Greg Perry's View

For June 5, 2021

Bertram tower not for families: I watched with interest the Kelowna council meeting of Tuesday where Mayor Colin Basran and council fawned over the proposed BC Housing affordable rental highrise, a 20-storey tower on Bertram Street. Apparently, 56% of the units will be two or three bedrooms to accommodate families.

According to the developer they communicated with the surrounding community and everyone seemed pleased, but do we ever ask families what they want in the way of rental accommodation?

Is this tower going up to serve builder profits, to meet some population density target at city hall, or is it to enhance the quality of life of Kelowna residents and families? I certainly do not see family life as a priority.

Take a family with two or three kids, age between six and 12 years old. They are now living on the 12th floor.

After school, evenings or weekends, where do they play? There are two towers next door, up to 34 floors, the parents do not know who lives there, and the lanes are used for various illegal activities.

Do you tell the kids to go out and play, when the moment they leave the apartment they are out of sight?

We will have kids sitting in an apartment waiting for their parents to take them anywhere and everywhere, which puts added pressure on family life.

Contrast that with three (or perhaps four) storeys, set back from the sidewalk with balconies overlooking the sidewalk. A parent can be on the balcony, or a neighbour whom you know could be out, watching the kids play on the sidewalk or down the paths between buildings. Always neighbours coming and going. I have seen it and lived it; it is a harmonious and sociable lifestyle where being tenants is a very positive lifestyle.

As I have written to the mayor and council before, the densest part of London is not the new skyscraper areas, but the older boroughs like Kensington and Hackney, with two- to four-storey buildings. And these are density levels far in excess of what Kelowna needs.

Similarly there is an area at the south end of Granville in Vancouver that epitomizes what I am describing. As a tourist I find it a destination neighbourhood, so pleasant to visit, which is something Basran and council have been unable to create with any of the highrises they have authorized.

Don Henderson, Kelowna

Let’s not forget fire hazards

Dear editor: June 15 has been designated as the date to begin travelling between health authorities. Tourists will again be arriving in the Okanagan, and because most fires are human caused, I am extremely concerned.

We’ve experienced a dry May and are expecting a hotter than usual June — a recipe for disaster.

Have you seen them?

The smokers on motorcycles and in cars with cigarettes hanging out of the windows? Sparks fly as they gun it through the intersection when the light changes.

They come to our home without a care for our environment, and if fires start, drive away undaunted into their selfish oblivion.

Opening up to tourists is just too risky with COVID-19 still gripping our province.

We can’t evacuate and gather in community shelters safely at such a vulnerable time — or any time for that matter.

Yes, the Okanagan is a tourist destination and our wineries and hospitality industries depend on their dollars, but at what cost?

No one, not even tourists, will be able to function when air quality readings go off the charts as they did in 2018.

Tourism industries will still suffer, yes, but for a different reason and we local residents will pay the price in not only our ability to function, but in exorbitant insurance rates.

If we are going to take the fire risk of inviting arrogant smokers and camp fire enthusiasts to our home, we should have a method of reporting their carelessness, already in place. We already have a fire reporting hotline. Why not expand that service to alert authorities when we witness potential fire hazards, like an email destination for photos of licence plates?

I sincerely hope that the provincial directive is adjusted from June 15 to open up travel, to August. That would get us over the fire season hump so we can literally breathe a sigh of relief.

Patricia Reid, West Kelowna

Super staff at Mission Creek

Dear editor: As our COVID-19 numbers decrease and some of the anxiety begins to lessen, I would like to take this opportunity to give a big “thank you” to long-term care workers.

My mother had been a resident in Mission Creek Landing for three years, and this past year has been difficult. Not only did the staff have to carry out their regular care, but that came with added precautions. On top of that, without the help of family visiting, they became the “daughters, sons, grandchildren, and emotional support teams” to the residents. In my three years of visiting my mom, I experienced the greatest level of care and compassion and sensitivity from the staff to the clients and their family; it gave me total confidence during the months of lockdown that my mother’s needs were being met. She passed away at the age of 100 last week, and staff members from other wings in the building came in to say their goodbyes during her final days … some with tears in their eyes.

Mission Creek Landing may be a dated building, but the staff there are an incredible group of compassionate people who see their roles as more than just a job ... it is an investment in the lives of the vulnerable and I’m thankful for each and every one of them and for the other workers out there caring for those who need extra support. Blessings on each and every one of you from a very thankful daughter who had a wonderful mom who was so well cared for.

