Peter Osborne

Peter Osborne is pictured in a recent photos supplied to The Herald by his family.

Blessed to have known Peter Osborne

Dear Editor:

Our community has recently lost a valuable ambassador in Peter Osborne. He was a man who had a passion for the environment and, especially parkland, preservation and development.

For anyone who knew him, he might have been pictured “as a giant teddy bear.” He was soft spoken, non-judgemental and very thorough in his thinking. Peter had a burning passion for city park preservation and riparian areas. Parks to him were like “rare jewels that appreciated over time and should not be altered so as to detract from their value and community benefit.” His special interest was shown by his dedication to Skaha Lake Park and Marina.

I consider myself very fortunate in the fact that I knew Peter and shared many ideas with him in recent years.

Peter came to this country as an immigrant many years ago and through his efforts became what might be termed a self-made man. By saying this, I am not talking about monetary wealth, but in terms of character and community involvement.

When he arrived in Canada, along with his brother, who subsequently went back to England, he had about $1 in his pocket. His first job was working as a labourer on the KVR Tunnel.

Through his trade knowledge, dedication to task and perseverance, Peter made his way to a lifestyle that he wanted. His knowledge of the building trade stood him in good stead over time.

Peter was actively involved in such things as real estate; construction; community affairs in Naramata and Penticton. He played a role in the development of Naramata Centre and what was once labelled The Squires Retreat which ultimately turned into the Country Squire Restaurant.

Through his early life in Canada, he was involved in building trade from house construction and renovation to large building construction. To say that Peter was fastidious in anything that he got involved in is understatement at best.

Through his passing, he has left a legacy that will be carried on by me and several others. His name and his aim to protect parks will never be forgotten.

Rest in peace, my friend.

Ron Barillaro

Penticton

Property assessment conspiracy theory

Dear Editor:

Yesterday, I went on the B.C. Assessment website to check out the value of my mobile home. In 2021, it was assessed at $144,000. The year before that, it was a bit more. This year my assessment skyrocketed to $242,000, a gain of $98,000. I am wondering why.

My friend in Vancouver’s home went up almost $250,000 in the space of one year. That works out to 28% more than their assessment from 2021. The conspiracy theorist in me feels that this is just a plan to suck more tax dollars from the working stiff.

I now have to prepare to pay maybe another $400 or so in taxes this year. That is one person living in a mobile home. Think of how much more money that will work out to be for the government coffers.

It seems that every time my income increases a bit, the government is right there at my doorstep to take it back, plus more. Appalling.

Mark Billesberger

Penticton

Kettle campaign raises $140,515

Dear Editor:

The Salvation Army Kettle Campaign is over for another year.

With volunteers ringing the bells in Penticton, Summerland, Osoyoos and Keremeos we were able to surpass our goal of $120,000 and reach a total of $140,515.

Not only did this money provide more than 800 hampers in Penticton and Cawston, but it will also help stock the shelves of the Food Bank for the coming year.

I would like to thank all the volunteers and the residents of the South Okanagan for making “Kettles 2021” a successful campaign.

A very special thank you to the Cherry Lane Shopping Centre, Walmart, Safeway, Superstore, the BC Liquor stores in Penticton, Keremeos, Summerland, and the Home Hardware in Osoyoos.for allowing the kettles in their location.

“Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much” —Helen Keller

Mary MacArthur

Salvation Army

Kettle Coordinator

OCP is for community not the planning department

Dear Editor:

I am concerned that our city’s Official Community Plan, which is just a few years old, is being rewritten on a lot by lot basis at the desire of property owners. And I am very concerned that the city’s planning department is complicit.

The OCP is the community’s official plan and not the planning department’s. It is for the planning department to follow the guidance in the community’s official plan as set out in the OCP.

Our community’s OCP was the result of feedback from thousands of conversations with residents, open houses, feedback on shapeyourcitypenticton.ca, multiple drafts, a multi-day design workshop, design team meetings, 800 voices heard from through ExpOCP.

The Official Community Plan Task Force chartered a BC Transit bus and went on a tour all around Penticton. 350 community members were asked, “What do you love about Penticton?”

Strategies for growth were determined.

No party got exactly what they wanted, but it was the community’s compromise. A compromise that was to last to 2045.

Now we find ourselves, just a few years later, with property owners wanting variances for no other reason than they want them. And even more upsetting is the city’s planning department acting as their “front-man.”

The planning department has had private meetings, phone conversations and emails with the property owners long before the members of the community are given a few short weeks to hopefully have a conversation with a clerk at the planning department’s front counter.

It’s completely surprising that the planning department continues to act to overturn the will of the people as expressed by the community’s official plan. We expect that the planning department by its very name would be a defender of the OCP.

Other communities with an OCP give clear guidance that “first and foremost, property owners should design their development to comply with existing regulations.”

Our planning department has institutionalized variances to the extent that it has a department setup for just that thing. And has no shame in asking for multiple variances to a property such as they are now doing with the lot at 602 Lakeshore Drive West.

The design of this development should comply with existing regulations in the Official Community Plan.

Randy Tayler

Penticton

Long delays came without explanations

Dear Editor:

I was dismayed to read about problems at the Kelowna Airport on Dec. 27.

WestJet passengers experienced repeated delays of their flight to Calgary but never received appropriate information on the status of the flight. Clearly they were frustrated since the original departure time was 4 p.m. but they did not take off until 12:53 Tuesday morning.

