Letters to the Editor

Write: letters@pentictonherald.ca, 400 words or less.

What do we want our city to look like in several years?

Dear Editor:

Subject: Penticton’s future

Much has been articulated with respect to the opposition to the proposed development at 602 Lakeshore Drive. We agree with the concerns regarding setbacks, laneway safety, congestion, loss of green space and attendant climate issues.

However, the larger issue is what do we want our city to look like in the years to come?

Most corporations and some cities are now guided by and aspire to ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) principles and policies. This is an opportunity for Penticton to demonstrate its leadership.

City staff have recommended the public should be engaged in the creation of a heritage conservation area for Front Street, Lakeshore Drive and Windsor Avenue.

Our Official Community Plan specifically speaks to:

• Housing compatible with the existing neighbourhood’s character, with form and character guided by development permit guidelines.

• Create developments that are appropriately scaled and respectful of their context

• New residential developments are to be compatible with the neighbourhood in scale and design

The proposed development is asking for four major variances for front and back setbacks; increasing hard surfacing from 60% to 84% and allow a landscaping buffer to be interrupted by a parking lot.

These are not minor variances; they violate spirit and intentions of the OCP, development permit guidelines and ESG principles.

There remain only seventeen homes on Lakeshore Drive and if this application is approved, there are at least six more homes waiting to cash in on the development bonanza that will change the face of this historic neighbourhood and for that matter the character of our city.

This is not just a one-off approval, it is the thin edge of the wedge with irrevocable consequences. The real issue is do we want to retain the feel and character of our beautiful historic community or become another Kelowna-like city with no long-term plan. It is time to take a step back and develop a thoughtful strategy.

Council, you have the power to shape Penticton into a city we can all be proud of.

We urge you to put this development on hold and let the city staff proceed with their investigation of a Heritage Conservation Area.

Dennis and Kate Hayashi

Penticton

City council must establish priorities

Dear Editor:

Isn’t it past time to ask where priorities should be? While city council spends $4 million on bike lanes at a time when they are needed least and sells near 6% tax increases to citizens, more and more people are questioning whether there is actually more harm than good coming out of the responses to COVID-19.

In Nov. 2021 the Canadian Mental Health Association released a report with alarming statistics. For example:

From 2019 to 2020 opioid deaths increased by 70% (17 per day) which grew by 17.6% in the first three months of 2021 (20 per day).

“The food insecure population in Canada grew by 39% in the first two months of the pandemic.

“Kids Help Phone saw an increase in calls about physical abuse 28% and isolation 48%

In 2020 “the number of excess deaths was greater than can be explained by COVID-19 alone...”

About a year earlier in Dec. 2020 the University of British Columbia raised warnings and had this to say:

“The COVID-19 pandemic has had profound impacts on the mental health and wellbeing of populations globally. Indeed, the secondary effects of the pandemic, including rising unemployment and worries about the broader economy, housing instability, food insecurity, and disruptions in access to services and social supports, among others, have contributed to significant deteriorations in population mental health.”

Who knows, maybe a couple more bike lanes, an even bigger tax grab, or setting up a telephone number for people to call will solve the problems? Either way, it’s past time to ask if there’s more harm than good being done.

Wayne Llewellyn

Penticton

Gyms are greater priority than pubs

Dear Editor:

I am trying to understand why it was decided that gyms had to close because of COVID, but pubs do not. I have not seen evidence that more cases are coming from gym attendees.

In pubs, you need to wear a mask when entering and show your card for two doses. Once seated, you can take off your mask, so in effect everyone in the pub has no mask protection, which makes sense if one is eating, but I am sure there is a good chance of spreading in the pubs with all the maskless patrons.

I like having the pubs open and enjoy them, but I cannot figure out the rationale.

The gym I attend has the same protocol as the pubs. You need to wear your mask, you need to have your vaccination card with the two shots before you can get in. Once in the gym you must wear your mask at all times and maintain social distance.

On occasion, like the pub, you pass by another table or person closer than six feet. But we are all masked so the chance of exposure is severely limited, unlike pubs. After you are done with the equipment, you must wipe it down, and ideally wipe it down before you start.

There are spray bottles and single-use paper towels throughout the gym.

I would like to see some evidence that links COVID cases to exposures in gyms or pubs, as there must be some logical reason for this what appears to be a prejudicial decision.

Glenn White

Shawnigan Lake