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Kelowna News

iN RESPONSE: Readers have their say

Following are emailed reader responses to stories or letters to the editor for the second week of April 2024. They have been edited slightly for readability. 

Got something you want to add? Send an email to editor Marshall Jones at mjones@infonews.ca.

Kamloops mayor, councillors can no longer move freely through city hall

"The best part is, the city staff aren't voted in. They will be there after the Mayor and all the current council are gone." — David Miller

"The antics going on with city staff, councillors and the mayor is absolutely embarrassing and childish. You should all be ashamed of your behavior, grow up. Well hopefully other Kamloops residents feel the same as I do and next vote we replace this whole embarrassing council." — John Stewart

 

Interior Health investigating possible 'illicit substance' that sent Penticton hospital staff to ER

"Amazing you can do drugs inside the hospital but cannot smoke a legal cigarette! I’m not a smoker, but this should not be allowed." — Gertie Bews

"Appears there’s no end to the ongoing insanity. Druggies & criminals are given top priority while us seniors are given the option of MAID! And the nurses? Well they’re just there to ensure the comfort of the druggies. I’m surprised the BC Nurses’ Union hasn’t immediately stepped in to put a stop to this health hazard." — Tamara Clarke

"Decriminalization should never have taken place in BC.  How many states and nations are repealing laws pertaining to the decriminalization of certain drugs.  Like laws and regulations pertaining to no smoking in hospitals, the same should apply to the intake of harder drugs in medical facilities.  Why should anyone working in a medical facility or patients be subjected to the smell of these drugs, etc. Smoking should be only allowed at distance of 100 meters from medical facility entrances.  Visitors or patients should not have to combat a fog bank of smoke as they enter facility.  NDP are not showing any concern for staff or patient safety." — Lawrence Beaton

"The NDP are out to lunch on pretty much everything! The problem is that BC is full of idiots that support them! Everything is turning to crap!" — Gary Kamieniecki

 

City won't say how much it paid former Kamloops bylaw officers

"Bylaw officers in Kamloops sit in their vehicles and do nothing, absolute waste of money." — u/cactusman53

 

AI looked through recycling bins in Central Okanagan and this is what it found

"Great idea to do this. How hard can it be to actually learn what to recycle and what not to recycle? Then actually do it! The whole program will be much less costly if these few scofflaws get on board." — Doug Mathias

 

Kamloops mayor's authority to suspend employees stifled by council

"The Mayor and City Council have become a Canadian laughing-stock.  When the history of Kamloops is written down, I wonder what this period of time will be known as?" — Lawrence Beaton

 

Why the drug crisis is much more visible in Okanagan, Kamloops than out east

"After observing numerous nieces, nephews and friend children over the years. I have to say that most young people are introduced to alcohol and drugs in junior high school, or age 11-12 not late teens, by then for many it's already to late." — Dianne Jackson

Hi Levi,

This is a story that I wrote in August 2023.  At that time, my dog and I were part of the St. John Ambulance Therapy Dog program. We visited the reception centre at McArthur Island on three different days. With this summer ahead maybe being another season of wildfires, I’m sending this story to you to consider publishing:

Another summer of fires.  Another summer of fear, heartache, human kindness and sacrifice by so many people. Twenty years ago, there was an ESS reception centre on McArthur Island.  Hundreds of cots were in place to give evacuees a place to sleep.  We didn’t have the technology then as we have now.  The human emotions were the same as they are this year.

When the email arrived the end of last week to ask for St. John Ambulance therapy dog handlers and their dogs to visit the reception centre, there was no hesitation on my part to go.  The idea was to provide visits for the staff, volunteers and the evacuees who found themselves on site.

Other folks went with their dogs and I can’t speak for them or how their time went for them.  I know that I wasn’t prepared for the emotional aftermath I experienced when my visit with Buddy was over and we came home.  Buddy was tired.  I was tired and felt drained.

The staff on site was great and they were very busy on their phones.  The impact for Buddy and me happened when we met and interacted with evacuees.  Some of the people didn’t know if they had a home or a pile of ashes when they were allowed to return.  Two women were embracing each other as they both wept.  Others we met had already found out they had lost everything to the fires.

There was certainly no fear shown when I asked evacuees if they wanted to meet Buddy.  They all offered a smile and an outstretched hand to pet him.  A couple of people snuggled with him.  Buddy lay on the cement floor and enjoyed a tummy rub as a young lady, about the same age as one of my nieces who has the same name, emptied herself of the burden inside her heart.  She was there helping her Uncle who had lost his home to the fire.  She didn’t know how he would ever be able to start over.  She said “I’m a cat person but Buddy is so soft and loving, I can’t help but love him up like this.”

