Letter: West Kelowna candidates ignore invitation to meet with residents

The OCP…which the current council changes constantly…favours development. Such change is to the detriment of long time residents.

Open letter to all candidates running for mayor and council in the District of West Kelowna:

First of all I want to thank you for putting your name on the ballot.

The purpose of this letter is to share with you my utter frustration about municipal politics and how it leads to the destruction of life style and quality of life in many neighbourhoods, all in the name of development.

I live on King Road. I would like to invite you all to the corner of King Road and Thacker. When you get there you will see the utter devastation that has occurred. Over 60 trees have been butchered in order to clear the land for a 7 house development. This action has completely changed the feel and look of the street.

The OCP says that that should not happen. But the past council allowed this kind of thing to happen over and over again. Check their voting record.

The OCP, which is supposed to be the rule book for council, which was developed by the current council and which they change constantly, favours development. Such change is to the detriment of long time residents. The process minimizes communication and input by affected citizens who have lived on the West Side long before there ever was a West Kelowna.

The residents of King Road opposed such a large development for fear that it would destroy the character of the street. Our concerns were ignored. Quite frankly, it felt like we were treated like lepers.

When I spoke to council, at the only time I was permitted, I was told I had only 5 minutes while the developer had lots of time. When I ran over my 5 minutes I was told by council that my 5 minutes was up and that I needed to close off my presentation.

Go to the corner of King Road and Thacker, in Lakeview Heights, and see if the character of King Road has been preserved or that the residents of King Road have been respected and listened too.

You all say you want to listen to the people. Prove it. The current council wants to be re-elected and they want people to vote for them. But my experience tells me, they do not want to have to listen to the residents except through surveys or open houses.

Is this the same for all the new folks on the ballot?

West Kelowna’s tax base is 93 per cent households and 7 per cent business. Rather than focus on in-fill housing and expanding carriage houses which will provide more residential taxes at great expense to the life style of all the long term residents of West Kelowna, what do you plan to do about improving the business tax base?

Please answer these questions if you would:  1. How are you going to increase the commercial tax base?

2. How are you going to improve the ability of residents to provide real input into matters relating to West Kelowna such as maintaining a treasured lifestyle. Current council brags about how many ways people can provide input but the sad thing is few do. Why is that?

3. Will you develop an input process that is less intimidating for people to share concerns with council?

4. Finally, why should anyone vote for you? Think about this one.

I look forward to your responses. I will see if any of the current council will answer. I personally invited each council member to a meeting of King Road residents to discuss the development being authorized. None came and none even acknowledged the invite. So much for input.

Lorne Brown,

West Kelowna