178597
Letters  

Developers running amok

Re: Ableist rhetoric chastised

I see the good burghers of Manhattan Drive have been suitably demeaned, chastised and driven away by our city council. Their crime was to want to protect their pleasant neighbourhood from the developers' bulldozers and to try and ensure that the current zoning and OCP were followed. Needless to say they never stood a chance. Basran and his cohorts had probably rubber stamped approval for the project before they even opened their mouths.

Nothing can stand in the way of development in Kelowna. Anybody who tries is labelled with NIMBY or in this case ableist. These are words used by the woke to shut down discussion, they are part of a whole new vocabulary with which to silence opposition. Bigot, sexist, racist are others which tell us that the user of the words is on a superior level of virtue, and of course nobody is more virtuous than the occupants of city hall.

The city of Kelowna is a microcosm of Canada itself. Sure, we get to vote every 4 years, but our votes count for nothing because the ruling party is elected by Ontario and Quebec. Once elected the government has no use for the opinions of the electorate, it simply listens to the thousands of lobbyists from special interest groups and follows whichever most aligns with their ideas. As anyone knows who tries to write to a government minister, they will be lucky if they get a computer-generated out-of-office reply. So it is in Kelowna; having been elected the council has no further use for your input on any subject. The average citizen is now just a revenue stream to pay property taxes, utilities, parking fees, levies, permits, and anything the city wants to create. What we need is a ward system in the city, where each neighbourhood is represented by a councillor who is accountable to the people of that neighbourhood.

I give credit to the residents of Manhattan Drive, they tried valiantly to defend their community, but resistance is futile, we must all do what the developers want. Density is the holy grail and our city won't be happy until everyone is safely locked up in their concrete and glass highrise prison. Unless you are wealthy, then the rules are different. You want to build a 6,000 square foot monstrosity with a 4 car garage to flaunt your wealth? Sure no problem sir, tear down those trees, take down that old house that was there, do whatever you want sir.

What about the poor Hiltons (Story Castanet July 19)? They wanted to sell their house but are now unable to because they have the developer from hell working next door to their property. One might think that they would have recourse to the city for some help, but the city has washed its hands of any responsibility. They've collected their permit money and are not interested in any impact on existing residents. They are claiming it is a "neighbour to neighbour dispute", except that it isn't is it? A neighbour is someone who lives next to or near to you, someone you can talk to and resolve a dispute. There is no neighbour here, it is a developer using trades and sub-trades to build a property and maximise his profit, they have no interest in living amicably and peacefully with the Hiltons. Once the building is finished they sell it and move on.

What we need in council elections is complete separation from corporate donations. The Mayor and several councillors may have been cleared of any wrongdoing in accepting campaign donations from developers, nevertheless it leaves a bad taste in the mouth. When Castanet reported the story in 2018 Mr. Basran said: "I think it's ridiculous to think that, for a small amount of money, council's favour can be bought." I beg to differ. Even a small sum of money can influence the way you feel about someone, or in this case some business.

How about this for an example: I go to a bar and start chatting to someone who I've never met before. We talk for an hour and have a couple of beers each. When it is time to go I ask the person to give me a lift home.Most likely they would consider it a bit of a cheek and refuse, they might even tell me to piss off. But suppose, at the end of the hour, I pick up the tab for their beers and then ask for a ride home? They might think that since I was kind enough to pay for the drinks, the least they could do is to drive 10 minutes out of their way and drop me off. The cost of those beers is about $15, but it makes the beneficiary inclined to reciprocate one favour with another.

I think the average person in Kelowna finds the relationship between our Mayor and councillors and the developers just a little bit too cosy. I would like to see some evidence that the general public is being respected above the views of a small group of business people.

Peter Emery, Kelowna



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