Veteran calls for local democracy

Dear Editor:

A week ago, I stood at a Remembrance Day memorial. These events are always sad as we think of those who left their country and home to defend our democratic system, some never to come back. They gave the ultimate sacrifice. I served my country for 3 1/2 years – two in Germany, one in Libya and recalled for Suez for six months.

What has happened to our society in this beautiful city?

We have a mayor and council who seem to ignore the very principles of democracy. They are not communicating with constituents and respecting their long term values. Yes, I am referring to our park lands and beaches. In reference to our beach parks, these have been assembled over 50 years, taxpayers purchasing properties as they became available, past mayors and councils have all contributed as well as volunteers, service groups, and city employees to mold these into the pristine properties they are today.

So obviously you have five generations defending a vision that has been constant and complete. Now we have a council and mayor who have decided to virtually give away 27 per cent of Skaha Lake Park to a developer, calling it an area underused.

Let’s just reflect on this 27 per cent, definitely the area of the park for the youngest of our generations – a splash pad, a playground, and, not that far away, a pond. Within the 27 per cent of park, a serene, quiet, shaded area where parents take their children for a picnic and relaxation after a busy play. It is also a place where they can view different birds, waterfowl, and painted turtles.

Now let’s do some futuring.

This is and will be the biggest development of homes in the near future. For example, Skaha Hills – up to 600 homes, Skaha Lake Road – new units which have already been built, and three towers to be built within the next five years, filing cabinets for people as I call them.

The need will be a larger park, not a smaller park, a quiet place for those people living in filing cabinets, to walk their dogs, to sit with their children, experience a country life within a city – a very valuable space for our future.

These five generations did not do all this work gathering this land for parks with their tax money and energy for themselves but for the future. You have to leave this tradition alone or your should have had a referendum – the democratic way not the dictatorial way. This has shown disrespect to generations of our taxpayers.

What are these memorial services for?

It is to remember why these young men and women gave their lives to defend. It is obvious democracy has been forgotten by this council.

Peter Osborne

Penticton