Kathy Pullen, Kelowna

Your kindness was life-saving

Dear editor: My heartfelt thanks to Mary and Tom who interrupted their walk on June 1 at Mission Creek Park to help me find my husband, who has Alzheimer’s disease and had wandered off the bike path.

Your kind act prevented a possible tragedy. Thank you so much again.

Erna McCulla, Vernon

To the bully on Abbott Street

Dear Editor: You have put me at risk of injury one too many times, and today I have decided that I will no longer take it.

I understand that you believe that the path on Abbott was made for you and your wife to ride side by side along and not for the rest of us to use recreationally. My husband and I enjoyed many hours riding along that path prior to him passing away, but we were respectful of the rules of the road along with being kind when people were sharing the path with us.

You have tried to run me off the path too many times while I am running and I continue to jump out of your way because you do not want to share the path with me even though I am in my proper lane respecting the path. Do you think the path is only for cyclists? I am trying to find some understanding of your behaviour, but I cannot! Maybe you’ve never learned the rules of the road, or any compassion for that matter.

Has it ever crossed your mind that people use the path for particular reasons other than biking? Did it ever cross your mind that people may have injuries, limitations or any reason for not walking or running on the concrete sidewalks?

No, I don’t believe you have ever thought of anyone but yourself. Kindness is not in your vocabulary. If you have done this to me a few times, how many other people have you done this to?

Starting today, I will no longer move for you, I will not put myself at risk of injury for your bullying ways. You will be far more injured falling from your bike than the protection I will use for my body.

I sincerely hope this letter finds it way to you….but somehow I don’t think it would make a difference!

Lisa Kolar, Kelowna

NDP wish list continues climb

Dear editor: MP Richard Cannings is concerned about the lack of affordable housing and says that the NDP would provide half a million new housing units to help.

Record low interest rates have encouraged people to take on mortgages which wouldn’t be affordable at higher rates, and this contributes to the climb of rising demand and prices. Low interest rates are nice, but those hefty principles make burning the mortgage a far-away dream.

“Honeycomb style” housing costs around $400 per square foot, which means that a 1,000-square-foot dwelling would cost $400,000. At that rate, the NDP’s plans would only cost us $200 billion.

Would government be a mortgagee or a landlord? Assuming a 5% down payment and a 25-year mortgage, a purchaser would need to pay around $1,800 monthly before taxes for something like this. Rents wouldn’t be much less.

The NDP solutions to the pressing issues of the day cost a lot of money. They’re pushing pharmacare, dental care, child care, more health care, elder care, guaranteed incomes, forgiveness for student loans, and now housing. And don’t forget the climate. These are all meritorious ideas with substantial political rewards, but how much do they all cost and who pays?

The NDP mantra is tax the rich and let the devil take the hindmost. But who are the rich, and how many of them are available for taxing?

Being a millionaire doesn’t mean that much anymore. Net worth includes the value of home equity, which is rising like a muffin in a hot oven. People are increasingly house rich and cash poor. It’s all relative; sell your home at an inflated price and buy another at an equally inflated price.

Home equity is the last reservoir of personal wealth, which hasn’t been tapped by government, and it’s being examined by hungry eyes. We’re witnessing a massive wealth transfer scheme by socialist politicians to buy more voters.

The housing market will self-correct. It’s a question of what comes first: lack of qualified buyers or rising interest rates. A 1% rise in interest rates would be hurtful.

Don’t look to nanny government for salvation. They can print more money, but that only makes inflation worse. Times are tough when Liberal financial guru Chrystia Freeland had to get her papa to bankroll her $1.3-million middle-class home in Toronto.

Meantime, the NDP shouldn’t be advertising what increasingly looks like a fool’s paradise.

John Thompson, Kaleden

Penticton is not a new Kelowna

Dear editor: I disagree with David Perry and his endorsement of Amelia Boultbee for council (Letters, June 3). Why?

Mainly it is her statement regarding the Kampe property. Whether or not Kampe might have wished the property to ease Penticton's housing crisis, I believe developers have been favoured too much by city hall.

Having once lived in Richmond which since has changed far beyond its ''original' residential character, I see Penticton as being in danger of overcrowding whether by people, cars, or over-sized buildings.

As a recent arrival I realize I may seem hypocritical, but I came here as a worker and renter, not a property speculator or investor. Do we want to imitate the ugly growth of Vancouver or Kelowna?

Patrick Longworth, Penticton