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NORTH WESTSIDE RATEPAYERS ASSOCIATION RESURRECTED

North Westside Ratepayers Association Logo

LAST UPDATE May 06, 2014

Click on your refresh button in the top menu, to be sure you see any updates.

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North Westside Ratepayers Association (NWRA)

Meetings are held

7:00 PM

10390 Pinecrest Road at Westshore Estates

*** NOTE *** Don't go up Westshore Road or Pinecrest Road.  You drive into the parking lot at the mailboxes next to Westshore Road then drive to the back of the parking lot and take the easement (back lane) up to the octagon house (4th house) overlooking the highway. If you need further directions please call Diane Baldwin.

As of July 22, 2010 the current North Westside Road Ratepayers Association membership consists of the following members:

Diane Baldwin 542-8461 (President)

Dave Robertson 545-0871 (Vice-President)

Allastair Fergusson 542-0027 (Director)

Val Trevis (Director)

About the Ratepayers

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Taxpayer Fairness and Service Code

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Why is it that if we want to know anything about our water, garbage, fire dept, etc. that we have to pay for the information through freedom of information?  That is just plain wrong!

How about if someone asks for information that the information is posted to RDCO's website?

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The North Westside Road Ratepayers Association is now publishing the

SugarLoaf Express Community Newsletter
Autumn 2010 Edition

This is the first edition of the old SugarLoaf Express.  It was delivered by Canada Post to all the subdivisions along North Westside Road except Valley of the Sun.

In the old days there was a SugarLoaf Express but it hadn't been published in ages.  The North Westside Road Ratepayers Association decided to start publishing the SugarLoaf Express again.

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.pdf icon September 23, 2013 Highlights of the Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting

No Land Swap at Fintry Provincial Park

The Regional Board will not pursue further discussions with BC Parks regarding the possibility of a land swap within Fintry Provincial Park to facilitate possible operation of a historical working farm. Regional Parks staff has heard from both BC Parks and the Friends of Fintry Society that they would rather investigate heritage and recreational opportunities as possible revenue streams for the park and that the idea of a working farm is not feasible. Some area residents also objected to the idea of a working farm so close to the camping areas of the Provincial Park.

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio September 23, 2013 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (30.2 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files September 23, 2013 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Item 9.1 Directors Item Response Fintry Provincial Park - .wma (12.2 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files September 23, 2013 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Item 9.1 Directors Item Response Fintry Provincial Park Motion - .wma (707 KB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files September 23, 2013 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Item 9.2 Rose Valley Regional Park Section 80 Roadway Application - .wma (12.6 MB)

.pdf icon September 23, 2013 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting Agenda

.pdf icon Item 9.1 Directors Item Response Fintry Provincial Park

.pdf icon Item 9.2 Rose Valley Regional Park Section 80 Roadway Application

*Note* This is only a snippet, please click links above for entire content

Mr. Robert Hobson, Chair
Central Okanagan Regional District
1450 KLO Road
Kelowna, B.C. VIW 3Z4
July 22, 2013

Dear Mr. Chair/Board Members:

Re: Fintry Provincial Park Land Swap for Agricultural Purposes

Board Highlights from the July 18th Meeting stated in part: "The Regional Board has adopted a resolution to approach the Provincial Government to initiate discussions regarding a possible land swap within Fintry Provincial park. In 1995, in an agreement with the Province, the Regional District contributed $2 million to purchase a 129.5 hectare property above Westside Road which is included as part of the Provincial Park. The Regional Board has asked staff to begin talking with the Province to see if that property could be exchanged for a lowland field property within the park in order to explore a possible agricultural use that would be in keeping with the history of the former Dun-waters Estate."

We (North Westside Ratepayers Association) immediately sent some initial emails asking basic questions but they were not answered. The NWRA is requesting the following information.

1) .Is this 129.5 hectare parcel the "Fintry Protected Area?"
2) How many hectares could you possibly trade for this 129.5 hectares? The low field area is quite small particularly if you take into account the private property and the camping area which frankly could be expanded. Would thi.s be a 129.5 hectare trade for say 10 or 20 hectares?
3) What would it cost to keep a farm going on the Delta? You would need farm hands, machinery, etc. etc. Who would do the health testing and what would that cost be? Would it interfere with the drinking water supply? Fintry is a delta afterall.
4. Is this motion even valid? There was no documentation nor was this item even on the Agenda. We understand that it was a "Directors' Item" but has far too many ramifications to be dealt with so lightly. We feel this issue needs to be given far more forethought and analysis before it is discussed with anyone.

I do not need to remind each of you that Fintry is one of the largest and most used parks in Western Canada. People come to Fintry to boat, swim, hike and yes to take in the history. I believe that is presently being accomplished.

The idea of dairy cattle is benevolent however what would you do with the manure, flies and even mosquitoes particularly if irrigation is needed.

Mosquitoes are already problematic at Fintry Park. Of course there is also the odor associated with farming particularly in the stifling heat.

From the audio I get the sense that this "agriculturism" of Fintry park has already been discussed with politicians, bureaucrats and even UBCM We are asking the Board to revisit this item as an Agenda Item with supporting documentation and that it be given more forethought before beginning even initial discussions with anyone political. We also wish to remind all Regional Directors that this 129.5 hectare property (presumed to be Fintry Protected Area) needs to remain under the stewardship of the RDCO for its intended purpose.

The NWRA has sent this letter to each of you as it appears initial discussions have already taken place by some Board members and we feel we need to act expeditiously.

Yours truly
Diane Baldwin (for) Board
NORTH WESTSIDE RATEPAYERS ASSOCIATION

cc Mary Jane Drouin
    Ron Fralick

====================

Conclusion:
It appears that after considerable study on the matter, both BC Parks and the Friends of Fintry would like to move in a different direction when pursuing possible revenue streams for Fintry Provincial Park, such as heritage and recreational opportunities. Furthermore, the immediate neighbourhood does not appear to be supportive of agricultural pursuits on the Fintry Delta.

Finally, BC Parks has previously communicated to the Friends of Fintry that the proposed agricultural venture is inconsistent with Park legislation and management objectives, thus deeming it unlikely to receive approval for a protected area boundary adjustment. In light of these facts, it is recommended that no further discussion be initiated regarding a possible land swap within Fintry Provincial Park.

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio September 23, 2013 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (30.2 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files September 23, 2013 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Item 9.1 Directors Item Response Fintry Provincial Park - .wma (12.2 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files September 23, 2013 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Item 9.1 Directors Item Response Fintry Provincial Park Motion - .wma (707 KB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files September 23, 2013 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Item 9.2 Rose Valley Regional Park Section 80 Roadway Application - .wma (12.6 MB)

.pdf icon September 23, 2013 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting Minutes

9. REGIONAL PARKS

9.1 RDCO/Province of BC Land Swap in Support of a Friends of Fintry AgriTourism Venture at Fintry Provincial Park (All Directors - Unweighted Vote)

Further to the July 18, 2013 Board meeting staff were directed to initiate discussions with the Province for consideration of a land swap within the Fintry Provincial Park including whether the Regional District's park component could be exchanged for the lowland field property for the purpose of reintroduction of active agriculture farming on the land.

Staff report dated September 11 th outlined the background of an agreement with BC Parks, and the contribution of $2mil to purchase a portion of 129.5 hectare property above Westside Road (Fintry Provincial Park). Under the agreement the parcel is operated and managed by BC Parks as part of Fintry Provincial Park. It was noted the RDCO has no direct relationship in the ongoing annual operation and management of the Park. Further, BC Parks has previously stated that an incubator farm or other such agri-tourism venture is inconsistent with management direction for the Park as well as park legislation. BC Parks and the Friends of Fintry, after considerable study on the matter, would like to move in a different direction when pursuing possible revenue streams for the Park, such as heritage and recreational opportunities. Further, the immediate
neighbourhood (North Westside Ratepayers Association) is not supportive of agricultural pursuits on the Fintry Delta and BC Parks has previously communicated to the Friends of Fintry that the proposed agricultural venture is inconsistent with management objectives and legislation.

In discussion, it was questioned whether more could be accomplished for visitors and those living in the area and if there is a role the RDCO would have in terms of operation of the park? Staff noted that RDCO entered into an agreement and a covenant on the property--that BC manages the park. RDCO staff has been invited at an administrative level to work with BC Parks and
Friends of Fintry. The Heritage Development Plan (2013) agreed to by the BC Parks and the Friends of Fintry has been agreed to. Staff will circulated the Plan to the Board for their information. It was noted that the RDCO funds the Friends of Fintry in an annual contribution for staffing and welcome Friends of Fintry welcome to come to the Board if they have further discussions on funding proposals.

