Penticton has problem with perception

I find myself wondering about the nature of many of Penticton and Okanagan citizens in general. I’m a newcomer and I dearly love the change of pace and beauty of this area, having come from the sometimes ugly, congested and violent Lower Mainland area.

I do not love the limited view of Penticton and Okanagan citizenry that I’ve been getting through the local newspapers, namely when in regards to the election or to the controversy over the prospect of a prison being located here.

Almost every letter to the paper is utterly opposed to the idea of a prison and one wonders if any of these people have ever lived by one in the first place or if they believe everything they read or hear in the media. A prison cannot solve all of the economic problems or needs of this region, however, it could help a bit at least.

If everyone is so concerned about the safety of the region, why do many drivers drive as they do? I’d rather live next to a prison rather than worry about someone potentially driving me off of the road, as often potentially happens each day. Many Penticton and Okanagan residents are very poor or very irresponsible drivers, to be blunt.

As for the Conservatives being re-elected in the Okanagan, is Conservatism a new religion or cult? Why on earth vote for a party that lies, breaks the rules and threatens our very rights on a daily basis? Oh, were the Liberals that way too? I guess people don’t care that Albas did receive (unknowingly?) favouritism from the party nor that he abused the use of election signs (by littering them around the landscape).

I strongly believe that Penticton cannot survive solely on tourism, the idea is wholly outdated and likely from the 1970s, this city having failed to take advantage of new enterprises like the computer industry, the movie industry, etc. Tourism is only possible with a highly concentrated effort throughout the year, not just “lazy efforts” in the spring and summer season.

Furthermore, few people can survive employment in the “cheap” tourism industry. Tourism is like a “sweat shop” industry in terms of the wages and benefits paid (except in the few union organizations/industries).

Why should tourists subsidize Penticton’s seniors and other citizens when all we offer them is some fun (mostly kid activities) plus a few high-end to low-end hotels or motels? Aside from the recreation and the scenery and the wineries (we are potentially putting ourselves in a quandary by encouraging winery visits in areas where travel is only by car and not by public transit), what does Penticton offer that other cities don’t?

Do the businesses treat customers well or indifferently? I’d say that generally most business people I’ve encountered in this region do not offer very good service to the public whether you’re a tourist or a resident. I’ve been both a tourist and a resident of this area and I can say with authority that the customer service of many businesses here is little better than in the Lower Mainland.

Why would anyone, having visited Penticton once, ever want to return to this area aside from returning to beauty of the landscapes and lakes? Are the Penticton Vees that well known, as good a team as they may be, to attract tourists who pass through the area? Will people want to stay in town or visit solely because of a concert booking at the “white elephant”? Will they want to make the journey solely to “take in” the Ironman competition?

Finally, I’ve received conflicting information about Penticton’s council including the new MP Dan Albas; based on what I’ve personally witnessed, I am not impressed with the mayor nor any of the council and feel they should all be summarily dismissed in the coming municipal election. The mayor, especially so, appears out of touch with the concerns of many citizens and does seem content to “tilt at windmills” when it comes to finding “economic opportunities” for Penticton.

Come on Penticton, this city deserves better from its mayor, council, businesses and its citizens.

Patrick Longworth


Okanagan Falls