We’d love to hear from you. Letters to the editor of 400 words or less may be emailed to: letters@pentictonherald.

For general comments on the newspaper, feel free to contact managing editor James Miller at: james.miller@ok.bc.ca.

Rules are unfair to farm-based wineries

Dear Editor:

Farm-based wineries are prohibited from establishing tasting rooms in our local towns and cities.

This prohibition is imposed through agreements forced on land-based wineries by the Liquor Distribution Branch. In other near-by jurisdictions, many small towns thrive on wine tourism. Tasting rooms are allowed to cluster in small rural communities, encouraging complementary businesses such as restaurants, tourist shops, artisan workshops and entertainment venues to do the same. This attracts tourists looking for a complete experience that includes not only wine but also food, entertainment, shopping and accommodation.

Under current LDB rules, land-based wineries are required to locate their tasting rooms on agricultural land. Wineries looking to provide customers with a complete tourist experience are building restaurants, guest houses, wedding venues and concert amphitheaters on their vineyard properties while nearby rural towns are starving for economic development opportunities.

The law needs to to change to allow more balanced growth of wineries and associated business in our local towns cities.

At some point, forcing development into the Agricultural Land Reserve begins to raise obvious concerns about the loss of cultivatable land, noise, high-traffic density and the dangers of tourists consuming alcohol and driving on country roads. Provincial laws distort sensible decision making by requiring tasting rooms to locate in vineyards.

We need to change the law to boost economic development in our communities and take the pressure off agricultural lands.

More generally, the provincial government needs to open up more sales channels for B.C. wine. Although B.C. is producing super premium products that are receiving recognition around the world, the share of BC VQA wine in its own local consumer market is only 18%. Notably, Canada (B.C. included) is the only wine-growing area in the world whose citizens do not drink predominantly their own domestic wines. Inter-provincial trade barriers prevent the direct shipment of B.C. wine to consumers in most other provinces and have stunted the development of a national market for B.C. wines.

Current distribution channels for B.C. wines are inadequate. The LDB, which is the dominant player in liquor retailing, does a poor job of selling the wines of small artisan B.C. producers. B.C. wineries need to be able to sell directly to consumers in urban tasting rooms.

B.C, wine is a premium value-added agricultural product in the province and the key economic driver of our local tourist industry. We need to regulate it sensibly in a manner that ensures its success. This includes abolishing the LDB rule prohibiting farm-based wineries from clustering their tasting rooms in local communities.

Al Hudec


Rose-coloured better than no glasses

Dear Editor:

It doesn’t need repeating, but this certainly has been a difficult year for most of us. One of the most important concepts of a democracy is the freedom of speech as was so well expressed in Mary-Anne MacDonald’s letter (Herald, Nov. 26)

This well-written explanation of what we are being subjected to today should be digested by all of us while fully understanding the need to be cautious as possible regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.

We must, at the same time, be cognizant and accepting of the opinions of everyone; even those who may question what the authorities and experts who would have us succumb to their methods regardless of the collateral harm these methods may cause.

A previous contributor stated that anyone who does not lean to the far left is wearing rose-coloured glasses. Well, at least we are wearing glasses and not burying our heads in the sand as we have as much right to our opinions as anyone else.

I am in agreement with most of what is being done to help stop the spread of the virus, but this will not deter me or others to question some of dictates coming from the aforementioned authorities and experts.

Harry DeRosier


Cycling possibilities are endless here

Dear Editor:

An old E-biker here unloading his two cents worth.

Community planning has always been controversial and we probably can expect it to remain so. The latest round of debate centers around placement of biking paths.

Adrienne Murphy (Herald letters, Nov. 27) tabled some excellent proposals for utilizing portions of existing infrastructure, namely the Channel Parkway.

As it currently stands the Parkway is nice, but it is rather blah and lackluster when it has the potential to be a “beautiful pathway and the envy of neighbouring communities,” such as those in Oliver and Osoyoos regions.

