Downtown residents shortchanged

Business provides jobs, is supported financially by taxpayers, forms special interest groups like the Chamber/Visitor Centre/Economic Development and the Downtown Penticton Association. These powerful organizations can be divided into two groups: those that live and work in Penticton and those that choose to live elsewhere.

Business provides jobs, is supported financially by taxpayers, forms special interest groups like the Chamber/Visitor Centre/Economic Development and the Downtown Penticton Association. These powerful organizations can be divided into two groups: those that live and work in Penticton and those that choose to live elsewhere.

Staff at City Hall makes recommendations affecting the vote of city council, for example: No two-tier funding for out-of-towners.

There are various city committees plus review boards like the SOEC appointed by the mayor.

Finally there is the Penticton resident. They want good paying jobs, services, shopping, entertainment and peaceful, quiet neighborhoods.

To live together harmoniously, all of these groups must consult and respect other stakeholders.

Downtown residents are being shortchanged by city council, city staff, committees and review board members, with too many living outside Penticton and negatively influencing our daily lives for outside interests.

Recently a Penticton resident complained of the noise level in the area of Okanagan Lake Park and up Vancouver Hill affecting their home life whilst these events take place.

This year Penticton added Gran Fondo based at the SOEC complex. According to one member of the SOEC review board, they plan on attracting many more of these events.

Events enrich the business community, provide jobs and potentially pay the bills. What is lacking is consultation with stakeholders in these areas on how it affects their residential lifestyle. What effort has been made to alleviate the stress caused by raucous megaphones booming through homes at 7 a.m. or loud music blaring over loudspeakers night after day? Organizer overkill magnified to cover a wide area instead of the immediate vicinity.

The Haynes Street 11-storey high-rise was passed by city council 4-3 despite a negative report by the town planner and petitions from area residents. Council blatantly ended the soft transition (standard OCP policy) of the downtown core. Expect council to quote the 11 storeys to justify further inroads on the residential downtown section in the future. Gary Litke, John Vassilaki and Mike Pearce voted against increasing the height on Haynes Street from three stories to 11. The owner put this property up for sale afterwards.

Downtown area residents have a right to expect adherence to the OCP. They don’t get it from this council. Why this ingrained disrespect for residents of this area?

Elvena Slump

Penticton

 

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