Friday, November 30, 2007

Complex complaints grow -- By Jennifer Smith, November 30



Opposition continues to be vocal in Coldstream over the proposed sports complex, while little is heard from politicians and those in favour.

The district has received even more letters from residents opposed to the Aberdeen Road complex – 129 versus one letter in favour.

These are in addition to the 277 letters in opposition and nine in favour received two weeks ago.

Yet Coldstream politicians are doing nothing more than receiving the letters for information.

Meanwhile several residents are calling on their mayor and councillors to provide more information, such as cost estimates, how the proposed and existing parks and fields will be maintained and just general clarity on the issue.

“People in Coldstream see the choice as between a complex or housing,” said Richard Enns, an opposing resident who says the choice is really between a complex or agricultural land.

“The council, perhaps Coldstream, has failed to get the information out there. Without that clarity it’s going to divide the community.”

Resident Gyula Kiss also questioned why this facility is needed and how it will be maintained.

“We actually have a high number of sports fields,” he said, referring to Greater Vernon Services Committee’s parks inventory.

“If you’re going to add more it’s going to be even less maintained because there’s going to be less money in the budget.”

Mayor Gary Corner did say that the need and search for fields have been issues for quite some time.

He added that GVSC has long been consulting with sports and recreation groups about their current and future needs, which is how this proposed project has come about.

“We’ve been looking for a piece of property for years now, certainly before my time on council.”

Coldstream and GVSC are reluctant to release definite costs for the project because details of what will be included still need to be finalized.

Those details will be ironed out through a public input meeting after, and if, Coldstream residents and the Agricultural Land Commission allow a land use change.

Coldstream residents will vote on the issue during a referendum Dec. 15, where they will be asked if they support forwarding an application to the ALC for 118 acres to be used for non-farm use, for the purpose of sports fields.

If the project goes ahead, Coldstream’s portion of costs for the project would be 17.6 per cent.

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Thursday, November 29, 2007

Danger zone!

One of the more dangerous corners in Coldstream is at the intersection of Aberdeen and Venables Roads. Increased traffic from the mega sports complex would significantly increase the number of accidents at that intersection. Reconstruction of the road would be born by Coldstream residents as demonstrated by the attached image. Residents of the area are extremely worried of the potential increase in traffic volumes if the sports complex is approved. For further information contact Charlene Smart at 542-9694.

Vote NO





Clarification of the status of the Spicer Block




There appears to be a perception that if the Spicer Block is not converted into a sports complex it may eventually become a housing development. Let’s dispel that erroneous notion once and for all.

In a letter to the Director of Parks, Recreation and Culture the Chair of the Agricultural Land Commission wrote:
“The Commission notes that it has indicated to the District of Coldstream through the Official Community Plan process that it would consider the urban development of a PORTION of the Spicer Block upon consolidation of smaller lots owned by Coldstream Ranch into larger agricultural parcels. However, the Commission has not provided any support for, or outlined a framework by which it would consider the continued urbanization of the remaining Spicer Block.”
The District of Coldstream OCP shows the Spicer Block as primarily Agricultural, with a portion zoned RMC – Residential Mixed Cluster. This portion is on the South West Corner. It is however labeled – subject to ALC conditions. Those conditions are as follows (page 8):
In order to protect the long term agricultural viability of the valley bottom from possible “hobby farm” development on the existing smaller parcels of the Coldstream Ranch, the Agricultural Land commission, the District of Coldstream and the Ranch have been engaged in discussions about the potential for consolidating the smaller lots.

To offset the economic losses this consolidation would incur for the Coldstream Ranch, the District has proposed that the value of the approximately forty lots that would be lost in the consolidation be transferred to a more suitable site. These transferred parcels would be considerably smaller than the existing lots and clustered so as to reduce the impacts on the surrounding area.


After conducting an intensive development constraints and opportunities analysis, the District presented a number of potential development sites to the OCP steering committee and Coldstream Ranch for consideration. The advantages and disadvantages of each of these sites were discussed (by the whole group). All of these options were eventually deemed unsuitable, with the exception of the Spicer Block.


The Spicer block has relatively high agricultural capacity, but it is located close to existing development and sewer servicing and offers the potential of developing stronger ties to the existing and proposed residential community. The proposed cluster of single family and multi-family residential could be enhanced by recreational land which could act as a buffer separating residential from agricultural uses.


Residents attending open houses in Lavington and Coldstream in march 1997 responded favorably to the consolidations and density transfer idea. 73% of Lavington respondents and 67% of Coldstream respondents agreed with the idea.
There is a whole section on how to facilitate the consolidation and density transfer. However, the Coldstream Ranch owner refused to consolidate the parcels and therefore this entire project is no longer on the books.

The Coldstream Meadows development is built on a section of land that was granted alternate use while still being classified as being in the agricultural reserve. This is proof that once the land is granted alternate use within the agricultural land reserve anything can happen to it.
The only way to ensure that the land remains productive agriculture land is by voting NO on the referendum question!
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Notice to residents of Coldstream



The District of Coldstream reminds residents that posting referendum related posters on power poles is illegal and such posters will be removed by Municipal staff. So, you have been warned!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Councillor's Communication


I am writing to clarify my position in response to Jennifer Smith’s article and Richard Rolke’s editorial. Ms. Smith quoted me as saying, "If we go ahead with this, I see no use in being there (on council) anymore." She did not provide any context. Mr. Rolke wrote he found my statement troublesome that I would not seek re-election if the yes-vote won the referendum on the proposed sports complex. He wrote, "That sounds like the kid, who not liking how the game is going, storms off the field with his ball." And "Was Garlick elected to represent all of Coldstream or just those he agrees with? Is he saying he knows better than the electorate?"

