Scheer supporters are like Trump’s

Dear Editor:

Recent reports of Irving Oil (etc.) censorship (by Irving) of an editorial cartoonist raises some local comparisons (Courier/Herald, July 5).

Andrew Scheer’s visit to Kelowna on July 1 showed him surrounded by “Charlie tractor hats” similar to the crowds at Trump rallies in the U.S..

The lighting was so bad one couldn’t tell if the hats were blue and/or whether the slogan “Make Canada Great Again” was present.

Jack Westerborg

Kelowna

Safe injection will save lives

Dear Editor:

I would like to thank the Daily Courier for their publication of my letter regarding the playground planned across the street from 2025 Agassiz Road. However, I must take exception with the headline chosen for my letter published July 4.

It refers to the building approved for Agassiz Road as a “drug rehab facility.” This is a common misconception of the general public of the nature of these “low-barrier harm-reduction supportive housing” buildings.

They are not drug rehabilitation facilities. They are housing for homeless individuals who use and/or abuse alcohol and/or drugs. The “harm-reduction” component is twofold. It is believed that the individuals will be safer using/abusing drugs under a roof rather than out on the street and will also have a “safe-injection room” in the building where their self-injection can be monitored.

Should an individual, of their own volition, express a desire to pursue “rehabilitation,” they will be given information on the options available to them “out there” and be assisted in pursuing them. These services are woefully in short supply and difficult to access.

And we, the neighbours of these facilities, have expressed much skepticism about how successful any attempt at rehabilitation can be while an individual is living in a building surrounded by rampant drug use.

The reality is that most of these individuals will continue to use drugs unabated and they will continue to inject on the streets of our neighbourhood — not only within their new home — when the need is great and the drug of choice has finally been acquired. This will mean in a park, on a bench, in a stairwell, in a back yard, and yes, maybe in a playground.

They will still need to buy their drugs — now on the streets of our neighbourhood — and raise the cash for their purchase in the usual ways — persistent panhandling, petty theft and rampant property crime.

Just witness the mayhem around Hearthstone and Heath House.

We have persistently expressed our justifiable concerns regarding the future safety and declining liveability of our neighbourhood to our mayor and council.

We are met with scorn (we are just NIMBYs), shaming (we have no compassion) and dismissal (stop complaining). They go on to say that they do not have the “tools” to determine the location of these buildings and only determine whether the physical building fits the land use.

They have given themselves “tools” regarding proximity of liquor stores and pot shops, but have chosen not to do so on the subject of these “wet facilities” which we would argue pose a much greater risk to the safety of our neighbourhoods. We continue to be ignored and ridiculed.

Susan Herwig

Kelowna

Fond memories of Muriel Franck

Dear Editor:

Re: The recent article about activist Muriel Franck, whose memorial bench was recently moved indoors from Gyro Park (Herald, June 28).

My father was well acquainted with her for many years (as was I) and she told him about her earlier life. Muriel’s mother died when she was a baby; she was raised by her father (who had a pub) and her aunts.

She left England and married in Canada (to a naturalist), but was divorced when she came to Penticton. However, she didn't want her old aunties in England to know about her divorce.

Muriel was an activist, physically and mentally. I think of her as a forerunner to Elvena Slump — mentally.

Joy Lang

Penticton

Summerlanders kept in the dark

Dear Editor:

Bit by bit, Summerlanders are getting access to the info provided to council four months ago at an in-camera meeting when they made their decision to locate the solar project on the south toe of Cartwright Mountain.

Some councillors now want to augment that decision by also investigating a second site. Other councillors say they made the decision based on “expert” opinion and they will stand by it.

The first study, the May 31, 2017 pre-feasibility study, was given two potential sites to use by staff, before the study began — the current site and one further out past the landfill in the 300 acres owned by the town.

This study was kept secret til recently.

We all have our opinions on local government issues. They are all valid as they are based on our personal experience. If we are councillors, entrusted with decision making for our community, we will always bring our personal opinion to the decision-making process.

But, we also have to depend on the opinions that we receive from “experts”. This means people who are qualified by a certifying professional body to express opinion in specific areas where they have advanced education and knowledge.

If they stray from accepted practice or comment on areas outside their area of expertise, their professional body can discipline them. They sign their names to their reports and include the alphabet soup of letters that express their qualifications.

Higher levels of government recognize the importance of doing the public’s business in public view and require the release of information. Ultimately they have established a Freedom of Information system.

Unfortunately the secrecy around this project continues and we are forced to resort to forcing the District of Summerland to release this information through this system.

The third study, Solar + Storage Financial Analysis, is still hidden away.

The second study, Summerland Integrated Solar Projects System Impact & Interconnection Study, actually does an assessment of all the DOS-owned lands and comes up with other better sites. We should take another look at them as a community.

The decision on which publicly-owned property to use, was made at a secret meeting at the end of February 2019. At the end of May information was finally released on the reports used by council to support their decision making. This information is difficult to qualify as “expert” opinion as it is not signed off on by a qualified individual.

Lorraine Bennest

Summerland

B.C. better off with the NDP

Dear Editor:

Re: “Health tax last straw for Valley employer,” (Daily Courier June 15).

Western Systems Control’s CEO Dennis Hostland threatens to move his business out of B.C. over health tax. You may as well shut down and move now, Mr. Hostland because if you — or anyone else — thinks the BC Liberals are going to win the next provincial election, you are all dreamers.

It will be the biggest defeat that the right wing Liberals ever suffered. John Hogan's NDP government will win a big majority no doubt in my mind. BC is working good for everyone since they got in power “Notice” the Okanagan is building like I've never seen before everywhere.

They say that death and taxes are here forever no matter where you go, some hidden some not. They also say the pasture always looks greener on the other side of the fence. So, Mr. Hostland if you believe MLA Steve Thomson and the Liberals will become your saviour from taxes, you're dreaming also.

My prediction for the next provincial election is the NDP will win a big majority and Thomson will step down before the election to avoid losing his riding to the NDP.

B.C. is working much better now for everyone — not only the rich.

Mel Gauthier

West Kelowna

Scheer unworthy of being a leader

Dear Editor:

I must record my dismay at your coverage of Andrew Scheer’s visit to Kelowna (Courier, July 3).

Your front page report ran the headline “Tories hopeful Gray will retake riding.” There is nothing in your article about how they would achieve this. Did your reporter ask the question? Or did Scheer and Gray not say anything on the subject?

Perhaps the Conservatives just do not know what to do against a very hard working, capable and successful Stephen Fuhr. In just over three years Stephen Fuhr has secured commitments of $150 million for a number of projects including $50 million for UBCO, $1.8 million for the rail trail,

$31 million for clean water and waste water improvements and $22 million for flood protection. Your readers should also be aware that when the Conservatives were in power, Dan Albas and Ron Cannan did not deliver anything remotely resembling this for their ridings.

As regards Scheer’s criticism of Fuhr on the small business tax, it is worth noting that Fuhr was one of the first Liberal MPs to speak out against the original proposal and, in finance minister Bill Morneau’s own words when he visited Kelowna, Fuhr played an important role on ensuring that the proposals were changed.

Rather disturbingly, your correspondent did not even bother to seek a comment from Fuhr on the criticisms. A very lamentable lack of fairness toward such a committed and hardworking MP.

To quote from Marc Miller on Twitter “Scheer’s new schtick of showing up in a particular riding and bad mouthing the local MP is not only unclassy and awkward, it’s unworthy of a party leader.”

John Bailey

Kelowna

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