- Kona Sankey
If the Pet-Friendly Penticton project has made one thing clear, it's that this community is passionate about their pets – Pets are family!
Do you share that passion? Tell us about the pets in your life!
If you don't have pets at home, let us know how animals have been important in your life.
I have lived with dogs most of my life. My wife and I have loved and cared for dogs and a couple cats during our 30 years married. Currently we have only a large school of goldfish in our backyard pond that we inherited with the house last year. (They recognize our voices and swim to us at feeding time!) Our Yorkie passed away two years ago and we buried him up in the mountains. While growing up, I spent a lot of time on my grandparents’ farm and learned respect for all animals; even humans. lol
Penticton's pet-amenities are a regular point of contention due to issues around
maintenance, safety, and design/materials. Many Penticton residents regularly travel to surrounding communities across the Okanagan Valley for their dog parks and beaches rather than going to our local places due to these issues.
If elected, what solutions might you propose to address the concerns of residents local pet-amenities?
Our favourite beach during the busy summer months is at OK Falls. Really! We love to watch the people with their dogs at the dog beach there. OK Falls seems to have no problem with providing and maintaining a dog beach, so I’m convinced it should remain a civic amenity in Penticton. I know that pets are exceptionally important for seniors’ quality of life, too, so why wouldn’t we provide amenities for that?
What are your thoughts on the economic impact of non-use on our local pet-amenities and residents regularly commuting for preferable options?
Our pet amenities should be maintained as part of beach maintenance.
Ontario's Residential Tenancy Act, Section 14, states that a Landlord cannot prevent a tenant from owning pets. Meanwhile, pets are being surrendered daily, all over BC, because their owners cannot find pet-friendly housing. Penticton faces additional pressure for housing as we have some of the highest rent rates in Canada, and a severe shortage on long-term and year-round rentals of any variety.
While a change to the Residential Tenancy Act is a provincial government matter, municipal government can still move to include/promote similar clauses on a local scale, and has the ability to push in support of such a change if a Bill were proposed.
What are your thoughts on revising the Residential Tenancy Act in BC, to be like that of Ontario, in regards to pets and rentals?
As council, we could try to influence the provincial government decisions, but don’t have the power to enact policy. A formal statement could be published like “council discourages landlords denying tenancy to pet owners” or “pets are people, too”
Penticton doesn't have an emergency veterinary clinic!
If something happens and an animal needs to see a vet in the evenings, on weekends or on holidays, residents need to drive an hour out of Penticton in order to reach help. Many pets do not make it, and many more don't because their human doesn't have access to transportation.
Were you aware of this situation?
I am aware of this. In about 2005, our female miniature poodle, who came with us from Manitoba, was dying on a Saturday. My heart was breaking. We couldn’t get her put down until the Monday unless we paid an exorbitant fee we couldn’t afford. She died in our arms on Monday morning. My children and I buried her in the mountains. Much the same happened when our Yorkie died in 2020. We buried him near our previous girl. (I was actually more satisfied burying our loved ones myself, knowing that they weren’t just discarded in the landfill…..)
When vital and time sensitive services are missing from a community, what do you feel are a City Council's responsibilities in regards to communication and/or action?
Unfortunately, city council is powerless to direct the hours a business or practitioner operates. Shopping malls do dictate operating hours for their tenants, though. Perhaps pet owners should look for practitioners who are located in shopping malls. That could force others to operate with similar hours.