LETTERS: Downtown Penticton business owners powerless

Penticton Western News letters to the editor for the Oct. 24, 2014 issue.

Downtown Penticton business owners powerless

Recently the City of Penticton rolled out its plan for downtown revitalization.

The plan includes reducing Main Street to two lanes and widening the sidewalks. This is a plan that has considerable opposition to it from property owners in the 200 block of Main Street and we are almost powerless to do anything about it. In addition, the citizens of Penticton have no direct say on the utilization of one of the main traffic routes through our city.

How did this happen? The city has imposed a reverse petition process to record opposition to the revitalization plan. In the reverse petition process it is assumed that if you do nothing you are in favour of the project. Only those opposed have to register their opposition by voting against the project.

The parameters of the petition, set by the city, requires that 50 per cent of the land/property owners who own 50 per cent of the assessed values of the properties within the catchment area have to oppose the project. This is an impossible threshold to meet because the city included the 100 block of Main Street in the catchment area for assessed values.

This means that Valley First Credit Union and the Bank of Montreal, both on the 100 block, outweigh the combined values of opposing properties in the 200 block. Banks are well known for not opposing such projects by remaining silent on them, not wanting to appear to oppose supposed community progress. The reality is, if the banks do not vote, the reverse petition process is bound to pass in favour of the project. The city used a similar tactic on Martin Street by including the Landmark Cinema property in that catchment area to negate any opposition from Martin Street property owners.

What this means for the citizens of Penticton is that a group of 11 (42 per cent) land/property owners opposed (out of a total of 26 owners) to the project are all that stands between this project to reduce Main Street to two lanes going ahead or not. Those 11 landowners basically have no voice given the thresholds imposed by the city in the reverse petition process as outlined above.

This issue should be an election issue for the entire community. However, the city has decided to put a time frame on this so that the process will be finished before the election.  This appears to be in hopes of having it slide through unopposed. Make no mistake, the 200 block was chosen to be the first block of the revitalization for a specific reason.

Once the 200 block is converted to two lanes, there is really no choice for the rest of Main Street but to be converted as well. The estimated cost of the revitalization of 200 block and part of the 100 block alone is over $2 million.  Any costs to revitalize the rest of Main Street would be in addition to this.

While the downtown landowners and businesses do want a cleanup of the downtown, we are not in favour of this particular plan. Until meaningful discussions can take place, including producing appropriate traffic studies for both vehicle and pedestrian traffic, we need to work to rally opposition to the plan.

The landowners opposed to the project are asking at this time that members of the community please start to pressure council to put this on hold until after the election. At that time the new council, Downtown Penticton Association, downtown revitalization committee and the landowners can get together and discuss this plan fully.

We will also have a better idea of what the citizens of Penticton think about reducing downtown Main Street to two lanes.

If you choose to do nothing, you may have to live with the consequences of the changes in which you had no voice.

Steve Brown

Peach City Runners – Penticton


Environmentalists’ last stand

I agree with David Suzuki, this will be his last hurrah.

Above everything else David Suzuki is an actor, and acting the part of environmentalist was one of his best performances.

Suzuki’s travelling dog and pony show, now being played, at selective locations, exposes his act for what it is: a distraction.

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms Section 7 states everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of the person and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice.

Life, liberty and security of the person, is the legally enshrined protection of the environment in the Constitution.

Environmental degradation and contamination of air and water induces illness that competent Constitutional experts can articulate are violations of the right to life, liberty and security of the person.

David Suzuki claims he has nothing to lose, therefore one can assume his credibility as an Environmentalist is about to disappear and this is a last ditch attempt to secure donations for his foundation by redirecting Canadians attention away from the global focus on fossil fuel power-plant emissions to a non-existent constitutional crisis.

Dennis Baker



Jobs needed now

Councillor Helena Konanz recently met with Shirley Bond the Minister of jobs, tourism and trades training at the UBCM.

The plan to bring permanent welding training to Penticton to provide high-paying jobs in this sector is a good one and has merit.

According to Konanz, economic development officer Colleen Pennington’s plan to provide services to the spouses of business people that council is hoping to entice to settle here was received favourably by the minister. In my opinion this is nebulous and a guaranteed work project that will take many years to fulfill. This makes it an ideal government project. It keeps lots of civil servants busy and gives government employees a reason to shuffle paper and feel like they are doing something valuable.

All of these spouses would have different job qualifications and needs. Most of those needs are served best by infrastructure. Successful people make their own opportunities as long as the infrastructure is there to provide those opportunities.

