, and wanted longer term lease security.
LocoLanding was started in 2001 by Diana’s parents, as a mini-golf course, and began adding more attractions the next year.
The Stirlings took over in 2011, and Diana said they have continued to add new attractions every year.
“We have 80 youth that we employ, all local students,” said Diana. “We are the first job for 90 per cent of our employees That is a role we take seriously, training these future leaders.”
Diana said she couldn’t release full details of the projects they are planning, but did say one would be a renovation of the mini golf course, with a fun-fantasy storyline based on a tale of Penticton’s historical underwater gold mine.
Diana said the other project is top secret.
In addition to the early lease renewal, the Stirlings are also requesting a 10-year renewal process halfway through the lease so they never have less than 10 years to operate.
The Stirlings, in addition to supporters in the gallery, delivered more than 40 letters of community support from a range of individuals, local organizations and businesses.
“Even our greatest parks advocates are in support of LocoLanding,” said Diana.
Council voted unanimously to ask staff to investigate the LocoLanding request.