Letter: Why I’m voting yes on rail corridor referendum

I will be voting yes because this is more than a once-in-a life-time deal. I will be voting yes because this is a one-time deal!

To the editor:

I am a Lake Country kid. I was born in Kelowna and have lived in Lake Country ever since. I played on the trails surrounding Jack Seaton Park while my parents played softball on the fields that had wooden saw horses for fences. I splashed in the warm waters of the beaches at the North end of Wood Lake while waiting for the first and last boats of the Great Outhouse Race to make their way safely to the beach in front of the Oyama Community Hall. I watched in horror and amazement as fire destroyed the southern face of Spion Kop and again as both packinghouses were consumed by flames.

As such I felt the need to serve. I am blessed to have served my community as a firefighter with LCFD Station #71 for 14 years. My family believes in this community as such my father, brother and myself have chosen to serve as firefighters for over 40 years of combined service.

There good arguments for and against and I respect that people will have a difference in opinion. This purchase will affect many people of the district in many different ways. The vast amount of which will be positive. So now is the time for the people of Lake Country to come together and put their differences aside for the better of the community as a whole by voting yes.

I will be voting yes. I will be voting yes because this is more than a once-in-a life-time deal. I will be voting yes because this is a one-time deal! This will not come up again in 60 to 100 years. This deal is here and now. We either act to procure this unparalleled piece of property, to put it in the control of the people of Lake Country or we quietly sit back and let it go to the public sector that will undoubtedly act quickly and swiftly to purchase and develop this land as they see fit. Of which I am fairly sure will have little benefit to the average resident of Lake Country.

Lets put all ideas for the use of this land aside for a moment and look at this purchase for what it is. A purchase of 111 acres of adjoined land that runs through our district from the South edge to the northern boundary. Along the waterfront on the east side of Wood Lake for about four kilometres to the north end  where it is again on the waterfront for about two kilometres and on to Kalamalka Lake where it is again goes for kilometres of lake front.

Now the reason District of Lake Country is paying more than other municipalities per person is because we are purchasing more land per person. Make no mistakes about it. When we purchase this parcel of land it is ours. It simply has nothing to do with a share and it is only somewhere in the $46,846 range per acre.

Now, keep in mind that there is nowhere in the Central Okanagan where one could purchase usable land for this price, let alone kilometre after kilometre of pristine adjoined lake front property.

This land will be ours to use in whatever way we see fit. It could be used for a trail, it could be used to run utilities between Winfield and Oyama, it could be leased or it could be sold. When you look at the whole picture there is no way the people of Lake Country can lose out.

Don’t forget that there are parcels of land included in this acquisition that would not be used for the trail and as such could be leased or sold by the DLC to recuperate funds used to make the original purchase.

Even if we made the purchase and decided that the trail was not something we wanted, which I cannot imagine, we could simply turn around and sell a fraction of the property to recoup all monies paid out and we would still be able to add public beaches and waterfront parks on Wood and Kalamalka lakes.

To be able to buy 111 acres of usable, and in a lot of the case lakefront, land for about $50,000 an acre is a no brainer for this Lake Country kid.

As such I will be voting yes and I urge all in Lake Country to do the same.

Dave Whitfield, Lake Country