EDGSON/GIVEN
THAT the Regional Board NOT pursue further discussions with BC Parks in regards to a possible land swap between the RDCO and Province of BC for lands currently identified as Fintry Provincial Park.
And further that RDCO supports the 2013 Heritage Development Plan (2013) agreed to by BC Parks and the Friends of Fintry.

CARRIED

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio September 23, 2013 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (30.2 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files September 23, 2013 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Item 9.1 Directors Item Response Fintry Provincial Park - .wma (12.2 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files September 23, 2013 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Item 9.1 Directors Item Response Fintry Provincial Park Motion - .wma (707 KB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files September 23, 2013 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Item 9.2 Rose Valley Regional Park Section 80 Roadway Application - .wma (12.6 MB)

Blue Divider Line

Fintry goes back to its roots with farm
By Richard Rolke - Vernon Morning Star - July 21, 2013

There are plans to reinvigorate Fintry’s heritage buildings by turning back the clock to agriculture.

The Regional District of Central Okanagan will apply to B.C. Parks for a land swap so farming can take place and generate funds for the Friends of Fintry Park Society.

“We want to get the farm back to what it was when James Dun-Waters (Fintry founder) was operating,” said director James Baker.

“It’s quite conceivable to get something going on the lower farm that would generate revenue and support the activities of the Friends of Fintry.”

Among the assets Friends of Fintry are responsible for are the site’s heritage manor and barn.

RDCO has offered to swap 129.5 hectares of land above Westside Road, which is part of Fintry Provincial Park but is owned by the regional district, for a lowland field. The field is part of the park but not used by B.C. Parks.

If RDCO owns the field, commercial farm sales could occur because B.C. Parks’ policies currently don’t allow items to be taken out of a park. Under the rules, that could pertain to vegetables and fruit grown there.

Director Jim Edgson supports the land swap and says a farm could make more people aware of Fintry Provincial Park.

“It would be part of the historical ambiance for the park,” he said.

Dun-Waters purchased the Short’s Creek delta in 1909 and named it after his Scottish home of Fintry. He was known for his keen interest in agriculture, including apples and livestock.

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North Westside
Ratepayers Assn.
10390 PINECREST ROAD
Vernon , B.C. V1H 2B1
PHONE +1.250.542.8461
FAX +1.250.542.8461 (call first)
EMAIL zoeandus "at" telus.net

Mr. Robert Hobson, Chair
Central Okanagan Regional District
1450 KLO Road
Kelowna, B.C., V1W 3Z4

July 22, 2013

Dear Mr. Chair/Board Members:

Re: Fintry Provincial Park/Land Swap for Agricultural Purposes

Board Highlights from the July 18th Meeting stated in part: “The Regional Board has adopted a resolution to approach the Provincial Government to initiate discussions regarding a possible land swap within Fintry Provincial park. In 1995, in an agreement with the Province, the Regional District contributed $2 million to purchase a 129.5 hectare property above Westside Road which is included as part of the Provincial Park. The Regional Board has asked staff to begin talking with the Province to see if that property could be exchanged for a lowland field property within the park in order to explore a possible agricultural use that would be in keeping with the history of the former Dun-waters Estate.”

We (North Westside Ratepayers Association) immediately sent some initial emails asking basic questions but they were not answered. The NWRA is requesting the following information.

1) Is this 129.5 hectare parcel the “Fintry Protected Area?”
2) How many hectares could you possibly trade for this 129.5 hectares? The low field area is quite small particularly if you take into account the private property and the camping area which frankly could be expanded. Would this be a 129.5 hectare trade for say 10 or 20 hectares?
3) What would it cost to keep a farm going on the Delta? You would need farm hands, machinery, etc. etc. Who would do the health testing and what would that cost be? Would it interfere with the drinking water supply? Fintry is a delta afterall.
4. Is this motion even valid? There was no documentation nor was this item even on the Agenda. We understand that it was a “Directors’ Item” but has far too many ramifications to be dealt with so lightly. We feel this issue needs to be given far more forethought and analysis before it is discussed with anyone.

I do not need to remind each of you that Fintry is one of the largest and most used parks in Western Canada. People come to Fintry to boat, swim, hike and yes to take in the history. I believe that is presently being accomplished.

The idea of dairy cattle is benevolent however what would you do with the manure, flies and even mosquitoes particularly if irrigation is needed.
Mosquitoes are already problematic at Fintry Park. Of course there is also the odor associated with farming particularly in the stifling heat.
From the audio I get the sense that this “agriculturism” of Fintry park has already been discussed with politicians, bureaucrats and even UBC! We are asking the Board to revisit this item as an Agenda Item with supporting documentation and that it be given more forethought before beginning even initial discussions with anyone political. We also wish to remind all Regional Directors that this 129.5 hectare property (presumed to be Fintry Protected Area) needs to remain under the stewardship of the RDCO for its intended purpose.
The NWRA has sent this letter to each of you as it appears initial discussions have already taken place by some Board members and we feel we need to act expeditiously.

Yours truly
Diane Baldwin (for) Board
NORTH WESTSIDE RATEPAYERS ASSOCIATION

cc Mary Jane Drouin
    Ron Fralick

Link to .pdf of this letter

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.pdf icon June 24, 2013 Highlights of the Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting

Water Consumption Fee Threshold Reduced

The Regional Board has adopted an amendment to the Water Systems Fees and Regulations bylaw. The change means that starting July 1st, the consumption fee threshold will drop to 90-cubic meters. Customers of the six RDCO water systems that use more than 90-cubic meters of water in a billing quarter will pay an additional 35-cents per cubic meter. Previously the threshold was 235-cubic meters. Based on existing water use data, 86 per cent of customers should not be affected by the change. The Board heard from four North Westside area residents and received a petition from 200 people that opposed the change.

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio June 24, 2013 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (44.1 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files June 24, 2013 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Item 5.1 Delegation Re: Water Rates and only about Item 9.5 Water Systems Fees And Regulations Amendment Bylaw - .wma (30.9 MB)

.pdf icon June 24, 2013 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting Agenda

.pdf icon Item 5.1 Delegation Re: Water Rates

.pdf icon Item 9 5 Water Systems Fees And Regulations Amendment Bylaw

*Note* This is only a snippet, click link above for entire content

5.1 Opposition to the proposed RDCO Water Systems Fees and Regulations Amendment Bylaw (5 minutes per presenter)

Ian Kilpatrick/Harry Pospolita - Presentation of petition with 170 signatures

Diane Baldwin, President, North Westside Ratepayers Association

Marsali Maciver, President, North Westside Communities Association

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio June 24, 2013 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (44.1 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files June 24, 2013 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Item 5.1 Delegation Re: Water Rates and only about Item 9.5 Water Systems Fees And Regulations Amendment Bylaw - .wma (30.9 MB)

.pdf icon June 24, 2013 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting Minutes

5. DELEGATION

5.1 Opposition to the proposed RDCO Water Systems Fees and Regulations Amendment Bylaw

Ian Kilpatrick/Harry Pospolita, on behalf of a petition submitted in opposition to changes to the water system fees, addressed the Board.
Residents can ill afford the rate proposed. They now have 201 signatures on the petition. They believe the statistics are flawed as only an 18 month billing period is used. Comparison does not take into consideration high
interface fire zone.

Diane Baldwin, President, North Westside Ratepayers Association spoke in opposition to the increase. No mention is given that the area is a semiaired area. Fear won't be able to afford to water gardens. Concerned
consumption tax will continue to increase. Why increase the rates now when statistics are only over a short period of time. Asked the Board to reconsider the water consumption threshold.

Marsali Maciver, President, North Westside Communities Association spoke in opposition to the increase. Does it have to be such as drastic reduction in the threshold? Believes the people who are trying to conserve will bear the brunt of the increase.

===================

With Board consensus 9.5 was moved up on the agenda

Environmental Services:

9.5 Regional District of Central Okanagan Water Systems Fees and Regulations Amendment Bylaw No. 1328 1st, 2nd and 3rd readings and Adoption (Stakeholder Weighted Vote [Central Okanagan West (3 votes) and Central Okanagan East Electoral Areas (1 vote)])

Staff report dated June 14, 2013 outlined the bylaw amendment which is a reduction in the RDCO water consumption fee threshold to >90m3 /billing period from >235 m3/billing period effective July 1, 2013.
Establishing a new Consumption Fee threshold of 90 m3 for all RDCO water utilities is supported by several factors:
• Many RDCO customers have been demanding that the Consumption Fee threshold be significantly reduced to encourage water conservation and ensure that heavy water users are paying for the extra costs associated with heavy water use.
• A 90 m3 quarterly threshold is in line with the second tier Consumption Fee threshold within our member municipalities, with the exception of the District of Peachland.
• The 90 m3 quarterly threshold (360 m3 annualized) is close to Environment Canada's average household water consumption estimate for British Columbia of 325 m3/year
• Based on a scatter plot of the 4,978 quarterly water consumption values for RDCO water utilities over the last 1.5 years, 90 m3 per quarter threshold represents a clear transition between heavy water users and average to below average water users.

