Letters to the Editor, February 11, 2022 | Letters to the Editor

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The new park shouldn’t be just for paddlers

Dear Editor:

City records show that between 1989 and 1997, City of Kelowna staff recommended the purchase for $3.9 million of 900 linear feet of waterfront parkland at the foot of Cedar Avenue.

The excellent sandy beach for swimming was used to justify 80% of this cost, or $3.12 million, paid by taxpayers, with developers paying the balance.

In 2011, the construction cost of the park was estimated at $2.2 million.

In 2012 and 2013, taxpayers paid $320,000 to install rip rap (large boulders) along 400 meters of shore, which impacted fish habitat.

By 2021, the cost had risen to $6 million, with taxpayers paying 8%, or $480,000, as a developer grant. Another million dollars to build a parking lot in the park is also planned for 2024.

After 33 years of waiting, the City would like taxpayers to think they will finally get their waterfront park. But the city has no plans to remove the riprap to create 900 feet of public sandy beach for swimming.

Instead, the city designed the park to attract tourists who enjoy kayaking and other paddle sports and will build a $391,000 pier designed for paddle sports users.

Let’s be clear, this is not a big park. The park’s design fills the limited uplands with amenities for paddlers, including a clubhouse, boat storage, and drop-off areas.

Those who cannot paddle, or cannot afford to paddle, will be able to compete with the geese for the use of a quarter of the site which will be grassed.

Most of the shoreline will be covered in riprap leaving only a small section of sandy beach available for swimming at the foot of Cedar Avenue. On busy days, this small beach will be used to park kayaks and paddle boards.

Why was this park and its waterfront not designed for multiple users, including bathers?

There are a number of possible explanations as to why the city wants to limit public access to this location – they all have to do with money.

First, the city could form a public-private partnership to build a boutique hotel in the park. Council 76 policy supports a 50-unit, 2.5-story hotel on the site. A park design that limits public access to the lake benefits hotel guests and the hotel operator.

Second, the city could save about $4 million by not moving a sewer lift station that dominates the park site’s proposed lawn.

Third, the city could save about $10 million by not having to upgrade its deepwater sewer outfall pipe that runs through the park and stretches a mile offshore where it discharges treated sewage to a depth of 65 meters below the surface of the lake.

Fourth, the city would save millions more by not having to manage the water quality of Fascieux Creek. The creek runs through farmland and runs along two sides of the treatment plant before entering the lake at the south end of the park.

The city did nothing to remedy these problems. Rather, he designed a park to serve a small group of exclusive users and fails the larger public interest.

Richard Drinnan, Kelowna

Tories halt rogue protesters

Dear Editor:

In his Feb. 4 column, Conservative MP Dan Albas discussed the status of the so-called Freedom Convoy protest in Ottawa.

As usual, Albas ends with a question: “Do you agree with the Prime Minister’s decision not to meet any of them?”

In this column, Albas cites the many protests he witnessed during his years on Parliament Hill, and adds the comment that sometimes “fringe groups with a different message or agenda will join a protest.”

What he fails to recognize is that anarchist, racist, white supremacist, pro-Trump and fringe groups who joined, quickly

commandeered the agenda and replaced the anti-vaccine “freedom” message that truckers rightly or wrongly believe.

The self-proclaimed “leaders” of this protest issued an outrageous statement calling on the Governor General to dissolve the Liberal government and replace it with an unelected government of their choice.

Currently held by the Conservatives, the role of the Canadian opposition is important. Holding an elected government accountable is part of that role, but so is helping to identify and propose solutions to existing and emerging issues facing our country.

It is ironic that many conservatives support a “for freedom” convoy that appears to be headed for insurrection and anarchy rather than improved democratic governance.

Even the truckers’ own professional organization repudiated this protest.

In response to Albas’ question, I ask: why would a Prime Minister personally engage with a group that has so far demonstrated no intention of participating in a principled, peaceful, democratic and solution-oriented?

Perhaps MP Dan Albas’ next question of the week should be, “Why did Canada’s Official Opposition hitch their wagon to a convoy that was undemocratically overtaken by rogue elements who did not demonstrate no interest in peace, order and good government, much less scientific research into enlightened public health measures to protect Canadians?

Denis O’Gorman, Penticton

Occupation is not a form of civil protest

Dear Editor:

In his campaign video, Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre promised to make Canadians “the freest people on Earth” with “the freedom to make your own health and vaccine choices.” And the freedom to speak without fear.

Wow, populism on steroids. We can see where the Conservatives are going to take us with Poilievre in charge.

Freedom as an ideology has been appropriated and weaponized by the MAGA mob. But for most Canadians, the word is code for white identity politics. It has become the far-right’s weapon of choice in the day-to-day culture wars that today unfortunately disguise themselves as political debate.

The vagueness of the word catches many unsuspecting and sincere people in the glare of its headlights, but in fact the hard right is using the language of freedom as a stick to erode our democratic governance and civil rights and extend the creep of authoritarianism, putting lipstick and heels on fascism.

The occupation is not a civic protest. The economic and social cost of the second week of protest is in the hundreds of millions – protesters must go home. Open defiance of the law is unacceptable. The RCMP needs to cut funding. That’s the only reason they keep going – none of these protesters would stay if they didn’t get funding guarantees for fuel and legal costs from the organizers, who are members of a separatist party. western.

The freedom convoy demonstrates the inherent weakness of democracy. We invite trouble into our home. The convoy’s success highlights the dilemma that while the protests are meant to be peaceful, they attract extremists and quickly turn into a security threat that CSIS warns us about. It can act as a lightning rod and fertile ground for sedition and anarchy to congregate, gain a foothold in mainstream debate, and damage the very system that gives it the freedom to voice their protest.

A clear warning that in today’s politically charged environment, local protests in Canada can quickly turn into a kind of fifth column for the unruly patriots and militant January 6th of the United States.

Jon Peter Christoff, West Kelowna

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