Buddy was able to sleep; I wasn’t.  I kept waking up through the night thinking of the impact Monday afternoon had on me.  I was a total stranger who had a pair of listening ears and I had brought a beautiful loving dog who was able to show the unconditional love we humans have a hard time expressing.

As we were leaving the building, the folks at the SPCA tables said that Buddy could have a toy from the box of donated toys.  He chose a toy that was the absolutely perfect one for a Border Collie mix, once a stray rescued by the BC SPCA.  I couldn’t help but take his photo as he lay there, fully engaged with chewing on a wonderful new toy that has two “squeakies” inside of it. 

I guess having a family pet that has become a SJA therapy dog is a gift for which my wife and I should be very thankful.  Being able to share him with people in need is almost beyond words.

John Noakes,
Kamloops, BC

To editor,

On March 25, Kelowna city council voted 5-3 in favour of whopping pay raises that will increase the mayor's base salary from $126,497.29 to $145,200, and councillors' salaries from $42,991.14 to $58,080.

Coun. Loyal Wooldridge was absent from the vote, but said later that he agreed with the increases.

Has Mayor Tom Dyas and the five councillors; Ron Cannan, Maxine DeHart, Charlie Hodge, Luke Stack, Loyal Wooldridge, learned nothing from Reality TV?

If they want us to stay interested, give us a chance to vote them off the island before they get their prize money!

Dyas said: "If we want the best individuals in these chairs in the future beyond the time we are in here, it's something that we need to do so at least we are at par with regards to the communities throughout the province."

What exactly is his criteria for the "best" individuals?

And wasn't there a very large and diverse group of candidates in the 2022 municipal election: 5 candidates for mayor, 32 candidates for councillor.

Dyas said in a March 27 interview, regarding wages for mayors and councillors: "That's the way that the [Community] Charter sets it out" and "there is no other tool or mechanism to allow for that to be reviewed or re-evaluated than the individuals who are in power at that particular time..."

Where exactly in the B.C. Community Charter does it state that the mayor is prevented from striking a task force or review committee on the topic of wages for the mayor and councillors, consisting of residents through public input?

Dyas hasn't defined "sustainable growth" or "sustainable development" either. On Feb. 15 he gave his State of the City address at a Kelowna Chamber of Commerce luncheon. He told the crowd: "We have a great opportunity and responsibility to make growth sustainable."

On April 4, environmentalist, author and broadcaster Dr. David Suzuki spoke at UBCO on the topic: "Humanity at a Crossroad: Business as Usual or Transformation”.

Suzuki wrote in his March 7 online article, "Valuing exponential growth as 'progress' is unsustainable":

"Yet we have come to define 'progress' as economic growth. Ask any politician or corporate executive how well they did last year and they will talk about growth (or no growth) in jobs, gross domestic product or GDP, market share or profit. No one wants to stop 'progress,' so we fail to ask the important questions: What is an economy? What is it for? Are there no limits? How much is enough? Are we happier with all this stuff?"

Suzuki said nothing about the UBCO Tower project, which one unnamed professor referred to as the "downtown disaster" during the Feb. 29 meeting of the UBC Okanagan Senate.

From Dyas’s April 1 online community column: "For council, transparency and accountability are cornerstones for how we make decisions…”

UBC Properties Trust provided the City of Kelowna with a geotechnical report on the land at 550 Doyle Ave. -- the site for the UBCO Tower -- prepared by GeoPacific Consultants Ltd., dated Nov. 9, 2021.

Did all members of the previous city council, led by Mayor Colin Basran, see and discuss this report before they voted 7-1 to approve the UBCO Tower on July 26, 2022?

To show transparency and accountability, is the present city council going to vote to allow this report to be linked on the City of Kelowna's website for the public to read?

From the 2022 City of Kelowna document: "Climate Resilience & Environmental Stewardship Review: Framework & Recommendations Report":  "Essentially green infrastructure on rooftops, green roofs provide shade, remove heat from the air, and reduce temperatures of the roof surface and surrounding air."

It's 2024. Why doesn't Kelowna have its own Green Roof Bylaw by now? In 2009, Toronto was the first city in North America to adopt a bylaw to require the construction of green roofs for new development or additions that are greater than 2,000 m2 in gross floor area.

How many of the 20 to 25 proposed towers within Kelowna's downtown core, or just outside the core, will have green roofs?

On April 4, Victoria city council put on hold their plans to give themselves a 25 per cent pay raise. Saying they had heard the concerns raised by residents, the councillors voted to pause the pay raise and instead establish a task force to make recommendations on salary adjustments and when they will take effect.

Mayor Tom Dyas and councillors: Do the right thing. Do likewise.

David Buckna, Kelowna


To contact a reporter for this story, email Marshall Jones or call 250-718-2724 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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