Letters to the Editor

Write: letters@pentictonherald.ca. Word maximum: 400 words.

Developers had it good for many years

Dear Editor:

Penticton’s Chamber of Commerce has expressed concern in local media with regard to Penticton’s revised Development Cost Charges (DCC) bylaw.

However, this bylaw had not been updated by any Penticton Council since 2006. Interestingly, developers have been paying no DCC increases, including during Penticton’s spectacular housing boom which began in 2016. Considering the selling prices of housing units, an examination of newly revised per unit and per lot DCCs reveals that an across the board increase of 25% would be a minor, if any, hardship for developers.

(For exact numbers, see the easily readable Schedules A and B in the City’s new DCC bylaw.)

Historically, some have declared death and taxes as life’s only certainties. Others correctly observed that modern cities became feasible only after public health laws led to construction of reliable municipal water supply and sanitary sewage disposal systems.

Those systems require financing.

Municipal taxes on land became a preferred source for securing that funding, enabling development of sustainable, healthy communities. To achieve servicing standards and reduce environmental impacts, Provincial laws such as B.C.’s Local Government Act have specified detailed qualifying DCC criteria, including future land use and development patterns.

Municipal governments are thereby enabled to contribute to capital costs of sewage, water, storm drainage, roads and parks. The fact is, if appropriate DCCs aren’t collected by the City, the developer’s portion of that required infrastructure funding is instead added to residential and business property tax bills.

As for the Chamber’s concerns about housing for workers, verifiably affordable housing projects already receive DCC concessions from the City.

Additionally, secondary suites were legalized by a past council in order to provide rental accommodation for local workers. Given the switch to vacation rental use for numerous suites and housing units, an associated review of changes to related regulations is currently underway.

Many thanks to members of the recent council, and especially Coun. Frank Regehr, for his in depth analysis and consideration of the public interest in the above and other civic governance topics.

Regehr’s extensive experience and knowledge of financial analysis and applied management have set a high standard for the incoming council to meet. With the approval of Penticton’s new DCC bylaw, a measure of fairness and predictability has been provided to local business and residential taxpayers.

Denis O’Gorman


More poor choices from judicial system

Dear Editor:

I would love to know why someone with 97 convictions for theft is still walking the streets of Penticton, when the proprietor of an illegal hostel in Vancouver was sentenced to 30 days jail time, with no previous convictions that I am aware of.

Mark Billesberger


Canada needs to tax the big-oil industry

Dear Editor:

Post-tropical storm Fiona caused more than $660 million in insured damage when it ripped through Atlantic Canada this September, making it the most costly weather event in the region’s history. The real cost was even higher.

Many of those whose homes were damaged by the record-breaking winds won’t be getting insurance payouts. And for communities like Port-aux-Basques, devastated by the storm surge, it’s hard to know if things will ever get back to normal.

Meanwhile, the industry fuelling the climate crisis is rolling in money. Globally, the fossil fuel sector is on track to make over US $4 trillion in 2022. A recent Pembina Institute report estimates that Canadian oil and gas companies' free cashflow will reach a record $152 billion this year.

The same report shows that they’re putting almost none of it into delivering on their climate pledges, choosing instead to dole out executive bonuses and shareholder dividends.

The Trudeau government should introduce an oil and gas Windfall Profits Tax to help cover for the cost of climate disasters like Fiona and kickstart a rapid, just transition to 100% clean energy.

Big Oil spread denial and blocked action for decades. We can’t keep letting the burdens of the climate crisis they created fall on everyday people. With a windfall tax, we can finally make polluters pay their fair share.

That’s why I’ve joined thousands of people in calling on Trudeau to #TaxBigOil. You can learn more about the campaign at: 350.org/TaxBigOil.

Lee Smith


Whatever happened to the truth?

Dear Editor:

In modern life less emphasis can be given to “truth.”

It is urgent that church authorities and politicians find an opportunity to draw a line in the sand; to be more clear headed in acknowledging and combating a “surge of falsehood that is allowed to become the truth.”

It is distressing how media presenters, referees of the public discussion, have come to believe their own lies. A one case scenario does not tell the whole truth.

The Irish discussion and vote for abortion was controlled by advertising companies paid for by abortion providers in the United States. There was no encouragement for “father and mother” to think carefully about what they were going to do with regard to their baby now in existence. Banners and badges were widespread declaring: “VOTE PRO CHOICE.”

Imagine having to use euphemisms to describe the reality of a reign of terror.

No group has taken advantage of euphemisms like the abortion industry; the providers of the service. They have created the language we have to use; leading people to believe that abortion is a caring response to pregnancy. This prohibits all talk that might cause upset.

And now they have invented “safe zones” around hospitals and we are permitted to say, “So that pregnant women may freely avail of ‘abortion care’ for their ‘foetuses.’”

In reality it is a procedure to end an innocent life (Maria Steen, Irish Times). The real victims are the forsaken women and men who have to live with the choice they have made to end a life.

Truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it. Modern anti-Christians preach, “There are all kinds of truth, your truth and somebody else’s, but behind all of them, there is only one truth and that is that there is no truth.” (Flannery O’Connor)

Joy Lang (Herald letters, Oct. 25) always exhorts me to greater efforts.

Fr. Harry Clarke