The east side and some westerly sections of the channel could benefit from an abundance of forestation.

The old railway bridge to nowhere, crossing over the highway just south of the car dealership, could somehow be worked in as a connector to and from downtown. If not let’s remove it.

A tie in to the KVR Trail on the west side of Skaha Lake has merit. The possibilities are endless to make a pathway a “jewel for our citizens and tourists.”

Let’s explore them all.

Paul Crossley


Now is not the time for bike route

Dear Editor:

It seems Patrick Longworth (Herald, Nov. 27) has completely missed the point in his response to Elvena Slump’s letter (Herald, Nov. 26).

Penticton seems to always want the best of the best. Ms. Slump’s point is not that cyclists should only use the KVR or Channel Parkway. In fact, she does not even mention the Channel Parkway in her letter.

Her point is that this is a very ambitious and expensive plan for a city the size of Penticton, especially at this time.

Due to the pandemic, all levels of government are suffering economically. There are many people out of work. Most businesses are struggling to survive.

COVID-19 is still with us and will be for many more months, which makes it all the more difficult for small businesses. This is not the time to be spending millions of

dollars on a new bike route. Her message is to improve the existing routes, make them safer and add where it is necessary but to try to keep the cost down.

To undo the work on the 200 block of Martin Street and to have to reconstruct the recently completed intersection at Eckhardt and Martin is not good financial management. To not consider the struggling business sector is selfish and inconsiderate.

Every point in Ms. Slump’s letter is relevant to the issue of the proposed lake-to-lake bicycle route.

Patricia DesBrisay


Different cycling route to consider

Dear Editor:

About our proposed bikeway.

It is interesting to note that even though the proposal is going to tear up a beautification of lower Martin, displace at least 33 lower-income street-access parking, and require the building of several traffic circles or other convoluted interchanges, less than 150 people signify an adequate majority to spend $8 million (a conservative and likely too low a guestimate).

I will admit to suggesting that a circle route would be better, but I am now convinced that the majority of cyclists want a through-route (“spine”) in Penticton. This year, I have cycled over 1,100 kms during a total of 65 days on my bike, including rides into the downtown core and along parts of the proposed route.

The proposed route is far from idea – it’s a “tangled spine” — and would likely fail in a referendum (which will likely end up being requested when a larger number of people realize the cost of this option).

However, there is a much less expensive and more logical route. It uses the same Part 1 (South Main) but then comes straight up Main to Eckhardt, right to Ellis, left along Ellis to the KVR/Penticton Creek crossing.

This would easily connect with the KVR and other trails near Calgary Ave. plus the bikeway along Eckhardt.

It certainly would provide direct access to more schools, shopping, fast food eateries and restaurants while requiring no new bridge work over Ellis Creek nor significant disruption to anything but traffic along Main which could be handled with re-configuration of lanes such as has been done on Government, Eckhardt and Westminster already.

Put this option in front of people, complete with costings, and I’d help sell the referendum. Stick with the current “crooked spine” and I am afraid it’s a no-go.

Glenn Sinclair


Protest for good of others, not yourself

Dear Editor:

There was a picture of a group of protestors, people not wanting to wear masks, standing near Cherry Lane Shopping Centre (Herald, Nov. 24). Of course, nobody likes wearing a mask, but we do it for the good of all: “Community over self.”

Why do protesters use their energy in this fashion? Are they too stupid or uneducated to read the facts of science, or maybe too lazy to look beyond cherished internet information, or perhaps rigid thinkers with fixated ideas?

It’s hard to understand the science of viruses. They are colourless and so small (100 to 500 times smaller than bacteria) that they cannot be seen through a normal light microscope. They can, however, be seen through an electron microscope like the one at the Summerland Research Station.

Are viruses alive?

There have been arguments about this because they don’t have a cell structure as bacteria do. What they do have is two active strands of RNA and DNA. (If you are interested, you can look up this stuff on Google.)

Scientists are learning more and more about the COVID-19 virus: How they hover in the air, how they are transmitted, how long they remain viable on different surfaces ... and many other aspects.

