Columnist clearly explains systemic racism

Dear Editor:

David Bond’s column about the oppression of non-white populations clarified for me what the term ‘systemic racism’ really means. (Oppression of non-whites in North America is real, June 23).

He clearly states that the oppression following the abolishment of slavery was deliberately followed by legislation that prevented people of colour from living in areas of white habitation and owning property, thereby ghettoizing and controlling a population through lack of access to the white standard of services, ie. medical care, education, housing and money services, and therefore making it extremely difficult to have an opportunity to better their living standard.

Bond doesn’t mention this, but we need to acknowledge that this ghettoization made it possible to stereotype Blacks and other minorities as lazy, mentally inferior, more prone to violence and criminal behavior and thereby setting up a justice system that fed money into the coffers of those who own the private penal system.

A lot of people (like myself) think the more liberal ideas of the current younger generation will fix the system by bringing justice to the policing system and create a more equitable and loving society.

But naming the inequality and acknowledging racist bias (a good start) is only targeting the symptom and not the disease itself.

The younger generation do have the power or numbers and use of technology to create a spotlight to influence public opinion, but the power of oppression still sits in the hands of the power elite, who have the control over legislation and change.

These young people are already saddled with student loans, housing debt and the unknown extent of the burden of the COVID-19 bill. This is probably why when some of the leaders of the Black Lives Matter movement were asked if they were hopeful that change would finally happen, most of them said no.

Bond said “addressing this inequity will not be the work of a year or even a decade.” Ghettos will continue to exist until transportation infrastructure to travel to parts of the city where good jobs exist is put in place and money flows into the ghetto to fix the basic lack of better education, medical services and provide clean non-toxic water and land.

We have to acknowledge our own blind eye in all of these cruel inequities to allow the power elite to take advantage of a disenfranchised population.

From my simplistic understanding of the disease of systemic racism, only the availability and movement of money from government and private sources will start to instil respect and dignity, the real measure of love into the areas of society that have been denied this right to life and equal opportunity.

That will take political will from our generation along with our children to start that ball rolling.

Patricia Kristie, Penticton

Citizens need to speak up about massive project

Dear Editor:

Penticton has recently seen some good developments, such as the new condos on both Westminster Avenue East and the 100 block of Ellis Street. These are appropriate infill housing, proposed and built with little or no controversy.

The massive subdivision proposed for the landfill area by Canadian Horizons, however, may not be destined for that level of public approval.

In a January 2019 Herald article regarding their project, a Canadian Horizons spokesperson said they had “the potential to go to about 300 homes, but that might be a little aggressive.”

I assumed that since then they would have read Penticton’s new, widely supported official community plan, and were backing away from that 300 home target. Alas, I was wrong. The current proposal cites an astonishing 350 homes.

Section 4.1.1 of the new OCP, “Managing Residential Growth,” Goals and Policies (condensed here) states that Penticton retain its compact footprint to help protect natural areas . . . and help create conditions supporting transit and active transportation modes. That OCP section states that new residential development should be focused in existing developed areas; and should avoid environmentally sensitive areas, geological hazards, steep slopes, agricultural areas, and areas not readily served by transit.

The subdivision proposed for “Landfill Heights” misses the mark on those criteria, by far.

Recent articles in the Herald and other sources have morphed the Canadian Horizons proposal into public controversy. Oddly, details of the proposed subdivision have now vanished from their website. The project link now leads to a single page which simply reads: “This consultation is now closed. Thank you to all participants who participated.”

Penticton’s OCP was passed by council in August 2019 following thorough and comprehensive public engagement.

Yet the city hasn’t kept the public informed, nor conducted any consultation on the nature or scope of the current Canadian Horizons proposal. When such consultation is led by developers, public trust in a proposed project can quickly evaporate, as it did in the Skaha Park waterslides debacle.

This huge subdivision proposal is apparently headed to council for consideration approximately eight weeks from now, followed by a public hearing as soon as September.

Given this short notice and the approaching summer season, it’s important that residents make their views on this proposed rezoning and development known to the City of Penticton, soon.

Loraine Stephanson, Penticton

Email letters to: letters@ok.bc.ca