City Hall plan should go back to drawing board

Dear Editor:

I have been reading articles ad infinitum on West Kelowna topics and held my tongue.

People have asked why I have not sent off my usual “letters to the editor.” Basically, I was resigned to the situation in West Kelowna. 

The Westside Weekly of Sept. 8 had an article on page 3 that shook me out of my lethargy.

“Five years ago, West Kelowna residents turned down plans for a new city hall. A counter petition (alternate approval process) drew almost 4,000 signatures. That forced the city to hold a referendum, which was narrowly defeated.”

For the new city hall scheme, city manager Paul Gipps presented council with a way to borrow up to $11 million without putting the proposal to voters. Total project cost is estimated to be $18 million.

A recent survey did not seek public views on the cost, site and size of the project because council had already decided to go ahead.

The survey was basically; “You are getting a new city hall so what do you think we should include?”

When a committee explored the incorporation of the Westside, the suggestion was the eventual city hall site should be geographically central to the municipality.

The current selected location is tucked away by the Johnson-Bentley swimming pool with limited parking and access.

Because of the cramped area, it was necessary to demolish a recently built skate park (a mere $400,000 worth) and then spend an undisclosed amount to rebuild the skate park close by.

Many of the city staff have been working remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic and functioned effectively.

In its latest study, Pricewaterhouse-Coopers Canada said employees want the flexibility to choose between working from home or the office. Their figures say that 27% are ready to return to the workplace, 59% say they would like to work solely at home and 14% would like a mix of the two.

So there is a general belief large offices will become a thing of the past. Our council is out of touch and cannot seem to accept that a combination of working from home and office will be our future modality.

Obviously the need to get a city hall built as their legacy has blinkered the council to the practicality of anything else.

Adding the library to this site was a way to justify its necessity.  

This new complex will pull more traffic to an already busy area. Walking to this location is not an option for most people . 

This whole scenario should go back to the drawing board.

Taxpayer money could be spent on more practical matters. Old Okanagan Highway represents a dismal boundary between West Kelowna and the Westbank First Nation. Many people walk and cycle the route in almost darkness. The “fireflies” that are an excuse for street lighting on the West Kelowna side of the road are a disgrace.

On the other side of the coin, The wine trail through Boucherie has an amazing number of street lights — a total overkill. If there is no funding for new bulbs, maybe the wine trail could spare just a few.

Heather Yeats, West Kelowna

Candidate moved back for election

Dear Editor:

In regards to the argument that Tim Krupka is a local from Kelowna. Had he moved back here a year ago I’d buy in that he wasn’t specifically parachuted in to run for the Liberals, but it would seem like he moved back here a week before Trudeau called for this needless snap election, suspiciously convenient.

I for one see the benefit in having a resident of our area represent us in Ottawa versus a candidate parachuted in even if he was raised here but chose to move away six years ago.

Guy Bissonnette, Lake Country

Trudeau, Krupa bribing voters

Dear Editor:

I read with interest Ron Seymour’s piece about the upcoming federal election where he quoted that young Tim Krupa said in effect, if he wasn’t elected in the Kelowna-Lake Country riding, there would be no federal funding for that riding.

So this sad excuse for a politician is trying to bribe the electors with their own money. Is this the way it works from coast to coast across the country?

If so, and I expect it is, then all the more reason for booting Trudeau and his pals out of office.

Barry D. Cochrane, Kelowna

Trudeau hypocrite who also lies

Dear Editor:

Justin Trudeau is a liar and a hypocrite.

The SNC Lavalin affair investigation can not be completed because Trudeau has denied access to cabinet documents and witnesses.

He told Jody Wilson-Raybould to lie. She refused to do so. He now denies he ever asked her to lie.

He promised $7-8 billion to Quebec, not his money, but yours. Why all this money to Quebec? Simple, buying their votes.

How much did he promise to Aboriginals? Some still have to boil their water, some live in houses full of mould, not having electricity nor heat for their homes.

Credit in the case of showing care for the Aboriginals goes to the NDP

Jenny Donders, West Kelowna

Expect no change on election night

Dear Editor:

As Canadians prepare to vote on Sept. 20, my opinion is that there is no legitimate or justifiable reason to have one during a worsening fourth wave of the pandemic. This one is on Justin Trudeau for his arrogance, and misguided ego on securing a majority government.

As the campaign winds down, national polls indicate the Liberals and Conservatives are locked in a statistical tie, with seat projections suggesting a slight Liberal advantage.

For the record, both leading parties are polling slightly below their standing in the 2019 election.

The NDP appear poised to gain a handful of seats while campaigning on a bold tax-and-spending policy platform.

Support for the Bloc Quebecois has been relatively stable in Quebec. The Green Party imploded due to a leadership revolt against Annamie Paul in the pre-election period, and lack of funding to conduct a proper campaign. The People's Party of Canada has surged on the basis of a vacuous appeal to anti-vaxxers, and support from far right hate groups.