Neither Mr. Rolke nor Ms Smith took the time to speak to me for the rational behind my statement. I would therefore like to present that rationale here in the hope that my intentions are not misconstrued.

I ran for council on a platform of the need for planned development and preservation of ALR land within Coldstream. I did not choose this platform because I thought it the flavour of the day and that it would get me elected. I chose it because it is something I strongly believe in. It is also an issue that Coldstream residents strongly believe in. 88% of Coldstream survey respondents stated that preserving ALR land was one of their top three priorities. The other two were, "managing rapid population growth and preserving environmentally sensitive areas".

The present issue regarding the proposed sports complex on Aberdeen Road involves both planning and preserving ALR land. This is a complex issue that goes beyond just buying a piece of land for a park.

From a planning viewpoint, the thought that this land is better a sports complex than condos is flawed. The repercussions of the sports complex of the type shown in the original proposed plan will affect Coldstream development well beyond this parcel of land. It will affect the type and scale of development as well the physical direction development takes in the community, eastward. A mega sports complex will pave the way for the hotels, restaurants, stores and more parking lots surrounding the sports facility. A precedent will be set. Other landowners in the area will come forward for exclusion from the ALR and subdivision within the ALR. How do we tell them no? How do we protect ALR land in future if we allow a mega sports complex on more than 100 acres of prime agricultural land?

We could not have gone out and found a higher quality piece of agricultural land to denude of its agricultural capability with this sports complex if we had tried. This parcel is one of the best pieces of agricultural land in the Historic Coldstream Ranch. It is one parcel of over 100 acres, has high-quality soil in a mild microclimate, and is actively being farmed as part of a larger value-added operation. It has been an apple orchard and could support 240,000 high-density apple trees. It shows a lack of education in an important aspect of life, food, to say, "It only grows hay."

The land within the ALR is the backbone of Coldstream. It is an economic generator for our area and provides Coldstream with great opportunities other than just being a cheap land bank for development. This land will become increasingly important as the world comes to grips with issues of food security due to fuel costs and climate change. Paving over the best agricultural land will not serve us well over the long term.

I believe we can find alternatives to this site for a sports complex that would minimize the impact on agricultural land. Not enough effort has been made to look for such alternatives. Grahame Park at Fulton School could be used as a site for a football stadium. School sites should be identified for partnerships between GVS parks and the school board for improvement and new facilities. Schools are where children actually participate in sports.

I stand behind my principles and my original platform. I made my reasons for running for office known. I believe it is the reason people elected me. I am not going to change my stance to provide what I consider to be a "want" rather than a "need". I will campaign for the NO vote. If the vote goes the other way
by a convincing majority of the Coldstream electorate then I will accept the vote, continue to represent the public and the public input process to the end of my term. I would not however spend time, energy and money to run in the next election. I would not be the right "player" to represent the community in what I would see as damage control of "urban sprawl". I do not see myself as the kid taking my ball and going home, but rather the coach that has been asked to find another job because I do not fit the team’s vision.

Jim Garlick

Councillor

Email jimgarlick@msn.com

Concerned Area Residents Question the Aberdeen Sports Complex Vision


A number of Coldstream residents are questioning the recent press releases and the entire concept for the proposed Aberdeen sports complex. The Greater Vernon Outdoor Sports User Group recently compared their vision for the Aberdeen site to Ambleside Park in West Vancouver.

Ambleside Park is drastically different than the proposal for a stadium and multiple playing fields being put forth for the Aberdeen property”, commented Penny Thorlakson. “The majority of Ambleside Park is devoted to beach front access and a seawall walkway. There are a few sports fields, but no permanent structures such as stadiums or bleachers. The park is located in a large metropolitan area and not in a rural community.”

“It is also important to note that the sports field portion of the West Vancouver Park is built on a marshy area where people used to dump refuse”, said Gyula Kiss. “They didn’t build on high quality soil, like the Aberdeen land. This is a far cry from ripping out land, which can support a wide variety of crops out of the Agricultural Land Reserve to build a sports complex.”

“Once large quantities of sand and rock are placed on the Aberdeen land to prepare it for sports fields, the farm land will be lost forever” continued Maria Besso-Ockert. “The changing of the land to non farm use status also then opens up the possibility of housing. Note that the 160 unit Coldstream Meadows development is on ALR non farm use land”

Aside from agricultural issues, some residents are also concerned with the misperception about the proposed complex. “We constantly hear that this park is for the kids, but a solution truly geared to kids would be placing sports fields closer to neighborhoods, and not centralizing all sports in one mega site way out of town” commented Joanne Osborn. She feels that the proposed development is being sold as a park, but in reality it is development geared towards Funtastic and sports tourism.

“The vision unveiled by the Greater Vernon Outdoor Sports User Group this summer was not for a park, but for multiple playing fields, a stadium, and 1,000 parking spaces. Walking trails were mentioned in the press, but this was for a completely different location along the Grey Canal parallel to Buchanan Road. GVSC bundled the Aberdeen and Grey Canal proposals together, but Coldstream Council separated the proposals at the September meeting and passed the Grey Canal concept.” Osborn believes that the current press release from the Sports User Group is now just claiming to include family friendly structures for picnicking and non-sport leisure activities at the Aberdeen development to ease public concern.

