• Thursday , 1 December 2022

Editor’s Desk: Planes, trains and automobiles

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Eric Hall

Peachland View

Yes, that was the name of a comedy movie starring Canada’s own John Candy. It was a funny movie but it also highlighted some important issues with travel.

Since the View’s editor, Joanne, is on the way to Singapore and Beijing, she may experience some of those issues personally. At least it should give her good material for a future editorial column in the View.

Growing up in England, our summer holiday involved the family catching a train to a seaside resort about 50 miles away. With limited money and without a family car, our summer holidays were experiences to be remembered and I remember them fondly. These days people in Britain are more likely to take a trip to Canada or China than visit the local seaside resort. People travel more, which has become a mixed blessing.

More recently, we planned our summer holidays around a house exchange. A few years ago we were in contact with an English family arranging an exchange. They told us, in an email, that they were going to fly to Vancouver and then catch a train to Peachland. I had to try and explain the lack of intercity train travel here. In Europe trains are a vital part of the transportation systems both intercity and local. London is serviced by a vast network of different railways and more are being added. Public transport is a better option than driving for large cities like London.

Here in Peachland public transport is limited to catching the No. 22 bus. Marion and I have used it a few times and it seems to work quite well. But this week I saw someone waiting for the bus and she was surrounded by two feet of snow. There was no bus shelter or a place to sit. As long as we fail to provide decent bus shelters, most people will not use that system, especially in the winter. So living in Peachland means that you have to have a car.

We have the Beach Ave walkway which is a major asset to the town and I hope we can extend it in the future. But most people live on the hillside and walking down to Beach Ave is not realistic for the majority.

We need proper sidewalks on Princeton, Ponderosa and Trepanier. But can we afford to build them? Each year Peachland receives about $300,000from gas tax revenue; it’s called the CommunityWorks Fund (CWF). This process started in 2005 and is an agreement between both the Federal and Provincial Governments to transfer gas tax revenues to local governments. The money can only be used for eligible projects of which there are many categories.

In Peachland we have used the money for a variety of projects such as the water meters. When I was a member of council, we spent over $300,000 from the CWF to improve the sidewalks on a section of Princeton Ave. This year there is a proposal to spend $370,000 from the CWF on a water spray park in Heritage Park; that was supported based on the results of a survey. It is good to encourage more young families to come here but I believe that the ability to walk safely from your home to the downtown area is a fundamental right. In my opinion the CWF funding should be used EVERY year to build better sidewalks and provide bus shelters. This will help to provide an alternative to the private automobile; we should try to get out of our cars whenever we can.

 

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