Kamloops 15 minute city letters spread misinformation, 'misrepresent' City: CAO | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kamloops 15 minute city letters spread misinformation, 'misrepresent' City: CAO

The City of Kamloops is trying to determine who is sending misinformation about its climate plans.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Chad Moats

Kamloops residents may be fooled at first into thinking letters suggesting vehicles will be "banned" from entire neighbourhoods came from the City, but closer inspection shows they clearly are not.

The letters have shown up in some mailboxes suggesting the City is moving to create "15 minute cities" meant to restrict "freedom of travel." They use the City's corporate colours, contact information for mayor and council, even appearing to use the same font as a City letter would.

Chief administrative officer David Trawin saw the letters and confirmed they were not sent by any City official.

READ MORE: Kamloops city councillor pushing back against BC housing land use control

"It's misrepresentation and it's misinformation," Trawin said.

A reader shared the letters with iNFOnews.ca, which suggest the City's climate action plan would "ban all full-size vehicles from residential areas," in an effort to have everyone ride e-bikes.

The climate action plan is a public document and includes no mention of banning vehicles, but the letter does get part of the plan correct.

"Fifteen minute cities promise all of your necessities within 15 minutes travel by foot," the letter reads, later correctly adding the City's plan is to create 10 minute neighbourhoods by 2050.

The letter quickly follows with misinformation, and makes it clear the next claim doesn't come from City documents at all.

"What the plan doesn't tell you is you are incentivized (forced) to give up your vehicle and freedom of travel," it reads.

READ MORE: On the road to 15 minute cities in Kamloops and the Okanagan

Conspiracy theorists have recently taken hold of the 15 minute city urban planning concept, claiming it's an effort for "controlling the masses," according to Action4Canada, which is a group also dedicated to COVID conspiracies and anti-LGBTQ movements.

The Kamloops letter doesn't delve deeply into conspiracy theories beyond the claims that locals will have their travel restricted, but Trawin said the City is taking it seriously.

"Basically, you're using that layout to make it seem like it's coming from the City. So there's a specific intent to try to confuse people," he said.

Trawin said it's not the only iteration of fake letters claiming to be from the City sent to residents lately, but he didn't elaborate. The City is currently trying to track down who is sending the letters.

"We have a couple leads, but we need to verify that and deal with it," he said.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Levi Landry or call 250-819-3723 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.

We welcome your comments and opinions on our stories but play nice. We won't censor or delete comments unless they contain off-topic statements or links, unnecessary vulgarity, false facts, spam or obviously fake profiles. If you have any concerns about what you see in comments, email the editor in the link above. 

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