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To the Editor Osoyoos Times 

 Open Letter to Destination Osoyoos

 Dear Mr. Mandziuk: 

Thank you for your invitation to discussion in your Community Matter Column in Osoyoos Times, September 14, 2005, in which you seek to address and discuss issues that affect “us all”, for which I am sure the community welcomes (and needs).  I am accepting your invitation, because understanding the issues society faces is the lifeblood of democracy, and understanding emerges from vigorous and open discussions in the press and in the community.  Contrary ignorance, greed and complacency are the root of corrupt government, democratic failure, and man made social misery and adversity around the world.  It is still my analysis, as I addressed to you and the Town Council in 1998 and through the Chamber of Commerce in 2002 (which made me and the chamber out of favour),  that the major issue Osoyoos is facing is the Town’s economic development model. The model t separates promotion of the Town from the resources needed to facilitate the investment.  It is an outdated model of the eighties and does not meet any of the community’s needs today.  Modern economic development is an integrated social economic and ecological analysis, planning and control process that must report directly to the elected Town Council who is accountable to the community.  The existing model where the Town pays Destination Osoyoos, a private organization  as such  only accountable to itself, to promote and pursue investment in the Town and to function as the Town’s Economic Development Officers office, while the resource, ecology land use planning and zoning is the responsibility of the Town’s planning department. It is a model that , does not meet the standards members and the taxpayers of this community must expect, and would be a peril for any community. The current model bolsters the positive and takes credit for the inevitable, a booming real estate and tourism sector, which will happen anyways, and fails to address the underlying social, economic and ecological issues Osoyoos is facing. It is a model set up to fail and cause adversity, and that should be the major issue for “us all” in Osoyoos, including the newly formed Osoyoos Now association.   I believe any reasonable thinking people in our community would agree with the Osoyoos Time’s recent editorial, that as long you and Destination Osoyoos are funded by the taxpayer, then Destination Osoyoos books should be open to the press and hence to the public.  Why have the community accepted this for more than a decade?  My foremost concern is that the model has moved the power from the elected council and thus the voters to a powerful special semi-government interest group outside for the democratic process and the accountability to the voter’s. Those who addressed the issues are out of favour in Osoyoos.  It is sort of a democratic failure - will the voters correct it in November?      


 October 6, 2005