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

Restaurant industry is getting a raw deal

Dear Editor:

Re: “Fear is dominating too many lives,” by Mary-Anne MacDonald (Herald letters, Dec. 9).

Although the leadership shown in managing the pandemic has been solid in B.C., it is astonishing how chief medical officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Minister of Health Adrian Dix have managed the communications surrounding the health crisis (likely because of the lack of input from business leaders.)

There has been a lack of balance in communications with regards to how their unilateral decisions (in some cases not evidence-based) can impact small business. In the absence of information, people establish their own interpretations which has led to fear-based decision making versus rational- decision making by the public.

For instance, in the past month since Dr. Henry’s Nov. 24 order, we have fielded numerous calls of potential guests wondering if they can go out or not go out? In the absence of solid information, guests have chosen not to dine-in or order take out. Business has tanked like a lead balloon for the entire restaurant industry here in Penticton which has created a negative economic spiral effect causing economic hardship for hard-working families including numerous layoffs and reduced hours.

Although we are extremely grateful for the take-outs we do have, it can never replace dine-in revenues or cover fixed- overhead costs for many operators.

It could be argued that there is no conclusive evidence to support not going to a restaurant, however the conundrum is that it’s quite all right to jam into a London Drugs or Walmart to buy a toaster.

From a public-health risk perspective, I wish the health order would have encouraged people to go to a restaurant versus having guests to the house.

Theo’s, and most of my colleagues in the industry, have been doing a diligent job policing the health orders imposed on us to keep our guests and staff safe.

I would argue that from a risk perspective, most reputable restaurant operators have cleaner and safer establishments than most people’s homes.

Many of the outbreaks we hear about are because of people congregating in private homes and gatherings. There is none of that going on in restaurants including mingling between tables.

At Theo’s (as most restaurants), we have focused on tight-distancing measures, frequent sanitization of all touch points and tables, plenty of hand washing and health checks. Most restaurants have plenty of air flow and make up air units with air frequently circulating because of giant exhaust fans required by code to move air. This results in frequent air circulation unlike most people’s homes.

Fear can be a catastrophic negative motivator in business and restaurants are no exception.

I have taken a straw poll with my colleagues and, as of late (following Dr. Henry’s last two health orders), business has declined 50 to 70 %. Across Canada, our restaurant association has reported 10,000 permanent restaurant closures.

I think now is the time for all to support one another by making informed decisions that we are comfortable with as individuals.

Let’s do our best to support small business versus faceless corporations any way that we can while we keep everyone safe!

Gregory Condonopoulos


Theo’s Restaurant

Real ‘pirates’ were fun and adventurous

Dear Editor:

Re: “Beware of porch pirates,” (Herald, Page A5, Dec. 12).

Regarding calling these low-life thieves “porch pirates,” how about porch scum or some other such deserving title that relates to the filth that they are.

I mean, who doesn’t want to be a swashbuckling pirate? These losers couldn’t do anything close to living up to that.

And while we’re at it, maybe mention that they’re just lowly thieves. They cowardly take other people’s hard-earned purchases and rob people of their Christmases.

Perhaps their victims are people less fortunate than themselves.

Roger Scott


Public should have right to film police

Dear Editor:

I have more than a passing fancy when discussing the police. It has been a keen interest of mine for many years on two continents. And I am no spring chicken.

With that in mind, I would like to remind the public of a few things that they should be aware of, especially if you have teenage children.

I implore you to take the time to advise them before an unfortunate police incident occurs where they might be involved. The police, during any interview, are legally allowed to lie to you to possibly trick you into gaining more evidence, thus more power to incriminate you. But here’s the clincher — you are not allowed to lie to them because, in doing so, you can and will be charged with obstruction.

Your children would be best advised to say nothing and, if possible, record the encounter with either video and/or audio. They should keep mum until Mom and Pop are present and possibly avoiding a life-changing moment that will be with them forever.

Sadly, the days of the Village Bobby being the local hero are “long gone.” There are many more instances and situations that I could go into, but this is not the time, people have far more immediate concerns on their minds at the moment.

In closing, and being aware of policing on both sides of the pond, I would like to remind you that it is not illegal to record the police, in fact, I would strongly encourage you to do so. Get out your phone, stay the safe distance and do not interfere.

To repeat, it is not illegal to record the police. They don’t like it of course, but with the unbelievable lack of transparency that is the norm with police agencies nowadays, it is in the public’s best interest to record all police encounters.

One needs to look no further than France where the police are trying to use the courts to stop people filming them.

Don Smithyman


Business plan needed on bike-lane proposal

Dear Editor:

The evolution of the bike path conundrum is something of a mystery. It seems to have progressed from a wish-list item into serious civic planning and financial concern with little formal public proposal formality.

It would also seem that a project of this scope and serious financial consequence, with comparatively narrow appeal, would have been supported by a detailed business plan. Such a plan would explore practicality by encompassing projected user numbers, actual civic economic benefits, traffic and business dislocations and above all — costs.

Embarking on a project of this scope and cost sans analysis would be absolutely inconceivable in the business world.

Actual economic benefits will be hard to quantify. Shopping by locals using bicycles for transport is uncommon, carrier racks have simply disappeared. Tourist biking arrivals and associated spending will remain a speculation, but perhaps the Chamber of Commerce has records. But in any event, touring cyclists are notoriously, and understandably, frugal.

Practicality of the project will have to revisit the much mentioned utility of the two existing lake-to-lake paths.

Usage figures, based on the existing paths, unfortunately unrecorded as once requested, would prove disappointing, even in summer. Yet, even a ride down little-used Lakeside and Marina to Van Horne and up to Wade puts one en route directly to Skaha on an established — but little used — path.