We experienced similar situations on our flights to and from Calgary.

On Thursday Dec. 23, it took us seven hours to reach our destination in Calgary from Penticton. Delays caused by the weather are understandable, but the lack of communication to travellers is frustrating and unacceptable.

Our return flight was a series of horrors that lasted 14 hours.

Our flight from Calgary to Penticton was delayed several times. When the airplane finally arrived, we sat on the tarmac until the pilot told us the flight was cancelled because the de-icing equipment in Penticton was broken.

We learned later from a Penticton airport employee that this excuse was untrue.

Passengers were instructed to go to West-Jet’s rebooking desk. The queue was comprised of hundreds of passengers from four cancelled flights.

We stood in this line for three hours with no information about plans to accommodate us with flights/ hotels etc.

Finally some of us were told to rush to a Kelowna flight, already boarding. This was also delayed, but we were assured that a bus would be waiting to take us back to Penticton airport.

When we arrived in Kelowna, we sat on the tarmac waiting for someone to operate the Jetway. Once in the airport, there was no WestJet agent to direct us to buses. The WestJet Lost baggage handler knew nothing of our re-routed flight or busing plans.

When we retrieved our luggage, we found the bus and were the last passengers to board. Many other people were still getting their luggage and were left stranded because there was no checklist accounting for all passengers.

Flight delays can be expected, but the lack of information and care by West Jet was outrageous.

Renee Martin

Ken Maclean

Kaleden

Why the galleries must be shut down

Dear Editor:

Recent letters and op-eds in regard to the decision to close parts of the Royal B.C. Museum in Victoria for decolonization purposes have left me thinking that closure can’t come soon enough.

Letter after letter extols the virtues of the galleries, with only a token acknowledgment that there needs to be more context provided.

All too many citizens appear to love this inaccurate portrayal of life in B.C. and the colonial narrative it presents. As a grandmother and a former educator, I do not wish for yet another generation of children to grow up with the images from these galleries embedded in their consciousness, no matter how artistic or well-done they are.

As we can see by the commentary in the Victoria Times Colonist, once these stories are planted in young minds, it is extremely difficult to dislodge them.

Even when confronted with the truth about their inaccuracies and the fact that the stories of so many other people are missing or told in a very superficial way, many letter-writers believe looking at the past through rose-coloured glasses is perfectly acceptable in 2021.

What kind of museum do we need, in a post Truth and Reconciliation Commission reality?

In a province grappling with cascading climate emergencies brought on by societal choices and extractive economies?

With all the challenges that await future generations, surely we must insist on a more accurate and just story, even if it means exposing the mistakes and wrong turnings of the past.

A few years of empty galleries is to be preferred while the necessary consultations happen.

Most importantly, no more harm will be done; healing can begin as we await the creation of new galleries that better reflect B.C.’s story and the diversity of who we were, as well as who we are becoming,

Susan Grace Draper

Victoria

Moral voices must be raised in 2022

Dear Editor:

What are the lights in the darkness for us Catholics to look at?

The Prophet Isaiah (21:11) asks the same question in a time of lamentation, “Sentinel, what remains of the night? We do need to look at reality and name the bad for what it was, seek forgiveness and take action on it.”

Yes, we founded hospitals, staffed them, provided welfare, orphanages, care homes and schools for many people.

The church moved in and filled gaps — it did in many countries an incredible amount of projects. The Irish free state founded in 1922, did not set up a department of health until 1947. The church took control of this service and also sent medical missionaries to other countries.

Did we overreach, forgetting the core of the Christian identity, the centrality of the New Commandment; love for one another? Now we learn again, it is not enough to do projects, we have to ensure that love is visibly at the centre of those outreaches. How did Jesus become a diminished figure?

Pope Francis, when asked about the decline in Jesuit vocations to the priesthood, answered, “I believe the Lord is giving us a teaching; for us the fall off has meaning in the sense of humiliation. We must get used to humiliation. In the Church today we must live out the “fecundity” of humiliation”.

I might add that this humiliation is true of all renewal in human experience. In his Christmas message,1944, to members of Alcoholics Anonymous, founder Bill Wilson said: “Nor can men and women of AA ever forget that only through suffering did they find enough humility to enter the portals of that New World of sobriety. How privileged we are to understand so well the divine paradox, that strength rises from weakness, that humiliation goes before resurrection, that pain is not only the price but also the touchstone of spiritual rebirth, that peace and joy have sprung out of the midst of chaos”.

I hope that 2022 will allow a moral voice to be raised, across the world, to clarify what really happened in different countries.

A fairly recent film in Germany, named, Downfall, featuring the final weeks of Hitler’s life, raised a major question: How was it possible that so many of his people, especially those around him, stopped thinking for themselves.

Have the media changed our world for the better or have they altered the nature of truth? Our treatment by the CBC in the last year was an appeal to popular desires and prejudices rather than to rational arguments. There was no moral voice anywhere to constrain them.

Fr. Harry Clarke

Penticton

Correcting our history, let’s start with today

Dear Editor:

It’s a brand new year, so let’s start it off right.

It seems that we’ve been busy in the last while, tearing away and correcting the past for all that we presently think was wrong.

How about beginning today, we start correcting ourselves for all that we are doing wrong, so that our descendents don’t have to go back in history and correct us?

Raymond Ho

Victoria