Bond needs to offer homeless solutions
I enjoy David Bond’s columns — always thoughtful and germane. But I feel his column about evicting the homeless from a city park would be more constructive if he dealt with solutions to the problem he described. (Evicting homeless from city park a harsh solution that doesn’t fix problem, Nov. 30)
It’s true homeless people draw a lot of negative attention, like evictions, largely because some of them disrespect property, strew garbage, vandalize and steal. That has to be dealt with and, sadly, the weight falls on affected landowners, police and bylaw enforcement officers.
But the situation won’t improve until the root causes are addressed effectively, as Bond states.
Yes, government action is required. But my wife and I support a number of organizations that we think also perform that role, including the Kelowna Women’s Shelter, Salvation Army, Food Bank, Gospel Mission, Journey Home and Okanagan College’s Human Services program. And there are several other options.
It is a challenge that, in the world of fundraising, homelessness impacts a smaller population than, say, cancer or heart disease, and can be a less personal, popular cause for that reason.
I sometimes hear “why don’t they just get a job?”
I encourage Bond to do a sequel on ways that Kelowna can better grapple with this difficult problem. We can all play a role.
Rick Boyd, Kelowna
B.C. parties don’t deserve subsidies
In 2017 during a debate with former Premier Christy Clark, John Horgan stated emphatically that he would do away with corporate and union donations.
Horgan made it clear he was opposed to forcing taxpayers to bankroll political parties — a position many British Columbians agreed with.
However, within weeks of being elected Horgan’s minority government with the support of the BC Green Party introduced a $2.50 per vote taxpayer-funded payment to political parties — a direct contravention of a position that Horgan had taken weeks earlier.
The January 2021 payout, with a per vote subsidy of $1.75, saw the NDP receive $1.75 million, the B.C. Liberals $1.1 million and the B.C. Green Party $497,570.
It is not without notice that after the election the BC Liberal Party voted against the taxpayer-funded vote subsidy.
Between now and the final subsidy payment in July 2022, political parties will receive an additional $4.8 million taxpayer dollars.
Well guess what? Earlier this month the New Democrats, BC Liberals and Greens have gotten together in a rare demonstration of unity to make the tax permanent at $1.75 per vote.
In a democracy, it is simply fundamentally wrong that the ruling class force taxpayers to financially support a political party that they would otherwise not support.
If a political party cannot survive on supporter donations then maybe it should not survive.
Bill Shumborski, Kelowna
MPs should follow Ottawa’s rules
Flip flop O’Toole wants to strengthen the border against the new COVID-19 variant -— omicron. That’s fine, I fully agree that we should try and protect ourselves as much as possible. But protection also comes from within our country through vaccines.
That is why I call O’Toole “Flip Flop.” He believes one rule for others and another for his MPs. Politicians have federal jobs, so are public servants. Federal jobs exist within the branches of government, which are executive, legislative and judicial. Some federal jobs involve working as politicians or for politicians or working with the military.
On Canada.ca, there is an update on policy on COVID-19 vaccination for the core public administration, including the RCMP.
It states: “As early as November 15, public servants who refuse to disclose their status or who are unwilling to be fully vaccinated will be placed on administrative leave without pay.” Has this happened to MPs? No! And Why Not?
I believe that everyone should be treated equally under government rules. Any non-vaccinated MP should suffer those consequences as a matter of course. The massive savings from salary withholding could be applied to COVID costs.
Heather Yeats, West Kelowna
Penticton building should be denied
There is a new four-storey, eight-unit multi-family development proposed at 602 Lakeshore Dr. W. It should not be approved.
The area in question is in a prime location with heritage buildings lining the beautiful lakeshore of the most special downtown area of the city. It is Penticton's pride and joy.
Everyone is concerned with tourism and broad appeal for visitors and residents of our fine city. We all want people to enjoy our town and the wonderful promenade that the council and city departments have created with paths, public art and amenities. It is a huge draw for tourists to come to in the summer for the beach, along with the SS Sicamous, and the feel of a well-maintained, treasured community.
Our OCP and CCAP must be considered, along with heritage status, to oversee any new buildings in the city. While Penticton desperately needs housing, this project will not provide accommodation for those who need it. It might, in fact, be short-term rentals at very high prices that the city doesn’t even benefit from, with B&B licences so cheap and taxation so low. These eight units may be for investment only, giving back nothing to the city, not even community members.
The city also must consider our climate situation in every new development. Blacktop that doesn’t allow water retention should not be allowed when there is technology to pave areas allowing water to enter the soil. It is right up against the sidewalk, has no tree canopy cover, and offers no architectural features to match the designs of the community.
The design of the proposed building is not in keeping with the charm and style of the other buildings surrounding it, in our most cherished part of the city.
Please reconsider this proposal and reject it unless it is redesigned to match Penticton’s flavour and style and esteem.
Lori Goldman, Penticton