Letters to the Editor

Write: letters@pentictonherald.ca (400 words or less)

Loves the Okanagan, can’t afford to live here

Dear Editor:

I would like to address the current housing situation.

After being widowed in 2016, my brother encouraged me to move back home — home being the Okanagan Valley. We moved to Summerland originally in 1960.

Although we eventually moved back to the U.S., we spent every summer in the valley.

In the 1980s, I cams back and spent three of the best years of my life working for Apex year round. I lived above the GunBarrell and got an extra $50 month for snow report. The next year, I lived in Dave Bett’s unit in Beaconsfield. I love it here.

Penticton is a city of seniors, but everyone is too concerned about bringing in more people, more dollars, but what about us seniors and the worker bees that are having their home sold out from under them?

I thought I had it made — five years — it was to be my forever home.

Wrong. I have pretty much decided that it appears that I will be living in a tent along the creek.

It sold for an obscene price. There is nowhere to move. But let’s build a boatload of expensive abodes for the rich.

Think about that suggestion for a smaller footprint on Spiller Road and tiny houses for us local seniors, et al.

Just think about it.

Rikka McCarthy

Penticton

A big no to developing Naramata Bench

Dear Editor:

No! Still a big no to Canadian Horizons developers who would profit the few while having horrific consequences on the broader community.

Not only is the Spiller Road project on the Naramata Bench an entirely ineffective policy and planning solution, it’s incredibly dangerous and short- sighted. If city council and the planning department are actually interested in solving a housing/rental shortage, they should implement serious long-term policy solutions.

The City must not agree to this short- sighted and ineffective development that would only benefit pockets of developers. Our elected city councillors have a responsibility to pursue policy solutions that work for the community. This requires time and engaged consultations.

We need long-term solutions for housing, not ill-advised development with unaddressed risk.

Some of the long-term negative impacts:

• High-risk fire season due to congested roadway.

• Minimum two-years plus, construction project blocking Naramata Road with devastating impact on businesses relying on tourism. (My personal guess is that it would take five years minimum based on supply chains at this time.

• Devaluation of homes in the region.

• Eventual complaints about odor coming from nearby dump.

• Large increase in traffic and noise pollution.

• Devastation of elk habitat for hundreds of elk.

• Loss of our unique scenic view of gorgeous rolling hills... the reason we have tourists.

• Potential for mudslides due to lack of trees and other vegetation.

• Bottlenecked roadway for emergency vehicles to deal with.

We must allow the Naramata Bench to continue to be known for its orchards, vineyards, cideries, wineries, horseback and bike riders, slow paced-farming vehicles, restaurants, tourists, and the Kettle Valley Railway trails.

Janice Rodgers

Penticton

Tourism creates some environmental issues

Dear Editor:

There are many contradictions on environment versus economy, and they’re quite vivid here in the Okanagan which relies heavily on tourism.

Local governments appear to recognize this as none have declared a climate emergency.

The Trudeau government and some cities declared climate emergencies several years ago, yet emissions continue to increase. Virtue signaling is no substitute for realistic policy.

Tourism brings prosperity, but it also delivers a surge of unwelcome carbon emissions. Few tourists arrive by electric cars and electric airplanes so the Okanagan really pops with recreational carbon in the summer.

Rather than inviting tourism and travel, it might be better to discourage it and examine other economic alternatives; assuming that people are really serious about protecting the environment. Maybe we ought to get back to agriculture which produces food instead of wine and pot. Dirty fingernails and sweaty backs from field work are much more environmentally meritorious than the hospitality industry.

We know that carbon reductions are possible with less travel because our government informed the UN that Canada had achieved a nine percent reduction in emissions in 2020. Who knew that shutting down the economy, locking people down and freezing travel because of COVID would come with an unexpected silver lining?

Economic distress due to soaring fuel, food and housing costs may suppress tourism this year. Fuel costs have nearly doubled, and are near the point where carbon tax devotees hope that people will be compelled to reduce fuel use for vehicles and home heating.

The recreational appeal of the Okanagan is strong, but people will need to balance the joys of bike touring, wine tasting and beaches against rampaging inflationary costs at home.

Carbon reductions are the last thing that motivates travelers. Recreational travel is a lifestyle choice, and is a feature of developed and affluent societies. Eco-tourism sounds nice, but it still generates carbon.

