Monday, December 31, 2007

Friday, December 28, 2007

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Vernon requests partnership in Civic Complex.

Although this issue is basically City of Vernon issue the fact that the City requested financial partnership from Coldstream it became a Coldstream issue as well. Interestingly, the City’s request was presented well after they declared a date for a referendum in Vernon which is quite extraordinary.

Coldstream taxpayers should be alarmed by the recent accusation by the Vernon and District Taxpayers Association (VDTA) that the city is not providing sufficient details on the project. Their point was proven by the action of the City of searching for partners at this late date.

The VDTA also complains that there have been no opportunities for public input.

The City’s response: “We will have five open houses and the mayor has asked for a town hall meeting so people can ask questions,” said Leon Gous, chief administrative officer (MS).

An “Open House” is not a substitute for public input. Public input must come before the project is scheduled for a referendum. Asking questions is not enough to satisfy the public’s desire to have a say as to what they want for their money.

On Jan. 26, residents will vote on borrowing up to $30 million over 25 years for a civic building.

There VDTA submitted five questions to the City’s Chief Executive Officer regarding the Civic Complex and they are not satisfied with the response they received. Instead they are inviting the taxpayers to attend a public meeting on January 8 at 7 PM at the Schubert Centre.

With all these difficulties on their plate why would City Council even contemplate to invite Coldstream to partner in a quagmire such as this? Fortunately, Coldstream Council did not express great desires to join in a partnership.

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Sunday, December 23, 2007

Let's have some fun


Snowball fight (click on)

To all our readers: have a merry Christmas

and a

happy, prosperous New Year!

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Friday, December 21, 2007

District of Coldstream Open House -- 2008 Financial Plan

Come out and see why your taxes are increased by 9.17% for 2008.

Come and see how your sewer fees are ballooning for the benefit of Coldstream Meadows development. Your sewer fees will increase from $540 to $568 per year. The kicker is that regardless how much sewer you contribute, one person or six people, you pay the same!

Just to provide an example:

As an individual you may pay $168.60 for your water and $568.00 for your sewer (based on winter consumption when all water used end up in the sewer).

Using the same assumptions, a family of six will pay $487.80 for water and $568.00 for sewer.

Would you consider that fair?

Much of our sewer rates are used for the extension of the sewer line from McClounie to Aberdeen Road and the buyout of Coldstream Meadows latecomer fees.

Further information will follow. It is important that as sewer customers you familiarize yourself with the true facts!

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Harsh words for 'useless' group in Vernon -- By Richard Rolke - December 21

A Greater Vernon Services Committee member is lashing out at the very organization he helped found.

Barry Beardsell, attending his last meeting as a director Thursday, had harsh words for the committee.

“GVSC is operating like a ship with no captain and no rudder,” he said.

Beardsell has been associated with GVSC since it was formed in 2001, but Mayor Wayne Lippert did not reappoint him to the board as a Vernon representative.

Beardsell believes problems with GVSC arose after the North Okanagan Regional District downgraded the agency from a commission to a committee.

“It’s been useless and not worked well for the public,” he said.

“It doesn’t have any power or authority. It’s just waffling and not getting anything done.”

As an example, Beardsell points to a recent budget meeting where three directors left the room. Without a quorum present, the meeting could not continue.

“It’s indicative of how GVSC has operated for two years. It’s pathetic,” he said.

Beardsell believes the situation is partially the result of some key players.

“I won’t name names but there are a couple of people,” he said.

If GVSC is to continue, Beardsell insists some changes are required.

“GVSC needs an effective administrative person such as we had before so the business of GVSC is looked after by its own administrative person,” he said.

Currently, GVSC is overseen by Brian Reardon, who is administrator for the regional district.

Gary Corner, GVSC chairman, doesn’t support Beardsell’s views.

“GVSC does what it’s supposed to and that’s deliver services in parks, recreation, water and economic development,” he said.

Corner admits, though, that politicians and staff have been focused on a variety of service reviews requested by the City of Vernon and Areas B and C.

“We have so much going on, especially at the NORD level. It’s certainly muddied the waters,” he said.

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Art Gallery funding sought -- By Jennifer Smith - December 21

Despite painting some elaborate pictures of a proposed civic complex, Vernon isn’t having much luck finding funds for the art gallery portion of the building. The city’s chief administrative officer Leon Gous briefed Coldstream council on the civic complex plans Monday, which now include 11,300 square feet for the art gallery. At an estimated cost of $5 million for the art gallery portion alone, financial support is needed to fund the space.“It’s the one function that isn’t really ours and that there isn’t any money on the table for,” said Gous.

While the art gallery is a Greater Vernon function, Gous says they’ve been unsuccessful raising the issue at the Greater Vernon Services Committee. But without GVSC’s support and resident approval, Coldstream councillors agreed to hold off on their decision until after the Jan. 26 referendum. “I wouldn’t support trying to do an end run around GVS, because that’s what they’re trying to do,” said Coun. Doug Dirk.The artist renderings presented also aren’t enough to get Coldstream on board.

“It’s hard to really make a decision on the presentation without some numbers,” said Glen Taylor, questioning how much Coldstream would need to fork over. The proposed art gallery space would nearly double from its current 6,000 square-foot facility. Rental rates would also increase from the current $11 per square foot to $25. “They are very pleased with the outcome today,” said Gous.

