West Bench not getting free ride

West Bench residents pay for the Penticton services they use

We would like to take exception to the article in the Western News dated Oct. 5 in which Coun. Helen Konanz stated that the community of West Bench should amalgamate with the City of Penticton since we use so many Penticton services, even using their roads for cycling.

This is a ridiculous statement coming from a resident of Kaleden who also does not pay taxes for the use of Penticton roads, community centres, etc. Maybe she should move to Penticton before making such inflammatory statements. She went on to say that we use so many community services that we should amalgamate with the City of Penticton. They use every service that we have, basically. They work here, they play here, they ride their bikes here, they do everything here. The same applies to you Mrs. Konanz.

But I would like to enlighten her that we do pay taxes to the Penticton Regional Hospital (which includes a major expansion coming up in the near future), 911, emergency planning, mosquito control, flood planning, fire protection from the City of Penticton, sewage (even though we are on septic tanks) and the community centre. By the way, no other regional community in the RDOS contributes to the community centre. Not even Faulder, Naramata, Heritage Hills, Okanagan Falls or Kaleden contribute. But we do allow other people to use our roads on the West Bench to access the golf courses and the KVR.

If the councillor is so upset that we ride our bikes, jog and swim in Penticton, maybe she should put a motion forward to tax all the Ironmen and tourists that come to the city to enjoy the same benefits. This brings up another subject regarding the purchase of bulk water from the City of Penticton, and I know a lot of Penticton residents are angry that we will be getting our water at a reduced price.

Well, you should consider that the West Bench has bought and own their own infrastructure and maintains it and will in the future when the main line is installed so the city’s water can flow up to the West Bench. We are paying for our own installation, meters, monitoring and maintenance now and in the future.

The City of Penticton is only supplying the water. Why should we be paying more than the residents of Penticton? The residents of Penticton are paying for their own pipes, meters, maintenance and the water, so it stands to reason that Penticton residents should be paying more.

We are now paying and will be paying approximately $1,600 a year for water for the next 20 years and I don’t know of any community that pays that much for water, even Penticton. And we still don’t have potable water and haven’t had for a year and a half, and it will be another year and a half before we might have potable water. We have not been provided with free bottled water like some other communities. No, the West Bench residents are not getting a free ride.

Judy and Al Sears


West Bench