This is the original proposal for a bike path on Martin St.

Editorial: Put luxury bike route on hold

City’s focus should be on supporting small business and residents through pandemic

Let’s be clear. A bike route is a luxury item we can’t afford right now.

When city council and staff should be focusing on how to get residents and businesses through this global pandemic, a luxury item like a bike route should be the last thing on their list of priorities. Not the first.

Focusing city staff energy and tax dollars on designing a bike lane almost seems like a slap in the face of small businesses just trying to stay open.

Focus should be on incentives and support for local shops and financial relief for residents.

In fact, the Downtown Penticton Business Association has sent a letter to the city explaining how devastating a tax increase will be for small businesses in 2021.

Local stores and restaurants are cutting costs, reducing expenses and they expect their municipal government to do the same, says the letter.

Just like so many families in Penticton who have forgone luxury purchases for now, council should show leadership in this.

The mayor told the media, “if not now, when?” for the bike lane. Not now. Put the bike lane on hold.

Revisit the Lake-to-Lake route when the pandemic is over – when we can begin our restart in hospitality, tourism, events and the local economy.

No harm can come by putting it on hold. Surely, cycle enthusiasts can wait another year or two?

We can’t be spending like we are in prosperous times, because we are not. Businesses have closed, others are scraping their savings to survive. Families are struggling. People are hurting.

Our experiences through this pandemic, the financial losses and the suffering is something that will be shared in school classrooms for generations to come.

The bike route in itself is not a bad idea. It’s the timing of it that doesn’t sit well.

– Black Press

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