The overall proposal includes doubling library space to 29,000, as well as providing offices for city workers and the RCMP. The upcoming referendum will ask residents to approve borrowing up to $30 million over 25 years for construction of a civic building. While the Okanagan Regional Library Board is supporting the library expansion with $9 million, others are questioning the need for more library space in this tehnologically-advanced society.“We think that physical expansion to the library is a mistake,” said Andy Danyliu, Coldstream Ratepayers Association president, who is also a member of the Vernon Taxpayers Association. “What we need is satellite branches and we would like to see a branch library in the Coldstream.”

Danyliu also questions just how much taxpayers can handle, with Vernon taxes proposed to increase approximately five per cent and Coldstream jumping nine per cent for 2008.“We have people being taxed out of their homes, we have people selling because they can’t afford their taxes,” said Danyliu. “The pennies add up and that’s why we (taxpayer associations) exist because the pennies adding up are breaking the backs of taxpayers.”For more information on the proposed civic complex, including artist renderings of the project, visit www.vernon.ca. “We’ve gone through a whole number of concepts and costed them out,” said Gous.

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Thursday, December 20, 2007

Press release --Vernon and District Taxpayers Association.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 20, 2007

CAO Leon Gous' answers to the Vernon and Districts Taxpayers' Association's questions concerning the Civic Complex confirm the following:

1. There is "NO PURCHASE AGREEMENT" between the City of Vernon and the Okanagan Regional Library Board (ORL).

2. There is NO DECISION on whether the ORL will lease or buy the new library.

3. There is NO VALUE DETERMINED on the land and building proposed for the library--such value will be determined "AFTER completion" of the complex.

4. There is SILENCE concerning the overrun costs--in the case of the library, we are told any overruns will be paid by Citizens of Vernon!

5. There is NO CONTRACT between the City and ORL concerning the future sale of the library by ORL--only a 'position' by the City.

6. The Citizens of Vernon will be shelling out the FULL CAPITAL COSTS OF $4.8 million for the Art Gallery.

7. There is NO LEASE AGREEMENT with GVSC for the increase in rent from $11 sq.ft. to $25 sq.ft.

8. The only documentation concerning the Art Gallery is a letter supporting a 'concept plan of 11,000 - 12,000 sq.ft.'

9. There was NO RESPONSE to our question--why has there been no public input opportunities for the Citizens of Vernon? Mr. Gous' response was a blank.

The consultants' fees to date starting with the Cultural Centre white elephant to the present Civic Complex proposal?? Over $450,000! What have the citizens of Vernon received for it!?

Finally, this Mayor, Council and City Administration are asking us to sign a blank cheque without any solid contract in place.

Contact: Antony Stamboulieh 260-1082
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Fallout from the referendum.


Mr. Richard Rolke (click on Richard for link) states that “...the proposal for a sports complex on agricultural land was controversial, but it was strictly a one-issue vote. An election for mayor and council is significantly more important.”

I beg to differ. The issue is much more complex.

As the Chair of Greater Vernon Services Mayor Corner approved the application sent to the Agricultural Land Commission requesting the change of use of the property in question in May, 2006 (click on letter). Fortunately, the ALC reminded GVS that it was Coldstream’s jurisdiction and GVS had no standing (letter 2). Had the ALC replied favourably the issue would have been closed without Coldstream residents ever having a say in the matter.

That is a serious breach of trust and not the action Coldstream residents expect from their Mayor. In light of Mayor Corner’s action it is questionable that he should be Council’s representative on NORD and GVS. His credibility suffered greatly. That position should be held by someone more trustworthy and in touch with the electorate.

Mr. Rolke states: “As the results rolled in Saturday, a member of the no camp was heard to say, ‘We’re a force to be reckoned with’.”

In fact the electorate has always been a force to be reckoned with. They have the power to elect representatives without ulterior motives and secret agendas. They just have to be informed of issues which are of great importance to all of us. It is time “...to challenge the status quo and what they see as the old-boys’ network in Coldstream.”

Mayor Corner forgot that his election victory was a very narrow one and he should have been more aware that his hold on power was very tenuous. If Councillor Garlic would consider running for the top job he would have little difficulty succeeding and he would make an excellent Mayor. He works hard and he has put his job on the line during this referendum campaign. He deserves a tremendous round of applause as do the other two Councillors supporting Coldstream’s values.

As for the statement: “...a year is forever in politics and I wouldn’t rule Corner out for a second term because the public’s memory is often short.”

Memories can be resuscitated. We now have an alternate news source (in fact two) and do not have to rely completely on the traditional news media for information. Through the wonders of technology we’ll keep our electorate informed and keep reminding them of past unfulfilled promises.

We have not forgotten the “Master Water Plan” (what an oxymoron!) with its ever increasing water rates and never materialized water improvements.

We’ll keep reminding taxpayers how our Sewer Reserves and Sewer Operating Funds were ravaged for the benefit of mainly one developer and how Council is trying to replenish the spent funds by constantly increasing the sewer rates. We’ll inform sewer customers how unfair the billing system is and how difficult it is to convince Council and the Administration to right a wrong.

We intend to continue our vigilance with the hope that this will help in electing responsive and responsible Councils in the future for the benefit of all residents of Coldstream.
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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Reports on the referendum -- Morning Star -- December 19






The following reports were penned by Jennifer Smith and Richard Rolke in the December 19th edition of the Morning Star. Commentary will be presented later.
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Coldstream taxes to rise by nine per cent -- By Jennifer Smith - December 19

A nine per cent tax increase may be shocking, but Coldstream residents are reminded about what they’re getting for their money.

The 2008 proposed budget incorporates a 9.17 per cent general tax increase. That represents approximately $266,000 or $61 per average assessed household.

