West Bench, Faulder, Okanagan Lake West
The current posting is trying to simply the different visions people have for the West Bench; the existing demographic is more complex and this reductionist stance inadequately defines the real problem of contract violation (bylaws, social, and legal).
Regardless of any future potential changes to bylaws or the OCP, the failure of the RDOS to enforce existing bylaws sends a message that it is acceptable to violate agreements without repercussion. If these so called industrialists are violating the existing bylaws, then they should be fined and held accountable until compliance with bylaws are achieved. Denying the residents of the West Bench bylaw enforcement is a subtle endorsement of activities that are in contravention to existing bylaws (or is it open season for anyone to do anything regardless of bylaws?). Even if the OCP or future changes to bylaws make current industrialists' activities permissible, the current state of violation needs to be met with enforcement. If the existing bylaws come as a surprise to industrialists, perhaps they should have read the bylaws and zoning restrictions prior to purchasing property or moving into the area (much like prospective condominium buyers are required to read strata bylaws prior to purchase). Pleading ignorance is unacceptable.
Failure to enforce existing bylaws not only empowers the industrialists who are by definition in violation of an existing contract; the RDOS (and its administration) could be exposing itself to future litigation should it be determined that an industrialist who was in contravention of the bylaws was not held accountable because the RDOS failed to act. Imagine an industrialist is storing pesticides or some other chemicals along with industrial equipment. Subsequently, the RDOS investigates, determines a bylaw is in violation, but administration determines not to pursue enforcement. Now imagine a scenario where perhaps these chemicals leak or interact and produce a noxious gas that results in physical harm to a young child in the area (possibly a neighbor's young daughter). Not only would this hypothetical event of physical harm be a terrible, it would be predictable if you take it to the logical extreme as the above has demonstrated. If RDOS had attempted to remedy the situation through education and proper enforcement, then there was a chance such a situation was avoidable. If the RDOS fails to act through bylaw enforcement (which is the current case), then the RDOS is potentially liable for failure to ensure bylaw enforcement.
Many so called traditionalists moved to the West Bench because of the peaceful rural setting and have invested considerable money to maintain their properties. As industrialist encroachment has ensued, it has negatively distracted from the peaceful and rural setting the traditionalists initially sought. The absurd notion that industrialists can ignore bylaws for their own benefit (at the expense of traditionalists) while the RDOS fails to enforce bylaws facilitates a takings claim as it unilaterally shifts an economic benefit (land value, business value) from the traditionalists to the industrialists.
West Bench residents have easy access to Penticton's industrial areas; I am unsure why the West Bench is becoming a haven for businesses looking to offload industrial rental space costs at the expense of the peaceful and rural setting residents have enjoyed for the past seven decades - that is, other than the RDOS's failure to act by not enforcing existing bylaws. The RDOS administration can not abdicate its responsibility to enforce bylaws for the sole benefit of industrialists. The RDOS administration needs to immediately recognize their current failure to act; examine the current bylaws and ensure enforcement or compliance of the offending parties.
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