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Letter: Fruit industry or deer?

The BCFGA presidents says record year, the same leader lamented deer are eating into their profits.

The head of the B.C. Fruit Growers Association Fred Steele celebrated a record year for agriculture sales and profits (Penticton Western News, Feb. 8, Record year for agriculture sales and profit).

In the same Western News, the same leader lamented the “fact” that deer are eating into their profits (BCFGA president calls for deer cull). Which is it? Is the fruit business here doing well? Or, are the deer decimating it?

By the way, Mr. Mayor, the better word for deer, instead of calling them “rodent,” is actually “mammal.”

Joy Lang

Penticton

To have or not to have, that is the question?

To have a performing arts centre in the downtown core of the city or a youth centre? Why was that site on the old Nanaimo Hall chosen by past council’s for a Performing Arts Centre? Obviously, it was a great location for a performing arts centre which would eventually bring economic investment into the downtown core. That is why three previous councils campaigned to have Landmark Theatre locate its new movie theatre in the downtown core, it was to encourage people to want to live close to these types of amenities, i.e. residential development.

The decision this council now has to make; what will bring the most long-term economic benefit into the downtown core, a youth centre, or a performing arts centre? Which of these two proposed developments will bring more visitors, residents and dollars into the city? Pretty easy answer.

Review this present councils approach to downtown. This council introduced tax exemption zones in the downtown core to encourage residential development into the downtown area, which would help the businesses in that area. A very ambitious approach, but sad to say a great tax loss to the city’s annual budget. This council recently invested millions of dollars on improving the streets and underground services in the 100 and 200 blocks of Main Street. The underground service upgrades were also done to accommodate additional demand for those services if increased development were to happen in the downtown area.

If council were to decide to allow a youth centre on this very valuable piece of public property, will it encourage a much needed growth and investment into the downtown? Will a performing arts centre encourage long-term investment into the downtown? It doesn’t take much thinking to answer that question. Council will also have to determine whether a youth centre would survive as long as a state-of-the-art performing arts centre on that prime piece of real estate? Sad to say I very much doubt it.

Granted the SOPAC campaign has been ongoing for a number of years. Yes, it will need substantial funding for it to become a reality, but most important of all it needs councils support and endorsement to encourage its development. As previous forward thinking councils had decided, when they assembled those two properties. It was a planning vision that the past councils endorsed to encourage development along Ellis Street. It is the way councils should decide how valuable property should be held for the greatest return for the future of the city.

The performing arts centre project would have a better chance of happening if this council also got behind the project. Endorse it, send the message out there as other cities have done and who have found not just private investors but other levels of governments. I am not opposed to a youth centre, just don’t give away valuable city property to construct it.

This council was offered the old bingo hall on Eckhardt Avenue, this would be an ideal site for the youth centre. I would encourage council to make your decision on a vision for downtown.

Jake Kimberley

Penticton

Regarding Ms. Best’s letter (Penticton Western News, Feb. 10, Thoughts on having a national park) I’d like to respond with some points in favour of a national park.

Parks Canada did not randomly select this area of the South Okanagan. It has been identified as one of the four most endangered ecosystems with the greatest diversity of ecosystems and most species at risk (over 250) in the entire breadth of Canada.

Why, you may ask, are there so many species at risk and on endangered lists? Why has the world’s animal population decreased by 50 per cent (many even more) in much less than a century and why is the rate of species extinction rising exponentially? The reasons are obvious for those who care or who care to look.

Even local tracts of natural areas have been trashed and damaged largely by groups of “recreational” vehicle users. Stinky Lake, Spring Lake, Garnet Valley wetlands and areas in the Aberdeen, Greystoke and Monashee are examples. I refer to those individuals responsible as eco-morons. Sadly, some “hunters” fit in this category as well.

I’ve been chased down a mountain with bullets clipping through the trees from two so-called hunters. A bullet wound above my knee is a result — and yes, they knew my friend and I were in the area. I’ve witnessed a pile of at least 20 birds shot and left to rot unprocessed outside a forest campsite. I’ve listened to a group of hunters laugh about how they blew a squirrel to pieces with bird-shot and how much booze they drank during a unsuccessful grouse hunt. There are far too many examples of this type of behavior and reason enough for a national park.

Ignoring the obvious local economic benefits, it remains that a national park is the best and most viable option to preserve these deserving lands. Parks Canada have been internationally recognized as such for their efforts to preserve, protect and enhance. The recent reintroduction of buffalo to their historic areas of Banff National Park is a prime example. Provincial management simply cannot compare and in many cases is laughably inadequate. 250 species at risk deserve much better.

It’s increasingly apparent in our progressive society the urgent need to preserve our ever-diminishing natural areas and it’s reliant species. Already 75 per cent of the worlds ice-free, inhabitable lands have been altered in some fashion by human intervention. We are all a part of the living biosphere and the failure to recognize our reliance on a vibrant natural world will ultimately adversely affect us all.

If we wish to teach our children the wonders of the natural world we must preserve especially unique areas as a classroom since it cannot be explained on a chalkboard — it must be experienced and felt in the heart. For nature and our children’s sake we must foster selflessness to preserve what is left.

Jeff Bedard

Penticton

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