But four per cent of that increase is for the new Coldstream and Lavington Firehalls, which are currently under construction and expected to be completed in the spring.

The firehall funds represent debt servicing of $276,000, which come into full effect in 2008, compared to 2007, when only one interest payment was needed from the district.

“If you take away the debt for the firehalls you’re looking at just over five per cent, which isn’t too out of line,” said Catherine Lord, director of financial administration.

The entire budget will be available for viewing at an open house Jan. 7 at the Municipal Office from 5 to 7 p.m.

The remainder of the reasoning for a tax increase includes: $45,000 inflation factor, $45,000 for the equipment reserve fund, $40,000 increase for the pavement maintenance program, $15,000 for new federal regulations regarding fixed asset tracking and the depreciating of assets and $16,000 for a job evaluation process with CUPE.

The budget also includes $2.1 million in projects for 2008, including firehall servicing, cemetery expansion, Kalavista Lagoon improvements and Kidston Road walking path.

The sewer fund is also seeking a boost in the budget through a bump in quarterly sewer rates to $142, up from $135 in 2007.

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Monday, December 17, 2007

Coldstream Video -- Maria Besso-Ockert


For those who have not seen the video on the Complex facts website I post it here so we can all reminisce about how the war was won. This is an excellent production and Maria should be commended for her beautiful production. Just click on the photo and enjoy.

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Readers Write -- Comments on the referendum.

Allow me to comment on the referendum result in the Coldstreamer Blog. Thanks again, keep up the good work safeguarding our community.

The collective voice of Coldstream has spoken and it was a resounding "NO"to removing the Spicer block from the ALR.

The negative verdict is simply a bottom line to a number of other embedded issues and it would pay us to take heed of some of the other factors implied in the final outcome.

Firstly, the parks division of GVSC and the Coldstream mayors office lack credibility. Two out of three voters didn’t place their trust in and disagreed with, the people that recommended this proposal. Voters had been duped before by Coldstream counsel and/or GVSC, on the building of City hall, sewer, Coldstream meadows, water treatment plant, etc.

There was a lack of transparency by the GVSC, a lack of public input in the plan before this proposal was advanced and an apparent conflict with the existing community plan to respect the integrity of ALR lands within Coldstream . Then, in addition, the manner in which it was advanced to the public was duplicitous and disingenuous from start to finish.

There was a public relations campaign undertaken by the Sports lobby to sell the project as the only suitable location in greater Vernon for a Sports complex, that more playing fields were needed for the sake of our children when the facts showed the opposite, that the proposal was actually a "park" not a parking lot with tourist friendly facilities and the unnecessary condition 'if you want the grey canal walking trail it must also come with the sports complex'.

The fact that ‘Funtastic’ was a major backer of this proposal was the final fatal flaw because the proposal then appeared to become an economic regional development project intended to draw on the commercial attractiveness of Sports Tourism, baseball tournaments and the like. The public reaction was understandably ,"Not in my backyard"! Moreover many residents would prefer to keep Coldstream and Lavington a rural or semi-rural community, a Sports Complex would be the thin end of the wedge, bringing an end to rural ‘life, as we know it’.

Finally, the public verdict affirms the value of ALR [agricultural] lands in our community. Coldstream residents endorse the goal of the ALR and reject economic development at the expense of our primary agricultural land base. Politicians and bureaucrats would be wise to take note and act accordingly in the future!

Peter Peto

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Sunday, December 16, 2007

Push made for tourism facilities -- MS -- December 16, 2007

Note: Was this behind the Coldstream referendum drive?

A lack of proper facilities is hurting Greater Vernon’s ability to draw tourists, say marketing officials.

The Greater Vernon Services Committee believes more could be done to bring visitors and large events here as a way of bolstering the economy.

“Areas where Greater Vernon could capitalize on are in facility enhancement and infrastructure to host conventions and sport opportunities,” said Jennifer Strachan, community marketing co-ordinator.

“There are so many opportunities that Greater Vernon could welcome but currently we don’t have the appropriate facilities. The economic impact of events to Greater Vernon isn’t just about that particular event, it is about using that event to apply for funding and using that funding to enhance facilities and public amenities. All of which is a legacy to be left in the community for all to enjoy.”

According to Strachan, bids for the B.C. Seniors Games and B.C. Summer Games failed because of the lack of facilities.

“Another opportunity is to enhance or build a convention centre that doesn’t compete with our local hotels and not quite as high of occupancy that the new Penticton Convention Centre hosts,” said Strachan.

“Focusing on meetings, conventions and sport will definitely gain market share, provide much needed funding from the provincial and federal governments that will enhance public amenities, and significantly increase the return on investment, for all local businesses and the residents of the Greater Vernon community.”

GVSC has experienced a 22 per cent increase in visits to its tourism Web site, and hotels and attractions report they were up in numbers over last year.

“Greater Vernon has retained market share in comparison to other communities and that is exceptional considering other communities have the additional hotel revenue tax,” said Strachan.

“A significant part of this success is due to the amount of money that has been partnered by our local tourism dollars. It is also creatively making every dollar that is allocated to marketing and stretching that dollar as effectively as possible.”