Many residents, like Denice Berlinski, are also concerned that there hasn’t been a professional independent review for the needs of the user groups. “Mayor Gary Corner and some sporting groups pushed this issue to the forefront without any concern for the Coldstream community plan”, said Denice Berlinski. She goes on to point out that the Greater Vernon Services Master Parks Plan states that there is a very high field to person ratio in Vernon when compared to other B.C. communities. “Coldstream has 18% of the population and 27% of the sports fields, not counting Coldstream’s

However, if user groups still feel the need to build more fields, many Coldstream residents question why the proposed rubber track cannot be added to the future site of Vernon Secondary, similar to the site at Penticton Secondary, or that a football stadium can’t be built as a stand alone structure/field, and that current sporting and school fields be upgraded. “We don’t believe that all avenues have been seriously exhausted. Greater Vernon Services and the Greater Vernon Outdoor Sports Group want a monstrous complex for tournaments and are putting out the notion that this is our only option and chance to have better sports fields. It’s not,” added Patrick Tymkiw, a concerned Coldstream resident.

Coldstream residents head to the polls on December 15th to vote on whether or not to send an application to the Agriculture Land Commission for non-farm use on the property.
resources for lacrosse, ball hockey, skateboarding, beach volleyball and tennis.”

Joanne Osborn
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Monday, November 26, 2007

Letter to Council -- Ted and Carolyne Osborn




The following letter was sent to Coldstream Council.
(click on image)





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Sunday, November 25, 2007

Councillor comes under fire


“For those that don't want that area (complex) near their place you might do what me and my husband did – we moved.” (click on image)
That is the advice of Councillor Williams to those upset by the potential negative effects of the sports complex. So all those residents presently residing around the Spicer Block, all those present and future residents of the new development across the road take note. If you don't like music festivals, huge sports events with the accompanying noise and traffic you better move out of Coldstream.

Councillor Williams states that they "...
couldn’t find housing that was suitable for us at this stage in our lives” in Coldstream, thus they moved out of the area. It is another surprise!

Coldstream Meadows, which was created with the support of the Councillor, recently ran a major ad campaign advertising their homes. They might be a bit more pricey, the utilities (water, sewer) might be higher, taxes might also be higher but then Mrs Williams would have a better appreciation of OUR burden when it comes to voting on increased taxes and higher sewer a water rates. Since she is not affected by these expenses, forgive me if I doubt the sincerity of the Councillor that she is representing Coldstream residents' interest.

I am quite certain that the inconvenience of the traffic, noise, light pollution, loud music of the music festivals will not be experienced by Councillor Williams so she could vote for the complex in good conscience.
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GVSC can’t avoid issue -- Nov 25 Editorial

Recent comments from Greater Vernon Services Committee chairman Gary Corner would be laughable if they weren’t so concerning.

After the committee filed a letter about the proposed Aberdeen Road sports complex, Corner said, “The problem we have is this really isn’t a GVSC issue right now.”

Not a GVSC issue right now?

Isn’t it the committee that has offered to purchase the land from Coldstream Ranch? And isn’t it GVSC seeking a land use change from the Agricultural Land Commission?

It should also be pointed out that the District of Coldstream is only considering a referral to the ALC because it has been asked to – once again by GVSC.

It’s increasingly obvious there’s a significant need for additional sports facilities and the Aberdeen Road site is a suitable location because of its proximity to existing Coldstream and Vernon neighbourhoods.*

But that said, why is GVSC hiding from very legitimate questions about the proposal? As an example, the letter filed by the board dealt with overall costs and alternate sites.

And these questions will continue to persist unless GVSC politicians and staff deal with them head-on. With full information out there – including about the complex design – perhaps public support would grow.

Being transparent would also counter some of the misinformation coming from opposition forces.

In the end, GVSC initiated the entire sports complex process and it’s time to do the right thing and take ownership for the issue.

*Basically, the Editorial is excellent. However, I take exception to the statement: "It’s increasingly obvious there’s a significant need for additional sports facilities".

Why is it that nobody reads the Master Parks Plan? Before such statement is made you should read that plan for which we spent good dollars. To ease your workload, here are some important excerpts:
"Baseball/softball:

"Vernon has a softball diamond supply of 1/2,116 population, a very high supply. The baseball Diamond supply is 1/5,080 population. This is also a large number of fields for the size of the Community. An analysis was conducted of field use in relation to capacity. Using a conservative Estimate of capacity (Monday to Saturday week, Saturday based on 9 to 3 PM only, 2 hour blocks for Ball games, one block per weekday evening for fields without lights, 2 blocks for fields with lights), the Field use in relation to capacity is 55% for school fields, and 75% for fields in parks.

The largest group of ball diamond users in the community is the various adult slo-pitch leagues who together have over 1,000 members. The minor fastball (also called fastpitch) league serves around 180 girls; fastball can use the same diamonds as slo-pitch. There is only one adult baseball league, and a minor baseball league that had 450 members in 2000. Slo-pitch participation is steady, minor fastball is stable, and minor baseball participation is decreasing." Plan/page 39 (click on)

Soccer etc:

"Vernon has a total of 51 sports fields. These are used primarily for soccer, but other uses include football, rugby, field lacrosse, track and field, fly fishing practice, grass volleyball, Special Olympics, and ultimate (Frisbee). The following is a summary of the supply of sports fields:......page 40...

Vernon has a sports field supply of 1/996 population. This is a very high standard of supply. An analysis was conducted of field use in relation to capacity. Using a conservative estimate of capacity (Monday to Saturday week, Saturday based on 9 to 3 PM only, 1½ hr blocks for soccer, one block per weekday evening), the field use in relation to capacity is 43% for school fields, and 73% for fields in Parks.

The North Okanagan Youth Soccer Association (NOYSA) is the primary user of sports fields. With about 2000 members in the 2003 season, membership is stable and their season of use is April to November. The NOYSA uses all park and school fields except ones that are in poor condition. They host 3 tournaments per year. There are also men’s and women’s soccer leagues in the community. There are several important trends occurring in soccer. One is a move towards artificial turf, which can sustain much higher levels of play year-round, and many B.C. Communities now have or are developing such fields. Another is indoor artificial turf practice facilities, e.G., Western Indoor Soccer, Burnaby. These are very popular for training. The third factor is the hiring of full time soccer development coordinators to improve the sport. These factors are leading to a more active soccer community and worn, over-utilized fields.

