Letters to the Editor

Email your letters to the editor to: letters@ok.bc.ca. Include a phone number for verification. Letters may not exceed 400 words.

Humans will decide fate of urban bears

Dear Editor:

Recently there were five bears in Penticton destroyed after the conservation service made an informed and qualified assessment that the bears were a threat to the public (dailycourier.ca).

As is standard after this and similar events, there is the suggestion from some that this action was immoral because we are in the bears’ backyard and not the opposite. I find this assertion both annoying and rather silly.

Last time I checked, humans were still at the top of the food chain due to our cognitive abilities. When a tiger finds a new valley and stays there, it is no longer the antelope or rabbits

backyard. It now belongs to the tiger. There are no rights, wrongs, or morals involved. It’s the law of nature.

Humans are also a product of and part of nature. In the unlikely event we are not, I suspect the same logic would apply. Humans decide whether the bear lives or dies.

There is nothing wrong with that. Right?

Ralph Perrich

Penticton

Boondoggle at Blackmun Bay

Dear Editor:

A public hearing was held last week in the Lions Hall in Westbank regarding the proposed Blackmun Bay development.

Several hundred residents turned out to finally have their say with respect to the application to amend the Official Com- munity Plan and Zoning Bylaw to allow four nine-storey towers on land currently designated as agricultural.

The proposal comprises 500 units, possibly many more depending on unit size plus a 240-slip marina with virtually no parking.

West Kelowna staff initially reported this application did not comply with a number of regulations contained with-in the OCP bylaw. However, the council of the day, at the request of the developer, allowed the application to proceed, possibly after hearing of the potential property-tax revenue.

The residents of Casa Loma, Lakeview Heights and others finally had an opportunity to speak to the absolute absurdity of allowing this massive development on a steep slope at the base of the Lakeview escarpment and along the narrow Campbell Road.

The departures from the OCP are too numerous to mention, although one speaker put it quite succinctly when she stated that “approving this project would make a mockery of the bylaw.”

It’s unclear why a developer would buy agricultural land adjacent to a low density residential neighbourhood and presume that they would get approval for a massive development, the highest density in West Kelowna. Normally a developer would option land and only purchase it if their intended use and density were approved.

Did the developer sense the municipalities desperation for revenue or did the developer see an opportunity to buy land relatively cheaply, have it rezoned and redesignated to high density and then sell to realize the increase in land value?

The hundreds of residents who turned out to oppose this application are a clear indication of the complete lack of legitimate public consultation. It is also clear that it is necessary to form a federation of community associations in West Kelowna in order to bring together not just several hundred, but several thousand residents to oppose the destruction of neighbourhoods.

There will be no tax revenue windfall here when West Kelowna is faced with the costs of providing the infrastructure and services that this type of development would require. Road upgrades, new fire equipment, additional firefighters and amenities that the applicant neglected to include in their proposal.

This has been time wasted on an applic- ation that should have been rejected at the outset, a boondoggle.

Fredrick Smith

West Kelowna

Must protect our limited farmland

Dear Editor:

This is a quote from the Vancouver Sun on a story about farmers planning to rally at the Legislature to fight changes to laws preserving B.C. farmland.

“Cathy and Brian Fichter at their Langley, B.C. home Thursday, June 13, 2019. The Fichters co-own the property with their daughter and son-in-law, and recently moved to the 5-acre property from Cloverdale. They hoped to put another structure on the property for their daughter's family of eight to live, but ALR restrictions and deadlines have so far stymied their plans.”

My wife and I purchased a small eight-acre property in Summerland shortly after the ALR legislation came into effect. It came with an old home and garage. At the time, we didn’t realize that one acre of the land had been subdivided long before our purchase. When the time came, we decided to build a new home on the one acre.

I’ve always supported the ALR for the same reasons most farmers have — we only have a limited amount of farmable land in B.C. and we need to preserve as much of it as possible. We built our present home on a sharp hillside bordering our land to save orchard space and minimize our footprint.

When you buy a fuve-acre piece of ALR land, as the Fichters did, I can’t imagine it is producing much more than what one family would need to make a living. Adding a second home for a family of eight would require a substantial structure, and leave very little room for agriculture production — unless, of course, the owners had something high-end in mind — for example, greenhouse pot.

We know, of course, that most small acreages (and large) are under the eye of realtors and developers and speculative buyers. To cope with this problem, ALR legislation has changed the basics.

“Bill 52 passed a year ago prevents farmers from having a secondary non-farm use dwelling for immediate family and limits the size of residences over fears of “megamansions” of up to 12,000 square feet on ALR.”

MLA Ian Paton, a farmer and the BC Liberal agriculture critic, claims that: “If you want the next generation of young people to take over the family farm, you can’t be telling them they have to live in an apartment and commute to the farm.”

This is typical of the argument BC Liberals used when they were in power as massive amounts of perfectly good agriculture land was turned into residential properties.

Frank Martens

Summerland

Intolerance for differing opinion

Dear Editor:

Dan Ryder, Associate Professor, UBC Philosophy, in his Oct. 30 “Letter of the Day” decrying the opinion expressed by columnist Ron Seymour on Stephen Fuhr’s concession speech is laughable, were he not shaping the minds and hearts of our children and grandchildren.

