To the editor:
I have lived in Kelowna now for 29 years and my wife’s family has been here for four generations. Her great grandfather ran a bakery at the beginning of the last century and delivered baked goods in Kelowna by horse-drawn carriage, so we have seen a lot over the yeas.
The purpose of this letter is two-fold.
First, I would like to say that I have found Kelowna to be one of the best cities in all of Canada, a place of great beauty and wonderful climate, absolutely overrun with kind, decent, friendly people of all sizes, colours and nationalities. My house is next to a public walkway and whenever I am working in the yard, many people (neighbours and strangers alike) take the time to say hello and share their appreciation for my efforts at gardening and landscaping to help beautify the neighbourhood.
I am over 60 years old now, and my wife is mostly confined to a wheelchair. We would be considered a lower income family living in a lower income neighbourhood, and although we have always tried to be charitable ourselves, over the years there have been times that we need assistance and there have always been people willing to help us when it was needed.
My gratitude goes out to the local food bank, to individuals who have been kind to us over the years and to various secular organizations and church groups who provide low-cost clothing and household necessities for people who could not otherwise make ends meet. Even at present, there has been a local church group who have volunteered on several occasions to come and help with housework that my wife is no longer able to do while I am gone for nine to 10 hours at work to try to make ends meet.
For the most part, people of Kelowna, I say thank you for wonderful citizens in a beautiful place and I wish I could stop there, but unfortunately there is more to be said.
Since arriving in Kelowna in 1985, we have been the victims of home invasions and theft from four different homes in four different locations and have had our vehicle broken into several times. I have never lifted my hand against anyone in Kelowna, yet have been publicly threatened with physical assault on several occasions for reasons as innocuous as coughing in a movie theatre because I was recovering fro bronchitis. In addition, my wife has suffered the public humiliation of many cruel remarks over the years from numerous insensitive people about her weight and her physical appearance and handicaps.
In the 18 years we have lived at out current address on Gerstmar Road, our car windows have been broken several times, licence plates stolen three times. The house has been paint-balled, egged and had windows broken. Most pet owners are responsible, but there are a consistent dedicated few who are selfish and ignorant enough to think that it is their right to let their dogs defecate in the boulevard garden and the linear park beside our house and not pick up the mess. My fence and flower gardens have been vandalized on numerous occasions and become further stained at the cost of having to purchase deadbolts, security lighting and monitored alarm system to stop people from stealing from the yard and trying to break into the house. The last straw that prompted this letter came when I spent $30 on a times sprinkler to try to save water and save money on the water bill and it was stolen from the front flower garden the same night that I put it out.
To these few selfish and immature people, I believe that I speak for most of Kelowna when I say this: What your are doing is not fun. It’s not a good time. When you vandalize and steal from others who have worked hard to live a decent life, you cause unnecessary sorrow and hardship in the lives of others. It;s not free score for you. It’s hurtful. It’s criminal. It’s pure evil. Your grandparents, and hopefully your parents would be ashamed of your behaviour!
My dad was right when he made us come home as kids before dark. He used to say: “Nothing good happens after dark,” and I believe him, not only for teenagers, but for many adults as well.
Pastor Michael Hunter,