Less travel produces fewer emissions, but are we really prepared to accept the lifestyle reversals and economic impacts this involves? In spite of climate concerns, people are now howling about post-COVID airline capacity and burdensome border bureaucracy which isn’t able to respond to demands for renewed recreational travel. To this point, the appetite for travel and tourism still beats climate.

As the cost of a litre of gas approaches the price of a litre of vin ordinair, we may all decide to stay home and give up driving in favour of drinking.

John Thompson

Kaleden

‘Therapists’ don’t need qualifications in B.C.

Dear Editor:

Did you know that in the province of British Columbia, anyone can open shop as a therapist with no education and no qualifications?

Crazy, right?

A quick Google search revealed this in a Dec. 16, 2019 CBC story: “She discovered that while psychologists are regulated in B.C., counsellors and therapists aren’t — literally anyone can call themselves a therapist, and they don’t have to follow defined standards of practice or face discipline for misconduct.”

Right now, operating as “therapists” people are charging huge fees for a service they are not properly qualified to perform.

Children struggling with divorce, anxiety and depression are being taken to “therapists” by worried parents who do not know that this legal loophole exists and are putting their trust in people they think are mental health professionals, when they, in fact, are not. 

People are potentially being subjected to non-ethical conduct and conflict of interest. Or potential bias due to the “therapist’s” previous line of work. 

No confidentiality protection. Potential abuse of power. Potential manipulation of small children in custody battles. 

No one is monitoring this. It’s not illegal. There is no bylaw, so the city will tell you to call the RCMP. The RCMP can’t really do anything about something that isn’t illegal. 

These businesses sometimes don’t have business licences. Without a licence, you can’t file a complaint with the BBB.

It is so concerning to me that our youngest and most vulnerable members of society are potentially at risk when they are in emotional turmoil from divorce or suffering depression or anxiety. 

If someone claims they are a  “practitioner” on their website, please investigate. No one is ensuring these places are legit, so it is up to you to do your due diligence and check the credentials of your “therapist.”

The public needs to know that right in your town, a clinic like this could be operating right now. 

So be aware!

It’s high time to get this loophole closed and some new regulations in place. Children going through divorce have a hard enough time. They don’t need this situation on top of it.

Shawna Linn

Kamloops

Too bad rain cheques have no monetary value

Dear Editor:

With the rapid rise in the cost of living and the amount of rain we're getting, it’s too bad the rain cheque has no monetary value.

Joe Schwarz

Penticton

Poilievre’s code words dangerous to Canada

Dear Editor:

Pierre Poilievre’s role as a disruptor is cultivated. The idea of someone going to Ottawa to bring elites to their knees has appeal. But unlike Doug Ford’s blue-collar persona, Poilievre is a member of the Ottawa elite and a Conservative insider for the last 20 years. This obvious contradiction doesn’t seem to bother supporters.

Of course, Poilievre has no detailed plan. He doesn’t need one. He connects with disenchanted Canadians using code words and phrases like “gatekeepers,” stick-it-to-the-man tough-talk, and claiming the Bank of Canada governor will walk the plank.

This fits well with the I’m-not-going-to-take-it-anymore crowd today. He promises more freedom in one of the freest country in the world, a new unregulated cryptocurrency financial world and boasts connections to the anti-government Freedom convoy.

Polls tell him code words like gatekeepers resonate among the conspiracy-loving demographic that’s now angry at the soaring cost of living and growing income inequality. Their frustration is amplified by social media, has become fuel for conspiratorial sub-plots, easily spun by manipulators, like the new breed of populist politicians, of which Donald Trump is the vanguard.

Poilievre’s campaign is running against government. Harm will result from his promises, which threaten our institutions with misinformation and conspiratorial consternation. Just as Donald Trump threatened America’s institutions.

Compared to the other conservative leadership candidates, Poilievre’s campaign is a well-oiled machine, steered by competent Conservative operatives from the Stephen Harper days. If Poilievre wins, what does that say about Canada’s Conservative party?

That angry and anti-government Canadians who borrow ideology and tactics of the far-right American conservative movement have taken control of the party.

CSIS has warned us that the Freedom convoy had direct ties with American far-right extremists and Republican politicians. CSIS says far-right extremism is a bigger threat to Canada then a foreign invasion landing on our shores.

We can only hope that Conservatives will come to their senses.

Jon Peter Christoff

West Kelowna