Residents walk along Mushroom Beach Sunday as part of the first Walk the Beach event which had them march along the foreshore. - Credit: Carli Berry/Capital News

Letter: Kelowna council only concerned about the very wealthy

Letter-writer says there is no love for those who really need it coming from council

To the editor:

Bad news from the city regarding our shoreline between the bridge and Mission Creek.

Kelowna is refusing to repair any damage to parks from last year’s flood or to build any new parks or trails along our shoreline. Apparently the only work planned for 2018 is the re-configuration at Gyro Park to coordinate with a large adjoining real-estate development.

We citizens already own several parcels of land along this part of the lake, but City Council claims we don’t have enough money to develop the parks and linking trails that were planned for this publicly-owned land. If we don’t have money now, in the middle of a building boom, will we ever?

The province has also claimed that it doesn’t have enough money to hire sufficient staff to enforce the foreshore laws that are often disregarded here in Kelowna. This law-breaking severely restricts public use of lake-front land that we all own.

Nobody likes paying additional taxes. However, our mayor and some city councilors seem to be showing more concern for real-estate developers and the very wealthy than their own citizens. They claim that B.C.’s proposed new speculation tax would be “disastrous” even though 80 per cent of B.C. residents support it.

This poorly-named tax would add money to provincial, and by extension, city coffers for widely-desired services (see above) which are not currently being delivered. This would be done by taxing people who are not from B.C., who are wealthy enough to afford to leave a second house here unoccupied for much of the year.

Prior to this new provincial tax the City of Kelowna also charged additional property tax to non-residents who own property here, which has certainly not been “disastrous” for us.

What are the likely effects of the speculation tax?

Probably more houses being rented—good. Some houses being sold by non-residents, which would add to the buyable inventory; moderating price increases—good. More money in the budget for neglected services—good. Less speculative building, in an over-heated market—bad for some developers.

Al Janusas, PLANKelowna

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