The virus’s RNA and DNA only stay active for a limited amount of time. Then they become inactive. However, if this virus latches onto one of your cells, it takes over the RNA and DNA of your cells and makes you sick.

We wear masks to keep ourselves safe from the virus latching onto our cells, and if we are already infected without knowing it, we help keep others safe.

One of the protesters had a sign: “Love not Fear.” Yes, we don’t have to go around possessed by fear, but we show our love for our fellow human by unselfishly bothering to wear a mask, even though we don’t like it.

Instead of spending energy protesting, use your energy for some social good.

There are people wearing a mask collecting for the Salvation Army, people working in food banks and soup kitchens and many other causes to help others during this difficult time. Protesting about your own physical discomfort seems rather ignorant and selfish.

We are blessed by having a public medical system. We shouldn’t be adding costs through carelessness.

Marilyn Hansen


What’s the best system for caring for our seniors?

Dear Editor:

Elders used to be cared for by their families. From a human aspect, that was better than the institutional warehousing of today. But our society crossed that bridge a long time ago, and there’s no going back.

COVID has highlighted the vulnerability of patients in elder care, and there’s widespread agreement this must be improved. What’s best; government owned and operated facilities, which are essentially an extension of the hospital system, or private, for-profit, facilities operating under government regulation with government subsidies for patients?

The key thing is enforcing strict compliance with agreed upon standards.

True to his socialist stripes, MP Richard Cannings claims that state-run facilities are best. Not so fast; they don’t axiomatically guarantee a better outcome for the patient or for the taxpayer.

After establishing standards, like patients per room, attendant-to-patient ratios and required care routines, we need a comprehensive comparison of public and private solutions before defaulting to a public system. The costs of meeting standards should be the determinant.

This includes capital costs for building and outfitting facilities, ongoing operations and maintenance and personnel costs. As we’ve seen with COVID, staffing is the weakest link, so salaries must be sufficient to ensure care by qualified and motivated staff.

We’re conditioned to genuflect towards socialized medicine, so that’s always the easy solution. Politicians find it attractive because it puts more money and influence in their hands. But it doesn’t necessarily deliver better results.

Anything government is expensive in terms of bureaucracy, efficiency and accountability. That’s why we see increased contacting with the private sector for services previously run by government.

Our life expectancy has increased by 11 years since 1960. Seniors create the heaviest healthcare demand, and the aging boomer population will drive a huge need for more elder care. This will create massive costs and should be planned for now. This will trump pharmacare as a higher priority healthcare issue and can’t be ignored.

Most COVID fatalities have occurred in elder care homes.

No matter who runs them, they need to stop people from walking COVID into those places.

Healthcare is a provincial responsibility. The Feds have no expertise or mandate in elder care and should steer clear. The Liberals do best at virtue signalling and throwing money at problems, instead of fixing them.

Maybe a final sundowner with a good whiskey and a hemlock chaser is a good Plan B.

John Thompson


Stop comparing Trump with Hitler

Dear Editor:

Get with the program.

Keep those (expletive deleted) letters depicting Trump as Hitler coming ... they are truly dumbfounding in their level of stupidity.

A recent letter “Rona Coup Flu,” basically confronted you guys to live up to the age old responsibility of the tenets of journalism.

Joe Fries has in the past proven himself to be a pretty good investigative journalist... in the serious matters presently facing humanity.

James Miller should stick to his strong suit of rating pop artist and songs.

For a brief up-date on the treason in America, read: “Sidney Powell Files Lawsuits in Michigan and Georgia.”

Brian Gray


Government should issue citizens masks

Dear Editor:

During the Second World War, some governments issued gas masks.

Now, during “World War Flu,” why doesn’t the government issue quality masks to citizens, ones that meet basic requirements?

Instead, we are left to flounder around at this critical time mired in guesswork as we try to cope with advice that seems to change by the day.

Roberta Allen

Oak Bay