Shannon Lake map

Map supplied by letter writer showing location of proposed hotel and spa in Shannon Lake area.

Spa proposal out of place in Shannon Lake

Dear Editor:

I am writing on behalf of concerned residents in the Shannon Lake area of West Kelowna.

The developers of the Baden Resort Hotel and Spa are applying for rezoning approval from the City of West Kelowna for land adjacent to Shannon Lake Road and Shannon View Drive. 

Currently, the land is zoned for residential development (R3). The application would amend the Official Community Plan and city bylaws and rezone the land for comprehensive development (C6).

I attended, via Zoom, the city mandated public meeting on July 13, hosted by the developer. The public meeting was sparsely attended by residents. The timing of the meeting — during the middle of summer, following the lifting of COVID travel restrictions, during the supper hour — may have contributed to low attendance. 

The meeting itself was limited to 60 minutes of which 43 minutes was consumed by the host, leaving only 17 minutes for questions and responses. Attendees were encouraged to send any additional questions or comments to the developer at hello@qrd.ca.

Many of the questions directed to the Baden Spa group were concerns about the increased traffic to the area, inadequate transportation infrastructure to accommodate the development, access to and from the spa along Shannon View Drive, volume of parking required and construction concerns (blasting, geotechnical integrity). 

Chief design architect, Brent Murdoch, presented the Baden Resort as a “Whistler-style resort spa.” His comment regarding construction and location concerns was simply to say “good, sound principals” will be followed.

A review of the Baden Hotel Resort’s application was conducted by The City of West Kelowna’s Advisory Planning Commission (APC) on June 16 with the APC giving the application unanimous support.

The proposed development would bring additional congestion to Shannon Lake Road, raising safety concerns. Shannon Lake Road is a main arterial road through a residential neighbourhood. Currently, there is heavy traffic and lack of appropriate active transportation infrastructure such as sidewalks, protected bike lanes, controlled crosswalks and streetlights.

As well, there is only one-way in and out access along Shannon View Drive. 

Concerned residents have started a petition to stop amendments to the West Kelowna official community plan and zoning bylaws to prevent this commercial development in their residential neighbourhood.

Tom Groat, Shannon Lake

Power-line issue needs to be addressed now

Dear Editor:

Fire crews working at the Brenda Creek fire should be commended for their tireless efforts in protecting the only power line providing electricity to over 60,000 customers In West Kelowna, Peachland, and surrounding areas.

The potential consequences of losing this line should place a clear spotlight on the inexcusable lack of action from local and provincial politicians, BC Hydro, and any other (non) decision makers as they ineptly flounder on resolving this decades-old problem.

I guess there should be some allowance made knowing that the decision makers are busy planning a new city hall, locating a new skateboarding park, and approving the next ill-conceived development.

Of course, there is also the new water treatment plant along with hundreds of electrically operated lift stations that if idled would add to the misery for thousands in the event of an extended power disruption. You would hope that those in charge recognize the enormous liability clearly upon them as a result of their ongoing and careless inaction.

It would seem that fire risk is here to stay; it’s time to stop ‘kicking the second power line issue down the road’ and just get the job done!

David Paisley, West Kelowna

Kelowna scene shows racism still a problem

 Dear Editor:

We have seen a disturbing increase of acts of racism brought to light British Columbia, including in the Okanagan and Interior. And every time, there are people who seem to be surprised that this could happen here. But for Indigenous, Black, and People of Colour, this is the reality.

We all witnessed the dramatic increase in anti-Asian hate crimes during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We have seen backlash against Indigenous people and communities after the revelations of unmarked graves. And, this past week, we all saw a man in Kelowna go on a vile, disgusting, racist tirade towards a Sikh security officer who was doing his job.

That young man should not have to be accustomed to being treated that way, but for him and so many others, reacting in a calm manner is an all-important survival mechanism we have developed when confronted with racist vitriol.

As a government, we are working hard to develop and fund anti-racism initiatives across the province to help educate people on the impacts of racism and how to confront and heal from it. To educate the broadest swath of British Columbians possible on the realities of racism, we launched an Anti-Racism Awareness Campaign. To support local community organizations in combatting racism and offering support to those who need it, we created the Resilience BC Anti-Racism Network.