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Council Agenda -- December 17, 2007

REGULAR MEETING OF THE COUNCIL
OF THE DISTRICT OF COLDSTREAM
TO BE HELD ON MONDAY, DECEMBER 17, 2007
IN THE MUNICIPAL HALL COUNCIL CHAMBERS
9901 KALAMALKA ROAD, COLDSTREAM, BC
AT 7:00 PM

A G E N D A H I G H L I G H T S

1. DELEGATIONS

a. Presentation – Vernon Civic Complex Proposal Mr. Leon Gous, Chief Administrative Officer, City of Vernon, will be present to speak to this matter.

d. Proposed Heritage Revitalization Agreement Bylaw between the District of Coldstream and the Mackie Lake House Foundation for Lot 1, Sections 14 & 15, TWP 9, ODYD, Plan KAP72589, located at 7804 Kidston Road

There may be persons in attendance to speak to this matter.

g. Municipal Sewer

Mr. Gyula Kiss will be in attendance to speak to this matter.

2. PUBLIC OPPORTUNITY TO ADDRESS COUNCIL

(Total Time Allotted: 10 Minutes)

NOTE: This time is to afford members of the public the opportunity to address issues on the agenda dated, December 17, 2007. Issues that are not on the current agenda will not be heard by Council.

If you have items to address that are not contained in this agenda, please contact the Municipal Clerk to make a formal request to appear as a delegation at a future meeting of Council.

(3) Sewer Charges – Flat Rate Versus Consumption

· Report from the Director of Financial Administration, dated December 12, 2007

Recommendation

THAT the report from the Director of Financial Administration, dated December 12, 2007, regarding Sewer Charges – Flat Rate Versus Consumption, be received;

AND THAT the method of charging for sewer based on water consumption, be implemented effective with the June 2009 billing period;

AND THAT this method be based on the use of a base rate of $85.00 per quarter, plus a consumption rate where the consumption is an average of the previous winter and spring quarters, adjusted annually with the June billing;

AND THAT residents be advised of this change to the method of billing in the Spring and Fall 2008 District Newsletter;

AND FURTHER THAT, commencing in June 2008, quarterly billings will indicate what the sewer charge would be if billing was based on consumption.
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Saturday, December 15, 2007

Voter turnout.

Hello Everyone.

The game is over! Congratulations to all who took the time to turn out to vote. Voter participation was tremendous: about 3380 people voted, 1189 for (35%) and 2165 against (64%). Twenty two votes were rejected. Next move is up to Council. I assume some of them must realize that they were way out of touch with the electorate.

Keep in touch! Who knows what comes up next!
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Friday, December 14, 2007

Remember to vote!!!!!

****Remember to vote!*****


Today is the big day that will decide

Coldstream's future! Make sure your vote counts!


FINAL VOTING DAY IS SATURDAY, DECEMBER 15

TIME:

8:00 AM TO 8:00 PM

PLACE:

COLDSTREAM ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

AND

LAVINGTON ELEMENTARY SCHOOL.

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Letter to the Editor -- Morning Star

Reposted from December 11, 2007

As for the letter writer in the Sunday Morning star, who said, “The view (Aberdeen fields) will not be diminished with the construction of playing fields and a track oval” who is she kidding?

When you can no longer see the night sky because it is lit up with the lights from 5 playing fields (number proposed to be lit) or you can not have a conversation in your home, because there is a rock concert or music blaring or have to listen to announcements my quiet enjoyment of my acreage is ruined. Not to mention my ability to work from my home. This complex will be ugly. It will be noisy. It will increase the traffic in front of my home. It will devalue my property. And I will be first in line to remove my land from the ALR if this proposal goes through. It will be the only way to recoup the lost property value due to this complex.

But, outside the reasons why I don’t want this in my backyard, this proposal is a waste of tax payer’s money. It is the wrong location for a park – because it is prime agricultural land. We already have Kalamalka Provincial Park and Coldstream in general has more parks per population than Vernon. What we are missing is the neighborhood parks in new residential areas like Middleton.

It is the wrong location for sports tourism – which should be by hotels and services. We already have a sufficient number of sports fields and considerable capacity with school fields if we simply invest to maintain them better and provide a few amenities. We need to invest money in the parks we have. Polson Park is a perfect example. I gave several suggestions as to how we could turn this into a beautiful destination park when I worked with the DVA. Instead, it has been deteriorating from lack of investment and lack of use. Let’s get the full value out of our parks and recreation tax investment, by investing wisely. Let’s send a clear message to GVS to go back to the drawing board and do the job right.

Terri Jones

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Letter to the Editor -- by Andy Danyliu

Click on letter!
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Divide can't be ignored. -- Editorial


There’s probably a lot of Coldstream residents who are looking forward to 8 p.m. Saturday when the polls close.

No matter what side of the issue you are on, it’s hard to ignore the fact that the proposed sports complex on Aberdeen Road has been divisive. Neighbours have been pitted against neighbours.

Some of the incidents during the referendum campaign are nothing Coldstream residents should be proud of — signs ripped down, catcalling at meetings and rumours running amuck.

And some of that hostility may linger for a few days as the results of Saturday’s referendum sink in. Just by the nature of the process, there will be winners and there will be losers. Emotions may also run high depending on what steps Coldstream council takes.

But it is time for a healing process to begin — for residents to get past the heated debate of the last few months and recognize that they are part of a community.

For individuals, that can be done one-on-one with neighbours over the fence or while out walking. But for the broader community, it is going to take a concerted effort on the part of Coldstream council, the Greater Vernon Services Committee and groups such as the Coldstream Ratepayers Association.

And perhaps the sports field issue can play a role in that.

If the referendum is successful and a sports complex proceeds, all sides need to work together so concerns are resolved. If the referendum fails, all interested parties must address outstanding recreational needs, especially for youth.

In the end, communities are like a family. There are often good times, but there are also challenges and relationships are strained. But like a family, Coldstream must learn to live together.
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Sports complex heads to the polls -- By Jennifer Smith -- December 14, 2007


Following five months of debate about a proposed sports complex, the democratic process officially unfolds Saturday.

