LETTERS: Council needs to address real public needs

City of Penticton council would earn itself more public credit if it applied itself to real needs.

First subject: I’m sure that every year since the 1970s there has been the same determination from every council, that we must “revitalize” the downtown.

“Revitalize,” “people place” and “happening place” were the catchwords then, and there seems to be no recognition that those words have become very dated and tiresome. I don’t think later city councils have had any idea that they are doing what every other council has claimed they were going to do, i.e. revitalize.

Council is still trying to create Parisian cafés in Penticton by broadening sidewalks still more, tinkering with traffic flow and generally messing things up. If downtown hasn’t yet been revitalized after all the hot air and money spent on it in nearly 50 years, it is not going to happen. Nor is the imagined flood of tourist money that intends to be enticed to this supposedly “happening” place. What a delusion.

Lay aside your visions of grandeur for Penticton and for yourselves, O’ council.  Get busy on our sewers, many of which are 60 years old, as in the older areas of town. Maybe some older. The streets are badly in need of resurfacing. Downtown streets are filthy, with vomit and other unpleasant things.  All the pretty brickwork is soon ugly with no upkeep. Ever notice the black globs of chewing gum at the doors of so many businesses? Ever hear of steam-cleaning?  Ever heard the word “upkeep?”  How much more charming would Penticton be if it’s streets and storefronts near street level were cleaned and repaired.

Second, but related subject, when I had a sewer back up over three years ago that ruined my basement, I was lucky enough to have my son-in-law recommend an excellent plumber who decided to not squeeze each penny he could from me. He had a good look and informed me that it was city’s responsibility to fix my sewer problem. He then went himself to the city yard on my behalf, and the next morning a crew was in the back lane with digging equipment, trucks and manpower and spent eight hours working. No cost to me. I’ve many pictures of the work being done. I’d love to tell everyone the name of this kind plumber, but I am afraid it might be to his detriment.

The issue in this case was that the sewer pipe from my property line to the main sewer was badly deteriorated, and was easily crushable in the hand of a city crewman.   It was some sort of plastic with a name that indicated it would probably last forever.   Tree roots had thirstily grown into the badly cracked connector line, and caused the backup. Many thousands of dollars of repair had to be done in the basement which Penticton, not my insurance, ought to have paid for, but that’s another story I didn’t pursue.

Council would earn itself more public credit if it applied itself to real needs, and stopped trying to imitate others expensive successes. Monkey see, monkey do.

Joan Modrall

Penticton