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Good turnout for rally

People carrying babies mingled with retirees at a rally held Monday night at Penticton's city hall prior to the council meeting.

In all, around 75 people attended the Time For Change Penticton gathering, set up so people who have been communicating on Facebook could meet face to face.

"I'm just happy to see all the people here. It's nice to put faces to all the names," said Crystal Olson, a resident who helped get the effort going. "We are not just sitting behind our keyboards on Facebook, but actually getting out here."

The Facebook group was recently created to get more young people, as well as those wanting change, to come out and vote in the upcoming municipal election and discuss issues impacting the city.

Councilor Katie Robinson's "head banging druggie" statement, made regarding Boonstock at the last council meeting, was also a catalyst.

Attendees at Monday's gathering were in high spirits, with some wearing T-shirts with the message "Head Banging Druggie Time for Change Penticton."

Catherine Jones said she was there because she found the recent Boonstock statement to be really silly.

"It spoke to the stereotype attitude they seemed to have to Boonstock participants," she said. "It seemed very close minded to me, the straw that broke the people's back."

Darci Anderson showed up because she wants Penticton to offer more to young people.

"I'd like to see Penticton be more than a one season city, have it be a four season city, with more amenities for youth to keep them here," she said.

Mayor Garry Litke, as well as some councilors, spent time outside city hall listening to what participants had to say.

"I think this is great," said Litke. "We always encourage people to get involved in the issues. Tonight we have a dozen to 15 issues, so it will be great to have people listening. Usually the council chambers are empty."

Council chambers were packed early on. Some of the participants stayed to the end of the lengthy meeting.

During comments from council at the end, Robinson stated that "she was still working on getting my foot out of my mouth from the last council meeting."

This prompted the mayor to say, "don't beat yourself up."

Jennifer Taylor, a co-organizer of the gathering, said the night was really to let city hall know this isn't just armchair activists.

"It's to let city hall know we are serious and we are not going away," she said.


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