The other groups that use sports fields include: senior men's’ rugby, minor football, high school football, field lacrosse, track and field, fly fishing practice, grass volleyball, Special Olympics, and ultimate (Frisbee). Ultimate is a relatively new activity. With just over 50 regular members in the Greater Vernon area, the league hosted a major weekend tournament in recent years, and also hosts several smaller tournaments annually." page 41.

Unless you can contradict those figures presented by the Consultant you are publishing false information and deceiving the public. Please retract those falsehoods!

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Saturday, November 24, 2007

Coldstream Council Agenda -- November 26

REGULAR MEETING OF THE COUNCIL
OF THE DISTRICT OF COLDSTREAM
TO BE HELD ON MONDAY, NOVEMBER 26, 2007
IN THE MUNICIPAL HALL COUNCIL CHAMBERS
9901 KALAMALKA ROAD, COLDSTREAM, BC
AT 7:00 PM
A G E N D A (click)
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.

b. Okanagan Partnership

Mr. Brad Clements will be in attendance to speak to this matter.

c. Minnow Crossings

Mr. Brian Robertson, from the Ministry of Environment, will be in attendance to speak to this matter.

d. Application for Non-Farm Use Within the ALR,

Application No. 07-026-ALR, Lot 81, DLs 12 & 87, ODYD, Plan 548 (Except Parcel A), (DD 137580F) thereof, 9728 Springfield Road (Nogue)

Ken and Pat Moore 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, November 26, 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. APPROVAL OF AGENDA


Additional notes of interest:

d. Universal Garbage Collection

Report from the North Okanagan Regional District, Manager of Environmental Services, dated October 31, 2007

Comment

At their Regular Meeting held, November 13, 2007, Council tabled this matter until all Council members could be present to discuss the matter.

Comment

Does Council wish to implement a universal curbside garbage collection program in the District of Coldstream?

Page 43 e.

Application for Non-Farm Use Within the ALR,
File No. 07-020-ALR (Proposed Park/Sports Field)
Lot A, Sections 24 & 25, Twp. 9, ODYD, Plan 2420,
Except Plan H14664 (9325 Aberdeen Road)

Listing of letters received from Coldstream residents (see separate binder)

Letter from Ted and Carolyn Osborn, dated November 13, 2007

Recommendation

THAT the following correspondence:

Listing of letters received from Coldstream residents (see separate binder)

Letter from Ted and Carolyn Osborn, dated November 13, 2007 regarding Application for Non-Farm Use Within the ALR (Proposed Park/Sports Field, Lot A, Sections 24 K& 25, Twp. 9, ODYD, Plan 2420, Except Plan H14664 (9325 Aberdeen Road), be received for information.

Note: This subject opens the door for public input on the Aberdeen sports complex!
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Corner’s corner – fiction vs facts

Mayor Corner often makes seemingly fictional statements that seem to contradict the real facts. With this new feature we explore some of those contradictions.
Mayor Corner:
Mayor Gary Corner is concerned with some of the incorrect information spreading, such as cost estimates that have been thrown around in the $30 million range. “That’s just insane,” said Corner of the amount which he suspects will be a lot less. MS. Nov. 16
So, if that is insane how much are the real costs?
Mayor Corner

“We honestly don’t have fixed costs because it will depend on timing,” said Gary Corner, GVSC chairman and Coldstream mayor. A rough estimate from GVSC has been $6 to $7 million, but Corner insists that could change especially if engineering and soil work are done. “Those can actually impact what we decide to put there,” he said. “It will also depend on how much money the user groups provide and the project won’t happen overnight.” MS Nov 23
In other words, we don’t know what the real costs will be. If so, how can Mayor Corner categorically state that the $30 million range is “insane”? It could be less or could be more. Considering how the costs of the so called “Master Water Plan” escalated nothing is insane in this administration!
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Complex costs demanded -- By Richard Rolke -- November 23

Demands continue to grow for the costs for a proposed sports complex in Coldstream.

The Coldstream Ratepayers Association believes firm details figures for the project should be revealed prior to residents voting Dec. 15 on whether an application should be sent to the Agricultural Land Commission asking that the land use be changed to allow for sports facilities.

“Without it, it’s a blank cheque,” said Andy Danyliu, president.

“The people who pay have a right to know how much they will pay for those who play.”

Danyliu says the costs of the complex are directly tied to the referendum because if they are too high, there is no need to purchase the Aberdeen Road site or to build fields.

But Danyliu suspects there is a reason why the information will not been made public by GVSC prior to Dec. 15.

“If they tell us the real figures, people will defeat it,” he said.

But Greater Vernon Services Committee officials deny they are trying to hide anything.

“We honestly don’t have fixed costs because it will depend on timing,” said Gary Corner, GVSC chairman and Coldstream mayor.

A rough estimate from GVSC has been $6 to $7 million, but Corner insists that could change especially if engineering and soil work are done.

“Those can actually impact what we decide to put there,” he said.

“It will also depend on how much money the user groups provide and the project won’t happen overnight.”

Coldstream would contribute funds towards development of a sports complex but so would GVSC’s other participating jurisdictions — Vernon and Areas B and C.

In terms of purchasing the property, money would come from development cost charges (which developers pay into), the land acquisition reserve and funds from the 2005 parks borrowing referendum.

At this time, GVSC is not revealing the price of the Aberdeen Road site if the land deal proceeds.