Coldstream voters will have their say through a referendum, which asks whether 118 acres of agricultural land should be forwarded to the Agricultural Land Commission for non-farm use consideration, for the purpose of a park/sports field.

The voting stations at Coldstream and Lavington elementary schools run from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. To date, 483 residents have already voiced their opinion during advanced voting on Dec. 5 and 12, while numbers were not known by press time for Thursday’s advanced poll.

The final results will be used in Coldstream council’s decision whether or not to forward the application to the ALC. If the ALC turns down the application the proposal cannot go forward on the subject property. If approval is given, the project will go to the Greater Vernon Services Commission for public input to iron out the details of the plan. The ALC could also include conditions on the use of the land.

The sports complex issue has been a hot topic in the community since it came up at Coldstream council in July.

Sports groups have rallied for the complex, which proposes fields for football, soccer, slo-pitch, baseball and dog agility plus a track and field with stadium bleachers on upwards of 80 acres of the land.

But opposition has also hit the proposal with concerns such as agricultural preservation, community impact and largely on the lack of information on costs and details.

“This is going to be a referendum where the facts never emerged,” said Andy Danyliu, Coldstream Ratepayers’ Association president. “People are voting on the basis of a guesstimate. I think the outcome is going to reflect the degree to which people trust politicians.”

The details of the project will need to be addressed through GVSC after the referendum process, if non-farm use is granted from the ALC.

But leaving the project in GVSC’s hands has Danyliu concerned that Coldstream’s concerns will be lost at that point.

“What’s going to happen to Coldstream is they’re going to get outvoted,” said Danyliu.

Coldstream only has one vote out of six on GVSC through chairman Gary Corner, mayor of Coldstream.

While Corner is in favour of the project, he says he is there to represent his community.

“The thing you have to remember is this isn’t just me, it’s a whole council,” said Corner, who is appointed by the district to represent his council.

“I personally have some ideas of things that should be done, such as trails,” said Corner.

Initially the project came forward following early discussions with sports and recreation groups, who made it clear that there is a need for more fields.

In particular, the Greater Vernon Outdoor Sports User Group has been supporting the proposal on behalf of a number of sports users young and old. The group has committed $1 million towards the project.

“The whole reason the Outdoor Sports User Group ever came together is we have a serious lack of playing fields,” said spokesperson Bill Tarr. He points to how football has no regulation fields to play on and how soccer just doesn’t have enough.

“We’re the people who deal with this on a daily basis – there is a need,” said Tarr. “And if the vote is no, we still have that need, it’s not going to go away.”

But if the project does go ahead, with all the fields plus buffer zones needed between properties, along the highway and Hunter Creek, some people are questioning where passive parks and trails fit into the plan.

“There’s not a lot left after all of that,” said Terri Jones with the Greater Vernon Advocates Committee.

GVSC parks and recreation administrator Al McNiven says those buffers won’t take away from park space, they just mean development of playing fields and structures can’t be in the buffer zones.

“It would be a natural area and the natural area would become part of the park space, you’d try and put some trails along there,” said McNiven.

Still, some people are seeing this as a soft sell to something much bigger.

“Those of us who are opposed remain opposed because we believe the truth is being buried,” said Danyliu. “The real intent is to turn Coldstream into softball city and that’s not the vision the people of Coldstream want or bought into when they moved here.

“It’s a tournament site, it’s a giant entertainment centre. Every long weekend becomes a tournament weekend and then you have your special events.

“You start with a 500-car parking lot and then you see 2,000 cars pull up and say, ‘well, we’ve got to expand.’”

Tarr doesn’t deny that this complex will become a destination for many games and will be a jewel for Greater Vernon.

“Yes, we’re going to have people from other towns coming to play. It’s no different than the Multiplex,” he said, adding that safeguards can also be put into place such as noise bylaws and not permitting liquor licenses at the site.

One major annual event that has no plans on moving to the site is Funtastic. Organizers have continually stated that the Funtastic music festival will continue to be held at the DND grounds due to its ideal location to slo-pitch fields.

No cost estimates have been confirmed for the project, which is slated to be built in phases.

Whatever the building costs end up being, not to mention maintenance and servicing costs, Jones questions whether Greater Vernon residents are ready to bear the burden – with a likely increase in Vernon taxes and the upcoming library/civic complex referendum.

“They (taxpayers) are going to be hit from all different sides.”

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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

CHBC video


CHBC reports on Coldstream Referendum. Watch the video (click on CHBC)

Ask your children what's important!


The following poster was placed anonymously on Kelly Tymkew's car last night, and she was just overjoyed to see the honest sentiment expressed by a child.

Wouldn't it be nice if adults started to use their brains as well?!

The wrong message -- By Richard Rolke -- December 12, 2007

Coldstream residents head off to the polls Saturday thinking they can make a difference in their community. Boy, are they mistaken.

As advance polling started last week, the District of Coldstream was undermining the entire electoral process.

“Council’s not bound by the results of the referendum,” said Wendy Kay, chief administrative officer.

Kay went on to say that council will make the ultimate decision on forwarding a sports complex application to the Agricultural Land Commission because the referendum “is just an opinion, it’s not about money.”

And that is an extremely poor message to send to residents, and especially those who have campaigned on both sides of the controversial issue.

It leaves the public with the impression that their opinions don’t count and the politicians and bureaucrats will do what ever they want.

And you would have thought Kay would understand that situation after the municipal office fiasco of a few years ago.

