Replacing heritage with a grey stucco box

Dear Editor:

While it is nice to see heritage on the front page of the Daily Courier it is for all the wrong reasons (A Heritage Catch-22, Saturday, Aug. 15)

Another significant heritage home (The Groves House) has come down to make way for a modern grey stucco box.

While the house itself is not offensive, it is being put in the wrong part of town — a heritage conservation area, an area where there are new construction guidelines, which do not appear to have even been considered in the new project.

Did the Cullen family consider purchasing a lot in a new subdivision where the house would fit in seamlessly? It is likely that they love the Abbott Street area, with its large lots, trees, proximity to the lake, and the lovely character and heritage homes.

There are several items concerning this particular project that are worth repeating.

The City of Kelowna has a Heritage Advisory Committee (HAC), whose specific reason for being is to provide expertise to council on decisions they must make with respect to heritage. The HAC recommended that 409 Park Ave. remain on the Heritage Register. Council approved its removal.

The City of Kelowna has a program called the Heritage Grants Program, whereby owners of buildings on the Heritage Register can apply for grants to help with the maintenance of the building’s exterior. The previous owners of 409 Park Ave. received such a $7,500 grant in 2017. Now the house is gone and the new roofing material paid for by the grant resides in the landfill

As an owner of a heritage house, I fully appreciate the costs associated with rehabilitation. We undertook our project in 2016. While our home is not in the conservation area, and is the oldest home in the area, we too faced pushback from neighbors. We dealt with all the issues you would expect to deal with in a house nearly 100 years old. Expensive and predictable. The purchasers of 409 Park Ave., need not have been surprised by the types of issues they would face.

There are a number of excellent examples of people in Kelowna who have done well by purchasing and caring for their historic homes. On behalf of those who appreciate these homes in our city and neighborhoods, I thank you.

This is another sad chapter in the downward trend in the Abbott Street Conservation Area.

Janice Henry, Kelowna, past chair of Heritage BC

Buyers should have bailed on heritage house

Dear Editor:

When we moved here a few years ago, we were pleased to see that Kelowna appeared to value its history. We don’t own a heritage home, but we have enjoyed walking or driving through the areas where they are, as have our visitors.

However, we were horrified and disappointed in the way the Kelowna council handled the designated historic home at 409 Park Avenue. Also, we read with interest the letter from Dwight E. Carroll (Assessing heritage homes not exact science, Aug. 15). Excellent advice for anyone considering buying old homes.

By the way, what happened to buyer beware? Did they have an proper inspection done?

Maybe the outcome would have been much better if it was suggested that they to put it back on the market for someone else who was really prepared to restore an older home.

That would have been much more preferable to removing a 1907 home from the historical list and allowing someone to unceremoniously demolish it.

Is it right for someone to build a new home in a heritage area that lacks character and doesn’t fit the neighborhood (such as depicted by the artist).

This new home by the way, has the appeal of an two ice cubes stuck together and looks nothing like a farmhouse, as it was said to be.

How will that look in a neighbourhood

with dignified, well cared for historic older homes?

Please, since the city council was very lenient in allowing all this to happen, will there be more input from the city as to the appearance of the new building so it actually looks like it fits into the neighbourhood?

William and Doreen Thomsen, Kelowna

People need tougher message than ‘Be Kind’

Dear Editor:

Bonnie, put the hammer down!

We had our recovery headed in the right direction, then the rules got relaxed and we are now headed in the wrong direction.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has gone soft on us at the worst possible time. It’s like sliding into home plate and coming up two feet short. Or skating in on a breakaway and losing control of the puck just when you go to score. We were so close.

This relaxed position has had an enormous impact in the Valley and it will get worse in the next month.

Thankfully, some organizations have now taken a leadership role and have mandated masks. This needs to be implemented right across the board. There are also some obvious gathering places that are creating problems and they need to be addressed now.

Dr. Henry, lose the”Be Kind” mantra. Get tough now! Go back to some of your stricter guidelines. If you do not, it will truly be the winter of our discontent.

Ray Putnam, Kelowna

Is mask policy meant to get more people into store?

Dear Editor:

The recent news that Walmart is now requiring its customers to wear face masks comes as no surprise to me.