“Coldstream Ranch (the owner) doesn’t want it disclosed and if the referendum doesn’t pass, we don’t want people with similar land knowing what we are willing to pay,” said Corner about the property negotiations.

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Sports group vision for Aberdeen site

The article on Nov 21st stating the viewpoint of the sports groups who want to build a sports complex on the 118 acres of farm land on Aberdeen Road is very concerning. They state that "the debate on this issue has overshadowed our view that this proposal is an opportunity for our community to come together as families, young and old, in a healthy and positive environment." It's been said before and I'll say it again. Nobody has missed that viewpoint. Not one letter or piece of information that I've read nor any person I've heard has missed that viewpoint. So let's put that invalid argument to rest. The environmental cost of doing this is the point of contention.

A recent report on November 17th by International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) sponsored by the United Nations has some very alarming information about our environment. The information is based on 6 years of research resulting in thousands of pages of evidence and the conclusion is that evidence of climate change is "unequivocal". It said the trend could lead to "abrupt" changes to the planet, cause human suffering and threaten some species with extinction. "Slowing and reversing these threats is the defining challenge of our age,'' UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said as he unveiled the report in Valencia, Spain. “It’s extremely clear and is very explicit that the cost of inaction will be huge compared to the cost of action,” said Jeffrey D. Sachs, director of Columbia University’s Earth Institute.

The UN's Global Environmental Outlook (GEO-4) makes it clear why we, the residents of Coldstream, should care about this. The report states there are too few acres of cropland feeding too many mouths. Too many pipes sucking up or spilling into too many rivers. Ecosystems are shattered and overstretched, triggering the sixth major wave of extinctions in our planetary experience. The report concludes that "Our common future depends on our actions today, not tomorrow or some time in the future" and we need to think hard and act fast.

The 23-page summary said climate systems unquestionably have already begun to change and that human activities since the start of the industrial age have contributed to the problems. And this is where we, as citizens of Coldstream, have the opportunity, right now, to get involved and do our part to help with this immense problem that we all face.

The farmland in the ALR is graded on a scale from class 1 to 7, class 1 being the very best land. In British Columbia, all prime agriculture land within the ALR (our best crop land) accounts for only about 1% of the BC land base. Prime is referring to classes 1 to 3 according to the Canadian Land Inventory classification. The 118 acres on Aberdeen Road is class 2 on that scale meaning it is among the very best farm land available anywhere in the country. Knowing this information why would anyone contemplate turning this particular land into a sports complex when there are other lands available for the same purpose?

There's a word from the ancient Greek language "Akrasia" and it means knowing the right thing to do but not doing it. People don't choose to act poorly or against better judgment so actions that go against what is best are only a product of being ignorant of facts or knowledge of what is good or best. I believe the people attempting to destroy the farmland on Aberdeen Road must be unaware of the implications of what they are proposing or they wouldn't be doing it.

So we have a choice. We can sit back and rely on governments or industry or people in the UN to come to our rescue and implement the necessary changes that will save us from drastic environmental consequences. Or we can say "no" to this proposal to destroy valuable farm land in our community. By doing this we'll be sending the message that we are no longer going to be part of the problem. We are going to be part of the solution.

Terry and Mickie Sexsmith

Coldstream, BC

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Water plant costs on the rise -- By Richard Rolke, November 23

The price tag for the Duteau Creek water treatment plant has increased again.

The Greater Vernon Services Committee approved $3.4 million in upgrades Thursday, bringing the project cost to $28.6 million. The original plan called for $19 million.

“Is this thing starting to get out of hand?” said director Barry Beardsell.

“If the costs go beyond what’s envisioned, what increase will that have in rates?”

However, chairman Gary Corner disagrees that costs are going through the roof and points out that a $13.8 million grant was received from senior government.

“It was envisioned when we got grants we’d enhance the plant,” he said, adding that the $19 million plant was a basic design based on no assistance coming forward.

Beardsell is also concerned that operating costs may escalate, and he is demanding a financial update on the project.

“Everyone should be aware of where we stand on the financial picture,” he said.

Beardsell also wants assurances that former Vernon Irrigation District customers will be pleased with the outcome of the work.

“What is the colour of that water going to be in July and August? Will every customer be happy?” he said.

Staff believe turbidity and colour will be minimized by the treatment plant, and boil water advisories will become rare.

The improvements approved Thursday include a larger reservoir, a chlorination system for irrigation water, chlorine scrubbers and a standby generator.

“The upgrades are really beneficial to the plant,” said Bill Di Pisquale, project manager.

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Friday, November 23, 2007

Open letter to Mrs Malerby.

Mrs. Malerby:

I am very disappointed to find that you are so easily swayed. As a retired teacher, I've dealt with many principals over the years who all tell student bodies (secondary schools) that petitions are a very ineffective method of process, simply because they are so open to misuse and misrepresentation.

Can you assure me--beyond question--that the 600+ names on that petition are all Coldstream taxpayers? Are some of them not possibly youngsters well below the age of voting, or paying taxes? Might some of them be from unorganized jurisdictions? Who collected the names? The only petition on the subject of which I was aware (I am a Coldstream taxpayer) was online via Greater Vernon Sports, and on reading it, I found no restriction on signers to be Coldstream taxpayers.

A second point is that the question now goes to referendum. Excuse me--do Coldstream taxpayers need to foot the bill for a referendum (and, for the sake of interest, how much does that cost?) giving direction as to whether or not to send an application in to a Commission that has, in the past, stated concretely that agricultural land is to be retained? Has anyone thought to query the ALC as to where they stand on this question, before getting involved with referenda and such? Has anyone thought to inform the ALC that, in dealing with this question, they will be embroiling themselves in local politics?

