LETTERS: Penticton is not Las Vegas

A light arch. Really? Is this the best you can come up with? (Sigh), how much longer until the next election?

You know, I really have a hard time feeling sorry for mayor and council who say we have no money and cannot pay our firefighters, when they plan on spending up to a half million dollars on a cockamamie Vegas-style light arch in the 100 block of Main Street.

If they didn’t spend so much money on dumb ideas and if they would stop throwing money at developers like some guy in a bad hip-hop video, we would have the money to do what we need to do.

Of all the stupid ideas to spew forth from City Hall, this rates right up there with the Skaha waterslide fiasco and the hockey dorm. I’d like to know what is being smoked down at City Hall, because it sounds like good stuff if it messes with your decision-making in this manner. What do they hope to accomplish by erecting such a tacky and gaudy thing? This is not Las Vegas, never has been Las Vegas, and never will be Las Vegas. This will not bring more tourists, and will make downtown Penticton look totally out of place with the rest of the small-city atmosphere.

I have many coffee talk sessions with government employees, as well as merchants, and people basically from all walks of life. They all say the same thing. If you want to bring in more tourists, then clean up the city. One guy says he is hesitant to walk downtown after dark, because there are so many drug users and people wanting a handout, he says it is getting more and more like Vancouver’s downtown east side.

I keep hearing the term “vibrant” when city hall describes their vision for downtown Penticton. When I hear the word “vibrant” the first thought that comes to mind is colour. Get a hold of the building owners in the downtown core and make them paint the outside of their buildings something other than grey or earth tones. Maybe you could offer them a tax break for doing so. It should resemble something more like Front Street.

Pave the streets around downtown and replace the 40 year old sidewalks; get rid of the cobblestone crosswalks that keep wanting to sink into the road bed. More hanging plants and brightly coloured banners. This will bring in more tourists. Not a hotel, not a casino move, and definitely not a waterslide.

A light arch. Really? Is this the best you can come up with? (Sigh), how much longer until the next election?

Mark Billesberger

Penticton