An athlete races along Main Street in the cycling portion of the Subaru Ironman Canada event in Penticton, Sunday, August 28, 2022.

Penticton subsidizing profit-centered sports

Dear editor:

Penticton property owners face the possibility of a 9.7% tax hike. Substantial expenditures in 2023 could include additional firefighters and RCMP staff, the costs for which clearly fit the new Council’s crime reduction and public safety election promises.

However, given the $8.1 million rise in the City’s operating expenses since the 2022 budget was passed, one wonders what items will be subject to cutting or trimming to keep expenditures in check.

As a starting point, the City could undertake a review of the extent of taxpayer funds spent annually to support the private sector’s sports events, tournaments, teams, and additionally their sports related business leaseholders at the South Okanagan Events Centre campus.

(Penticton’s last property tax billing showed the SOEC, which was pitched as a financially sustainable project, receiving more 2022 public tax dollars than the Library/Museum complex or the city’s transit system.)

Looking at the 2019 vote to reinstate the Ironman event, one notes large subsidies granted to Ironman by the City, despite the $247,000 per year average salaries of Ironman participants. It seems these individuals, who love the race and enjoy the free support of our city’s volunteers, could well afford user-pay participation costs rather than adding to the tax bill of Penticton families.

And then there’s our beloved Vees, who recently signed a six-year contract with the City. Unlike the contracts for private operators chosen for the Skaha Marina, which were reported to the public, financial details of the Vees arrangement remain secret.

A stated reason was that the Vees operate on a slim margin, but so does every non-profit society that must open its books to the City in order to qualify for taxpayer subsidies.

The City should clearly identify the amount that taxpayers in Penticton’s relatively low-wage economy shell out each year to subsidize profit-centered sports. It’s particularly important at a time when many Penticton families face financial struggles.

I trust Penticton’s new Council will address the above concerns and insist on full disclosure to the taxpaying public.

Loraine Stephanson


9.7% tax hike due mostly to bike lanes

Dear editor:

I read in the Penticton Herald that the “City is mulling a 9.7% tax hike” (Feb. 28). They expect that a home valued at $662,000 will pay over $1,000 a year and businesses will be hit even harder. Of course, that includes the hike in utilities.

This makes me wonder why they try to cover up the real story by trying to make us believe the deferred taxes had caused the problem. Duh!

What about the millions squandered on the bike lanes so far and the millions more to extend it down South Main Street? They have not mentioned the cost of fancy traffic lights, tons of concrete barriers and a traffic roundabout for that project.

I wonder how many good things could have been done in the city if all the cash they squandered on the bike lanes had been spent on police, firefighters, etc.

Well I suppose the council will think of some story to make us taxpayers feel good about taking the money out of our pockets.

Lee Pixley


Mayor should live within catchment

Dear editor:

I don’t know what alternate dimension Penticton has slipped into but it’s not a good one. Rod Serling from “The Twilight Zone” would be impressed. A 9.7% tax hike? Are you people bloody serious?

In case you haven’t noticed, the country is in an economic crisis the end of which is nowhere in sight and you dare start toying with the idea of a tax increase?

Amazing, to say the least.

Let’s start with the new mayor.

Just about every jurisdiction on the face of the planet requires an elected official who draws a salary to reside within the catchment boundaries of said jurisdiction. Not the universe that Penticton seems to be orbiting around in.

Logic would point to that, at best, our new mayor would be eligible to run for a seat on the RDOS board. Certainly not a chair at Penticton City Hall.

I totally get that “stuff” happens and you have to roll with the punches while adapting and overcoming unforeseen problems so I make the following suggestion. Shortfall? Then by all means go to the same trough where council of the day magically managed to find “free” money to build some poorly-designed and executed bike lanes. We live in a democratic society where majority rules and I am quite confident that the majority of Pentictonites wanted nothing to do with this pet project of a select entitled few... but we were never asked.

A novel concept I know, but that’s how my mind works. Council, you are elected to do a job and not treat the taxpayer as a vehicle to pay for your play things.

Daniel Pontes


Enjoyed musings of Joy Lang

Dear editor:

I was so sorry to read in the Penticton Herald that Joy Lang, a fellow writer/ contributor had passed away.

I enjoyed her letters so much and we seemed to be mostly “on the same page.”

I don’t know her family or address, but could this little note be acceptable to send my condolences to them. And to say how much she will be missed.

Marjorie M. Montgomery