Letters: Closing fruit outlet a mistake

Reader also concerned about article suggesting it's OK to drive after two near-beers

Penticton fruit outlet closure a mistake

The low profile intention of the B.C. Tree Fruits Cooperative to close retail fruit outlets in Penticton and Kelowna should be greeted with dismay by the respective communities, their councils, community organizations, and regional MLAs.

These are retail outlets slated, by BCTFC, for closure at the end of October.

Their intent to dispose of surplus facilities makes sense for many reasons, including the extensive replacement of orchards by vineyards over the last decade.

However the key question is whether existing retail outlets are surplus and should be closed.

In Penticton’s case, staff have confirmed that the retail outlet is profitable.  Why close it then?

This is particularly true when potential cold storage services for garden supply, florists, silvicultural tree-nurseries, and other businesses are considered.

Secondly, retail outlets build both customer loyalty and the B.C. brand.

Why would BCTFC walk away from apparently profitable markets around Penticton (35,000-plus customers) and Kelowna (100,000-plus customers)?

This is especially true when there is growing interest in local food sources and concerns about longer term dependability of external suppliers.

Third, BCTFC retail outlets provide essentially year-round availability of B.C. fruits.  This provides consumers with off-season access to exceptional varieties such as Conference and Concord pears.

Surely this must benefit specialized growers.  And yes, significant efforts by grocers such as IGA to stock B.C. fruit in season are appreciated.

Fourth, retail outlets are a local asset and attraction, another good reason to choose to locate, stay, or visit an Okanagan community.

Closure would eliminate unique community advantages and reduce their overall attractiveness.

Lastly, there is the matter of social responsibility on the part of BCTFC.

The Penticton Herald (Aug. 30) reported “good news for apple growers”, a grant from senior governments of $735,000 for a new labour saving apple sorting line.

Surely some reciprocity for this and other taxpayer support over the years to the BCTFC is warranted.

Continuing to serve local consumers/taxpayers with retail outlets (reportedly profitable) would seem to be an appropriate response and condition for future funding.

Maintaining and serving local markets appears to be a win-win for local BCTFC producers and consumers as well as strengthening the appeal of Okanagan communities.

Will the BCTFC remain a good citizen?

Denis O’Gorman

Penticton

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Land deal not a good deal

(Development gets green light, Western News, Oct. 16)

The Penticton Indian Band proposal to put a monster development (600 homes?) on the lands west of the airport will result in an environmental, social and economic crime against the last remaining natural landscape in the valley.

The native and non-native people that value wild land for its ecological, spiritual and aesthetic values, the taxpayers and people of Penticton who will be dragged into subsidizing it, and the well-being of  all residents of the Okanagan valley.

No matter what aspect of this monster we look at, it’s a horrific blow to the region.

It will be an ugly forsaken day when the bulldozer blades drop.

And the destruction this will create is final! After 10,000 years of contributing to clean air, invaluable water, natural ecosystems, and huge human enjoyment, this monster will turn the tables forever; there will be no going back!

A rare landscape with immense social value will be gone.

There are many in the developer/corporate world, and those influenced by their free flow of lobby money (our political system, from city to provincial legislature to native bands),  who ignore, deny, distort or outright lie about the link between the constant mindless growth, consumption ideology, crippled public services and financing, the world’s dying atmosphere and the human made crisis in biodiversity and water these people have forced on the majority of us.

We are long past the day this kind of exploitation should have been  wound down, and yet we see it rear its ugly head again in this native land monster.

No single development in the history of the valley will add more pollutants to the atmosphere than this monstrosity.

Pentictonites can look the other way, or wink at each other, just as the big land grabbers do, and shrug off the biggest green house gas generator the valley has ever been threatened by, as though we are not responsible for already serious damage to the earth’s living systems.

But in a world already spinning into global impacts on all of us, this just exacerbates the crime.

As climate change begins to cook the Okanagan Valley, demand for water will sharply escalate just when the sources dwindle and shift seasons.

This development project will suck even more of it to meet migrant expectations and green golf courses, all of which will overload existing water users.

No one could go more in the wrong direction.

There is no doubt there will be some private profiteering involved, and some cash flow to select members of the Penticton Indian Band.

But the vast majority of the costs, social, environmental, property devaluation, air pollution, will be socialized, passed on to you and I.

Claims that there will be 1,500 jobs are, as is always the case, grossly inflated – even worse, the majority of jobs on projects like this go to outsiders.

The project is not a local jobs generator.

It’s hard to say just how much this monstrosity will cost Penticton residents.

Like so many peripheral developments – the guys that suck up costly and hard to come by services like policing, roads,  and emergency services, in this case from a community already stretched to the point of declining service, the sprawl subsidy  could easily cost each of us anywhere from $4,000 up to $25,000.

Also, if we pile on declining house (devaluation) costs, it could be much much greater – every one of you could be on the hook for $50,000 or more!

Further, add decades of lost tax revenue and it should be evident we, the present day citizens, and Penticton and the region are getting our pockets picked.

These kinds of insider deals exploit society’s collective inability to see the long term picture, and even worse, they take advantage of societies incapacity to act today to prevent social, environmental and economic burdens debt tomorrow.

Thanks to a dysfunctional regulatory and democratic system, society has already been failing to meet its social and democratic responsibilities, often dragging along those progressive and visionary citizens who do see the looming destruction and costs; the result is we are increasingly losing control to outside interests and insider deals that permit  wrong and costly choices to be forced upon us.

Brian L. Horejsi

Penticton

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Zero tolerance means zero tolerance

(re: Oktoberfest features unique German ales, Western News, Oct. 16)

I find it rather disconcerting that even as you write a commendable article about the Oktoberfest celebration, (which I believe is about more than just beers and sausages, right?), you include a statement about someone being able to drink two beers (low alcohol) and then drive.

Are we not in a province where there is near zero-tolerance for any level of drinking and driving?

Yet your article has a statement that reflects a view of it’s OK to drink then drive away.

Please recant the statement in the article or put a disclaimer in a prominent place in your next paper about how nobody should drink alcohol and then drive, even if they think they are OK.

Just because one beer or two or more doesn’t appear to affect you, doesn’t mean that you won’t put someone in danger (aside from yourself) especially considering the asinine way some if not many people drive when on Eastside Road or elsewhere in the Okanagan and other regions.

Patrick Longworth

Okanagan Falls