There are more immediate things that can be done that will provide jobs now. We need high paying jobs for the young people in this town. And we need the necessary infrastructure to supply it.

Several years ago a high-tech line was built from the coast to Kelowna. The result was an explosion in high-tech businesses and high-paying skilled jobs relocating to Kelowna.

The Okanagan should be another Silicone Valley. Years later we are still waiting for a high-tech line to be built an additional 40 miles to Penticton. It is the job of council to provide the infrastructure necessary to bring those jobs to our town. Why was this not done?

Shortage of land in the Industrial Park needs to be constructively addressed. Airport expansion is long overdue. Kelowna’s airport was once small yet look at the infrastructure around it today.

While we cannot hope or likely even want to compete with Kelowna, much could be done to alleviate the current shortage of high-paying jobs and the shortage of industrial land.

These suggestions require working with provincial and federal governments. Both of which are elected to represent us and live and/or work in our area. Instead this council is relying on grants, tax breaks and airy-fairy schemes to baby-sit imaginary spouses for imaginary businesses.

Elvena Slump



Misinformed on Russia politics

In response to Mr. Donald Thorsteinson, I would rather suspect that his opinion and “knowledge” is based entirely on lies disseminated by our lying and history-distorting media that regurgitates what the power elite of the West feeds to it.

Mr. Putin with over 85 per cent approval rating by the Russians would perhaps get the same poor public approval vote (below 30 per cent) as his counterparts in Washington, DC, or Ottawa, were it not for the fact that he did more good for the Russian people, as they were deceived by the West after the fall of the USSR, than anybody could have done.

If he hadn’t put his foot down on dealing with the Western psychopaths, there would be a real holocaust by now. The NATO plan of encirclement of Russia was initiated shortly after promising Mr. Gorbachow the opposite.

No, the West does not need to fear Mr. Putin, it is Mr. Putin that must fear the West ( run by a select group of Talmudic psychopaths and their proxies).

The stigma of Stalin still haunts the Russian people and the West wants to cash in on that by supporting some elements in the Ukraine that want NATO bases next to the Russian border. But Mr. Putin is not as naive as Adolf Hitler was to fall into the trap of starting the Second World War (I believe it was planned by Mr. Churchill and his Zionist friends shortly after the First World War to annihilate the German people).

Far more dangerous than Mr. Putin to world peace are the un/misinformed people, who support such people like the Bushes and Obamas, etc. in the U.S. and the treasonous leaders we had in Canada and elsewhere, because they will elect another group of evil politicians after the present crop is gone.

Believing in lies will enslave us; seeking the truth will lead to our freedom!

Rolf Loth



Stressed over shutters

Two years ago my husband and I chose to retire in Penticton.

Our former home was in Alberta, we moved here because of the weather and felt this a perfect size city with the facilities available to make a comfortable place to live forever. On the surface the city appeared well managed and a great place to live. We have been making our condo a home where we feel very safe and comfortable.

Since purchasing a condo in Cherry Lane Towers, we have encountered unexpected stress regarding our balcony roll shutters that were installed legally several years ago. A city official has said we must remove them and this would be at our own expense. Originally the cost for the shutters was approximately $12,000 and removal would presumably be a similar cost.  Upwards of 100 condo owners are feeling harassed.

Our condo of choice faces west and the Talius Roll Shutters protect our home in heavy winds, strong summer sunshine and winter storms.

There is documented proof of strength in case of flying objects from the outside.  They also provide security most needed on the ground floors.

The shutters are safe; the product is used in high-risk hurricane areas because of their quality and safety record. Talius is a British Colombia (Salmon Arm) company so their standards should meet B.C. building codes.

No building permit was required  by our city at time of installation,  and we cannot find any provincial code that has been broken.

Where does a city get the idea that they can give a local business a licence to practice in the city and then make a law that presumably prohibits its use as unsafe?

Over the past four years our strata inquiries as to where we  were non-compliant were ignored with more demands.

It appears that an unnamed city staff member is trying to impose his opinion as law.  Where does the city get the authority to ask us to make changes retroactively?

Did I also mention there is suggestion  of putting a notice on our titles to further intimidate us.

Beware fellow citizens with balconies, it could be you next. Is this how you want to be treated?

Marlene Pixley

Cherry Lane Towers


Laws and following the golden rule

It sounds like the RCMP, hired for the Boonstock event this past August, were there for a good time.

Described as using sunscreen, munching on lunches, clocking up expenses travelling or lodging in one of our finest resorts. Furthermore, it appears our RCMP are hiding things.