Regardless of the benefits or otherwise of wearing a mask, I’m wondering whether Walmart is just using this as a means not to restrict the number of customers entering their stores at any one time. After all, more customers equals more sales equals increases turnover equals bigger profits.

Controlling the numbers entering stores, providing hand sanitizers and promoting the need to keep a sensible distance from others shopping there, are all sensible and workable measures to avoid the spread of this virus.

The now added requirement of wearing a mask, watching some people continuously adjusting and fiddling with them whilst picking up items before putting them back on the shelves, is surely a less effective a control than those originally in place?

What next, Walmart staff sanitizing all packaged foodstuffs displayed on the shelves? I think not.

Pete Wenham, West Kelowna

Oilsands are vital to post-COVID economic recovery

Dear Editor:

Michael Healey’s guest column in Friday’s Daily Courier entitled “It’s cheaper to leave oilsands in the ground” contains many of the selected truths and half truths used routinely by the environmental activist community.

When environmentalists refer to the oilsands as tar sands, as Healey did in his column, they are furthering a lie. The oilsands are biodegraded, naturally occurring, viscous petroleum deposits.

These deposits have outcropped and leaked to surface in Northwest Alberta for millions of years, long before humans inhabited the area. In fact, the aboriginal people used the oil to caulk their canoes and make them water tight.

Tar, on the other hand, is a toxic, man-made substance produced largely from the coking of coal and by distilling wood, peat and petroleum.

While Healey does not reference the sources for his economic numbers, perhaps he ran the numbers himself, the economic benefit of the much maligned oilsands industry goes far beyond the royalties received by the Alberta government.

In addition, according to the Canadian Association of Oil Producers, there are over 100,000 people directly employed by the industry and countless thousands more who’s employment and employers businesses gain direct and indirect benefits from the oilsands industry (such as our airlines and the housing construction industry to name just two).

All these people, and the organizations they work for, pay taxes to all three levels of government allowing the country to maintain its vital services and infrastructure.

As the country prepares to recover from the coronavirus-induced recession and record government debt, the Canadian oilsands and energy industries will be crucial to the restoring of our national GDP and replenishing government coffers. Or we could simply export this wealth to the eagerly awaiting hands of OPEC and the United States.

Roger Hume, Kelowna

Post-COVID economy isn’t going to wait

Dear Editor:

Thank you to David Bond (Aug. 11) for pointing out the salient features of post-Keynesian economics. The most troubling aspect of our new era is that government, almost by necessity, will determine the winners and losers in the private sector — something akin to the fascist regimes of the 1930s, and not unlike the indicative planning model used in democratic socialist states. Both these models require strong watchdogs to prevent abuses and extremes.

As for the notion that the state will wither away to pre-contagion conditions, I agree with Bond. To pay off the debts incurred to fight the negative economic effects of COVID-19, economies everywhere will have to grow themselves to the point where these debts become manageable, even when interest rates normalize upwards. (This is, after all, how Canada “paid” its Second World War debt.)

We will need further expansion of the money supply, and only the government can do that.

Canada, using federal-provincial partnerships, must put in place the conditions for new growth by creating a new wave of immigration so we have the manpower to push growth. Cybernation and automation will simply not be enough.

A caveat: Nations will need to adopt environmentally responsible programs with incentives for low-carbon innovation and production. The slogan Build Back Better, already heard in the United States, needs to become a new national policy for Canada. We need everybody on board, with only reactionaries and Trumpist wannabees left behind.

I am relieved Bond opened a dialogue on the new economy. I invite him to expand on it, and others to chime in. Goodness knows, it is a long-overdue discussion with immense implications.

Richard W. Hall, Penticton

Masks don’t work, try something else

Dear Editor:

We should know by now that masks do not protect people because we hear of doctors and nurses and many others who wear masks still get COVID-19.

They say in sports that the best defence is a strong offence.

Medicine believes the opposite yet in every area in the world mask wearers have not been protected.

Why not focus more on building up our immunity? There is less proof this works but many, many people are finding out that their eating habits and lifestyle are actually protecting them.

I think it is very unfair to see the elderly people having to line up for up to an hour, standing in the hot sun without any shade and or a chair. Likewise when mask wearers speak and one is hard of hearing, the need for repetition is constant.

We might never know but herd immunity could be happening to a high degree — even if a safe vaccine is available.

Farlie Paynter, West Kelowna