Peter Rotheisler addressed the bylaw amendment:

In March 2012, new water rate structure was approved. Since that time, there has been feedback from customers to reassess the consumption fee, Current fee reviewed - only exceeded on 3% of utility bills in 1.5 years.
Supporting factors - user pay structure, conservation is critical, the cost of water will increase, 90m3 threshold is in line with conservation by other member municipalities.
Financial implications - it is difficult to estimate due to short record and behaviour change but it is estimated there will be between $3-$5,000 in additional revenue in 2013.
Staff will continue to review the water rate.
Misconception that the proposed change will result in a significant fee increase.
Discussion:
- There are consumers who have requested this change and there is a responsibility to move toward conservation of water.
- The actual implications are very minor. If a water waster will need to pay.
- This same discussion happens at every municipality across the valley and residents oppose rate increases.
- Is the base rate set high enough to cover what it really costs to operate the systems? That was the basis for running a financially sustainable system.
- Would it be feasible to change the billing system so not to hit the threshold in the summer? It is important to ensure users are paying for the water they use and not hiding the water used. Billing frequency is set quarterly and provides
the opportunity for information to be provided on the water system. It also provides an opportunity to determine any possible leakage detection.
- 80-85% of fees are fixed fees whether threshold is changed or not.
- Cannot customize water rates based on individual needs.
- How many users are there in the electoral areas? There are six separate systems, 869 users throughout the electoral areas (approximately 580 users in the two North Westside electoral area).
- Staff noted the protest petition represents incorrect information and therefore they do not believe it is a valid petition.
-The idea that water is free is a long past - it is a scare commodity in the region. It costs to provide and administer a water service and it will only increase over time. IHA requirements continue to be a concern and will cost all water users in the future.
- What is the actual impact on a user? The worst impact would be just over $200 per year. Those exceeding 235 m3 costs will be about $50 per quarter.
The average consumer uses approximately 54.7 m3 per % billing. Base rate is base rate regardless.

EDGSON/HANSON
THAT the Regional Board endorse a reduction in the RDCO Water Consumption Fee threshold to >90m3/billing period from >235 m3/billing period effective July 1, 2013;
AND THAT Regional District of Central Okanagan Water Systems Fees and Regulations Amendment Bylaw No. 1328, 2013, be given first, second and third readings and adopted this 24th day of June 2013.

CARRIED

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio June 24, 2013 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (44.1 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files June 24, 2013 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Item 5.1 Delegation Re: Water Rates and only about Item 9.5 Water Systems Fees And Regulations Amendment Bylaw - .wma (30.9 MB)

Blue Divider Line

Petition fails to drop North Westside water rates
By Richard Rolke - Vernon Morning Star - October 28, 2012

North Westside residents are being told it’s too late to change water rates.

The Regional District of Central Okanagan board has received a 300-name petition opposing water rates, which were adopted in March.

“We are already spending the money,” said director Jim Edgson, who questions why the petition is just coming forward now.

RDCO has implemented both a consumption rate, a user fee and an asset renewal fee for the Killiney Beach, Westshore and Upper Fintry/Shalal Road/Valley of the Sun utilities.

That has led to a 190 per cent increase to fees.

“Where was the impetus to keep these taxes at a reasonable rate?” said Diane Baldwin, with the North Westside Ratepayer Association, in a letter to Bill Bennett, B.C.’s community development minister.

“Ratepayers remain outraged and consider this an unnecessary tax grab.”

The association is asking Bennett to look into the method for resolving bylaw disputes, to encourage RDCO to meet with residents and negotiate water rates and to review RDCO’s tax policies and administrative fees.

“Review why parcel taxes, called asset renewal fees, were introduced on every lot, with or without residents, absent a parcel tax bylaw,” said Baldwin in her letter.

Baldwin questions the regional district’s communication process with residents.

“Clearly the regional director and RDCO staff knew, or ought to have known, well in advance these increases would be a huge burden on affected taxpayers,” she said.

Edgson insists the process was completely open and public information meetings were held.

“Nobody is happy about the rates but we have to keep in mind that people had been complaining that the water system needs upgrading. I warned people it was going to cost quite a bit,” he said.

“The systems are old and getting to the point where they need to be maintained and upgraded. There wasn’t a plan in place.”

While the water rates bylaw won’t be reversed, Edgson says RDCO may look at how user fees are implemented.

“We will have to continue to look at what we’re doing,” he said.

Blue Divider Line

.pdf icon October 22, 2012 Highlights of the Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting

Water Rate Petition Received

The Regional Board has received a letter and petition from the North Westside Ratepayers Association. The petition was signed by people concerned about the water rate structure introduced earlier this year. The new rates introduced an asset renewal fee and marked the first time that a water consumption based rate was charged to customers of the six water systems operated and maintained by the Regional District.

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio October 22, 2012 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (265 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files October 22, 2012 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Item 7.4 North Westside Ratepayers Association - Water Rates Bylaw Petition - .wma (5.73 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files October 22, 2012 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Item 9.1 Upper Fintry, Shalal Road, Valley of the Sun Water Service Area Establishment Amending Bylaw - .wma (138 KB)

.pdf icon October 22, 2012 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting Minutes

7.4 North Westside Ratepayers Assn - Petition Against RDCO (Central Okanagan West) Water Rates Bylaw No. 1307 (for information)

The North Westside Ratepayers Assn provided a letter dated September 26, 2016 and petition signed by individuals regarding increased water rates to the area of Westshores, Killiney Beach, Valley of the Sun and Upper/Fintry/Shalal Road that was approved earlier in 2012 with the adoption of Bylaw No. 1307.

Staff noted that information was provided to residents prior to the bylaw being approved. In addition in April there was an open house. In June, further information was provided and residents knew at that time the rates had been approved and seemed to be accepting of the situation at that time. Staff were surprised this would come back at this time. The Board was reminded that this is a regional responsibility of which the Board has an obligation to ensure water utilities are in good shape and protected for the future. Nobody is happy about increased rates but residents need to realize this is what is required to ensure clean, safe water. The rates are similar to other local governments. It was noted that some petitioners signed the petition multiple times.

EDGSON/BLANLEIL
THAT the September 26, 2012 letter from the North Westside Ratepayers Assn and petition regarding the new water rates (Bylaw No. 1307) be received for information.

CARRIED

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio October 22, 2012 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (265 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files October 22, 2012 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Item 7.4 North Westside Ratepayers Association - Water Rates Bylaw Petition - .wma (5.73 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files October 22, 2012 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Item 9.1 Upper Fintry, Shalal Road, Valley of the Sun Water Service Area Establishment Amending Bylaw - .wma (138 KB)

Blue Divider Line

.pdf icon February 27, 2012 Highlights of the Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting

There was nothing mentioned in the Board Highlights about Item 6.1 North Westside Ratepayers Association - BC Hydro Smart Meters

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio February 27, 2012 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (206 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files February 27, 2012 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Item 6.1 North Westside Ratepayers Association - BC Hydro Smart Meters - .wma (364 KB)

.pdf icon February 27, 2012 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting Agenda

.pdf icon Item 6.1 North Westside Ratepayers Association - BC Hydro Smart Meters.pdf

Agenda No: 6.1
Mtg Date: January 31, 2012

Mr. Robert Hobson
Central Okanagan Regional District
1450 KLO Road
Kelowna, B.C V1W 3Z4

Attention Chair and Board

Dear Mr. Hobson:

Re: BC Hydro Smart Meters and UBCM Resolution B174

The North Westside Ratepayers Association is in agreement with the resolution that was passed by UBCM in September of 2011 with respect to a moratorium on smart meters until more research and consultation could take place.

As you are aware, the installation of smart meters is a politically driven decision a $900 million project with no public consultation or any independent assessment of the cost and benefits. In fact, the Government of the day passed legislation that prevented the B.C. Utilities Commission from assessing the smart meter project and determining if it was in the best interest of B.C. Hydro customers.

One has to question such a decision. If it was a sound, cost effective initiative, then a B.C. Utilities Commission review would have been in the Government's best interest. However, in our opinion, they chose to leave doubt in the minds of the residents of this Province.

Many issues remain unresolved: surveillance and the subsequent possibility of "hacking" of our personal information; health concerns around radiofrequency electronic magnetic fields particularly in young children and seniors; as well as reported fires/explosions and "blown" appliances in smart metered jurisdictions.

In the cases we have researched B.C. Hydro has taken no responsibility for these damages and the owners have had to pay for repairs.

