Kelowna pricing out locals

It's so sad to see that many family owned businesses, stores and restaurants are being threatened with closing their doors due to slow or no sales.

I know the Okanagan has always made the majority of its sales through tourism, but is the city considering the affordability of its own residents?

There was a time, 10 to 15 years ago, when I was out two or three nights a week with friends to have dinner, drinks or just walk around. Ironically, I made way less money then but I always seemed to have something to spend on a night out or for something cute I spotted in a store.

Now? I've been downtown maybe four times this summer, only once was it to eat out and my husband and I complained about how expensive it was to just grab a casual breakfast (our bill was nearly $60).

The city needs to realize it's not just tourists staying away because of a fire and climate change, it's locals who can no longer afford to enjoy their city. Sure, I get out for a walk downtown with a friend here or there, but the city is lucky if I pull out my wallet just once for a coffee and sometimes not at all.

What used to be a really fun and affordable town is now a high-end city where every day people are just working to pay bills, and sometimes not even that. I can imagine the small shop and restaurant owners can appreciate that they too can no longer afford their own town, or maybe even their own prices.

We need to stop relying on tourism to keep our own city up and running. The city needs to work on making Kelowna enjoyable and affordable for its own residents. Maybe then something like "Small Shop Saturday" will no longer be needed, as locals will pop out for a causal dinner on a Tuesday and sneak into a couple shops while they are at it.

Until my paycheque can (pay for) more than bills, gas and groceries, (and I know I'm speaking for a lot of people), small shops and restaurants will continue to suffer.

Shonah Nykiforuk

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