My husband and I voted for you in the last election. Should you choose to run again, you most definitely will not secure our votes another time.

Cathryn Brown
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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Sports group's vision.

Greater Vernon's Outdoor Sport Users Group (GVOSUG) "...unveiled their hopes and dreams for the proposed sports complex on Aberdeen Road..." (Morning Star). Bill Tarr, spokesman for the group, feels that "the debate on this issue overshadowed our view...".

The important words here are “their hopes” and “our view”. While this proposal has a dramatic impact on all of Greater Vernon the only input for this project came from GVOSUG leadership. The rest of us had no idea of what was brewing until a few days before GVSC’s application to change the use of this prime agricultural property in favour of the sports complex came before Coldstream Council.

In a democratic society (which may be an unknown principle in some circles) a major change in plans and cost implications must be available for consideration by all members of the community. This “vision” goes against two publicly approved long term plans both of which were commissioned on behalf of the taxpayers and paid for by same. The first plan is Coldstream’s Official Community Plan and the second is the Greater Vernon Parks and Recreation Master Plan.

Nobody debates the need for physical activities for young and old. However, healthy living begins with healthy eating and then we can continue with healthy physical activities. Removing huge tracts of prime agricultural land from food production is not an effective path to healthy living. It is also questionable that we need a “big box store” approach to sports. As the group points out “...healthy living starts at an early age with open green space to run and play...”. that requires neighbourhood playgrounds where children can play close to home. Those are the facilities that are in short supply in the area. Middleton Mountain parents came to Coldstream Council in droves demanding those neighbourhood parks. Diverting scarce resources from these parks to mega projects is not the way to encourage children to begin a healthy lifestyle.

Statistics show the fastest growing age demographic is 55+. Seniors, including myself, can easily stay healthy by using existing walking trails. Additionally, more and more walking trails are being developed in the city, in the Electoral Areas and in Coldstream. Throwing in the walking trails is just a red herring as is the mention of children. Let’s face it, the vision for a sports complex came from Funtastic, which started out as a nice, relaxing summer event and now is becoming a commercial eco-tourism feature. In fact, it appears to become the next “Merrit Mountain Music Festival” with all the baggage that event has.

If this change in land use is permitted who knows what “community need” will require an additional chunk of prime agricultural land to be removed from production. Vernon appears to be outpacing its resources. They have a short supply of industrial and commercial land. Can we expect more requests in this direction?

Agriculture is Coldstream’s main industry, agricultural land is its industrial land. Coldstream’s OCP, approved by an overwhelming majority of taxpayers protects these lands. They are not for development!
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Demographics of Coldstream/Vernon….How it fits in.

Demography is simply the study of population and how it changes over time. Its components are birth, death, migration and aging. The renowned Canadian demographer David Foot (author of the best seller Boom, Bust and Echo) claims that demography explains two-thirds of everything. The other one-third might come from misguided political leadership and other unpredictable events.

Coldstream and Vernons’ population distribution mirrors both Canada’s and B.C.’s demography, but with much greater growth in the retirement/senior population. The median age (half of the population younger, and half older ) is 44.3 years for Coldstream and 44.8 years for Vernon. This is what the median population of B.C. is expected to be by the early 2020s (Canada Census 2006). We are an older community and getting older; the median age in the year 2031 is projected to be 47.4 years for Vernon.

Since 1999/2000 there has zero to negative net natural increase in population (more deaths than births in Vernon). All population growth to the year 2031 will be driven by net migration.

The actual age distribution over time reveals the following percentages for Vernon;

Census 2001

Less than 25 years old.... 30%
25 – 44 years ...................26%
55 years and greater .......31%
65 years and greater .......17%

Census 2006

Less than 25 years old... 28.2%
25 – 44 years ..................22.3%
55 years and greater.......33.6%
65 years and greater.......19.9%

Census projection 20031

Less than 25 years old....23%
25 – 44 years..................23%
55 years and greater.......38%
65 years and greater.......26%

Note that the 2031 projection was done without the benefit of the 2006 Census data (ie. used only 2001 data and historical growth rates)

The growth of the “over 55 years group” as a percentage of total population may actually be higher than the 38% projected by 2031 , if the rate of growth between 2001 and 2006 is sustained. The “25 – 44 years” group has already fallen below the 30 year projection, in a mere 5 years.

As for the age group that dominates organized sport and puts the greatest pressure on sport field use, one has to look no further than the BCTF to establish school enrolment projections:

“Full time-equivalent student enrolments have declined steadily since 2001/2002 and are expected to do so until the school-age population in B.C. begins to increase at about 2015. The most recent-published population projections (B.C. Stats, February 2007) indicate that by 2031, the school age population will have returned to 2000/2001 levels, the highest in the almost 40 year period between 1970 and 2007.”
So given the establishment of the adequacy of sport fields in Vernon and Coldstream to present need (see Blog Archive….Some Additional Info from Denice Berlinski), one can easily conclude that these existing fields will be somewhat underutilized for the next decade and will easily satisfy “community need” for the next 30 years, until school populations revive.

Additionally, as the school district continues to be impacted by enrolment shortfalls, and hence revenue shortfalls, some sharing of fields and costs with GVS may prove attractive for the likes of football and track needs as well as gymnasiums etc.

Data Sources

BCTF Research Report Section IV 2007-50-1
Population and Housing Profile and Projection for the City Of Vernon, 2001-2031: Dec 2006
B.C. Stats 2006 Census Profile Vernon
B.C. Stats 2006 Census Profile Coldstream

Greg Ockert
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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Referendum information!!!!!