Planners should not confuse idealism with necessity. Seasons are one factor and necessity is another.

Par example: take a very busy highway stretch. In late November, clear and seasonable at seven and nine degrees observed on a return trip to Tsawwassen. Highway 17 has dedicated the outer five feet of the asphalt surface, both sides, as bike lanes from the Highway 15 junction to the ferry terminal.

On the 50-km trip outbound, there was not a single cyclist on either side. On the return, there was one cyclist eastbound at the Highway 99 overpass. Utility, like idealism, is obviously a major consideration.

And finally there remains the cost, a very high figure to be borne by an estimated 11,000 ratepayers, directly and indirectly. At $8 million, this equals $727 per head.

Transposing it further, it translates to $4,840 per cyclist if the biking population represents 5% or $2420 if 10%. If used by 2% of the cyclists, the path cost would be $19,360 and $9,680 respectfully per rider.

The project may well be decided on a subjective decision, but the need for a fact-driven objective business plan seems warranted.

Jay Thomas

Okanagan Falls

Let’s all give city council our personal wish list

Dear Editor:

Re: “City planners, council have gone too far,” by Clifford Martin (Herald, Dec. 8).

I am suggesting that everyone in Penticton look around outside their places of abode. If they see anything that needs doing now and has needed for a long time, write a letter to our council with a list of the things that need their money.

We’ll see what happens.

This way everyone is included.

Evelyn Giesbrecht


Some people need help pricing groceries

Dear Editor:

Penticton residents, have you ever thought of having a group of residents that are experts on spread sheets (that is not me), report on the pricing of groceries at the various supermarkets in Penticton?

Personally, I absolutely detest the following method below of pricing turkeys, in my mind the super markets are ripping off individuals that do not have the time to look for the best deals in Penticton.

3kg to 5 kg turkeys for $12 converted to price to pounds.

3kg to 5 kg at $12 works out to between $1.81 to $1.09 per pound.

5kg to 7kg at $18 works out to between $1.63 to $1.16 per pound

7kg to 9kg at $24 works out to between $1.56 per lb to $1.21 per pound

9kg to 11kg at $30 works out to between $1.51 per lb to $1.23 per pound

Turkeys weighing either 4.99 kg, 6.99 kg, 8.99 kg or 10.99 kg will always be your cheapest price in each of the above four categories.

Some individuals who have lost their jobs in Penticton must have a very difficult time when purchasing groceries in Penticton.

Penticton residents with a sharp eye for pricing of groceries, would be a great asset to help out working family members.

Ted Wiltse


Trump should spend time studying history

Dear Editor:

Hey Donald, your crack pot ability to yap is well known, but I understand your lack of focus, cuts into your reading time.

Perhaps you ought to bone up on some history, particularly on the demise of Benito Mussolini, the fascist dictator of Italy from 1925 to 1945. His fall from power wasn’t pretty.

Paul Crossley


Mark Donnelly’s firing way offside

Dear Editor:

What has happened to the right of free speech? Is it reserved for only those who support popular opinion? Can individuals not peacefully express dissenting opinions without fear of reprisal?

The Canucks fired longtime and popular anthem singer Mark Donnelly for publicly questioning the current control measures imposed to curb the spread of COVID 19.

After reading the Herald article (Dec. 8), Mr. Donnelly comes across as a thoughtful and concerned Canadian citizen, not a rabid anti-masker or anti-vaxer.

To my knowledge, he has broken no laws nor breached any protocols. Maybe our approach is not the best—look at China, Taiwan and Singapore as examples of countries that imposed very severe short term restrictions and seem to have the virus pretty much under control.

To their discredit, the Canucks did not contact Mr. Donnelly to discuss the incident and did not even have the decency to call to advise of his termination.

The right to free speech is an essential pillar to our democratic system. If individual Canadians have to fear for their jobs and reputations when peacefully expressing opinions that question the prevailing narrative, we have reached a sad and sorry spot in our free and respectful society.

Shame on the Canucks and the gutless individuals who support this appalling treatment of Mr. Donnelly.

Tom Brown


Quote attributed to Chinese mystic

Dear Editor:

Elvena Slump is always spot on when it comes to numbers (being a retired accountant).

At least no one ever challenges her on those.

However, in her letter of Dec. 4, where she “quotes” Margaret Thatcher, she’s certainly off the mark. Mrs. Thatcher’s philosophy only extended to money matters, while the quoted wisdom, “Watch your thoughts…,” etc., were written by Lao Tzu, an ancient Chinese mystic, in the 3rd century.

Joy Lang


Homes for Homeless raises a record $5,400

Dear Editor:

Through the month of November, we ran our fifth annual V2A Homes for the Homeless fundraiser.

We were again overwhelmed by everyone’s support of this project which, this year, focussed on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on homelessness.

So many who supported our cause commented on how grateful they are to have a home to “shelter in place,” something Penticton’s homeless don’t have.

The sale of 550 handmade heart-shaped ornaments, made from recycled clay and left-over glazes, were all completely unique, just like the people they represent.

The project raised almost $5,400, nearly tripling what was donated last year. Although the minimum donation was $5, many paid considerably more. This brings the five-year total to more than $14,400.

We are very grateful and humbled by the generosity of so many, and everyone’s interest in helping the most vulnerable members of our community, as all proceeds are donated to Penticton’s Salvation Army.

The spirit of giving and concern for those less fortunate was truly heartwarming.

We appreciate all who supported the V2A 2020 project, especially Banks Travel and The Lloyd Gallery.

Dave, Viv, Heather Lieskovsky