It all points to either a Liberal or CPC minority government after election day.

All very well. Neither the Liberals or CPC deserve a majority government mandate. Under Trudeau's leadership, the Liberals have been plagued by ethical scandals and broken promises all caused by the PM or his office. Erin O’Toole has been entrapped by the contradictions in his party on gun control, climate change, LGBTQ rights, social issues, and continual "bozo eruptions" from his team of candidates.

On the local scene, I expect Dan Albas and Tracy Gray will be re-elected for no better reason than the historical conservative voting bias of Central Okanagan voters.

My expectation is that the Liberals will be narrowly re-elected with fewer seats in Atlantic Canada and Ontario, and be propped up by a bolstered NDP caucus in the House of Commons. In conclusion, the status quo will mostly prevail.

Bruce Gajerski, Kelowna

Pretty low of Liberals to threaten riding

Dear Editor:

What does it say about the Liberal government that they will only fund ridings where there are Liberal incumbents — as stated by none other than the Liberal candidate for Kelowna-Lake Country.

The government still collects our taxes when we have non-Liberal incumbents. It’s disgusting, really, though kind of funny that the Liberal candidate would try to use this as a threat.

Kerry Knoll, Lake Country

Freedoms are being taken away

Dear Editor:

Last week, 10,000 people flooded the streets of Vancouver for a peaceful protest.

It was one of many health freedom protests across Canada by nursing professionals against the rise of medical tyranny.

Passionate speeches from Vancouver’s pro-freedom movement were given, regarding the politicization of COVID-19 and illegal restrictions unvaccinated individuals will face this fall.

Protesters expressed concerns about their loss of freedom of choice that these mandates are creating in our society.

Some felt that Canada is becoming a “police state” society, akin to the Soviet era.

They have good reason to be fearful.

Today’s federal government is systematically eroding our freedoms.

Liberty and prosperity for generations to come are threatened by Justin Trudeau, who has fully demonstrated his total disregard for individual rights.

The Liberal government is leading the charge to illegally destroy our Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Trudeau has shamelessly spoken divisively on issue after issue to turn us against one another and is using health control and massive spending and debt to achieve his purposes.

We are being coerced, lied to and forced to act contrary to our consciences without freedom of choice.

Rise up, Canadians. Vote wisely to defeat socialist control and tyranny.

If you allow it to thrive, you will lose your free agency.

Garry Rayner, Coldstream

Liberals best to deal with climate change

Dear Editor:

I’m reluctant to use the term “climate emergency” because for those spared an immediate, extreme weather event, it can seem like hyperbole.

However my reading of the climate science literature, participation in expert talks and webinars, and completion of certificate courses on climate change and energy make me uncomfortable. Reluctantly, I conclude we are nearing a climate emergency.

This past year we have endured forest fires in B.C., viewed horrific floods in Europe and China, noted the burning of forests in Greece and Turkey, saw the Texas electrical supply shut down by an atypical snowstorm, and New Orleans drowned by Hurricane Ida.

A recent UN study provides a sobering statistic: the damage caused by extreme weather events in the last decade was nine times as large as it was the 1970s.

The usually cautious and conservative International Energy Agency expressed alarm in July that governments are not making investments in clean energy fast enough. The climate science tells us: if we want to limit the increase in temperature to manageable proportions, we must drive the net emissions of CO2, methane and other GHGs down to zero by midcentury.

In Kelowna-Lake Country, which candidate can we count on to best deal with this emergency?

Not the Green or NDP candidates. Neither has a realistic chance of winning in Kelowna-Lake Country. Not the PPC candidate. That party is in the climate denier camp.

Not the Conservative candidate. For the first time, that party does have a plan to reduce emissions, and leader Erin O’Toole seems to be dedicated to it. The problem is the party is split down the middle on climate change. In March of this year at the party’s policy convention, 54% of delegates voted against inserting the following into the party’s official statement on climate: “(W)e recognize that climate change is real. The Conservative Party is willing to act.”

Who is running for election in our riding who is knowledgeable about climate change? Tim Krupa, the Liberal candidate, has the attributes necessary to lead on this issue. He has a degree in science from UBC Okanagan, an MBA and a Master of Public Policy with distinction from Oxford.

He has experience in business and government. He understands climate change problems people in this valley are grappling with and is prepared to develop policy to deal with them.

Krupa is supported by a well-developed, Liberal Party plan for addressing climate change. It has been well received by experts like Andrew Weaver, a prominent climate scientist and former leader of the B.C. Greens, and Mark Jaccard, a leading expert on the economics of sustainable energy.

Addressing climate change is a key issue for me. Krupa will get my vote.

Meg Barker, Kelowna

Email: letters@ok.bc.ca