As you can see there are many issues that need to be investigated before this Government pushes ahead with the installation of smart meters. Therefore, we ask that the Board put forward a resolution asking B.C. Hydro to adhere to the moratorium that was agreed to at the UBCM (B174) and not to install smart meters in the Central Okanagan Regional District until further consultation, research and liability concerns are addressed.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Yours truly,
Diane Baldwin (for)
Board of Directors
NORTH WESTSIDE RATEPAYERS ASSOCIATION

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio February 27, 2012 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (206 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files February 27, 2012 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Item 6.1 North Westside Ratepayers Association - BC Hydro Smart Meters - .wma (364 KB)

.pdf icon February 27, 2012 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting Minutes

6. CORRESPONDENCE

6.1 North Westside Ratepayers Association re: BC Hydro Smart Meters and UBCM Resolution B174

The North Westside Ratepayers Association letter of January 31, 2012 requested that the Board support requesting BC Hydro to adhere to the moratorium that was agreed to at the UBCM Convention (Resolution B174 not to install smart meters in the RDCO until further consultation, research and liability concerns are addressed. UBCM confirmed that the resolution which was supported at the 2011 convention has been forwarded to the Province for a response.

FINDLATER/EDGSON
THAT the January 31,2012 letter from the North Westside Ratepayers Association regarding BC Hydro Smart Meters and UBCM Resolution B174 be received for information.

CARRIED

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio February 27, 2012 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (206 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files February 27, 2012 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Item 6.1 North Westside Ratepayers Association - BC Hydro Smart Meters - .wma (364 KB)

Blue Divider Line

North Westside
Ratepayers Assn.
10390 PINECREST ROAD
Vernon , B.C. V1H 2B1
PHONE +1.250.542.8461
FAX +1.250.542.8461 (call first)
EMAIL zoeandus "at" telus.net

URGENT
October 19, 2011

Mr. Peter Lishman
Service Centre Manager, NRO
441 Columbia Street
Kamloops, B.C. V2C 2T3

Re: Westbank First Nations /Canadian Aggregates (WFN/CAI) Proposed Gravel Pit on Westside Road at Fintry - Application No. 3412092

We understand you will be making the decision with respect to whether or not this land is transferred to WFN for gravel quarrying purposes for a tenure of up to 50 years.

We fear you will be making your decision on inadequate/erroneous information as follows:
The water source is in question as there is currently a dispute between the strata owners and E. Stewart with respect to ownership of the LaCasa water utility. This may well end up in court and is well documented in the Strata Council Minutes. I can tell you the strata owners I spoke with today are not in favour of supplying water for this pit. Ben Stewart, MLA, we believe, erroneously assumed the majority of people at the Wilsons Landing Meeting (April 2010) were in favour of a gravel pit if the road were improved. Based on this, we understand he went forward to MOTI and began to negotiate on behalf of WFN. We were in attendance at the same meeting and although people discussed the need for road improvements, most were more interested in bringing officials out to the Westside (in a bus) and have them experience the dangers of Westside Road. Does Ben Stewart only care about this very small portion of his constituents? Who was guiding him?

Jim Edgson, Regional Director also advocated for WFN and this gravel pit based on his understanding of the same meeting at Wilsonʼs Landing. Again, we do not believe the majority of people at that meeting were in favour of this gravel pit and even if that was the case, it would be a fraction of the North Westside residents. We, in fact, petitioned at the Traders Cove Recycling Station and there was strong opposition. In fact, I would say 99% of the residents that visited the recycling depot signed our petition. Jim Edgson also attempted to convince his colleagues at RDCO (meeting on audio) that only the residents from LaCasa south would be affected by gravel truck traffic. Is he so out of touch with his riding that he does not realize that many of his constituents travel daily to work in Kelowna? Many retired residents also travel to Kelowna to do business at our Regional District, to attend meetings, to shop, to attend medical appointments, to visit friends and relatives, or just to reach Highway 97 and travel south to the Coast, Summerland, Peachland, Penticton and Osoyoos. Ludicrous! Also LaCasa is situated directly on the north property boundary of this gravel pit and they will be most affected by it - there are 500 strata lots there. The proposed Rockchild
development will be on the south boundary of this property with a proposed 70 homes.

We estimate the gravel truck traffic from the WFN/CAI pit to be 1 truck every 6 minutes. However, the Burnco pit has now opened up Bear Creek Main. Burnco will also be using Westside Road and this could well result in 1 truck every 3 minutes when both pits are fully operational.

Also there is now the Provincial Government/WFN land swap which, in part, will be “swapping” (?) 115 acres of land up Bear Creek Main (near Tolko logsort). Apparently this 115 acres is gravel. As far as the public knows the deal has not even been ratified! More open Government I am sure. Is it possible this 115 acres will also create gravel truck traffic for
Westside Road?

We recently heard of road improvements on Westside Road - “pullouts.” No one is convinced “pullouts” will make the worst sections of Westside Road safer. Government spokespersons and politicians told us these “pullouts” had nothing to do with WFN/CAI gravel pit. The question was asked several times at the Road Improvements Meeting chaired by Murray Tekano. Time will tell.

Are you or your staff aware there is no policing on Westside Road? Is this even a consideration?

We have supplied petitions, emails, letters, bulletins and attended meetings in an attempt to stop this gravel pit. We wish to reiterate the following points in opposition to this gravel pit:

a) noise and air pollution (diesel and crusher)
b) exceptionally strong winds continually blowing particulate matter through the Valley (public health issue)
c) environmental damage to Fintry Historical Park and Fintry Protected Area (particulate matter is corrosive)
d) public health and public safety
e) conflict with Official Community Plan and present zoning
f) conflict with wildlife corridors to the Lake, more traffic more dead animals
g) Draft Management Plan, Section A, Project Overview speaks of 50 or more years of operation - what then?
h) decrease in property values in the immediate area and along the corridor
i) environmental damage to proposed RDCO park immediately south - 92 hectares
j) WFNʼs brochure says a minimal levy will go to upgrade Westside Road, how much will taxpayers pay? What percentage are WFN and Canadian Aggregates paying?
k) Small upgrades to Westside Road will only be the beginning as the road will deteriorate under the extra stress
l) Who will monitor the traffic and pollution? Govt. cutbacks leave no staff to monitor gravel pits (Van. Sun Art.) dated June 25/10 re unmaintained dams due to layoffs in Govt. staff (Osoyoos dam)
m) 249k tons per year traveling down Westside Road. Notice of Work states that if estimated extraction for sand/gravel production is 250k ton/yr. an application must be made to the Environmental Assessment Office (interesting?)
n) Who will pay for the extra maintenance and surveillance required to maintain Westside Road because of this gravel pit operation?
o) many signatures and letters were supplied in opposition
p) Unlike other areas, all wildlife crosses this traffic corridor to get to the Lake - they must have water - there have been no provisions to protect any species including the bighorn sheep.
q) Westside Road is a narrow, winding, mountainous and scenic road used by tourists in motor homes, cars, trucks pulling 5th wheels and on motorcycles many months of the year. They already vie for position.
r) Environmental damage as specified in several letters from the Ministry of Environment and were submitted to ILMB.
s) Noise and dust pollution to tourist accommodations bordering this proposed site.

The proposed amount of tandem gravel trucks and the instability and geography of Westside Road will create a lethal combination which will ultimately lead to fatalities and lawsuits against the MOTI. Anyone in authority who is complicit in the decision to open this quarry will bear some responsibility.

In light of the foregoing we ask that you give this file your utmost consideration and do the right thing - deny Application # 3412092.

Yours truly,
Diane Baldwin, President

for:
Board of Directors
NORTH WESTSIDE RATEPAYERS ASSOCIATION

cc Ben Stewart
Robert Hobson & Board
Ron Fralik
Wilsons Landing Community Association
LaCasa Strata Owners
Blair Lekstrom/Rich Coleman/Steve Thomson/Terry Lake

Link to .pdf of this letter

Blue Divider Line

North Westside Ratepayers Assn.
10390 PINECREST ROAD
Vernon , B.C. V1H 2B1
PHONE:  +1.250.542.8461
FAX:  +1.250.542.8461 (call first)
EMAIL:  zoeandus "at" telus.net

October 3, 2011

Honourable Christie Clark Premier of B.C.
P.O. Box 9041, Stn. Prov. Govt.
Victoria, B.C. V8W 9E1

Dear Premier Clark:

Re: Westbank First Nations/Canadian Aggregates - Proposed Gravel Pit on Westside Road, 27 km. North of Hwy. 97, ILMB Application #3412092. I have had time to reflect on our letter dated July 8, 2011 re the above noted subject and wish to bring some additional information forward when considering your response.

