Condescension in column puzzling to newcomer

Ms. Smith offers her opinions as to why the Kelowna Mountain project should not be welcome in our community.

To the editor:

Re: Project Offers Work, Not the Jobs We Need, by Capital News reporter Jennifer Smith, May 18.

Ms. Smith offers her opinions as to why the Kelowna Mountain project should not be welcome in our community.

She quite rightly states that the Central Okanagan needs more variety in its industries and jobs. However, she appears to believe that this existing shortfall is, by itself, reason enough to forestall the Kelowna Mountain project.

She says that after construction is finished, “the construction crews will again be out of work and the engineers and planners will be looking elsewhere for contracts.”

Yes, that is true. But that is, by definition, the nature of construction work. Would she rather have those construction workers, engineers and planners who wish to live in this region be forced to look for work elsewhere right now instead of in two to three years? What’s wrong with providing 2,000 jobs right here, right now?

Too many trades people from Kelowna are currently forced to look for work far from home. Wouldn’t it be nice for at least some of them to be able to find decent work that is close enough for them to be at home with their families every night?

Also, her statement that the permanent jobs will only be “for the odd teenager and housewife” seems more than a little condescending. She claims that this is not “valuable, community-sustaining employment.” But let’s give her the benefit of the doubt. Even if the only people who will be hired permanently are, in fact, “only” teenagers and housewives (which I seriously doubt would be the case), then so what? Given the number of secondary and post-secondary students looking for work in Kelowna and given the number of families who count on two incomes to support themselves, what’s wrong with employing teenagers and housewives?

The more demand there exists for workers of all types, the more that all wages will be driven upward thus benefiting everyone who is in the labour force. Provided the jobs pay competitive wages with safe and decent working conditions, then there’s no such thing as a bad job.

Then maybe, just maybe, some entrepreneurial type person (who Ms. Smith seems to be looking for) will look at Kelowna in the very near future, with its wineries, golf courses, art galleries, ski hills and facilities like Kelowna Mountain, and decide this is the perfect place to put his/her business. I’m not saying “build it and they will come” but I don’t think it can hurt in that regard.

Ms. Smith also believes that snow making requirements will “drain precious water resources.” As I write this, I’m looking at a lake containing billions of gallons of water. I can’t imagine how pumping a very small fraction of that water up the mountain and making snow with it in the winter, resulting in runoff draining back into the lake in the spring will “rape the land” or “destroy the natural environment.”

There may be, in fact, good reasons why this project should not proceed. However, Ms. Smith has not put forth much in the way of a convincing argument.

Also, I find Ms. Smith’s apparent dislike for “Eastern retirees and overseas landowners” to be puzzling. Since I am retired and from Saskatchewan, I guess I am part of that demographic. But, I don’t know what I have done to earn her contempt. Since moving to Kelowna 20 months ago, my wife and I have started a business, have joined the Chamber of Commerce, have made sizable charitable donations in both time and money, have volunteered a number of times as a guest speaker at the Business School at Okanagan College, and have delivered a seminar to small business owners to help them take advantage of our combined 60 years of business experience.

Add to that the money that we have spent on furniture, vehicles, house renovations and yard upgrades etc., and I think that we have made a significant positive contribution to the region.

If Ms. Smith’s objection to our presence has something to do with the tired old mantra of house prices being driven too high by “newcomers,” all I can say is that the people from whom we bought our house didn’t seem to mind the price that we paid.

Lloyd Vinish,

Kelowna

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