EDITORIAL: Distracted by the pretty lights

There is a lot of work that needs to be done in Penticton, so why are they spending on pretty baubles?

The City of Penticton is facing some dire financial times, at least according to information contained in the city’s lawsuit to overturn the wage increases recently awarded to firefighters.

In documents filed in B.C. Supreme Court in October, the city’s argument states that “much of what the city has accomplished is threatened by its deteriorating financial health,” citing  financing of long-term debt as a major problem for the city along with operating costs ranging 10 to 95 per cent higher than peer municipalities. All that, according to the city, adds up to the firefighters’ wage increases being an exceptional burden for the city. The city is now appealing the arbitrator’s decision for them to pay $1.89 million to the firefighters — which has already been handed over to them.

It’s harder to understand why city council voted to add $125,000 to the budget for revitalizing the 100 block of Main Street. The increase will add coloured lights and the ability to make images with them to the $398,000 light canopy planned as part of the project. The light canopy is a luxury item. In terms of beautification, it is of limited use especially since it won’t be in operation when the street is open to traffic, which is the majority of the year. Adding coloured lights to it is an extravagance, which, according to the city’s own arguments, Penticton shouldn’t be able to afford.

There is a lot of work that needs to be done in Penticton. Years of restraint has put many infrastructure repairs and improvements on the back burner.

Consider how Penticton’s firefighters must feel. The city is going to court, attacking the concept of paying them wages equivalent to how their peers are valued in other communities, at the same time as the city is willing to put out $523,000 for a light display.

It’s time for city council and staff to start getting their priorities right. Surely even politicians and bureaucrats can see that people who save lives and property should have a higher priority than pretty baubles.

 

Just Posted

Column: When is plant and animal species loss a crisis?

David Suzuki is a scientist, broadcaster, author and co-founder of the David Suzuki Foundation

Okanagan-Shuswap weather: Clear skies and pushing 20 C

Environement Canada forcasts a sunny and warm Easter weekend

BC Care Providers to explore new solutions to care aide shortage in Okanagan

CEO Daniel Fontaine finishes Listening Tour, discusses possible care aide internship in Okanagan

Peeling away: OK strip clubs disappearing

Hear from Penticton’s only strip club owner about their success in a dying industry

It’s time to Ring and Sing, in spring

The Musaic Vocal Ensemble and the Oliver Handbell Ringers present a concert for bells and voices

Parliament Hill 4-20 organizers predict record crowd after legalization

A celebration? Yes, but organizers say concerns remain about the government’s decisions on legalization rollout

Seven tips to travel safely this Easter long weekend

An average of three people are killed, and hundreds more injured, each Easter long weekend in B.C.

Parents say Austrian climber missing in Banff National Park ‘lived his dream’

David Lama, Hansjorg Auer and American climber Jess Roskelley have been missing since Wednesday

Six months after legalization, high prices and supply issues boost illicit pot market

It has been six months since Canada became the first industrialized country to legalize recreational cannabis

Seattle’s 4-20 ‘protestival’ enjoys tolerance, some support – and B.C. could do the same

Seattle’s Hempfest a large-scale occasions with vendors, prominent musical acts and thousands of attendees

B.C. mountain biker sent home from hospital twice, despite broken vertebrae

Released in Maple Ridge to go home with three fractured vertebrae

Deck collapses in Langley during celebration, multiple people injured

Emergency responders rushed to the Langley home

Local Kelowna project tabs restaurant workers for industry fundraiser

The 2nd Hungry Games invites fundraises for local charities

Home Hardware to give away free Reusable Shopping Bags in honour of Earth Day

“We feel we have a responsibility to keep our ecological footprint as small as possible”

Most Read