Letters to the Editor

Prison will discourage families from locating in region

As newcomers locally, both my wife and myself were appalled to hear that this area could be considered as a possible site for a medium-security prison. We both spent a long time researching where in the region we wanted to make our home now we are retired, finally deciding on Summerland because of all that it seemed to offer, with its ideal location, friendly people, good climate, etc.

Had we known there was even the remotest possibility that this wonderful area could have its reputation forever destroyed by being known as a prison town, we would never have even considered moving here.

We have several friends and acquaintances who are keen to relocate here. Some, like ourselves, are retired, while we know of one young family with children who are currently preparing to move to this area and open a business. All are now aware of the current situation and have stated categorically that they will not move here if this proposal were to proceed.

Make no mistake, this plan, should it go ahead, will not be the solution to the economic woes facing either Penticton or Summerland. Any short-term economic benefit relating to the actual construction of such a facility will be more than offset by the permanent stigma, which will inevitably accompany it.

As parents ourselves, with grown children in the area, we are very aware of the lack of employment opportunities for young people locally, but do you really believe that a career in the prison service will be the goal of many high school graduates?

Let’s continue to promote this region as a family friendly destination, well known for its beauty and recreational facilities and an area in which people of all ages will want to live an thrive.

Bernard & Betty Butler


Bylaw enforcement slipping

Feb. 4 was ‘black ice Friday’ as many quickly found out. I ended up in emergency with many others who did not successfully navigate the black ice. I lost about 40 minutes of memory as one of the results of a concussion that I sustained when my head hit a cement step. I have also been off work since my accident because of the concussion symptoms.

Fast forward to Tuesday and the leftover snow from Sunday. A walk with my dog today and I found myself in danger as so many sidewalks have not been cleared. I was unable to get off my own street without crossing to avoid the ice and snow-covered walks. After two blocks I had to turn around as the only ‘safe’ place to walk was on the road. We have a Snow Angel program and lots of able-bodied folks and kids who can clear for those who are unable or just plain bad neighbours. The idea ‘it will melt’ is wrong and dangerous.

The City of Penticton has a sidewalk snow removal bylaw and it also has three bylaw officers. I believe that they need to refocus their time on the days of snowfall and start handing out warnings and fines for repeat offenders. The parking fines can wait while they take care of the safety of the taxpayer. Bylaws are in place to protect the community so let’s ask for that protection. Let the mayor and councillors know that this bylaw needs to be enforced. They can be reached through City Hall at 250-490-2440

I hope the others I saw in emergency are well on their way to healing.

Kathy McKenzie


Political correctness runs amok

After reading Joy Lang’s letter (Feb. 9 Western News), I am compelled to reply.

What she has written is the epitome of the insanity of political correctness that has blossomed from merely humorous to ludicrous.

Why is it that only so-called Christian holidays are offensive? What happened to live and let live. I don’t mind what anyone celebrates, in fact I feel the diversity is interesting.

However, I utterly resent these hypocrites who seem to feel the factors that make Canada what it is, i.e: the freedom to worship and speak freely, should be erased in favour of anything else that may ring their chimes at the moment.

I am sorry for sounding angry. I am angry. Guess that is politically incorrect as well. Too bad.

Lois Linds


It’s time to end the abuse

Re: Mass murder of 100 healthy sled dogs at Whistler

I can see the writing on the wall. Those executioners from Whistler will get nothing more than a rap on the knuckles. That’s because of B.C.’s antiquated 15th century law whereby an owner can legally slaughter domesticated animals. How many more Whistlers are there that we don’t know about.

These individuals never made an effort to have these beautiful animals adopted by pet-loving people. How many stories have we heard of recently whereby concerned folks rescued animals that otherwise would have been destroyed or starved: lady RCMP officer rescues unwanted dogs in northern communities; volunteers pay for transporting unwanted dogs from California and arrange for their adoption; and how can you forget the heroic efforts of the volunteers from McBride, B.C., rescuing those starving horses

These are only a few that come to mind but there are many more stories out there.

But in this one horrific case at Whistler both the villain who slaughtered the dogs and the person(s) who gave the order are just as guilty, and should be punished to the full extent of the law (such as it is). Will they be? I rather doubt it. Time, sharp-tongued lawyers and an ineffective justice system will trivialize this horrendous act, and the villains will elude the crime with minimal consequences. Hopefully I’m wrong; just read that a Victoria judge sentenced a puppy murderer to six months in jail.

