Gouged on gas prices

The other day when it was announced on the local news stations that local gas stations were gouging the consumer for every litre of gas, and that they were making in excess 25 to 30 cents a litre, the price all of a sudden dropped to a $1.09 per litre.

Now almost over night it has dropped again to $1.00. Between the gas stations, the fuel distributor in Kamloops and the oil companies, we here in the valley have been extorted for the past several years.

Today's price in London Ontario is $0.65 a litre. This is not an uncommon practice for the gas stations there as the gas price changes daily and seldom goes beyond a $1.05 litre.

It is most strange how there can be so big of a disparity in prices. It surely is now obvious that the price did not contain large amounts of tax as has been stated many times, for the government as far as I know has not announced any reduction in tax applied to the fuel.

So that just leaves the greedy fuel distributor, gas station owner and the oil companies fixing the price of gas through out the Okanagan Valley, or at least allowing it to be fixed.

I realize the government has a lot on its hands right now with the virus, however when it is over I believe they need to stop pussy footing around and start walking with a big stick.

Ian MacLean

COVID and construction

In reference to the poll on Castanet regarding large construction sites staying open or shutting down. It is an excellent question that is presented and it should have some more options available for readers to answer with.

If a prime contractor, general contractor or subcontractor etc, has never had a meaningful health and safety plan in place then they are going to have an extremely difficult time trying to fulfil any sort of on site hygiene protocol. Let alone implement a COVID-19 fit-for-duty questionnaire, a meaningful site safety orientation, daily pre-start hazard sheet, regular site inspections, fall protection compliance, plus being able to document and record all of the above to be fully compliant.

This process is not that expensive and it does not hinder production by even a minute, and the workers are much happier and quite confident in their work.

So my answer to the poll is; if any construction company is unable to fulfil its WorkSafeBC compliance & obligations, provide basic on site sanitation for worker’s hygiene and all the requirements of trying to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus - then yes that company should be shut down.

Mark Coleman CSO, West Kelowna


Equal help?

With all the federal and provincial help that's coming out for everyone, I don't know if persons with disabilities will be forsaken — as they have been even in good times.

They get a 1986 $375 shelter allowance for a 2020 rental market that starts at $1100/mo. Even if they had, and lost a periodic part time job that wouldn't qualify for EI, but helped with adding a few hundred dollars a month to an impossible to live on total of $1200/mo, they won't get any extra help that other British Columbians and Canadians would get for help. 

If they did qualify for EI, they would have any money they received deducted from their disability dollar for dollar, actually costing the person more in money and stress from the running around act of applying for EI. 

They have so little already that even coming up with the difference for a pair of eyeglasses is nearly impossible as most optical stores won't even do an eye exam for the amount that is covered from disability benefits. That's just  one example out of many to paint a broad picture of the impossible financial challenges they face in the system.

Most Canadians will be able to access thousands of dollars in assistance.

Persons with disabilities may have any emergency assistance they received deducted dollar for dollar, or possibly even have their assistance cancelled altogether if they received any emergency assistance.

Canadians will have a very simplified application form to fill out to get help. By way of comparison, a person with a disability has to report that they got a bag of groceries given to them by a friend, or anything else they have acquired, no matter how small, regardless of how.  

These are not trouble causing, thieving addicts. They are people that would work full time in a heartbeat if they could.

Persons with disabilities must be really tough, tougher than the average Canadian as they are able to pay for shelter even with only $375 shelter allowance, whereas other Canadians will need thousands.

The cracks and flaws in the system for persons with disabilities will reveal themselves like no other time — how big will those cracks be for them?

David Wilkinson, Kelowna

Positive mindset required

These are extraordinary times we are living in right now. It will require all people to get on board and stay at home, self isolate/quarantine and practice social distancing.

It will also require a positive mindset.

When I read many of the letters to the Castanet editor they are filled with hate and negativity. 

It's OK to disagree with political leaders and parties but to use hate letters with derogatory terms to fulfill a political agenda is not OK right now or ever. 

I've come to realize there are many older hardcore Conservatives living in the Okanagan many of which are former Albertans that have moved here. And why not, it is a beautiful place with many great things to do.

Instead of purporting hate, let's celebrate all the great people in the Okanagan who our helping us thru this chaos. Like the health workers, all emergency workers, truck drivers, grocery store workers and all workers deemed essential so we can get thru the pandemic.

They need our support and gratitude. Don't give into the hate, be a positive influence and help where you can.

Howie Hewgill

Garden retailers are essential

As our country, our provinces, communities and businesses react to the spread of COVID-19, High Mountain Farm commends the efforts of local, provincial and federal governments to mitigate the impact and strive to keep the public safe and healthy.

The discussion of how to best ensure the public health has included the possibility of asking “non-essential” retail operations to shut their doors for a period of time, with the intent of minimizing exposure to the virus.

High Mountain Farm is fully in support of sensible steps public health officials may deem necessary to combat COVID-19.  At the same, we urge public officials at all levels of government to consider garden retailers among those retail operations determined to be “essential” and allow these business owners the option to stay open as a public service.

Consumer horticulture benefits the health and happiness of every citizen and every community in Canada.

Canadians are resilient and resourceful in the face of adversity provided the opportunity to produce their own food and manage any shortage in the supply chain. Millions of Canadians engage in food production at home, and more are sure to follow as the COVID-19 crisis unfolds. 

With thousands of garden retailers serving communities across North America, these stores provide much-needed services. Whether helping Canadian’s  produce home-grown fruits and vegetables, as Canadian’s did during WWII as Victory Gardens, as a mental and physical health relief or providing wholesome activities for children, garden centres offer products and support that individuals and communities can utilize during these stressful times. 

Many of the products carried by garden retailers are agricultural, like seeds and edible plants. Others are necessary tools and supplies. Together they are essential to maintaining a healthy living environment. In many communities, the garden retailer may be the only outlet where consumers have access to essential supplies for growing, gardening, maintaining or repairing their residences. 

Because of these considerations, High Mountain Farm urges local, provincial, and federal policymakers to consider garden retailers among those operations determined to be “essential” retail outlets that can exercise the option to remain open to support their communities during these trying times.

High Mountain Farm also urges all business owners to look to guidelines of the BCCDC and federal and local health authorities and to use the utmost care and caution when considering how to proceed with operations.

Axel Hvidberg
High Mountain Farm


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