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Letters  

Tired of party people

Party party party, what the hell is wrong with people? Seriously? Isn’t it a bit early for house boat parties. It’s obvious that people are just acting out. If there wasn’t a pandemic these kids would all be sitting at home.

I am really sick of all the problems that people are inflicting on the rest of the hard working population. Do people know that these party goers are taking this virus into the workplace? I think it’s mostly university kids. School is out for them and it’s party time! They should just leave town.

Some of us are still out of work because of the pandemic, so let’s get our acts together people. The vaccine isn’t going to work. They are still finding cases among people who have had the vaccine.

Good luck folks!

Debbie Belair





Slow down and move over

Imagine.

Imagine, you arrive to work Monday morning, hang up your jacket, say “hi” to the co-workers, take a seat at your desk, start up the computer and suddenly - out of nowhere, two 18-wheelers, side by side, are flying at 125 km/hr towards you. What do you do?!

Nothing. The answer is nothing. Maybe you hope for the best, wave at them and hope that they see you; pray that one changes lanes and that both slow down. The gust of air created by 50,000 pound truck/trailer combos is enough to blow all those papers off your desk and make your ears pop!

Sure, you don’t have traffic concerns at your work, but I do. Every few seconds I have that same feeling and think those same thoughts; do they see me, will they slow down, will they move over, or will they — like they did last night — hit the rear of our highly visible vehicle (it has a 5 foot flashing arrow and strobe lights) sending us into the ditch or into more speeding traffic.

My desk is a dash. My office is a cab. My job is shadowing a street sweeper ensuring it doesn’t get rear-ended by an 18-wheeler doing 125 km/hr. Don't worry, this spring your highways will be free and clear of sand, rocks, tools, scrap metal, chunks of concrete and all sorts of other debris, just in time for you to enjoy your convertible, motorbike, jacked-up diesel or other luxury item. My job doesn’t pay me enough to have toys like that. You would think with risk, comes reward, but not in our world.

All I ask is next time you see a construction sign, a “slow moving vehicle ahead” sign, a flagger sign, an amber flashing beacon, a car with its four-way flashers on, or even just a person or vehicle on the side of the road; pay attention: slow down and move over. Activate your four-way flashers to let those behind you know something is up and to let me know that you see me; sitting here in the lane with my arrow on, and that you ”get it”.

Slow to 70 when the limit is over 80. Slow to 40 when it's under. I know your time is valuable, but isn’t my life valuable too? Can you spare a second or two to ensure I will make it home tonight?

Remember, slow down and move over; not just for red, blue or amber flashing lights – slow down and move over for the guy changing a flat tire on his car, the lady with her hood up and steam leaving the engine, the mechanic helping a family get back on the road – everyone deserves the courtesy, it shouldn’t need enforcement. (it gets none)

Last year, we had a vehicle hit between Lake Country and Kelowna. Last night, about two kilometres from the previous location, we had another hit. Thankfully in both cases, our co-worker survived. If you see a bright orange sign; read it. If you see a giant flashing arrow; don't drive into it. If you see someone working roadside; don't gear down and blast exhaust at us but instead: slow down and move over. I would do it for you! 120km/hr is 109 feet per second, think of that when you are passing our vehicle; will you be able to react in time when you find out what the hazard ahead is? We aren't here for fun, and obviously not for financial gains.

In your neighbourhood, ask yourself that same question; if a child or pet entered the roadway while you are travelling at that speed, could you react in time to protect the innocent and avoid tragedy?

Troy Gangl, general manager, Creative Traffic Calming



Work camps are very safe

Re: Close work camps

The northern work camps are probably some of the safest places to be right now. Every out of town/out of province worker is tested for Covid-19 before they are allowed to come here. Locals are tested as well. Social distancing is enforced, wearing a mask while indoors is strictly adhered to, at work as well as in the lodgings.

Only 2 people sit at a eight-foot table in the dining hall, one at either end. Table is sanitized before the next person is allowed to sit in that seat. The office/ lunch rooms/vehicles/ equipment is all sanitized after each use, with documentation via a logbook. Lunch/coffee breaks are staggered to have enough seats in the trailers to maintain social distancing. No interaction without a specific reason is allowed with the town. Nobody allowed to go for dinner/drinks in town. Town visits are scrutinized. Workers can’t just go to 5 different stores to shop. There is a provincial health order in place and these company’s are very serious about following all the protocols to ensure they can stay open and working.

As far as your tax dollars being spent here, guess again. This project is the single largest private investment in Canadian history! The so called “climate wrecking fossil fuel project” will actually decrease GHG emissions by helping to eliminate using coal to produce power. Natural gas, while still a fossil fuel, burns a lot cleaner than coal. If the natural gas pipeline leaks, the stuff just dissipates, doesn’t create an environmental disaster.

If we close all these projects down, where are the tax dollars to invest in clean energy projects going to come from? If we stop projects like Site C, where is future power requirements coming from? The currant bush? Hydro electric power is one of the most environmentally friendly ways to produce the large amounts of electricity we will require in the future. Wind and solar, without government subsidies, is a long way off from suppling what we need for power. Have you ever witnessed a wind farm? Or a large solar panel array? Not real friendly to the environment.

If anything, they should stop all international travel for a month. That may have an impact.

I am getting tired of people who get their “facts” from social media spouting off about something they know nothing about.

End of rant.

Jack Staeheli





Masks till Christmas

I'm sure everyone is done with this virus and the deaths. Today in the news announced new record of infections and record variants in the Okanagan valley.

This variant virus is more deadly and more easily transmitted. Oh great!