In addition, when convicted, Robert Fawcett should be ordered to return all the benefits he received from Worksafe BC. Why should a person benefit financially from crimes he himself committed? He could have refused to carry out this heinous order.

In conclusion, I think a memorial should be erected at or near the mass burial site to commemorate these 100 beautiful healthy work dogs and all other abused animals that have suffered and died inhumane deaths due to man’s neglect and cruelty. Most animal-loving folks across the continent will send in donations and any surplus can be used to fund other related costs.

Ernie Antonow


Apply logic to laws

I am pleased to hear that the attempt to misuse recall legislation to voice displeasure at MLA votes has failed. This proves that Canadians are fair-minded as well as astute.

Perhaps now we can hear from a party that will consider: supporting the HST (the alternatives will hurt far more than this VAT); scrapping the .05 BAC fees (these are really fines/penalties disguised as fees). If bar sales have dropped 30-50 per cent because of the .05 BAC application, think of all the taxes not being collected because of these sales reductions.

Legalizing marijuana: This is not a winnable criminal cause. If legalization was enacted, police forces could be redeployed for serious requirements, a new industry could be licensed and taxed (in any case, nothing is going to prevent a smoker from getting a supply) and the effect on criminals and cartels would be great. Murder, smuggling, extortion, torture, blackmail and border wars would all be significantly reduced.

Legalizing solicitation: Prostitution is legal and is never going to stop, yet solicitation is illegal? Laws do nothing to protect the “working ladies”. Instead we make them stand out in the cold, on dark corners, where they are abused or killed by both pimps and johns. Legalization will at least get rid of the pimps and violence. Allow these citizens to advertise and run their “bawdy houses” in a safe environment, with proper protection. Tax their activities just as they do in European countries, with established “red light” districts outside family communities and city centres. Vice squads would be greatly reduced and, again, police forces could perform more useful activities.

It is time we stopped concerning ourselves with being politically correct and applied logic to solutions, rather than letting religious or other emotional issues cloud our judgment. Current government policies are doing little to solve our problems and huge amounts of taxpayer dollars are being spent, both directly and indirectly, with very little results. Sometimes one must open one’s mind to whether we innovate or carry on down the same old road – blinders and all.

Patrick MacDonald


Chipping away at service

I’m writing this letter to point out another injustice in the long list of provincial Liberal wealth transfers from ordinary working people to those who do not really need more money. A few years ago, under a people friendly government, ICBC advertised a service to repair our stone-chipped windshields. The objective was to save money by cutting back on windshield replacements. I used that service to my advantage and it was free for everyone.

Fast-forward to the present. At first frost this fall I hurried to the local glass shop for a spot repair. Upon completion I was told that I now had to pay. I was also advised that if my windshield needed replacement, it would cost me an extra hundred in deductible.

Since then I’ve been hearing an ex radio-TV hostess shilling for ICBC; her advice is (apart from the new red shoes she wants), when encountering automobile trouble out of the country, simply phone ICBC for relief.

There’s a moral to this story: The money saved by a Liberal-run enterprise is taking my (who cannot afford foreign vacations) insurance money to subsidize those who can. If you want to know how to scam ordinary folks without blushing, just ask any of the Liberal leadership candidates.

H. P. Toews


Spirit shines through

Thanks to many factors, the GenNext movie night was a success. We were able to raise $300 for the United Way, and also donate food to the Salvation Army food bank. Another element of our success was the fun we had while doing it. Everybody that I’ve spoken to during or after the event said that they had fun.

As a group this was our debut fundraiser and it was a great learning experience. There are GenNext chapters in many communities across Canada. GenNext Penticton was formed at the end of 2010. Our mission is: “engaging the next generation of leaders to create lasting positive change in our community.” To find out more about GenNext Penticton go to our website: gennextpenticton.yolasite.com.

I would like to recognize and personally thank the local businesses that took part in our event. They were generous enough to donate their time, products and services. Thank you to Landmark Cinemas, Pen-Mar, Astral Media, Coles, Starbucks, Okanoggin Barbers, Planet Express Delivery and Barley & Grapes, Par-t-Perfect, Angel Babies Children Boutique, Booster Juice, the City of Penticton and London Drugs. Without your contributions this event would not have been possible. Thank you for making it great.

I would also like to thank all of the people who came out to partake in the fun. By coming out to watch a movie with us, you were also giving back to your community. Thank you for coming out and chipping in.

Ryan Fowler, vice-chair

GenNext Penticton

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