Here are some things you should know regarding your eligibility to vote in this referendum:

In order to vote:

You must be a Canadian citizen

You must be at least 18 years of age on Dec. 15/07

You must have resided in BC for at least 6 months immediately prior to Dec. 15/07

You must have lived in Coldstream/Lavington for at least 30 days immediately prior to Dec. 15/07

You will need to bring to the poll, 2 pieces of ID showing proof of residency – one of which must show a photograph of yourself. Examples include: Drivers’ Licence, BCID Card, Current Hydro or Phone Bill

NOTE: If you do not have a drivers’ licence, you can obtain photo ID in the form of a BCID Card from the Access Center. (I’m not sure how long it takes to process this card, so it would be a good idea to apply for one right away!)

You may still be able to vote if you are a non-resident who owns property and pays taxes in Coldstream. Please contact Kerri-Ann Baggett at the Coldstream Municipal Hall to find out for sure if you are eligible. Call her at 545-5304. (Again, do this soon as it may take awhile to process the information)

IF YOU ARE GOING TO BE ABSENT FROM COLDSTREAM ON DEC.15,

YOU CAN STILL VOTE !

ADVANCE POLLS WILL BE HELD AT THE MUNICIPAL HALL:

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 5

WEDNESDAY DECEMBER 12

THURSDAY DECEMBER 13

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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Sunday, November 18, 2007

Sports complex referendum defended -- By Jennifer Smith, November 16, 2007

Jennifer Smith’s interview with Mayor Corner and Councillor Malerby (Sports complex referendum defended) deserves some comments. (Quotes from the interview are in blue)
“The district received 277 letters opposing the proposed development on agricultural land, as well as the Dec. 15 referendum. It received only nine letters in favour.”
It’s likely that each of those letters represented two or more people as only one flier was sent to each household.
“All of these 200-some-odd names I assume came out of that meeting,” said Corner, referring to a recent Coldstream Ratepayers’ Association meeting. “That’s fine but the residents will be able to have their say in the referendum.”
Interesting comment from a Mayor who voted to build a Municipal Hall after the voters turned it down in a referendum. The Chief Executive Officer stressed that Council is not bound by the outcome of this referendum.
Coun. Mary Malerby said: “I think the people in favour probably are not making as much noise.”
Having seen how people supporting the complex used children as pawns I beg to differ.
She points to the petition in favour of the complex, which more than 600 Coldstream residents signed and how this petition in opposition hasn’t even reached the halfway mark of the previous one.
See my earlier remarks regarding the numbers. Also, these opponents signed their names unlike many supporting the complex registered through the internet without signatures. I wonder when Dr Suzuki of the Suzuki Foundation took time out of his busy schedule to come and sign the petition. How many children signed?

Some people have the misconception that there could be homes built on the land unless this complex is constructed. This is totally false!

The only way homes could be built on those lands if we have them removed from the land reserve or allow alternate use of the land. Coldstream Meadows was developed on agricultural land that is still in the reserve but has received permission for alternate use!!! Don’t be fooled by lies and misrepresentation!
Corner stands by his council’s decision and reminds residents that this is a project that could benefit many. “It’s not just for sports people but people who want to go for a walk and get off the road.
There are many walkways available for area residents: the ribbons of green, the Grey Canal trails, Polson Park, Rotary trail, etc. However, if people take the time to drive all the way to Aberdeen Road for a walk they might as well drive a little further to Kalamalka Lake Park where there are plenty of well developed and maintained walking trails AND THEY ARE ALL PAID FOR.
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Letter to the Editor


THIS WAS SENT TO THE PAPER THIS MORNING

Click on object to enlarge.

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Saturday, November 17, 2007

Comments on "Costs clarified for proposed sports fields – By Jennifer Smith - Vernon Morning Star"

The following article was written by Jennifer Smith in the November 16th edition of the Morning Star with comments in blue by The Eagle.

Coldstream residents are being given a better idea of what a proposed sports complex could cost them.

Mayor Gary Corner is concerned with some of the incorrect information spreading, such as cost estimates that have been thrown around in the $30 million range.
That is easy to correct. Give as an honest estimate of the costs. Something better than was given for the cost of the Master water Plan.
“That’s just insane,” said Corner of the amount which he suspects will be a lot less.

Costs on the actual project aren’t being released because details of what will be included on the land would still need to be finalized.

Greater Vernon Services Committee parks and recreation administrator Al McNiven confirms there will be a public input meeting to refine the details – if the project is given the public blessing from the Dec. 15 referendum and then approved by the Agricultural Land Commission.
Hopefully that will not be necessary.
For Coldstream, any costs of the project would be 17.6 per cent, as a GVSC member (Vernon and Areas B and C would pick up the remainder).
GVSC is in a major turmoil. The electoral area directors want to pull out from GVSC, thus, the whole structure of GVSC will change or be disbanded. What will Coldstream share be if the electoral areas pull out? What will be the governance structure of GVSC if those areas are no longer participating? Right now Vernon has three directors the electoral areas have two directors and Coldstream has one. What will be Coldstream role if we have one director versus three directors from Vernon? Would we have any voice? It’s bad enough as it is at present.
For the purchase price, McNiven says development cost charges (which developers pay into), the land acquisition reserve and funds from the 2005 parks borrowing referendum would be used.

“So that’s money we already have, all of this is,” said McNiven.

He confirms that $1.3 million would be used from the parks referendum borrowing funds, therefore Coldstream would pay 17.6 per cent or $228,800, plus interest, to be paid back over 20 years.

“And any construction costs, again Coldstream’s portion is 17.6 per cent.”
With the addition of the proposed playing fields the number of playing fields will increase well above the maximum recommended needs. We have problems maintaining the existing fields with our present budget. How well we manage the maintenance and upkeep of the present and the additional fields? How much additional taxes will be required?Just a few comments and questions!
For construction costs, McNiven adds that there has been no discussions about borrowing funds.