In March 2011 Murray Tekano, Regional Director, Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI), Ben Stewart, MLA and Jim Edgson, Regional Director, Central Okanagan West called a meeting at LaCasa Resort on Westside Road to advise of road improvements. Mr. Tekano was the speaker for the evening. He was asked several times if there was any particular reason for the improvements (pullouts) and he responded in the negative. Following the meeting residents asked Murray Tekano and Ben Stewart directly if this had anything to do with WFNʼs proposed gravel pit and they answered in the negative. We felt then and continue to feel that they were being less than truthful.

Subsequent to this meeting I had a phone conversation with Ben Stewart wherein he advised that he attended a meeting at Wilsons Landing in the Spring of 2010 and it was clear to him that the attendees wished the road to be improved. He believed the residents were telling him that if the road was improved the gravel pit would be acceptable. We believe he, based on his perception of the meeting, went forward to the MOTI and started negotiations for road improvements and the WFN gravel pit. We also believe that at that time our Regional Director, Jim Edgson was acting in conjunction with Ben Stewart in advocating for this gravel pit. By copy of
this letter we are asking Mr. Edgson to respond to us letting us know if this was indeed the case.

Several from our Association were at the Wilsons Landing meeting and we can tell you that a very small percentage of attendees took this position. Most of the residents who attended believed, and logically so, that when Government officials toured Westside Road, a gravel pit would be out of the question. Most of the attendees were from Traders Cove and after personally petitioning that area, we can tell you they are not in favour of a gravel pit. There is already a new pit being opened on Crown Land above Traders Cove which will create heavy truck traffic. . . a private company from Alberta. This traffic will travel through Traders Cove along
Westside Road. If the Westbank First Nations pit is approved traffic will also travel through Wilsons Landing and Traders Cove to Highway 97.  Traders Cove in particular will be inundated with gravel truck traffic. We suspect one every few minutes.

Ben Stewart also ignored, or is unaware of the petitions and emails that went to the ILMB against this gravel pit - vastly more than all the attendees at the Wilsons Landing Meeting. It is incomprehensible to me how our elected official could come out of this meeting believing small road improvements would be an acceptable tradeoff for gravel trucks on Westside Road. I can tell you it is not the case and sadly for a process that started in 2009, we remain uninformed, skeptical and looking for answers. We feel our elected and Ministry officials were, and are, evading the issues around this gravel pit and the condition of Westside Road. No amount of improvements to Westside Road will make it safer with tandem gravel trucks pounding up and down every few minutes.

We wish to remind you of the increased dangers gravel trucks will pose on this already dangerous road. Is your Government prepared to be held accountable when even more deaths occur because of a decision to allow this quarry to go ahead.

Murray Tekano and Ben Stewart are the same players that were seen on television recently in an attempt to justify the proposed WFN land swap (separate from our issue). They claimed 700 acres traded for 8 acres is equitable to both parties and that Government can do what they want in these issues. I am sure you have heard there is a huge outcry over this proposed land swap which is soon to become a political football for your Government. As Premier you have the responsibility of being guardian of our Crown Land. Crown Land belongs to all residents of B.C. and any agreements over tenure and ownership of such valuable assets needs to be dealt with in an open and honest manner.

I received confirmation from your office with respect to our previous letter (no file reference number) and wish this information included. We look forward to your response.

Yours truly,
Diane Baldwin, President for:
Board of Directors
NORTH WESTSIDE RATEPAYERS ASSOCIATION

cc: Ben Stewart
Jim Edgson
Murray Tekano
Rich Coleman
Terry Lake
Robert Hobson
Ron Fralik
Friends of Fintry
LaCasa Strata Owners
Steve Thomson
Wilsons Landing Association
Doug Findlater

link to a .pdf copy of this same letter

Blue Divider Line

North Westside Ratepayers Assn.
10390 PINECREST ROAD
Vernon , B.C. V1H 2B1
PHONE: +1.250.542.8461
FAX: +1.250.542.8461 (call first)
EMAIL: zoeandus "at" telus.net

URGENT

July 8, 2011
Honourable C. Clark Premier of B.C.
PO Box 9041, Stn. Prov. Govt.
Victoria, B.C. V8W 9E1

Honourable Christy Clark:

Re: ILMB Application No. 3412092: Joint Venture between Westbank First Nations & Canadian Aggregates (37 hectares of Crown Land, 27 km. North of Kelowna on Westside Road)

We are appealing to you for help in denying this application for a gravel pit located along scenic - but dangerous - Westside Road overlooking Okanagan Lake.

We are opposed to this use of Crown Land and have submitted our concerns through all the proper channels, including a petition of some 800 signatures (within a short timeframe) to the Integrated Land Management Bureau (ILMB). We understand there were also approximately 200 emails received against this application as well.

The Regional District of Central Okanaganʼs Planning staff have not supported this application, and the Ministry of Environment considers the development of a quarry at this location to be a high risk activity. In fact, several significant issues have been identified by the Ministry of Environment, by the Environment Advisory Commission (RDCO), the Advisory Planning Commission and Regional District Parks staff (see attached Report to RDCO Board dated June 21, 2010). As well, both the exploratory permit and the proposed quarrying activities are inconsistent with the Central Okanagan Regional District Zoning Bylaw and the North Westside Official Community Plan.

In spite of all this opposition, the ILMB saw fit to issue a permit for exploratory drilling and is now considering allowing this consortium to begin quarrying operations for a 50 year tenure with an estimated 40 trips daily 6 days a week, year round on this challenging road. The returning empty trucks in fact double this estimate to 80 trips. There are several productive gravel pits in the vicinity and the need for another is questionable.

The following summarizes residentsʼ and property ownersʼ concerns.

Road/Public Safety: Westside Road is a scenic, narrow, winding and eroding secondary road with few safety features. In many places there are no shoulders with straight drops to the Lake below with no barriers. Planned minor improvements will not make it safe enough for gravel trucks to share it with school buses, commuters, holiday traffic, wildlife and open range cattle. If this gravel pit is approved there is a high likelihood there will be more fatalities on Westside Road creating a huge liability issue for the MoTI and the Province. Where pullouts are needed most, there are no shoulders. Furthermore, no amount of “pullouts” will make Westside Road safe. Ongoing cost of maintenance (from gravel truck traffic) will be borne by the taxpayers of this Province with little or no remuneration.

Location: This beautiful, scenic piece of Crown Land overlooks Okanagan Lake and is the last large contiguous parcel not in private ownership. It runs from above Westside Road down to the shores of Okanagan Lake and provides a natural wildlife corridor from Fintry Protected Area. The west side of the property in question borders on Fintry Protected Area which is part of the historic Fintry Park. The north side of the proposed site borders on LaCasa Resort with over 500 strata lots/cottages. Visitors to Lake Okanagan Resort, Bear Creek Provincial Park, Bear Creek Motorized Park, Evely Park, Traders Cove Regional Park, Killiney Regional Park use this road continually during Spring to Fall. As you can imagine there is a steady stream of motorhomes, trailers and vehicular traffic making driving Westside Road challenging without gravel trucks. This piece of Crown Land is also in close proximity to 3 subdivisions: Muir, Valley of the Sun, Fintry Delta and a 4th - the proposed Rockchild Landing subdivision which has passed 3rd reading before RDCO. (These subdivisions alone represent approximately 475 properties). Rockchild Landing has also tentatively agreed to dedicate 92 hectares of hiking trails to the Regional District - the proposed gravel pit will border this property on the south.

Cultural/Heritage/Archaeological Sites: There are also cultural and heritage sites known in this area. There have been 9 known archaeological sites recorded within 1 km of the DL4501 and 2 sites located in DL 4501 (Rockchild Landing) relating to the Hudsonʼs Bay Fur Brigade Trail also known as the Okanagan Brigade Trail. (See Report to the RDCO Board dated June 21, 2010.) Environmental Concerns: The Ministry of Environment in their letter dated April 29, 2009 to the ILMB states on page 1:

“The Ecosystem Section (ES) considers the development of a quarry at this location to be a high risk activity. Sensitive ecosystem mapping of the area identified the potential for several rare ecological communities.

There is potential for several provincially and federally species at risk to occur in the area as these ecological communities provide critical habitat for many species at risk. Known species at risk that occur in the general area include the flammulated owl and bighorn sheep. In addition the site provides mule deer winter range values under the Forest and Range Practices Act. Our concern is for any development, that results in the permanent loss of rare ecological communities, species at risk habitat, and ungulate winter range habitat.”

Air/Noise Pollution: It is well settled fact that dust increases corrosion and is harmful to vegetation. Sand and gravel quarries produce corrosive dust (silica) and diesel exhaust that is dangerous to humans, animals and vegetation. Residents on both sides of Okanagan Lake remain concerned regarding noise and air pollution. Water will conduct and amplify sound coming from the crushers, gravel haulers and other ancillary equipment. Anyone living along this corridor (west side of Okanagan Lake) knows the winds are constant and strong coming from the water side as well as off the mountains to the west. These winds will move the fine particulate matter across, and up and down the Lake as well as into the surrounding park lands, resort areas and Fintry Protected Area causing damage to vegetation that wildlife depend upon. The flammulated owl and bighorn sheep have already suffered habitat loss because of the pine beetle epidemic and the catastrophic fires we have had recently (COSEWIC Press Release, Page 2).

