Penticton Western News letters to the editor.

Letter: Support for South Okanagan National Park

I will be writing to the government and declaring my support for the national park

Support for national park

I take exception to most of the claims made by HNZ Top Flight in the Oct. 27 article (Penticton Western News, ‘Stars have aligned’ for national park).

Firstly, the fact that their training permit is limited to 10 years — expiring May 1, 2018 — belies their claim of “super short notice.” Secondly, the claim that since they have been providing flight training in these areas since 1951 entitles them to “substantial compensation from government for the loss of business” is ludicrous.

Canadian taxpayers are not obligated to HNZ, or any other publicly traded company, a right to profit from the use of public lands, especially in perpetuity. Thirdly, while the claim that their business pumps “millions and millions of dollars” a year into the local economy may be true, neither the City of Penticton nor the Penticton Indian Band can produce a documented economic impact assessment of the Penticton Regional Airport (YYF).

Implying that residents (humans and animals) of the South Okanagan somehow have an obligation to the German, Danish and Norwegian airforces is also ludicrous. While HNZ may have signed contracts with them, it is highly unlikely they would be able to make a case that the residents of the South Okanagan signed-on.

For these, and other, reasons I will be writing to the federal and provincial environment ministers declaring my support for the South Okanagan Similkameen National Park and urging them to refrain from renewing the flight training permit with HNZ or, at a minimum, to no more than one, five-year extension.

Patrick Gayler

Penticton

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