In 2001, residents were asked through referendum to borrow money to construct a new municipal office. The proposal was shot down in flames, but instead of abandoning plans, council found other ways to proceed with the office. The excuse was that the referendum was about how to finance the office and not whether the building should be constructed.

Technically, the council and administrators of that era were correct but it left many residents feeling that their politicians were arrogant and out-of-touch.

Flash forward to 2007 and once again the bureaucrats are technically correct.

It is council — or at least a majority of them — that will have to officially send any application for the Aberdeen Road site off to the ALC for consideration.

Kay indicates that the referendum is just an opinion, but if that is entirely the case, why bother asking for it?

Residents expect that when they are asked to vote in a referendum, that the prevailing outcome will be accepted by the politicians and not just cast aside like yesterday’s laundry.

Two scenarios are in the offing for Saturday — a majority of voters support sending the application off to the ALC or a majority want it put through the shredder.

If it is a no vote, Mayor Gary Corner and Councillors Glen Taylor and Carol Williams better be willing to get with the program and accept the fact that current plans for Aberdeen Road are dead.

But if it is a yes vote, a similar onus is on the anti-complex forces — namely Councillors Doug Dirk, Bill Firman and Jim Garlick — to not stand in the way (I have not placed Coun. Mary Malerby in a camp because she is a wild card and could go either way).

Ultimately, this is not about what politicians want or their own personal views.

That point was made loud and clear when Garlick announced his intention to run for council in 2005.

"I'm wanting to serve my community, not serve myself,” he said.

Kay’s comments last week were inappropriate and they could have some residents questioning whether they should even vote Saturday.

With just a few days left, council members need to be abundantly clear that whatever the results, it is the voters who will ultimately decide the fate of the issue.

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Dear Editor

Now is the time to consider the long-term future of the historic Coldstream Ranch. Aside from its aesthetic, agricultural and environmental values, its rich history makes it worthy to be considered as one of Canada's World Heritage Sites.

Parks Canada's mandate states: "we protect and present nationally significant examples of the people of Canada, we protect and present nationally significant examples of Canada's natural and cultural heritage and foster public understanding, appreciation and enjoyment in ways that ensure their ecological and commemorative integrity for present and future generations".

Coldstream Ranch is rich in all these values. If this property is seen as having a value to the community beyond farming then why not enlarge our scope to envision Coldstream Ranch as an international tourist destination? The site, as well as being a working ranch could include an interpretive center presenting the history, flora and fauna of the ranch.

Coldstream Ranch was purchased by Lord and Lady Aberdeen in 1891. Lord Aberdeen introduced the first commercial orchard in the Okanagan:

"it was obvious to all concerned that the value of the rich bottomlands for fruit farming was far greater than any value they might have for ranching". The End of an Era 1895-1905
Lord Aberdeen went on to become the Governor General of Canada in 1893 and held the position through the terms of Prime Ministers: Sir John Thompson, Sir Mackenzie Bowell, Sir Charles Tupper and Sir Wilfred Laurier.

One can only imagine what Lord and Lady Aberdeen would think of a proposal to build a controversial project on prime agricultural land.

Katy Pace
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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Showdown at the Coldstream Corral -- Letter

Showdown at the Coldstream Corral is fast approaching. I fear it’s gonna be a real barn burner. Whatever the results, whoever wins or loses, there can be no doubt that the community infighting has been very telling and hopefully instructive for all concerned. A myriad of personal opinions have been advanced over the issue of whether the Spicer block should be taken out of the ARL in order to build a park on it.

The community is polarized over the issue, as is Coldstream council, an many claim the issue has been "divisive" pitting "neighbors against neighbors". Was it really necessary? Well we have Gary Corner and the GVSC to thank for that grief to the community. Hopefully they will have to pay politically for dumping this divisive issue onto our collective laps. It certainly was not a necessary exercise in community civics. We also have to thank Counselor Malerby for putting the dispute to a non-binding Referendum, because she didn’t have the political courage to do her job!

I have been very impressed by the thought and effort some people have made on this website and in the Morningstar, concerning this issue. Many people have also made financial contributions to the ‘No’ side in order to fight the entrenched interests of the ‘yes’ side on this issue. I would like to personally commend all those people who got involved and tried to make a difference in this debate. Some have said that the dissenters constitute a disruptive, reactionary "vocal minority" opposed to a ‘far sighted council’. Hardly, it’s a wake up call by those citizens who actually see farther than the either status quo politicians and bureaucrats do!

The Sports lobby, mayor Corner and the GVSC has been evasive,misleading and manipulative throughout the entire campaign. Witness the most recent roadside signs: "say Yes to Parks", that’s not the issue. Some ignorant voters will definitely be taken in by that ploy. We have had a lot of demagoguery in this campaign and I fear that the gullible, trusting and ignorant will vote accordingly.

No matter,don’t count on democratic consensus to ever bring an enlightened result.

One can always hope. However, to be ideologically consistent, ‘No’ voters might consider registering their vote for the Green Party in the next election.

We have an excellent candidate in Hugette Allen!

Thanks again to all those engaged on right side of this issue.

Peter Peto

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Letter to the Editor -- Morning Star -- Waiting for publication.

When we first moved to Coldstream some of the things that we initially noticed were probably some of the same things that you did. There were the quiet neighborhoods, the lovely scenery, the beautiful vistas, and the verdant farmlands. However, we also noticed that some things were missing. Where was all the noise, the traffic, the paved parking lots, the light pollution, the screaming fans at sporting and music festival events. Where was all the litter and garbage on the side of the road that follows such events? It didn't take us long to arrive at the same conclusion that a few others have. What this community needs is a Mega Sports Complex built on prime farmland!