We are aware that the Westbank First Nations (WFN) is a powerful lobby and we applaud their business successes generally. However, there is growing sentiment in these communities that because this is WFNʼs application, it will be approved regardless of any public safety or environment factors or residents/property ownersʼ considerations. The North Westside is appealing to you Premier Clark to put public safety and protection of the environment before commerce and show us that you do indeed care about these issues.

We therefore respectfully submit the following requests:
That you consider the Regional Districtʼs Official Community Plan for this area, which is designated Parks & Recreation and the Ministry of Environment Planning Sectionʼs role in ensuring future development of both Crown and private lands is consistent with municipal/regional land use plans and zoning policies.

That you consider removing gravel quarrying from the Mine Act. Generally speaking gravel pits are miniscule in size when compared to mines and there is an abundance of private land that could be used for this purpose. We feel the use of Crown Land for gravel pits is an unfair practice in as much as Crown Land is not required to go through any rezoning processes while privately held property does. This makes Crown Land an easily accessible “land grab.”

That you investigate the application in question (ILMB #3412092) and reassure the residents, property owners and tourists that this proposal for quarrying will not be approved.

We thank you for your time and consideration in this matter, and we look forward to your response,

yours truly,
Diane Baldwin, President
NORTH WESTSIDE RATEPAYERS ASSOCIATION

emails:

Ben Stewart, MLA
T. Lake, MoE
Friends of Fintry
Blair Lekstrom, Minister of Highways
S. Thomson, NRO
R. Coleman, MoEM
M. Tekano, T & I
J. Edgson, Regional Director
R. Hobson, Chair, Okanagan Aggregates Committee
R. Fralik, RDCO Planning
La Casa Strata Owners Assoc.
enclosures (letters)
Bulletin Boards: Westshores, Killiney Beach, Estamont Beach,
Aspen Shores, Fintry Provincial Park, Wilsons
Landing, Valley of the Sun, Traders Cove, Bear
Creek Provincial Park, Evely Provincial Park

 

Source: The North Westside Road Ratepayers Association emailed us this letter (.pdf) to post here

PLEASE FEEL FREE TO SEND YOUR OWN LETTER TO PREMIER CHRISTY CLARK

Blue Divider Line

.pdf icon March 10, 2011 Regional District of Central Okanagan Governance and Services Committee Agenda

This letter is not on the Regional District of Central Okanagan's website.

North Westside
Ratepayers Assn.
10390 PINECREST ROAD
Vernon , B.C. V1H 2B1
PHONE +1.250.542.8461
FAX +1.250.542.8461 (call first)
EMAIL: zoeandus "at" telus.net

FOR G & S MEETING - MARCH 10, 2011

March 7, 2011

Mr. Robert Hobson, Chair
Regional District of Central Okanagan
1450 KLO Road
Kelowna, B.C. V1W 3Z4

Attention: Chair and Board Members, Harold Reay, Dan Plamondon, Rod Miller

Dear Mr. Hobson:

Re: Purchase of a Fire/Rescue (?) Boat for North Westside Fire/Rescue

The North Westside Ratepayers Association (and 260 petitioners) again unequivocally says “No” to the purchase of a fireboat for the North Westside.

There is little new information that we are privy to except the boat has increased from the original $120,000.00 to $220,000.00 which is close to double the original cost.

Jim Edgson emphatically stated this (fireboat issue) had gone on long enough. Frankly we concur. What needs to be discussed here is “why?” We believe this issue has gone on so long because the “efficacy” of the fireboat has never been proven. We have moved from Fireboat to Marine Mobile Water Supply and finally to Fire/Rescue Boat.

Again we wish to reiterate that the fireboat purchase IS subject to Fire Chief Technical Committee (FCTC) approval. However, in 2010 someone at RDCO declared that Rod Miller could make decisions regarding equipment purchases.

The NWRA maintains the original criteria which was a) Board approval; b) Fire Chief Technical Committee and; c) Community approval; put in place in 2008 should be followed. Does the Fire Services Coordinator, Rod Miller question the FCTCʼs views that purchase of new equipment should be based on actual response figures not on one or two dispatch incidents; their concerns re training requirements and available personnel; that fireboats were not meant to fight structures, they were meant to fight fires on docks and boats; concerns re liability and maintenance issues; and floater pumps being used as alternatives.

This is all on record in the FCTCʼs minutes.

A fireboat was not used on the Terrace Mountain Fire or the Kelowna Fire due to the lack of technical feasibility of the unit. This would have been the call of very experienced Fire Chiefs from Kelowna and Regional Operations. High winds are also a consideration as it is difficult to control fireboats in heavy waves which is often the case on Okanagan Lake. During high fire season when a “911” call goes in and it is determined to be an interface situation the Ministry of Forests Protection Branch dispatches water bombers, helicopters and ground crews.

The extra money to purchase this fireboat appears to have come from funds (leftover) from the Terrace Mountain Fire. Monies from the Terrace Mountain Fire belong to the taxpayers and after expenses are paid monies remaining should be put in reserves for future needed expenditures such as a new truck 2014.

Mr. Miller also claims that there are many homes on the Lake that are inaccessible by conventional fire trucks. This is nonsense . . . how many homes on Okanagan Lake were built by barging materials in? I am not disputing that some homes on the Lake have steep access just as homes in Westshores and Killiney Beach have steep accesses. Perhaps a 4 wheel drive fire truck would better serve the needs of all the people on the North Westside.

We will attempt to put some of our arguments against this purchase in point form as follows:

- It is not the fire departments nor the Communityʼs mandate to provide cheaper insurance rates to one part of the Community.
- The North Westside Fire Department services is small - supporting approximately 2500 people.
- The North Westside Fire Department has not been trained adequately nor does it have the staff to man this fireboat/rescue boat and attend to the first responder and fire issues beyond the Lake.
- Rod Miller by his own admission did not have expert knowledge on fireboats and their capabilities.
- the rescue service is already provided to us through Regional Rescue so will we be paying for 2 rescue services?
- the fireboat at Okanagan Landing is still available should the need arise, Vernon Search and Rescue also responds to calls on this end of Okanagan Lake initially utilizing the Okanagan Landing rescue boat which is close by until they
can transport their larger, more sophisticated one.
- floater pumps are a much cheaper option, they could be moved down narrow, steep hills and roads using the new 4 wheel drive Mule (atv) that was purchased last year.
- $30,000 is a conservative estimate for the fireboat housing as it has to be a 24/7 operation. We look to see these costs rise. Killiney Beach is very congested during the summer months with parking at a premium so access problems are a concern. Will the location affect Killiney Beach and Park that is so heavily utilized now? We feel the cost of ancillary equipment and training have been minimized as well.
- Rod Millerʼs report to the Board February 22, 2010 completely left out any discussions on alternatives such as floater pumps. Floater pumps are easily transported and can be purchased under $10,000. Some homes on the Lake already have their own pumps. His report spoke of “manning issues” which we have already addressed.

The NWRA did not just simply send a letter saying we did not support the fireboat and in one weekend collected 260 signatures against it. We feel it is not enough for a community group to write a letter saying that they support or do not support an issue, they must demonstrate it and we have.

Jim Edgson invited a spokesperson for the “Concerned Citizens” to speak in favour of the fireboat.  She was questioned vigorously by Mayor Shepherd as to the name of the group and how many were represented. She could not answer all the questions adequately and there has never been any evidence of signatures supporting her position or the legal legitimacy of this group. In one weekend we collected 260 signatures against the fireboat and this petition is on record at the Regional District.

In closing we would like to say this is a very well equipped volunteer fire department with a full time fire chief which is almost unheard of in volunteer departments. There are 2 fire halls and 8 large pieces of equipment. The full time salary of the Fire Chief alone puts a large dollar commitment on the taxpayers of this area. Residents on the North Westside generally accept that equipment purchases must be made; however, surely common sense must prevail. We ask you: “how many times in a year do you really think this fireboat will be needed?” If there is a surplus (Terrace Mountain fire) what would be wrong with our fire taxes going down? Fire taxes are a large percentage of our entire tax requisition.

