Letters to the Editor

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

Shelters keep people off Penticton’s streets

Dear Editor:

The City of Penticton has approved $300,000 if needed for a legal challenge (Herald, April 20). I suggest they use the funds to hire extra staff at the shelter or other options which may address the issues around the shelter.

If you close the shelter, the people living there will end up on the streets. Is this what you want to see in our city?

Valerie Wood


Hospice volunteers active for decades

Dear Editor:

National Volunteer Week, which was established in 1974, is a time to celebrate the impact and shine a spotlight on volunteers in our community.

On behalf of the Penticton & District Hospice Society, I would like to take a moment to reflect on the work of our volunteers — what they do and what they mean to us.

Many of our volunteers have been with our society for decades. The purpose of the meaningful work that they do is to help improve the quality of life for those on the palliative program and their loved ones during the most difficult time of their lives. The wide range of duties performed include pet therapy, visitation, helping with meal service, quilt making, massage, gardening, sewing unique gowns for our residents, attaching plaques in our memorial garden and holding vigil — being with someone who does not have family so that they do not die alone.

The commonality amongst all of our volunteers is empathy and compassion. Whether their work is hands on and sharing in the intimate journey of our residents or those on the palliative program in our community, or assisting the amazing staff at Hospice House, they care; and for that, we are eternally grateful.

Thank you, Hospice volunteers; we see you, we appreciate you, and we honour you! We are looking forward to the resumption of your very valuable work.

Ruth Sawyer, Chair

Penticton & District Hospice Society

SOLS says thank you to all its volunteers

Dear Editor:

South Okanagan Loss Society (SOLS) is a safe, accessible, and welcoming space for community members to find support, education and resources in their journey through loss and grief.

For National Volunteer Week, SOLS would like to announce the launch of our new volunteer program. With the philosophy that no one should grieve alone, we have developed a program to connect trained volunteers to provide telephone support to anyone who has suffered a loss.Our carefully selected volunteer, who are supervised by professional staff, have completed a comprehensive training program in order to help those who are experiencing grief due to the loss of a loved one. If you, or someone you know is grieving and in need of support, please call SOLS and leave a message at 250-488-1320 or email sols.penticton@gmail.com. This volunteer program is made possible by the support of Aging Well Penticton, #simplegenerosity/Valley First and donations by caring community members.

On behalf of SOLS, I would like to express our sincere thanks to our volunteers and our dedicated staff who make the SOLS loss and grief support groups, grief counselling, and our new volunteer telephone support program possible.

Crystal Kruger


No sympathy for whiny Snowbird

Dear Editor:

Glad to hear that Doug Yeast and the missus from Summerland enjoyed their four month vacation in Arizona, having great weather, cheap food, drink and the company of two other like-minded couples from Canada (Herald letters, April 20).

I just wish that he had kept it to himself. Now that he’s back in the country he feels it necessary to share how he circumvented the $2,000 hotel fee and tells readers to “curb their jealousy.” Well, sir, I would say to you that it is not so much about jealousy as it is about your selfish behaviour.

I would like to think that a lot of other folks could have travelled south for a few months but chose not to knowing that it is the right thing to do.

Everyone is experiencing COVID fatigue and vaccine envy to some degree and everyone has made sacrifices, some greater, some lesser. Mr. Yeast, on the other hand, just doesn’t get it; he is not helping the situation. His reckless “go public” account only fuels the flames of restlessness as front-line health care staff battle record high case counts.

We are told that we are “all in this together”; right, until we’re not. Upon reflection perhaps he might realize that he should have discussed his letter with the wife and friends; they might well have talked him out of it.

Randy Repka


Shame on young people in Whistler

Dear Editor:

I’m not sure what you would call a group that holds a government/people for ransom, but I know the word I think of!

A group of (mostly) young people in Whistler blatantly show the B.C. Government that they are not going to abide by social distancing, mask-wearing, non-partying rules, and, after infecting most of the residents in Whistler, they are going to return to the rest of B.C. — and maybe further — and spread their disease there.

Their message is clear to me, and, apparently, the BC Government.

The message?

Divert the vaccines from teachers, paramedics, firefighters and other really important people, and give it to us! Do that – and maybe – with any kind of luck - we won’t infect everyone we meet!

These people at Whistler held the government up for ransom — and won.

What a disgrace!

Pat Wardell


Other communities are not helping out

Dear Editor:

According to John Dorn’s column in the Penticton Herald of April 20: “…there are at least 500 people in Summerland who are “under-housed.” They are living in cars, recreational vehicles, travel trailers and picker shacks.

He also says that Summerland doesn’t have any supportive housing, transitional housing, homeless shelters, supervised drug injection sites or soup kitchens.

This is a sad tale that speaks for most of the south end of the valley. Penticton apparently the only City with a heart has been the major provider of shelters for the homeless. The directors of the RDOS seem to like it that way as nine voted against giving Penticton any assistance in its fight with the Province over closing Victory Church shelter.

I would guess they are worried that closing any shelters in Penticton just might result in questions being asked as to why there are insufficient services being provided in the other areas surrounding Penticton: The irresponsibility of these communities towards those in need is shocking.

Penticton should consider leaving the RDOS. We would be far better off on our own. We ask very little of the RDOS. We have asked them to support financially the services their residents use in our city. They are not interested in a financial agreement for usage based on population.

In our dispute with the Province over homeless housing it only passed by 10-9. Support was barely there. I believe it’s due to a case of NIMBY in the neighbouring communities.

