Editorial: Just the facts

Seperating fact from fiction

A new Insights West poll shows that a third of Canadian social media users have encountered fake news.

We suspect that number would be much higher if you included just the plain old misinformation that gets spread with lightning speed thanks to the internet.

Over the last couple of years, that’s been a huge struggle in the City of Penticton as the community has been divided over the Skaha Lake Park lease and other matters.

We do our very best to separate fact from rumour, misinformation from reality, so we applaud the City of Penticton’s new “For the record” page on the city website, with some reservations.

In the case of the city presentation, it is a fact the city is working on the housing problem and over 1,000 new residential units have been approved since 2014, which city hall says “have been completed” or are nearing completion.” That part is a matter of opinion — the Super 8 motel conversion is months away from full operation, but it shows up on their graphic.

It’s also a fact that only a portion is truly affordable housing — not the $350,000 condos that some developers call “affordable” — so it doesn’t really address the affordable housing problem that drove a number of families to camp out on Crown land above the city this summer.

And while facts are facts, opinion is often confused for fact.

During much of the dispute over the building of waterslides in Skaha Lake Park, the mayor and council maintained they were receiving lots of support for the waterslide deal. Though it was often presented as a fact in support of the city’s position, it wasn’t the result of an overall survey of the community. It was their interpretation of the messages they were receiving and chose to pay attention to.

For the record promises to be a great source of information, but remember, these are the facts from city hall’s perspective, limited to what they want you to know.

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