Jim Edgsonʼs comments from the Governance and Services Committee Meeting audio when addressing the Fire Department were: “no more flaky ideas.” We concur and this statement should be taken into consideration when making this decision.

yours truly,
Diane Baldwin, President
Allastair Fergusson, Director
NORTH WESTSIDE RATEPAYERS ASSOCIATION

cc Mary Jane Drouin (email and regular mail)

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Windows Media File Icon February 10, 2011 audio of RDCO Governance and Services Committee meeting only about COW Director Jim Edgson talking about the fireboat - .wma (3.18 MB)

Blue Divider Line

Fire boat placed on backburner
Vernon Morning Star - By Richard Rolke - September 23, 2010

A contentious fire boat won’t be acquired this year, but plans continue to ignite heated debate among North Westside Road residents.

The Central Okanagan Regional District board has decided not to purchase a mobile water supply boat but it will be considered among other fire department priorities during 2011-2015 budget talks.

“For me, it was a financial issue. The decision was made in light of the cost,” said Jim Edgson, North Westside director.

CORD had $150,000 set aside to purchase the vessel, but all responses to a request for proposals were over budget. It’s believed the boat could cost about $196,000, with $50,000 needed for a boat house.

Edgson says the next step is for the regional district to determine the long-term needs for the North Westside Fire Department and whether the fire boat is included.

“There’s no guarantee it will rise to the top,” he said.

Fire chief Wayne Carson isn’t surprised by CORD’s decision, but he insists the need for a mobile water supply boat is increasing.

“It’s absolutely the top priority for this community,” he said.

“A lot of areas don’t have water systems rated (they don’t meet insurance requirements for flows) and there are single accesses to properties and dead trees all over.”

Because of limited road access to some areas, Carson believes a house fire or wildfire poses a significant risk.

“We’re trying to elevate the level of protection,” he said.

Acquisition of the boat has been opposed by the North Westside Ratepayers Association.

“We would have been more pleased if the regional district motion said the fire boat won’t proceed but it says it won’t proceed in 2010. It’s not over yet,” said president Diane Baldwin.

“Instead of looking at a five-year plan, they need to look at whether there is a necessity for this fire boat.”

The association believes other methods could be used to fight fires in the community.

“To buy a piece of equipment for a what-if situation is extravagant,” said Baldwin, adding that taxes have been climbing for North Westside residents.

“A lot of people are on fixed budgets and for a lot of people, the situation is getting critical.”

Blue Divider Line

Voting change deserves input
Vernon Morning Star - Letters - September 19, 2010

This letter is to address the article in The Morning Star entitled: “Recall dashed, but shorter terms sought.”

The North Westside Ratepayers Association (NWRA) too has concerns that civic terms could be extended from three to four years. If you recall, civic terms at one time were two years and were subsequently extended to three-year terms. Although much of the work of the task force for local elections sponsored by the Ministry of Community Development has been positive, it has made a recommendation to extend terms for civic leaders to four years from three years.

The NWRA is opposed to tenure for civic politicians going from three years to four years without direct public input or vote. Four-year terms without recall provisions is unacceptable. We realize there could be some monetary savings as there would be fewer elections; however, the result could be unwanted politicians for four years without any applicable recall legislation.

To quote Councillor Patrick Nicol: “This is a slam-dunk by the insiders. The public didn't have any input.” Councillor Spier's attempt to have his colleagues push the government for a mechanism so voters could remove a civic leader they are unhappy with midway through a term is also commendable. At the conclusion of this meeting, the City of Vernon voted to urge the provincial government not to change the terms for municipal positions from three to four years, while the prospect of voters recalling mayors or councillors did not get support.

Do the taxpayers of the province want terms for civic elections extended to four years? Should there be recall provisions for local politicians? Obviously, it is far easier to not vote a candidate back into office than to effect a recall. Residents of B.C. need to know this initiative is headed to the Legislature in the spring to enable civic elections for November 2011 be extended to four years. Ensure your concerns are made known to your MLA.

Allastair Fergusson, director
North Westside Ratepayers Association

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Gravel activists thank Peachland at rally
Saturday, September 11, 2010

A vintage car displays a 'Thanks to Peachland' sign Saturday on Beach Avenue from the North Westside Ratepayer's Association. (Dave Preston photo)

North Westside Road Ratepayers Vintage Automobile displays a support sign to help Peachland in its fight against a gravel pit.

News. . . Peachland's reluctance to accept an activist stance against the mighty Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources and embrace rallies in the town may backfire in the future. While a couple of dozen proponents of local control over gravel mining met at Heritage Park Saturday to protest the ministry's heavy hand, it was quite clear from the behaviour of the group that many thought Peachland was, well as one person put it, "As cute as a peach."

"You've got a beautiful little place here," remarked Glen Thompson, a member of Friends of the Chilliwack River Valley, which is fighting a proposed massive gravel pit.

Thompson happily munched on a Peachland peach as many of the visitors signed petitions asking for the ministry to allow local government control over pit placement.

The group, assembled from along the north westside of Okanagan Lake and throughout the Fraser Valley, didn't come with an air of confrontation or activism. They appeared, by all accounts, to be everyday visitors to Peachland, taking time to stop and ogle at the view from Heritage Park.

"All the groups are trying to get together," said Dora Stewart, who as a board member of the Peachland Residents Association, welcomed the visitors.

Representatives were on hand from Lake Errock, Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Pitt Meadows, Fintry and the Petterson Road area of West Kelowna.

Mayor Keith Fielding, who publicly stated he would not attend the function and who asked rally organizers to stay away, apparently had a change of heart. He briefly met with organizers prior to the rally's start.

The fight against gravel pits is, "A saga within our town," said Stewart. "It seems Peachland has attracted attention."

"Although this rally is a little bit small, it came from a big idea," said Walter Neufeld, who hails from the Abbotsford area.
Neufeld has been an activist for more than a decade, speaking out against the ministry's cart blanche stance on approving gravel pits.

"We drove 300 kilometres to say thank you Peachland, thank you Mayor Fielding," said Neufeld.

Individual municipalities and areas within them have fought their own fights over the years when it comes to gravel pit placement but Neufeld told the crowd there has been a lot of change in the last year as individual groups became interlinked and began supporting each other.
The ministry has indicated that it wants to give local communities control over pit placement, said Neufeld, who cautioned the crowd that the move is a red herring.

"Their idea is to review the (local) bylaws and add severe restrictions," said Neufeld.

Peachland is unique in the province because its Earthworks Control Bylaw predates the ministry's new mandate, Neufeld said.

"Peachland people can fight too," said Pat Ryder, who brought a small basket of peaches for organizers.

Thompson came from the Chilliwack River Valley and he said his community has only about 1,200 people spread over a 40-kilometre long area. The group he represents is fighting a proposed gravel pit that wants a 100-year permit to remove 30 million tons of aggregate from property that is currently in the Agricultural Land Reserve.


"People should have control over where they live," said Thompson.

The rally lasted less than hour, after which the group drove up Princeton Avenue to have a look at a controversial gravel pit on McDougald Road. That operation was shut down by the operator while both sides head to court over the town's Earthworks Control Bylaw.

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Is it a tax or a regulatory charge?

*** This is just a snippet

Judgements of the Supreme Court of Canada

Citation:Westbank First Nation v. British Columbia Hydro and Power Authority, [1999] 3 S.C.R. 134
Date:September 10, 1999
Docket: 26450

Indexed as: Westbank First Nation v. British Columbia Hydro and Power Authority

File No.: 26450.
Hearing and judgment: June 21, 1999
Reasons delivered: September 10, 1999

Section 125 of the Constitution Act, 1867 is one of the tools found in the Constitution that ensures the proper functioning of Canada’s federal system. It advances the goals of federalism and democracy by according a degree of operational space to each level of government, free from interference by the other. It prohibits one level of government from taxing the property of the other. However, it does not prohibit the levying of user fees or other regulatory charges properly enacted within the government’s sphere of jurisdiction.

Although in today’s regulatory environment, many charges will have elements of taxation and elements of regulation, the central task for the court is to determine whether the levy’s primary purpose is, in pith and substance: (1) to tax, i.e., to raise revenue for general purposes; (2) to finance or constitute a regulatory scheme, i.e., to be a regulatory charge or to be ancillary or adhesive to a regulatory scheme; or (3) to charge for services directly rendered, i.e., to be a user fee. In order to determine whether the impugned charge is a “tax” or a “regulatory charge” for the purposes of s. 125, several key questions must be asked. Is the charge: (1) compulsory and enforceable by law; (2) imposed under the authority of the legislature; (3) levied by a public body; (4) intended for a public purpose; and (5) unconnected to any form of a regulatory scheme? If the answers to all of these questions are affirmative, then the levy in question will generally be described as a tax.