It makes one wonder if there is a need for laws and law enforcement? Having attended a pre-Boonstock chamber of commerce meeting, I remember a lengthy question from a senior member of the Penticton Indian Band wondering about the need for so much policing for the upcoming event.

He is not alone is that thinking.  Why do events like this have policing? Apart from the fact that the government dictates it. And, why do they?

Why shouldn’t people who want to have a good time be allowed to, without any restrictions or policing?

For that matter, why should children be told what they can or can’t do, either at home, or in a classroom, or out in the public?

And why don’t we just get rid of traffic signs and lights? Who needs to have police watching us, giving warnings and traffic tickets?

Can’t we all just have a good time and do what we want?

Every so often people get fed up with the way things are, and say that we need a change.  What is it that we need?  Would it be in our best interest to get rid of laws, or to change laws?

Here is a novel idea. How about a re-discovery of some ancient wisdom?  Such as the golden rule that says “do to others what you would like them to do to you.” And, “love God with all your soul, ability and strength, and love your neighbour as yourself?”

What difference would it make in our personal lives, our homes, community and our world if we all followed these laws?

If people lived to love and serve their creator and fellow man, instead of making themselves No.1. Unfortunately, these are laws that cannot be forced or enforced on society. However, we could choose them. Something to think about.

Hannah Hyland


Foster’ing Penticton

California is in the grips of a record setting drought. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration western regional climate services director the state is now “exceptionally vulnerable” because of the impact conditions are having on groundwater supplies. Even if California were to receive its average annual rainfall it would do little to alleviate the impacts. But those impacts from drought will not only affect California. B.C. imports almost 70 per cent of its vegetables from the U.S. with California making up almost half.

A recent study commissioned by Vancity Credit Union showed that there could be a price jump in B.C. of up to 34 per cent in the next five years on fruits and vegetables. For the past 50 years as a society we’ve relied on a food system that has been propped up by hidden subsidies in the form of abundant water supplies, cheap petroleum for fertilizers and transportation and a stable growing climate. That made food cheap. Those hidden subsidies are no longer hidden. The price of oil has jumped nearly $80 a barrel in the past decade, the intensity and frequency of extreme weather events are increasing which leaves this community, which is reliant on food from elsewhere, extremely vulnerable to price shocks. Whether you’re a working stiff just barely paying the bills, a senior on a fixed income or the owner of a local business this will impact you.

There is a lot of instability out in the world today and it’s hard not to feel overwhelmed by external events. But as a community we can choose how to respond to those things we can’t control. That’s why beyond development, jobs and taxes we need to have food security as an election issue.

One candidate for council who really sticks out on issues like this is Ryan Foster. The prudent thing to do as a community would be to have people in local government who are exploring alternatives in policy, institutions and infrastructure that can help lessen the impacts climate change, food security and resource depletion will have here at home. That’s what sets Ryan apart from the other candidates in my mind is that he has a platform that takes the growing instabilities into account and wants to explore ways of dealing with those things at a local level. So urge people who are worried about these things and want to explore the alternatives to visit fosterpenticton.ca and have a look.

Cody Young


Toy Run a success

The Okanagan Motorcycle Riders Association (OMRA), along with St. Vincent de Paul Society, would like to thank the generous sponsors who helped make the 27th annual South Okanagan Toy Run such a success for 2014. This year we were able to raise $1,850 and approximately 300 toys were donated. Further donations are always welcome at St. Vincent de Paul Society located at St. Ann’s Hall, 1296 Main St., Penticton.

Many thanks go to: A&W Restaurants, Affordable Music, Avalance Performance, Barley Mill Brew Pub, Best Damn Sports Bar, Bar One Pub, Bears Den, Bike Barn,  Boston Pizza, Canadian Tire, The City of Penticton, Clancy’s Pub, Copper Mug, SO Country, Denny’s Restaurant, Doc’s Golf Centre, Eagles Aerie 4281, Government St. Liquor Store, Huber Banister Chevrolet, Kaleden Restaurant, K Radio, Kettle Valley Station Pub, Lions Club of Penticton, Lordco Parts, Minute Muffler, M&M Meat Shop, Mutts & Motorcycles, Napa Auto Parts, Parker Motors, Pasta Factory, Peach City Beach Cruise, Peacock’s Perch Pub, Peacock Perch Liquor Store, Penticton Honda, Penticton Yamaha, Sandman Hotel, Starbucks, Subway, Sherwood Trophies, Skaha Ford, Skaha Meadows Golf Course, Bill Tarras, Tony’s Meats & Deli, Wheel 2 Wheel Motorcycle Care and Zia’s Stonehouse Restaurant.