When the UK announced there is a variant of the virus in their country, why didn't our Prime Minister stop all air travel to our country? Common sense says that if no new infected people enter our country, we will not have to address this issue. And when Canadians heard this news, how soon earlier did Justin hear about it?

So instead of closing the boarders, he announced a plan to make anyone arriving to Canada would have to isolate in a government-approved hotel. This plan did not start the day of the announcement, but weeks later.
Do you see what happens when we let a drama teacher run our country?

We have no vaccine, no way to produce it our selves, other countries that do make it want it for themselves first, and sadly, the little vaccine we get is in storage because incompetent people are in charge of administering it. We must be the laughing stock of the world.

So while other countries are getting their lives back to normal, we will still be wearing masks until Christmas. Mark my words. I know incompetence when I see it.


Mick Bell, Kelowna



To Interior Health's CEO

An open letter to Susan Brown, Interior Health CEO,

We have been receiving copies of the letters you have been sending out to various members of the public and our board. You are repeatedly disseminating misinformation about Pathways Addictions Resource Centre, in those letters and elsewhere, and it must stop.

You continue to misinform the public about Pathways only having intake one afternoon a week. As I have already told you, you are wrong. While Pathways does provide open intake on Tuesday afternoons, we also provide intake for anyone who cannot make the Tuesday afternoon or who is in crisis (such as pregnancy) and just like on Tuesday they fill out paperwork, are seen by a counsellor, and a basic plan is established. Our staff have also gone to the In-Patient Unit (Psychiatry, Penticton Regional Hospital), shelters, Burdock House, and other places and completed intake there.

You stated in your letter to me that due to COVID-19 our drop-in group programs were suspended. This is incorrect as we resumed the Early Recovery group, after initially stopping all groups, via Zoom along with a Mindfulness group and a Women Thriving group. We are now running several properly distanced and populated, in person, groups.

When you now say that Interior Health will be providing Drop-In service five days a week, what does that mean? This is certainly a reversal from the FAQ Pathways received from IH regarding transition from Pathways to IH. What will the extent of that service be? When someone needs help, they need that help today not weeks later. Pathways receives calls from all over the Interior Health Authority’s area (Kamloops, Kelowna, Nelson-places you stated in your letter are already doing what you plan on doing here in Penticton) asking if we can refer them to inpatient treatment and if they can start seeing a counsellor because the wait list through IH in those areas is up to six months. This is very concerning. How you can have the audacity to tell people, “the current model and services contracted through Pathways is preventing people from accessing the full range of available supports and care” (Special to the Herald, Mar 19, 2021), is beyond me.

I will remind you of what our executive director said in her response to your Op-ed: “People using opioids can walk into Pathways and be immediately connected to a Navigator. They do not have to call, wait in line, or be put on a wait list. We have had 120 people go through our Opioid Navigator program and not one has overdosed. All have been housed, many have returned to work and been reunited with their families due to the wrap around service Pathways provides with all the other services in the community. 120 people!! We are home to an Opioid Agonist physician who also calls clients when they are in distress evenings and weekends. We provide harm reduction supplies, teach naloxone training, and give hope to parents whose children are using and are so afraid they may die.” How can you describe these as “services in isolation” and again I ask, how can you say that Pathways prevents people from accessing the supports and care they need?

You never answered several of my questions. Such as, how many client visits occurred at the Martin Street Outreach Clinic (either in person or via some form of telehealth or video) from June 01, 2020? Pathways staff have conducted 3174 in office appointments since June 01, 2020 and that is not including the hundreds of Zoom sessions. Nor did you tell me if those clients had consistent access to the same practitioner. While you did mention that support for alcohol use disorders will be included you are still emphasizing enhanced harm reduction and overdose response services. Is there going to be a safe injection site on the Martin Street premises? You also never told me who will be providing assessments for the Ministry of Children and Families so parents can work to get their children back, or who will be working with probation or the correctional facility.

IH has not given Pathways staff a reasonably detailed description of all the increased services and programs that Interior Health is going to provide so that we can reassure clients. It is unfortunate that an agreement could not have been reached that would have provided Pathways and IH with sufficient transition time and all the information needed to address all stakeholders’ concerns.

The fact that there has been such push back from the community over Interior Health’s decision to repatriate our contracts seems to have come as a surprise to you. It certainly has not been a surprise to anyone with even a passing knowledge of the work Pathways Addictions Resource Centre does in the community and surrounding areas. It does not help that Pathways has had 4 Interior Health managers and 2 interim managers in the last 8 years. It is sort of like never having the same counsellor or practitioner and having to tell the same story over again at every session. All you had to do was take the time to ask. In your letter to me you wrote that you did not have any insight into the youth prevention services (in SD 67) that Pathways provides. If you had done any investigation (it is all there at pathwaysaddictions.ca) you could have had at least some insight into what Pathways provides without even asking. Why you have never come to visit Pathways or had a real conversation with our Executive Director is a question a great number of people are asking.

So, while I know you have been invited before I would like to extend an open invitation to you to visit Pathways and engage firsthand with those who are immersed in the issues facing our clients on a daily basis so you can more fully understand the impact Pathways has on the community and the people it serves. Then, you can speak from a place of understanding and firsthand knowledge.

Finally, as was pointed out to me, it is equally unfortunate that Pathways was not prepared for this real possibility and I, as Chair, take some of the responsibility for that; however, we are here now, and we need to find a way forward... and as I was also reminded it can be done in a way which will make both Pathways and IH better providers in our communities.

Sherry Ure, ND, Chair, Pathways Addictions Resource Centre



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