Open for business?

Dear Editor:

Penticton City Council would have us and others believe that their mantra is “open for business.” While this may be stated, let’s see what the implications might be as a prospective business person looking at Penticton as a relocation site or a new business start up.

After looking at such things as weather, geography, population, market share, recreational amenities, schools, housing availability and such, on the outside, things look inviting.

Now comes the question of governance and issues surrounding local government.

These areas have to be addressed.

Let’s say that you are an entrepreneur considering establishing your business in Penticton. You have found the above amenities to be to your liking.

Next, you look into local government.   What would you find?

An in depth look would show the following:

Two active lawsuits and another one possibly pending involving the City: disrespect for citizen’s democratic rights and dispensation of public property and its use and a local business being sued by the city for a $600,000-plus power bill that was not the fault of the business. Retrieval of funds paid to firefighters through an arbitration process that was agreed to by both parties involved.

Council shows total disdain for the principles of democracy where public property is concerned in awarding a business long term access to public property and redevelopment of same without consultation with the public or other local businesses.

The fact that it is public knowledge (BCTV report) that Penticton City Council is not noted for its fiscal management in that it is labeled as the sixth-worst controller of the purse strings of municipalities in B.C.

Accountability and transparency appear to be words that council has yet to get a true dictionary meaning for. (Case in point: The proposed $500,000-plus overhead light canopy downtown informing the taxpayers after the fact.)

After discovering all of these issues, the question might be “With all of this bag and baggage, why would I want to look at setting up a business in Penticton?”

This might give credence to the often stated “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” that is, until you have thoroughly looked at its Table of Contents or you have read the entire book!

In summary, if Council’s mantra is so strong, one might think that there would be many new business ventures waiting at the door to get established. However, there is truth and there is reality here, no thanks to Council’s mantra.

Ron Barillaro