We appreciate your generosity in helping put a smile on the faces of the children of the South Okanagan who may otherwise not have a gift at Christmas. We would also like to thank all the participants who showed and rode. We couldn’t have such a successful event without your overwhelming support. Hope to see you all again next year.

Roy Colmer, Toy Run director

Jack Batstone, PR director

Trying times

Thank you Tom Isherwood for your opinion on people with disabilities of any kind. You are fortunate you are not on a disability. We did not choose to be poor, it was a necessity. We had good and decent jobs before we were diagnosed. We worked hard, we contributed to taxes. Right now, we do volunteer work. Even the working people feel tough times. These are trying times.

Gordon and Edna Johnson


Nuclear conclusion

The implosion of America, begun with the Presidents G.W. and G.H. Bush Mid-East sinkhole horror wars, gains momentum with the increased effort to degrade and eliminate black U.S. President Obama. Note the U.S. Republican Congress induced Obama black plague of which the Ebola virus pales in comparison.

Added is the U.S. industrial  military complex and its senators pressure for more Middle East war in which Canada has trapped itself. Plus a dysfunctional Secret Service crowned with the Brutus-Panetta ambush. President Obama realizes it is impossible to defeat ISIS or their replacements when they are preferred over the not reported understandable intense dislike of the U.S. by the destroyed and wounded Arab nations plus Vietnam. The conclusion will be nuclear.

Joe Schwarz



Tire(d) of regulations

Like many other people I also wonder what group of morons came up with the new tire regulations for the use of winter tires?

My question is for the morons to answer if they can, or pass it on to dumber and dumber.

There is no mention of rubber tires found on all types of travel and utility trailers requiring the M/S – Snowflake or perhaps studs. or God forbid, chains?

These travelling hunks of metal on rubber can easily jackknife under extreme road conditions be it wet, dry or covered in ice or snow.

What’s next, I ask of the morons? Rubber boots and shoes? Pedal bikes?  Wheel barrows? Rubber-tired baby carriages and all-wheels that have rubber capable of hitting the blacktop and skidding out of control?

Tom Isherwood


Legion gives thanks

Words alone cannot express our thanks for the donations given to the branch 40 fundraiser at the Legion. Special thanks to Sunrise Pharmacy to for the generous donation,as it helped out greatly.

I personally would like to thank all the volunteers and Terry Bremner for the entertainment as this was a huge success.

Evelyn Trowell

Entertainment Chair

Ban political TV advertisement

I believe that as a journalist, Peter Mansbridge is well respected among Canadians.

Perhaps the reason he is so well respected is his obvious professionalism. His reporting and interviews are done in an impartial, balanced and fair presentation of fact. I would guess that no one except his closest friends would know how Mansbridge votes or for which party.

Many other journalists such as Don Martin and Craig Oliver of CTV have the same view of impartiality  and also deserve our respect. Basically, it’s called freedom of the press, and in a democracy, one of our cherished freedoms.

The proposed changes in copyright law by the Conservative government would in effect challenge that freedom. The background is straightforward. The Conservatives have been using attack ads against Justin Trudeau of the Liberal party in an attempt to discredit him and Liberal policies. The evidence so far is that they haven’t been working, or at least not as effectively as they would wish. Trudeau has gone up in the polls.

So what the Conservatives would like to do now is use actual clips from the news media and distort and slant them, of course, to fit their propaganda. Using the clips of distinguished journalists lends the message legitimacy and makes the lies more believable. Also, the proposal would force the news media to show the ads even though in effect they would be lending their voice to the distortions.

This is another blatant attempt by the Conservatives to influence the next election in their favour.  As an alternative, why don’t we simply ban all political advertising and rely on the impartial filter of the professional news media to help us decide.

Bernie Nordquist


Within their rights

I would like to thank Evelyn Enns for putting into words my sentiments exactly.  Mayor Litke and the city were and are within their rights to protect staff against harassment and bullying.

Maybe if all councillors attended conferences where networking and sharing of ideas are facilitated, they would learn from their peers how to appropriately handle issues instead of shooting from the hip and trying to reinvent the wheel. We need good knowledgeable managers who are prepared to share with and learn from others, not people who live in ivory towers for 60 years in our small city thinking they have all the solutions.  Again, thank you Mayor Litke and City staff for your good hard work.

David Johnson