Come on, let's get with the times. Everywhere from the vanishing rain forests to the vast urban sprawl of poorly planned towns and cities, everyone's doing their share. Why should Coldstream be left out?

We've heard it said that if we build this sports complex, taxes will go up and that no one really knows what all this is going to cost. We believe that there is no greater excitement than buying something without any idea of what it will cost.

When we go shopping we like to tell the sales person, "Don't tell us how much it is, surprise us! We'll give you a signed cheque today, and you can just write in the amount of your choosing at a later date."

Besides, once this "Fun Park" becomes established property values in Coldstream will no doubt go down. For many, Coldstream will become a less desirable place to purchase a home. By "many" we mean of course those who don't like to take risks, don't like surprises and don't like "Parks". It just stands to reason that if property values go down taxes will too eventually. In the meantime, we're all for raising taxes. We didn't know what to do with all that money we have anyway.

Speaking of "Parks", we've recently learned that the word "Park" can be used for all sorts of things. It's a very nice word and we have been having fun lately finding other meanings for it. Some of them you may already be familiar with, such as "Car Park", "Shopping Park"...."Industrial Park". Though we aren't as clever as some, I'm sure if we put our minds to it we could come up with a few other uses for the word "Park" as well.

Now as for the devastating loss of prime farmland. Everyone knows that all the food for ourselves and our animals comes from the supermarket or feed store anyway, not from some field, somewhere. If the stores happen to run out we can always truck more in from someplace else. Gas is cheap, we all know that. Prime farmland is old fashioned and should all be paved over and developed as soon as possible. There's nothing that says progress like a big shiny new parking lot filled with cars and trucks. It's so much prettier than some green farmland, cleaning the air and reducing the gasses that lead to global climate change. Everyone knows that's just a hoax anyway right?

So now's your chance. If you vote "NO" on Dec. 15th, all this will never come to pass. Your children, grandchildren and future generations will know that you were one of those that took a stand against the joy that comes from having a Mega Sports Complex built in your area. They'll be able to say that you said, "NO" to the beauty of urban sprawl, paved parking lots, increased traffic, bright lights, pollution and noise that comes from a field full of screaming fans. Just think of it.... if you vote "NO" we won't be able to have our very own "Field of Screams", because remember..... if we build it, they will come.

Mr. & Mrs. Janse
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Think globally, VOTE locally. -- P. E. Szeliga

While most of us identify ‘green’ or environmental issues as a top priority in federal, provincial and even municipal elections, we often don’t take the steps personally to make an environmentally sustainable future for our children and all future generations. Some local politicians would like us to believe that voting in favour of the proposal to remove 118 acres of prime agricultural land from the ALR to go to non-agricultural use is a positive vote for a ‘greening’ of the community. I hope voters aren’t fooled. This isn’t a move to make Coldstream a ‘greener’ or more physically fit community.

We often hear slogans during elections or campaigns. “Think globally, act locally’ is a fine example of a slogan. It’s not just a commercial jingle or a snappy t-shirt message. It holds real meaning to many of us. I may not feel personally responsible for huge CO2 gas emissions, or global warming, devastating storms, floods in lowland or island nations, or the like, but in reality we are. We Canadians are some of the world’s biggest polluters. What can we do to fix this problem? (Didn’t mom always say that when you break something, you have to take responsibility and fix it?) Well, step one is really easy.

Taking prime agricultural land out of the ALR is short-sighted and in the long term will only make our environmental footprint larger. The further our food travels, the more CO2 gas emissions. That’s just a simple fact. So, step one to the solution is: Leave local agricultural land alone and support your local farmers!

I urge all eligible voters to vote No on Dec. 15th and send a message to the politicians. “We support local agriculture and a real sustainable community for our children.”

Sincerely, P.E. Szeliga.

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Letter to the Editor -- Morning Star -- Waiting for publication.

As for the letter writer in the Sunday Morning star, who said, “The view (Aberdeen fields) will not be diminished with the construction of playing fields and a track oval” who is she kidding?

When you can no longer see the night sky because it is lit up with the lights from 5 playing fields (number proposed to be lit) or you can not have a conversation in your home, because there is a rock concert or music blaring or have to listen to announcements my quiet enjoyment of my acreage is ruined. Not to mention my ability to work from my home. This complex will be ugly. It will be noisy. It will increase the traffic in front of my home. It will devalue my property. And I will be first in line to remove my land from the ALR if this proposal goes through. It will be the only way to recoup the lost property value due to this complex.

But, outside the reasons why I don’t want this in my backyard, this proposal is a waste of tax payer’s money. It is the wrong location for a park – because it is prime agricultural land. We already have Kalamalka Provincial Park and Coldstream in general has more parks per population than Vernon. What we are missing is the neighborhood parks in new residential areas like Middleton.

It is the wrong location for sports tourism – which should be by hotels and services. We already have a sufficient number of sports fields and considerable capacity with school fields if we simply invest to maintain them better and provide a few amenities. We need to invest money in the parks we have. Polson Park is a perfect example. I gave several suggestions as to how we could turn this into a beautiful destination park when I worked with the DVA. Instead, it has been deteriorating from lack of investment and lack of use. Let’s get the full value out of our parks and recreation tax investment, by investing wisely. Let’s send a clear message to GVS to go back to the drawing board and do the job right.

Terri Jones

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Nobel Lecture -- by Al Gore, Oslo, 10 December 2007.