Penticton wants to take the dispute to Premier John Horgan. Penticton needs to ask Horgan why the surrounding communities are not taking their share of the burden and suggest the Province direct funds towards those areas that are evading their responsibilities in serving those in need.

If the surrounding rural and small city communities want to remain in the RDOS that is their decision but Penticton would be well out of this bunch of navel gazers.

It is time we made that clear and discontinued our support for the RDOS.

Elvena Slump


Wasting billions on climate change

Dear Editor:

The government wants to spend billions on climate change and many are convinced that low carbon lifestyles are the solution.

Bill Gates bought the job of chief climate change advocate, but he has no practical experience or credibility on low carbon living. He dwells in a 66,000 square foot mansion with 18.75 bathrooms. So let’s operate some experimental low carbon communities to better understand what’s actually involved.

Fossil fuels would be banned and residents must use green alternatives. Only solar and wind electricity are allowed. All vehicles and heating would be electric. Bikes rule.

All food must be produced within a 100 mile radius. Imported cooking oil and spices would be permitted to relieve dietary monotony. No processed foods either; they require fossil fuel for production and distribution. Disposable diapers are prohibited; they never compost. No synthetic textiles either.

No oil derived plastics; although exemptions might be made for toothbrushes, combs, phones, TVs, fridges, stoves, and computers.

No paved streets; asphalt uses oil. No concrete either; cement production releases CO2. All homes would be log construction, but considering that carbon absorption is impacted by logging, size would be limited to 800 square feet.

Residents must avoid takeout foods and restaurants. No shopping at big box stores either because of the carbon impact from remote supply sources. Forget imported fresh fruit and vegetables. Online shopping and air travel mean carbon extravagance. Food processing and preservation are life- essential skills.

Gardens, backyard rabbit hutches, chicken coops, piggeries and goat herds would be encouraged. No dairy or beef though; cows emit damaging methane.

Communities would feature a Greta Thunberg theme park where people could find inspiration or vent their frustrations. Resident psychologists would assist with food and electrical anxieties, relationship counselling and free anti-depressants.

Government would establish buildings and utilities, but then people are on their own. Residents must be self-supporting in addition to maintaining their green lifestyles. No tax breaks for climate virtuosity.

Carbon inspectors and snitch lines would be necessary to keep people toeing the green line, especially on wood burning stoves and overconsumption of electricity and bootleg pizzas.

It’s a challenge, but participants get to keep their homes after five years as an incentive. At least they wouldn’t be going full Amish, whose carbon footprint is estimated to be 25 percent of ours.

They’ll still have cars, heat, washing machines and internet to the extent that wind and sun allow.

John Thompson


We need suggestions to beat OD crisis

Dear Editor:

There is a sad crisis regarding the growing number of opioid overdoses.

Last year saw 1,724 deaths and the cumulative total is 7,073. At what number do we really decide to do everything possible to reduce these statistics?

So many families are permanently devastated.

There is no disagreement in suggestions to decriminalize possession of small amounts of hard drugs. Yet despite best intentions and safe-injection sites, deaths inexorably rise.

Surely, we have reached the point when everyone can agree current remedies are not working. Continued failed protocols produce the same appalling result. Is our only recourse to accept the status quo?

And what do our politicians offer but platitudes and promises, such as a safe-injection site on every corner.

Or should we consider other possible options, however difficult or unpleasant?

No. 1: Is it possible to reduce the hard drug availability with more resources targeting suppliers, thus interrupting that supply chain? Do we even know where most of these drugs come from?

No. 2: Are drug traffickers mass murderers, selling lethal drugs for big profits? Or are they merely unfortunate victims who require more counselling and early childhood intervention?

The punishment should fit the crime. It must be frustrating for police to see convicted dealers given inconsequential sentences. The judicial system’s catch-and-release program is no deterrent whatsoever.

So, sell hard drugs, do hard time.

Does anyone have any better suggestions other than prayer and hope?

John Billett


Please pay attention and respect road crews

Dear Editor:

Road construction season is once again upon us and along with it comes delays, detours and frustrations. Most drivers like to think of themselves as good drivers but that, in my not so humble opinion, is a load of bumpkus.

Just watch how drivers go through a construction zone. They get angry, shout at and even throw stuff at road crews and they even aim for the person holding a traffic control sign that is outfitted with bright neon green or orange clothing. They either don’t pay attention to what the traffic control is telling them or try to hit the traffic controller either intentionally or unintentionally.

I worked on road crews for a couple of years and we learned to never trust a driver going through our site. Even 28 years ago when I did it, drivers intentionally tried to hit not only our flag people but the people doing the work on the road. I lost count at how many mirrors a day would hit my back or sides from drivers who were angry about being held up, forced to go slow or just plain not paying attention. Three times our flag people were run over in one season. Fortunately, the injuries were minor but two were from inattention and one was intentional because he was upset that he had to wait.

It is even more dangerous for road workers now because many of the drivers are on electronic devices or have vehicles with tons of bells and whistles that they rely on to help them drive. Lastly, if you see road construction signs on the road yet nobody in sight, you are still required by law to slow down to follow the posted limits and drive at that speed until you are beyond the last set of signs coming from the opposite direction or see a sign to resume regular posted speeds.

If you don’t follow the laws, then I truly hope you have deep pockets for all the fines you will get and no sympathy from me.

Do everyone else a favour and learn to pay attention while driving because I really don’t like seeing headlines of another flag person or road worker being hit because a driver was angry or inattentive.

Dean Soiland

Prince George