Letters to the editor
In regards to the Rail Trail in Lake Country and the recently come to light claims to the land by the OKIB. I have no real issue with this claim to the land. It probably was their land and so probably should be theirs again. Now here’s the but... It seems that the proposed use for the railway, land providing clean and healthy recreation and access opportunities to people, and preserving land in natural form, should line up quite nicely with the goals of the OKIB. In reality, it will probably be explored for new locations for huge billboards and extensions for mobile home parks. If the mandate of the OKIB has some roots in land stewardship and maintaining lands for traditional type uses, I would say they have been missing the mark in a lot of the Okanagan. Big billboards, bright and ugly along the highway in West Kelowna and coming into Lake Country on 97 from the south and a few houses on the verge of falling over have become some standard indicators that the land you are driving by belongs to the OKIB. Yes there are “nice” commercial, residential and and other use developments on reserve land, but”nice” should be the norm, not the exception, and even so, these developments don’t seem to have anything to do with cultural and heritage preservation or responsible land stewardship in any way.
Now my proposed solution; let the land revert back to the OKIB, and trust that they have the insight and forethought to realize that the best use of the land is exactly what it’s proposed to be; a well maintained recreation corridor providing preservation and access to the beauty of the Okanagan. It might be a stretch seeing that even many residents of the area are to short sighted to see the benefit, but hey, a guy can dream.
I believe the acquisition of the CN rail corridor for the Lake Country Rail Trail is a critical component in making Lake Country a better place to live, work and play.
The lifestyle offered by Lake Country combined with the vision of its leaders for the region to seek a balance between rural and urban communities encouraged me to purchase my retirement house there. While I do not live in the area, if I could I would vote yes and I urge my neighbours to vote yes too.
Acquisition of the Lake Country Rail Trail is a once in a lifetime opportunity that will determine how the region will develop. The trail will help preserve the semi-rural atmosphere of the region and become a key component in a development plan that supports the quality of life and sustainable economic growth opportunities created by the nearby Kelowna airport and University of British Colombia campus. It will also help to stimulate tourism by providing economic benefits to vineyards and wineries, fruit growers, restaurants, bed and breakfasts, retailers and other tourist services. The economic spinoffs from these businesses will provide the additional tax base required to help pay the costs of providing infrastructure in Lake Country.
If we want to continue to live an enviable lifestyle in one of Canada’s more desirable regions, and at the same time provide amenities and economic opportunities for future generations, I urge you to vote yes for the Lake Country Rail Trail on April 25.
Dennis C. Floate
I have lived in Lake Country for 52 years and feel it is time for me to speak up about the upcoming referendum to borrow money to purchase the old CN railroad. I think I am like most Lake Country people who just want to know the true cost of this endeavour. Anybody who thinks it is only going to cost taxpayers $27.00 per year extra in property taxes is living in La La Land. The District of Lake Country tried to sneak this through by telling people this and also by using the alternate process instead of holding a referendum.
Here are some costs that they never mention:
1. The $27.00 increase is based on a property assessed $480,000. We have many properties in Lake Country that are assessed at millions of dollars so these people will be paying a lot more than $27.00.
2. The cost of upgrading the rail line into a walking- biking path and the maintenance to keep it up.
3. Who is going to pay the legal fees to deal with Okanagan Indian Band who have filed a notice of claim in B.C. Supreme Court? They also say that the 2.5 km. that runs through IR #9 Duck Lake will revert back to them. So are we buying this from them?
4. When are we paying Kelowna back for the 2.5 million they are lending us? How much is the interest on this money? Will the District be asking for another increase in taxes to pay this off?
5. The whole purchase of the rail line is based on the provincial government contributing seven million dollars however they have never came out and said this for sure. You would think the District would get them committed before having a referendum.
6. I would like to know how the district is going to deal with property owners who have land on both sides of the railroad. I talked to one of these owner and he has first right to buy the rail line property that goes through his property and he has done this. According to Professor Duane Thomson who seems to think he is the authority on the value of lakeshore property, this property would be worth $13,889 per foot. If that is the case this property will be worth millions and millions of dollars. Is the District going to buy this land also?
I read in the local paper that infrastructure services director Greg Bucholz says the District of Lake Country is 30 million dollars behind in needed improvements to our roadways. He goes on to say we will have to go back to gravel roads or raise taxes to pay for this. I also know that Interior Health is after the District to upgrade the quality of our water, this is going to cost millions. All this is adding up to some very steep increases in taxes over the next few years and I fear that low income families and seniors on fixed incomes will be taxed right out of their homes.
Voting no and turning down the referendum is not such a bad thing as some people would want you to believe. We still would have the west side of the lake to develop into a bike and walking trail along with some nice beaches. Let the millionaires buy the expensive land on the east side of the lake and build their million dollar homes. We could then collect the big tax dollars from these properties to improve our roads and water quality.
I will be voting no on the referendum and urge all Lake Country residence to do the same.
I cannot understand the opposition to owning a 50-km recreational corridor along Wood and Kalamalka Lakes. They don't want the municipality to borrow $2.6 million to purchase the rail line right-of-way from CNR, to be covered by an average tax increase of $27 per household.
Out of curiosity, I checked the costs of some other recreational opportunities.
If my wife and I take our two grandchildren to the H2O water park in Kelowna, it will cost us over $30, for a single day (or less, if the children tire). Roughly the same cost would apply to the Atlantis Water Park north of Vernon. Or we could go to Scandia amusement park in Kelowna. For just under $100, the four of us could have pop, pizza, and either mini-golf or a go-cart ride. For one afternoon. The steam train at Summerland is slightly cheaper. Tickets for four will cost us about $75 -- plus a one-hour-plus drive each way. We could go skiing for a day up at Big White. Day passes there will cost us a mere $264. And the real winner is the Oyama Zip line -- the four of us would pay $376 to have three hours of fun. And all of those are one-time expenses. If we enjoy the experience, it will cost us the same amount all over again.
But we can take our grandkids hiking or biking on the recreational rail-trail 365 days a year, for just $27. No surcharge for extra people!
I work that out to 7.4 cents per household, per day. Skipping a single large specialty coffee at Tim Hortons would cover over 50 days usage of the recreational trail!
The rail trail acquisition strikes me as the deal of a lifetime. I can't imagine how anyone in their right mind could oppose it.
Now I don't agree with tampering with Best Before dates on any type of packaging, however, when it says Best Before it does not mean the the product in the package is not consumable.
There are ethical issues at play here, where I feel that changing dates on packages is unethical, I do not feel that selling the products with an expired date would be a problem. Mark the product down, blow it out of the door to make room for newer product.
I think that the industry that governs the packaging of consumable product should change the wording on packaging from "Best Before" to maybe "Not To Be Sold After" or "Not To Be Consumed After”. Then there would be a crystal clear decision that if one was to change the dates, it would then be an infraction.
I am sorry for all that are involved in this situation, and hope that no one got sick from any of the product that was purchased with a package that had the date changed.
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