For those who still need further convincing one of our readers and fellow Coldstreamer, Terry Sexsmith, provides a link to Al Gore's Nobel Lecture. Due to its length it is not reproduced here but can be accessed by clinking on the author's name. As Terry says "...it speaks directly to the dispute over using the Aberdeen property for a sports complex."
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Councillor speaks up. -- Letter to the Editor -- Morning Star

Dear editor,

I would appreciate it if this letter could be published before Saturday, December 15. No other politicians seem willing to speak out for or against so give me their space. I think it will be possible if you try. I kept it short. Thank you.

Coldstream residents go to the polls on December 15 to give their views on a land-use issue. It is not to determine if they are for, or against parks. Instead, it is to determine whether or not the 118-acre parcel of land in-question on Aberdeen Road should be considered for use other than agriculture on the basis of community need. In order to make this decision we need to know much more information than what we have been given. We also need to enlighten ourselves on some unfolding realities in the world.

The glib manner with which this issue has been addressed by local government staff and politicians along with the sports user group might have been acceptable in days gone by. It is not so today. In today’s world, this attitude appears oddly irresponsible, selfish, and short-sighted. While others in the world discuss food security and safety for future generations under the shadows of peak oil and climate change, our community has chosen another route with our land resources. We have decided to consider removing our best agricultural land from production with far too many unanswered questions regarding the factual, clear costs, benefits and direction of our decision. These are not dollar figures alone.

In a phone conversation I had with the owner of the Coldstream Ranch last Saturday, he described his intentions as purely good for the community. I believe him. Unfortunately this may well be one more good intention paving the way to a hell of a future. This referendum could turn out to be a sorry reflection of our community, or a chance for positive change in how we value agricultural land and how we do business to preserve it in the years to come.

Jim Garlick

Councillor

District of Coldstream

9901 Kalamalka Road,

Coldstream, BC V1B 1L6

Email jimgarlick@msn.com

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Monday, December 10, 2007

Letter to the Editor -- Morning Star


I thought you might want to put this letter to the editor about the park proposal on your web page. I was hoping to see it appear in the Morning Star, but it looks like the letter won't make it in. Hope you enjoy it. And thanks for all your good work.
Sincerely,
Allan Smith

Much has already been said about the proposed sports complex on Highway 6 and Aberdeen Road, but I’d like to offer my own take on why there’s such a strong, emotional resistance in Coldstream to that proposal.

Most of us know how, one after another, beautiful rural areas are destroyed. Usually, commercial enterprises are proposed as benefits to the community. The motive is profit, but the proposal is portrayed primarily as an effort to meet a need in the community, be it for more shopping, housing, seniors’ care—what have you. Of course, proponents talk forcefully about benefits while doing their best to ignore or minimise the drawbacks. If there’s resistance from the community itself, those who object are often criticised for being selfish “NIMBY’s” or as reactionaries who are against “progress.” Too frequently, legitimate concerns of these people are overlooked or dismissed for the sake of “the greater good.” The proposal is accepted, the project carried out, and the profit made. And project by project, bit by bit, an area once characterised by its natural beauty becomes another example of urban sprawl.

This is a simplified view of what happens, but it describes the basics of how beautiful hometowns are eventually “improved out of existence.” This is why the resistance to the sports complex is so entrenched in Coldstream: many of us see this proposal as the start of the same process that’s damaged so many other communities.

Look at the proposal and what’s gone on so far, and the similarities are obvious. One: The proposal is presented as something to meet public needs. Although it would be publicly funded, this is a commercial enterprise meant to attract business to the area. Two: Although the complex is portrayed as a huge benefit to the community, that portrayal is marred by disregard for hard facts. (For example, much has been made of the need to provide these sports facilities for the sake of children while statistics show that the number of children in the area is shrinking and is forecast to continue shrinking for years.) Three: People in the community who oppose the proposal are sometimes criticised unfairly for being selfish.

All this is bad enough. But what really galls me and, I think, a whole lot of the people around me, is the audacity of this proposal. The people pushing it want us, the residents of Coldstream, to pay to help local businesses exploit the natural beauty of our home by building a facility in Coldstream whose long-term benefits are dubious, whose cost can only be guessed at, and whose presence and functions are bound to detract from the rural beauty and character of our community.

I do wish that local politicians wouldn’t require us to defend our quality of life here against such ridiculous intentions. Most of us living here appreciate what we have and understand that to keep it we must be very careful about how the community grows. That’s why so much goes into crafting the Official Community Plan. If we vote in favour of this park proposal, we’ll show a lack of commitment to careful planning and intelligent development that preserves rural living here. And it will only be a matter of time before Coldstream is just another place that used to be beautiful.

The referendum date is December 15th. At least I won’t have to agonise over my decision until then.

Allan Smith

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Coldstream Ratepayers News! All Coldstream residents are ratepayers!

The opinions expressed by "Coldstreamer" are strictly his own and do not represent the opinions of Coldstream Council!

Because I value your thoughtful opinions, I encourage you to add a comment to this discussion. Don't be offended if I edit your comments for clarity or to keep out questionable matters, however, and I may even delete off-topic comments.

Gyula Kiss
coldstreamer@shaw.ca;

***Coldstreamernews***

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About Me

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I have been a resident of Coldstream since 1976. I have had 15 years of experience on Council, 3 years as Mayor. As a current Councillor I am working to achieve fair water and sewer rates and to ensure that taxpayers get fair treatment. The current direction regarding water supply is unsustainable and I am doing all I can to get the most cost effective water supply possible.