Penticton Western News letters to the editor.

Letter: Sharing our city with the rest of the world

Letter writer responds to resident questioning taxpayers return on special events

Everyone is entitled to an opinion — the writer of this letter (Penticton Western News, July 26, Penticton taxpayers grand con) is, but so am I.

I have lived in the Okanagan for 11 years now after moving here from Vancouver. That move was spurred largely by my involvement in the triathlon community, and I am not even a triathlete; however, the Ironman event was what reintroduced me to Penticton as an adult and had me rekindle so many memories from my childhood visits here. If it were not for my employer sending me here for that event in the early 2000’s and for the incomparable hosts I had in Chris and Lisa Prowse along with Will Pratt from The Bike Barn I never would have taken the leap of faith it required to move myself to a place where I had few friends and little prospect of work at that time.

These events are important and are a significant part of the fabric that makes this a wonderful place to visit and an amazing place to call home. A community is made up of many different parts and the events of all types whether they be triathlons, cycling events, soccer tournaments, barbecue competitions, car rallies, wine festivals, Tragically Hip concerts, bridge tournaments or Elvis festivals are part of what makes this a desirable place to be. I hear many people complain that there is nothing to do here and to that I say take a look around. We have it all here and for that I feel very fortunate.

Penticton has always been a destination town. We need that in our economy. Many of my friends and colleagues make their living in businesses that are supported by visitors. This is a fact of life in Penticton, but beyond that why wouldn’t we want to share this amazing place with the world?

I have made this town my home and this is where I am raising my family. I also work in some capacity for all of the events mentioned in this letter as well as other businesses in this community. I have seen the back-breaking work that goes into these events year round and the passion required to execute them at a world class level. Simply put, without sponsors, volunteers and civic support none of these events would happen and then there really would be nothing to do.

I should note that before I took a dime from any of these events I volunteered for nine years starting long before I even lived here, and over the years that I have lived here the majority of my income has come from clients based outside of the Okanagan Valley. Over those years I have contributed to this community in different ways. Some of those contributions are intangible, but others very much affect the lives of business owners and citizens in this town. I have avidly supported the food and beverage industry here. I have participated in events, bought cars, bought bicycles, paid rent, paid real estate commissions, bought clothes, drank beer, gone to concerts, ate dinner, donated to charities, planted grapes, bought food, drank an insane amount of coffee and paid all manner of taxes.

This is my home and I don’t like to think of myself as a taxpayer. I am a contributor to the greater good of this community. A community that is vibrant and rich in spirit, and increasingly — diversity. All of us make this place great, and while I don’t agree with everything that happens here I understand that we are the sum of all parts. Some of those parts happen to involve sporting events.

I proudly support the organizers of these events and I thank them for the continued support of my family and our community. Even if I had no formal involvement in any of these, I would still be on the sidelines cheering or handing out water bottles or watching my kids participate.

Thank you and keep up the great work.

Chris Stenberg

Penticton

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