The idea is the construction would be like that of DND or Marshall Fields, which were built over time with money from the annual capital budget.

Corner reminds residents that the costs would also be affected by contributions from sports groups (the user groups have committed $1 million over five years).
That commitment cannot be enforced. Any change in the financial status of the sports groups could change their commitment.
McNiven also estimates that the footprint of the proposed complex could end up being closer to 80 acres, rather than the initial estimation of 60 acres on the 118-acre plot.
That is a remarkable comment. If the plan really changed as Mr McNiven indicated at the September 11th meeting with reduced number of parking stalls, elimination of the proposed banquet facilities such an increase in foot print is difficult to justify.
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Friday, November 16, 2007

GVSC must divulge figures -- Editorial, Morning Star

What does the Greater Vernon Services Committee have to hide?

GVSC excuses that costs for the proposed Aberdeen Road sports complex can’t be released because specific details aren’t finalized are growing tiresome.

The electorate is intelligent enough to know that any design is a work in progress and the costs may change. But as Coldstream residents head to the polls Dec. 15 on the agricultural land use issue, they deserve a rough idea of what the project could cost.

Keep in mind that taxes keep escalating in Coldstream and GVSC water rates have skyrocketed. As a result, residents are increasingly concerned about the hit in the wallet and how much worse the situation could get.

It makes sense that the price of the land remains confidential because that is part of purchase negotiations, but there is no good reason to withhold cost estimates for the fields and any related infrastructure.

And focusing on the financial breakdown between Greater Vernon jurisdictions and the use of reserves and development cost charges is just a smoke-screen. Ultimately, taxpayers throughout Greater Vernon would have to cough up cash for a sports complex and that should be acknowledged by GVSC.

By not doing so, all GVSC does is alienate residents further and feed conspiracy theories that the costs will be extravagant.

With just a month left before the Coldstream referendum, it is time for GVSC and Coldstream politicians to be completely transparent about how they want to spend public dollars.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Letter to the Editor of the Morning Star. Submitted on Nov. 11, 2007


THE ROAD NOT TAKEN

Opportunity:

1. a combination of circumstances favorable for the purpose.

2. a good chance

We are at a crossroads in Coldstream with the decision about the proposed development of 118 acres of farm land on Aberdeen Road. As we all know, the complex is to include 2 baseball fields, 4 soccer pitches, 6 slo-pitch/fastball fields, parking for 1000 vehicles (‘downsized’ to 570?), 4 dog agility fields, storage, offices, washrooms, change rooms and bleachers, and a fully lit stadium with a track and football field. As it stands, yes, there are opportunities for sports groups within this complex. There are other opportunities as well.

If this is voted in there are opportunities for major noise and light pollution from this mega complex. I pity anyone looking down on it, and I pity anyone living on Middleton Mountain, Coldstream Valley Estates, or anywhere down Aberdeen Road to Kal Lake Road and beyond when beer gardens and other events are in full swing. This will become a main site for a multitude of events, and the festivities that follow. (Build it and they will come!) Jason Gilbert, executive director of Funtastic, was interviewed in the Morning Star on Nov. 7, and I feel a need to respond to a few of his comments. He states that Funtastic has agreed to continue holding its annual music festival at the DND grounds for as long as possible. I wonder how long that will last when this new facility is built! There’s also opportunity for sports tourism, and urban sprawl, in the form of motels, hotels, and convention centers west of Aberdeen Road by the NORD building - that land is not in the ALR.

Mr. Gilbert states that this will be a community park, with people walking and riding their bikes down there. Mr. Gilbert, when was the last time you tried walking or biking down Aberdeen Road as cars come whizzing off Highway 6? Consider walking or biking along this road when the traffic the complex brings in is hurrying to wherever they’re going. I can’t see too many parents sending their children off on bikes to this ‘neighborhood park’! That would be an opportunity for a tragic accident.

Mr. Gilbert also states that “if the GVS doesn’t lease back the remaining land for agricultural use I’m going to be one pissed off guy because it should be agricultural land” (Morning Star, Nov. 7). Well, Mr. Gilbert, I have to say that there are actually quite a few people in Coldstream besides you that are “pissed off” about developing this land, because they agree with you that it should be agricultural land. This is class two farm land, of which only 7% in B.C. is left. I am curious Mr. Gilbert – do you feel any remorse for the 60 acres of prime farm land that is being developed?

There’s also the unknown of what this facility will cost. Mr. Gilbert states that at the Sept. 11 information meeting (I actually understood that it was a decision meeting on this issue called by Coldstream council, not an information meeting, but why play with words?) that the cost for the revised plan was estimated at $8 million. Of course, this is only an estimate, and a developer stated at the same meeting that the costs in reality would be much higher. Not to mention that it doesn’t include the cost of the land. (Costs are really an unknown factor here). But Mr. Gilbert adds “It really fluctuates largely. They can’t just spend money that they don’t have” (Morning Star, Nov. 7). Most of us can’t spend money we don’t have. Unless you’re Coldstream council, and then it’s ok (it appears). For sure we will have higher taxes!

I encourage people to inform themselves fully on both sides of this issue. Check out the Funtastic website at www.funtastic.org. This has a lot of information that will be helpful in your decision. Please visit as well the Coldstreamer site at www.coldstreamernews.blogspot.com. Be sure to check out the archived items.

Everyone will vote according to their needs, desires, worries, opportunities, or conscience. Let’s just make sure that we inform ourselves fully, and know which road we want to travel down before we vote, because we will arrive at a very different Coldstream depending on our choice.

Joyce Gershony (A concerned Coldstream resident)

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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;

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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.