Letter: Newspaper article facts make city hall defensive
To the editor:
Re: Paradise Lost, article in The Province newspaper (Feb. 24) indicating that the state of Kelowna is rotten and paradise is lost.
The report emphasized that Kelowna is becoming a crime and drunk driving capital. The increasing domestic violence is alarming. The poor planning and increasing growth makes Kelowna ugly.
The report shocked Mayor Walter Gray in his protective self–admiring, narcissistic bubble.
Instead of taking off his rose-coloured glasses to face reality and finally admit that the quality of life for the majority of citizens here is declining, he remains in stubborn denial.
He claimed The Province article lacked any sort of proof and was void of any statistics.
The reality is that Statistics Canada’s report for 2011 ranked Kelowna as the first in B.C., and third in Canada for domestic violence. Kelowna has the highest drunken driving rate in the country.
Also, Kelowna is the fourth most expensive place to live and is the fifth worst in crime severity.
Regarding the Bacon gangland shooting, Mayor Gray said the shooting was a story about crime in B.C., not in Kelowna.
How can he deny that organized crime is well established here?
Everyone knows that organized crime have clubhouses and drop-in centres here.
Furthermore, there are police reports of organized crime owning high-rises at the waterfront. The waterfront concrete jungle acts as a magnet and is a haven for the expansion of organized crime.
There are increasing problems of homelessness, poverty, suicide, etc. here and throughout the province.
To deal with the serious problem, former premier Gordon Campbell established a committee on homelessness.
The mayors of each city had to look at the situation directly and report back. It was only when Mayor Gray was forced to remove his rose-coloured glasses and walk the streets and alleys and saw the homeless in despair that he finally admitted that he didn’t know that we had a problem of homelessness here.
Yet, almost every citizen knew about this chronic problem.
A few months ago, the issue of Kelowna’s serious unaffordable housing problem was put to Mayor Gray. He stated publicly that the average house in Kelowna is around $400,000 and this is what the average price is across Canada. That is false.
Housing is much cheaper across the prairie provinces and the Maritimes.
In misleading and minimizing the housing problem, Gray insults and belittles the citizens of Kelowna.
What kind of leadership are we getting at city hall?