Osoyoos taxpayers shouldn’t subsidize WestJet in any way, says local reader

By on April 23, 2014

Dear Editor:

We found out last week through various media outlets that WestJet was pleased to announce its new direct flights from Penticton to Calgary.

Mayor Gary Litke of Penticton commented that this is “phenomenal news for the entire South Okanagan … due to overwhelming demand.”

Much the same information was reported a few days ago by the Penticton Herald and Mayor Litke was quoted that Osoyoos Mayor Stu Wells was “ecstatic” with the news.

However, the Penticton Herald goes on to comment that the City of Penticton has agreed to support WestJet’s entry to the local market by something in excess of $100,000, comprising a contribution to WestJet’s promotional efforts and the landing fees charged to each flight.

Details won’t be divulged due to contractual confidentiality.

Mayor Litke further states that Penticton will request other communities including Summerland, Oliver and Osoyoos, pick up a share of the contribution to WestJet’s funding.

It appears that WestJet does not share the view that direct Penticton-Calgary service is overwhelmingly in demand, especially since a similar service was terminated two or three years ago for lack of demand.

So they have effectively conned the City of Penticton into sharing their business risks associated with adding these flights.

Penticton taxpayers should be outraged that their council has committed funds to, effectively, subsidize a very small component of an already successful business.

I respectfully urge our mayor and council to not buy into Penticton’s mistakes at the expense of our local taxpayers, especially since we are already providing a significant commitment to establishing bus service between Osoyoos and the Kelowna airport.

I fear the success of the latter venture may be seriously compromised if direct Penticton-Calgary flights preempt the need to travel to the Kelowna airport.

Thanks.

Ken Murray

Osoyoos, B.C.

 

3 Comments

  1. Les W. Dewar

    April 24, 2014 at 10:12 pm

    Are you for real? This is the best thing that could happen for people wishing to travel to other provinces. The few people that will ride a shuttle bus to the airport will be much happier going to the Penticton Airport instead of all the way to Kelowna—and those driving will also be happy for the shorter distance and cheaper parking. It’s about time a decent airlines came into Penticton. We refuse to fly Air Canada–even though we tried it once out of Penticton with disastrous results–so never again. That being said, I don’t think our town should give WestJet any money, and I really don’t think WestJet needs or wants it.

  2. Joe Lovas

    April 28, 2014 at 9:00 pm

    I totally agree with Ken on this, if Westjet can’t make it on its own, forget about it. There’s no need for Penticton and others alike to be in the airline business using Tax payers money!!!

  3. john

    May 16, 2014 at 7:40 am

    I agree with ken! How about fixing up the side streets where the people that live in this town all year round can have nice streets,they did a patch up job on poplar crt which now looks like the street is a puzzle put together shame on you city council! I see the mayor got the front of his place all fixed up! While our house values go down because our streets look like slum!

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