The levies are properly described as being, in pith and substance, taxation enacted under s. 91(3) of the Constitution Act, 1867. They are enforceable by law, imposed under the authority of the legislature, and levied by a public body for a public purpose. The appellant has not demonstrated that the levies are connected to a “regulatory scheme” which could preclude the application of s. 125. The charge does not form any part of a detailed code of regulation. No costs of the regulatory scheme have been identified, to which the revenues from these charges are tied. The appellant does not seek to influence the respondent’s behaviour in any way with these charges. There is no relationship between the respondent and any regulation to which these charges adhere. Although the Indian Act is legislation in relation to “Indians, and Lands reserved for the Indians”, this does not, in itself, create a “regulatory scheme” in the sense required by the Constitution.

As these taxes are imposed on the respondent, which it is conceded is an agent of the provincial Crown, s. 125 is engaged. The taxation and assessment by‑laws are accordingly inapplicable to the respondent.

Source http://scc.lexum.umontreal.ca/en/1999/1999scr3-134/1999scr3-134.html

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The North Westside Ratepayers are opposing the proposed Gravel Pit south of La Casa.

The North Westside Ratepayers are doing a mailout through Canada Post of this poster to people living on the North Westside of Okanagan Lake.  You should be receiving something in the mail shortly.

Just say no to a gravel pit on Westside Road BC

The North Westside Road Ratepayers are taking this petition (below) opposing the gravel pit south of La Casa around the North Westside Road area.  The North Westside Ratepayers will have this petition opposing the gravel pit south of La Casa at the Sugar Loaf transfer station and possibly at the entrance to Westshore Estates as well.  If you feel you have been missed and wish to sign the petition opposing the gravel pit south of La Casa, please phone Diane Baldwin the President of the North Westside Ratepayers to find out where you can sign the petition and she will arrange something with you.  Diane Baldwin 542-8461 (President)


Petition to suppress implementation of a sand and gravel pit on Westside Road, Integrated Land Management File #3412092, BCGS mapsheet 82L013, portions of District Lot 3542 and adjacent unsurveyed Crown Lands.

We the undersigned due to environmental concerns, noise and air pollution, loss of forest and wildlife habitat, infringement of dedicated park areas and lack of adequate and safe transportation routes do hereby vigorously oppose the implementation of a Sand & Gravel Pit in our electoral area (Central Okanagan West, Traders Cove to Westshores)

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TRANSFER STATION FEES INCREASING FROM $40 PER YEAR TO $167.06

March 24, 2010 this poster was put up on the local bulletin boards at the North Westside Road
subdivisions by the North Westside Road Ratepayers Association.

Sugar Loaf Transfer Station fees set to increase $127.06 in Regional District of Central Okanagan (RDCO) 2010 budget
click letter to read larger print

 

SUBMITTED BY THE NORTH WESTSIDE RATEPAYERS

March 17, 2010

SUBMISSION TO THE BOARD RE SOLID WASTE MANAGEMENT BYLAW FOR BUDGET MEETING MARCH 26, 2010

Mr. Chair; Regional Directors; Dan Plamondon; Chris Radford; Peter Rotheisler:

The issue of an increase in rates for the North Westside Transfer Station first came to light when the North Westside Ratepayers Association (NWRA) observed a Report to the Board authored by Peter Rotheisler, Waste Reduction Supervisor dated December 14, 2009 (attached). This report was a comparison of the North Westside and Traders Cove Transfer Stations over the past 5 years. Subsequent to this the NWRA sent a letter to Peter Rotheisler dated February 10 (attached) expressing our concern with the large increase without any real costing or explanation to the residents of the North Westside. We also spoke with Mr. Rotheisler several times via phone in order to solicit more information and were told that a more definitive costing was being done and would be available for the April 14th meeting to be held on the North Westside on April 14th. Of course this is 2 weeks after the budget and as it turns out after the new Bylaw was passed.

Because traffic at the North Westside Transfer Station has increased by about 35% over the past few years the NWRA also asked that the attendantʼs hours be increased an additional 4 hours, preferably on a Saturday. Apparently this increase in hours was not approved, we are continuing to seek this increase. Did the Engineering staff take into consideration that water is coming to Valley of the Sun and Upper Fintry and this will cause more buildout? This will most certainly increase users at Sugarloaf Transfer station.

Director Edgson and Peter Rotheisler were both aware that this amendment to the Bylaw was coming before the March 11th meeting. The NWRA spoke with Peter Rotheisler several times over the past month and was never advised of the drastic change being discussed and proposed by Director Edgson and himself. We are at a loss to understand why our rates would have to be blended with the East Electoral area (Joe Rich) who are on automated pickup. Typically their rates would be $187.00 per year. Traders Cove Transfer Stationʼs rates were projected to rise to $179.00 per year.

Both of these areas will now see decreases in their actual rate. However North Westside Transfer Station (Sugarloaf) will see an increase from our projected increase of $91.00. We feel blindsided by this sudden change in direction by Director Edgson and the Engineering Department and will be making residents in the Sugarloaf transfer station catchment area aware.

We understand that the bin/cart pickup in the East Electoral area was not favourably received; however, we the taxpayers should not be paying for RDCOʼs decisions. One has to ask why these residents are not paying the same as other residents for bin/cart pickup?

THEREFORE THE NORTH WESTSIDE RATEPAYERS REQUEST THAT THIS ILL CONCEIVED BYLAW BE REPEALED TAKING INTO CONSIDERATION THE FOLLOWING REASONING:

- Report to the Board dated December 14, 2009 where the recommendations were reported is entirely different than what was presented at the March 11, 2010 meeting. (As stated previously the NWRA would have reacted strongly to this on March 11th had we had been informed of these sweeping changes).

-The Report to the Board dated December 14, 2010 asked that staff report back to the Regional Board on “the proposed user fee increases” prior to 2010 budget deliberations. These user fee deliberations as passed in the bylaw were not the same as presented to the Board on December 14, 2009 and would not be applicable any motion around this recommendation and report.

-The Report to the Board also states: “AND FURTHER THAT staff consult with users of the North Westside and Traders Transfer Stations to explain the need for increased user fees and gauge interest ........instead of transfer station service.” This strictly implies that this consultation should take place before not after a decision is made.

-It is our understanding the residents served by the Sugar Loaf transfer station have no interest in bin/curbside pickup if this is where the Engineering Department is headed with “blending.” We feel we should be responsible for the costs of our solid waste disposal but should not be required to subsidize other areas.

-Reasoning in the March 4, 2010 Board Report is seriously flawed. Think about it please.
Item 3 states: “Due to the $48.00 difference in projected user fees between transfer stations, fees were going to have to be blended to prevent residents from the Traders Cove Transfer Station (more expensive) changing to the NOWESI Transfer Station (less expensive), which would have further increased the difference in cost.” Again, please think about this statement, it is ludicrous to think that residents of Traders Cove would drive 30 kilometres on Westside Road to go to the Sugarloaf Transfer Station. Someone pointed out to the Engineering Department that a handful of residents in the Sugarloaf Transfer Station catchment area travel to Kelowna on a
regular basis and therefore elect to drop their garbage off at Traders Cove. At any rate, it could only assist the Traderʼs Cove count.

-The Ratepayers had projected this increase to be 175% before Engineering staff raised the rate to $167.06. Now it is an increase of 317% with no increase in service.

In closing we again ask that this bylaw be repealed as it is ill conceived, unfair and possibly illegal. Taxpayers in one area of RDCO should not be required to subsidize another area re solid waste management. Living at the farthest end of RDCO we are subjected to increased costs that areas closer to Kelowna are not ie., septage removal.

We accept this as we enjoy our rural surroundings. The cost of our water is also likely to rise when water metres are installed. We just want to point out there are differences in the services of particular areas and do not feel that RDCO should be “blending” rates without considering all the implications. This is not a Municipality, it is a very rural area and we wish to keep it that way.

Diane Baldwin, President
Allastair Fergusson, Director

 

Regional District of Central Okanagan Agenda December 14, 2009

.pdf icon Item 6.15 North Westside and Traders Cove Transfer Stations.pdf

 

Sugar Loaf users will be subsidizing $48 of Traders Cove curbside pickup

2. Electoral area residents will pay the same user fee and parcel tax for basic waste management related services whether they are on curbside collection or transfer station service.

3. Due to the $48 difference in projected user fees between transfer stations, fees were going to have to be blended to prevent residents from the Traders Cove transfer station (more expensive) changing to the NOWESI Transfer Station (less expensive), which would have further increased the difference in cost.

March 11, 2010 Regional Board Agenda
Item 3.1 Solid Waste Management Regulation Amendment Bylaw.pdf

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Like mushrooms, we are kept in the dark and fed poop!

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Never doubt the ability of a small group of concerned citizens to change the world.  In fact, it is the only thing that ever has.

Democracy Rules on the North Westside in Central Okanagan West!

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To be updated by email on the latest news regarding the North Westside Ratepayers Association, please send your email address to President Diane Baldwin or Vice President Allastair Fergusson.  They will let you know when there are updates, so stay informed!

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