Letters to the Editor

Letters: Transparency needed at school board

Tourism Penticton needs a rethink

(re: Sparks fly at council over tourism funding, Western News, March 5)

“The ski club’s event and the planned promotion are worthwhile, but don’t fit with tourism’s objective of drawing new people to the area. It’s a great opportunity for tourism in the area, but it doesn’t fall under our mandate,” said James Shalman, who is also general manager for Apex Resort.

“They are going to come, regardless of whether they fly into Kelowna or the Penticton airport.”

How arrogant for Mr. Shalman to assume people are going to come anyway. It’s just unbelievable, particularly coming from a person who sits on the board of Penticton’s self-professed tourism body.

With friends like him who needs enemies. Wouldn’t it be better for the City of Penticton to have competitors and spectators come via Air Canada and boost numbers through our airport?

Could this not help the city get WestJet, or another carrier to fly here on a regular basis?

Short-sighted is all I can say.

Wouldn’t you think after losing money last year, and showing up at city council after the fact, they would have gone to the Penticton Hospitality Association and asked for help in marketing, or at least told the PHA about the event so they could do marketing of their own. But then the CEO of Tourism Penticton, of which Mr. Shalman is a board member,  turned down money from the PHA for external marketing last year.

What about the non-competitors, spectators from say Vancouver, Seattle or Calgary that might be interested in this type of event?

Would it not be worthwhile marketing to these people? Is that not the point of tourism marketing?

That has been a big problem with the current tourism Penticton group, they seem to have a very narrow focus on which groups or demographics to market to.

They focused on the wine industry and forgot about the beaches, ads that I’ve seen in publications focus on one or two specific businesses, not the broader spectrum. An example, Hoodoo Adventures was the only business mentioned for kayaking. Are there no others? What about other activities? There were none mentioned in the ads.

The mayor says he thinks Tourism Penticton does a great job (you are here?). This from a man whose council has more legal issues (Eckhardt dorm, PHA), and bad decisions (relocate deer, bike lanes) that make Penticton a laughing stock. How can we believe what comes from the city or tourism with regard to the numbers? It’s getting very difficult.

From what I understand it’s things like this that have been a recurrent reason in why the PHA wanted control of the two per cent tax.

This is exactly why a city appointed or hired Tourism Penticton is a waste of hard-earned taxpayers dollars.

Keith Bevan



Transparency needed at school board

(re: SD 67 quiet on $20,000-plus expense club, Western News, March 14)

If it takes the school board 8.9 hours to copy the documentation on expenses of $83,000 for four civil servants at the school board it is pretty obvious that they are in drastic need of a core service review and efficiency study. Their bookkeeping and storage of documents must be erratic and in shambles.

It is also pretty obvious that the people elected to the school board are not interested in ensuring accountability to the taxpayer, otherwise when contacted by the Western News on this matter they would have ensured that the request was fulfilled at the estimated cost.

The school board estimated the FOI cost at $40. Yet expects to get paid $182.27. Only a non-accountable civil servant-based organization would dare operate in this manner. Compare this to going into a business to make a purchase being quoted one price but then when you take it to the checkout and the clerk rings it up you find the price has more than quadrupled.

What elected members of the school board signed off on these outrageous expenses and what were these expenses for?

The school board chairman Bruce Johnson could easily have ensured that in the interests of preservation of capital for student use that all expenses by civil servants and the elected members of the school board be immediately released to the newspapers by placing all expense documents online.

If Penticton city council can do it then what is wrong with this school board and what are they hiding?

Elvena Slump



Money better spent than on bike lanes

There seems to be a bicycle mentality at city hall. Or, at least, that would seem to be the appearance.

It seems that irrespective of a large audience of taxpayers against a proposed bike lane on Ellis Street, council pundits went ahead with a feasibility study.

More money wasted on a study.  What’s to study anyway? Have we suddenly become flush and looking for ways to unload dollars with make work programs?

The reality of these projects is they all command feasibility studies and then council, in all probability, decides to get the project done anyway. True democratic process in action, you say?

True, council was elected and in theory carry the wishes of the majority. However, when bike lane projects and their inherent costs are factored in, the majority is not getting good dollar value.

Nobody  can say for sure how many cyclists actually use these lanes as no statistics have been forthcoming from council.

I suspect there might be  one to two per cent of city residents that ride their bikes to go into the downtown core to shop or conduct other business.

Even with these figures I believe I am being generous.

While the all important study is being done, the focus is on getting the project going and done.

However, no prior thought seems to have been given to projects that don’t require a feasibility study such as road conditions on Main Street and West Industrial Avenue and the Atkinson-Industrial intersection to mention but a few.

These areas are well used by motorists, yet bike lane implementation takes precedence it seems. Special interest groups (cyclists) seem to get what they want.  I wonder if we should start a special interest motorist group?

Ron Barillaro



Waiting for prescription is time wasted

I wrote many moons ago about a simple solution to help relieve the pressure on an overloaded medical system.

I am quite sure most people know when their body or mind need medical attention.

Why does a person need to see a doctor every three months, as in my case, to get a prescription filled for the same darn pills I have been taking for 10 years plus?

The waiting time which exceeds over an hour in many cases is ridiculous when the doctor tends to say hello and good-bye while filling a prescription that takes hardly a minute.

My unpaid  time while sitting idle in medical waiting rooms on this planet could be given up for those in real need!

I just went through the experience again with the long wait when finally the doctor arrived and chatted for about a minute before the cellphone went off and the doctor left the room only to return sometime later to ask me again what my concern was just then the darn cellphone went off again and so did the doctor along with my patience

Ongoing prescriptions could be filed with the pharmacy for say one year and then perhaps see a doctor for a yearly check up if one feels the need.

Tom Isherwood



Tulameen primed for boom

Is that snow? Two metres in Tulameen-Coalmont, one metre in Princeton and a short half-metre in the suburb of Penticton.

It’s great to live in snow country and have the toys.

The joy of doing aerobics with a snow shovel. Male or female.  Wonderful to have the foresight and wisdom to know where to invest. No shortage of water like California and prepared for any flood.

With new facilities in Tulameen, it  has the potential of becoming the ordinary folks Whistler.

The future Winter Olympics.

All that’s needed from the coast is a four-lane highway from the Hope-Princeton Westgate via, in part, the Tulameen River Road to Princeton,  providing a quick outlet for the bursting Lower Mainland city folks and voila lots of business.

There will be homes on the benches along the Tulameen all the way to Hope. The Similkameen - Okanagan will thrive.

Yes an enviable place for you and the sweetie to raise a family or if you are among the growing number that are over the hill to retire.

Be happy.  Be super happy.

Joe Schwarz



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