We’re also working to eradicate systemic racism in our institutions, from policing, to education, to health care. This is such important work that will move our communities closer to being more accepting, understanding, and safe spaces for everyone.

More importantly, as an elected official and as an individual, I need to call out this kind of behaviour. Enough is enough. No one should ever be treated this way, and no one should ever feel like they have a right to treat others in this way.

I encourage people across the Okanagan to join me in condemning these dehumanizing acts, wherever and whenever they may appear – if it is safe to do so. We need to call out racism for what it is. We need to hold our friends, coworkers, and neighbours to a higher standard. And we need to stand together and say that this is not OK.

I love the Okanagan. This is my home; it is where I have chosen to raise my family and work in service to my community. I know we can do more to make our communities more inclusive, welcoming, and safe for everyone, and I look forward to doing that work alongside all of you.

Harwinder Sandhu, MLA, Vernon-Monashee

Simon inspired choice for GG

Dear Editor:

I applaud the federal government for selecting Mary Simon as our new Governor General. This indeed is a meaningful way to move forward with our First Nations communities. Her experience will come in handy.

As for those that oppose her appointment because she does not speak French — phooey! She is bilingual (English and Inuktitut) and will do more to represent First Nations citizens in Quebec than any before her. Language is not a barrier, so don’t make it one.

Congratulations Mary Simon!

A tremendous number of Canadians I know support you.

Steve Burke, West Kelowna

Honest folks work at Battery Doctors

Dear Editor:

I have at various times dropped off recyclables that would otherwise go to waste.

The other day when I dropped off some commercial-grade paint I no longer needed, my wallet disappeared.

I could not find it and could not phone the Battery Doctors’ office because my search began after business hours.

I called the next morning and much to my relief, it had been found on the counter.

So after checking my ID in conversation, the person on the other end of the phone said “Come and get it.” 

My various credit and identification cards and cash were all in tact. Nothing was missing.

I tried offering cash as a way of saying thank you, but they refused to accept even a penny.

The Battery Doctors’ crew set an example for all our citizens  

Fred Froese, Kelowna

Trudeau dithering on climate change

Dear Editor:

There are more than 300 wildfires burning across British Columbia, with dozens more in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario.

Driven by the extreme heat wave that rolled across the country earlier this summer, these fires should make one thing crystal clear, climate change is real, it’s here, and our politicians aren’t acting at the scale and pace we need.

For years, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has tried to style himself as a climate leader while failing to do the two most important things to tackle the climate crisis – stopping fossil fuel expansion and legislating a just transition for workers and communities.

Canada is on fire and we need our government to step up and do what’s necessary to put it out.

Hunter Lange, Lake Country

Where’s the water shortage?

Dear Editor:

How by any stretch of the imagination can we in the Okanagan be short of fresh water?

Have you ever driven from Osoyoos to Vernon? Starting from Osoyoos and heading north, on your right you see Osoyoos Lake. It is huge, and it is full of, yes you guessed it, fresh water.

Continue along Highway 97 old Oliver and you will have Tuc-el-nuit Lake and Gallagher Lake. Now keep going down the road a little and you will pass Vaseux Lake again — a big lake full of fresh water — then but a few kilometers down Highway 97 you will arrive in Okanagan Falls which is perched on the edge of a massive lake called Skaha Lake.

Again all fresh water.

Keep going along Highway 97 to Penticton — a city wedged between two huge lakes — again full of fresh water. A beach on the south side (Skaha Lake) then on the north side, another gigantic lake called Okanagan Lake and again all nice fresh water.

But, get this, this lake takes you past communities like Summerland, Peachland, Westbank and Kelowna. The lake continues to Vernon and beyond, but not before you also pass another huge lake called Kalamalka.

May I ask why we have water shortage signs up during this heat wave?

In B.C., we are incredibly lucky. We have plenty of everything, including fresh water, and don’t let government tell you otherwise.

Don Smithyman, Oliver