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