Ryder illustrates the worst of the current liberal, democrat, socialist, and viewpoint of the current western university world — intolerance for a differing point of view. Demanding the removal of a journalist with a view from his before he reads the Daily Courier again — how childish.

Readers can only imagine the bias and intolerance that will flow at a symposium chaired by Ryder on “Fake News and Free Speech!” Could any view other than the liberal, socialist, progressive concepts be presented while Ryder stifles free speech in favour of his view of the world?

Philosophy is a discipline that teaches critical thinking, careful reading and study, and logical analysis; truly the basis for debate. It never exclude a logical position on matters of understanding the world as it exists or how to get to the desired outcome.

Clearly Ryder also does not understand freedom of speech and thinking. The university and its philosophy department should seriously investigate.

Doug Waines

West Kelowna

Much nastiness by Conservatives

Dear Editor:

We’ve sent the Liberals a message. We want more collaborative effort. Now we have to get behind our message and help make it work.

It was not promising start when post election, Andrew Scheer spoke of a divided Canada. He sees the minority Liberal government as a foe to be vanquished, not as colleagues; a sad state for real dialogue to make Canada better.

It’s fair to say the worst nastiness of the campaign emanated from the Conservatives. Honest dialogue requires Conservatives like the pugnacious Jason Kenney to close his Alberta war room and stop the vitriol rhetoric of separation. Stop conservative-third-party shenanigans, like former Saskatchewan premier Brad Wall with his right of-centre Buffalo Project; a political action group which targeted Liberal-lion Ralph Goodale in Regina and Minister of Natural Resources Amarjeet Sohi in Edmonton with a negative-billboard campaigns blaming them for pipeline delays; and end the ugly-American hooliganism, practiced here in the Okanagan; defacing Liberal election signs with black faces.

Time to put away childish things; Conservatives must stop attacking the messengers, because they don’t like the message coming-in loud and clear from a new generation of Canadians. Profitable-compromise is what will keep us moving forward.

The angry old men of Reform and Wild Rose country see Pierre, not Justin Trudeau. Back when the father asked, but Alberta refused to help Canada reclaim ownership of our strategic oil resource to benefit not just Albertans, but all Canadians. Alberta stood in unison with the boardrooms in Houston that ultimately ended the potential of Canadian energy independence embodied in Petro Canada; and locked most of Alberta crude oil sales into a discounted continental oil market that fed American refineries; — now 50 years on, the oil glut from U.S. shale-oil production, and reduced North American demand slow sales; Alberta now needs access to world market. Liberals bought the pipeline to help Alberta out of a predicament, much of Alberta’s own making.

The Liberals will complete the Trans Mountain. But, pipelines are not “no-brainers,” they are a regulatory morass; only a Crown Corporation can get it built, but after it is built, it will easily sell. Indigenous buyers have already stepped forward; their ownership means more oil-profits stay in Canadian hands and even though this is still not perfect, it is better than before. We can not forget that Canada’s oil patch is 70% foreign owned and over 50% of oil-profits leave the country.

Jon Peter Christoff

West Kelowna

Too selfish to fix climate change

Dear Editor:

Climate change was an election issue and many people voted with this in mind. Were they really expecting government to improve the climate?

In a free society, it’s individual choices, not government policies, which mostly affect human-influenced climate change. People should look in the mirror to see the face of climate change.

Given all the media and political hysteria about a climate emergency, we should now expect people to start making big lifestyle changes to improve things, right? Or is it all just talk and fuzzy hopes for someone else to make it better?

Let’s monitor the airports for signs of climate commitment. A decision to lower carbon output by not flying to Hawaii will make a difference. Flight activity and passenger loads will show who’s sincere and who’s just blowing smoke. Cruise ships, bus tours and most air travel are totally discretionary.

Let’s watch for reduced vehicle sales and registration renewals as people pare down to one vehicle per household and send their RVs, boats and motorbikes to the junk yards. Lower fuel sales and less cluttered streets and highways will confirm their choices.

The Okanagan is a big tourist destination and tourism is a major economic driver, but very few tourists arrive in electric cars. Let’s watch hotel occupancy rates to gauge the travel reductions. The push for lower carbon emissions should result in reduced tourism, which should be reflected in hotel and campground closures and more layoffs and bankruptcies in the hospitality industries. There are downsides to following the recipes for climate improvement.

What about new housing? People should be demanding much smaller houses to economize on heating and air conditioning. Air conditioning never used to be a necessity. Smaller homes are more affordable too.

Will there be a campaign to boycott carbon offenders and shame those who display carbon extravagance? Maybe kids will demand to walk to school and their activities.

We’ve been paying carbon taxes for 11 years and, according to the B.C. government, they’ve made no measurable difference in emissions.

But, we’ve just had an election where many people volunteered to pay more.

It was the most bizarre and superficial election we’ve ever suffered through. It looks like people voted for the idea of fighting climate change, instead of actually doing something.

But, the people have spoken. Maybe they said that climate just isn’t a big enough concern to change their personal lifestyles.

John Thompson

Kaleden

Candidates should stick with issues

Dear Editor:

Let’s have a law that requires political candidates to discuss only their own platform, plans and philosophy. Any comment on another candidate’s personal life or platform would be strictly off-limits.

Liz Williams

Victoria