Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Selected articles, MS -- 2008-07-30

Another interesting situation where there is no one responsible for bungled up negotiations!
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This story needs to be completed, so read this as well!


Hesperia - Why is the City involved in developing attainable housing and just what is attainable housing?

The City of Vernon says it recognizes a need for attainable housing to ensure the availability for the community work force. It states that attainable housing includes secondary rental suites, townhouses, row houses and condominium apartments that are priced in a range that are accessible to those earning moderate family incomes up to $100,000 per year. Fair enough. But what does that mean? Let's look at the Math - and let's admit right of the bat that we will make some broad assumptions:
*1. 2 wage earners per housing unit
*2. Wage parity for both partners... pick yourself up off the floor.. It could happen here - Really.
*3. 35 hour work week

*4. No overtime

*5. Gross earning...
In this scenario -

$100,000 per year divided by 2 - $50,000 each


That means each person earns


$4,166.47 per month ($50k divided by 12) or $961.54 per week ($50k divided by 52- because you hopefully will be paid during that 2 week vacation)


This means if each person works 35 hours per week they would need to earn $27.47 per hour to hit the target of $50,000 per year, AND have a partner earning the same amount.

Ok WHERE are THOSE Jobs you are asking... but that is a topic for another day. Let's stay focused on our scenario...


I asked my Local Expert Mortgage Specialist Pamela Owen from RBC what our hypothetical homebuyers would qualify for in today's market for a mortgage with their $100,000 income. Here is her response:

So at the average income of gross- $100,000 per yr, with 0$ down, using the 4 yr fixed rate sale of 5.59%, assuming property taxes of at least $2000/yr, and 50$/month for heating costs, and assuming $700/month in other debt pmts-- which is realistic as the average Canadian household has at least 2 credit cards, 1 credit line, and a car/truck loan--- then those clients would qualify for a purchase price of $450,000.


This doesn't include using any extra money that they could draw in if they had a basement suite for rent. If they did, then their purchase price could go up even more. (This example is over 40 yrs.)


With 5% down, this puts the purchase price up to $465,000 over 40 yrs.

Over 25 yrs, the same household could afford a purchase price of $400,000 with 0$ down, and with 5% down, this would put them in a home valued at $430,000 over 25 yrs.


I have tried several times - but I just cannot do it. I cannot put those numbers and attainable in the same sentence.

Posted by Brenda Ellis @ 10:16 AM on July 3, 2008

Tags: future growth, Hesperia, Real Estate


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I will leave comments relating to Mayor Hansma to the good people of Spallumcheen.

With reference to Coldstream's sewer I believe Richard Rolke has hit upon a number of very valid points. Why, indeed do we need to construct a 1.7km line on Aberdeen Road and try to convince the 20 or so home owners to connect to the sewer at not yet known cost and start paying the present annual sewer fees of $568?

Why did a 7 member Council approve the construction of a 1.5km sewer line at utility customers' expense using false information? Six of those Council members did not have to face the financial burden resulting from their decision.

Administration gave false information. The information on which Council based its decision stated that in the past sewer customers only paid 7% of capital costs.

In fact, hundreds of utility customers paid 100% of their sewer capital costs. Following the initial construction of the Coldstream portion of the sewer infrastructure developers spent millions of dollars on sewer infrastructure without a any subsidy from any government agency and without subsidies from the existing utility.

The only developer benefiting from huge subsidies from utility customers was Coldstream Meadows which by, coincidence is owned by a former Councillor.

The reserves raided by Council of 2005, and to some extent 2006 were paid for by customers many of whom have already paid 100% of their infrastructure costs.

This latest decision regarding the SUGOI development is just another blunder that will create major headaches for future Councils.

It appears, the majority of Council could not give a hoot to what most residents of Coldstream hold dear about their community.

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This article is for your information. My comments can be read in an earlier article.

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Readers write -- Huguette Allen -- History lesson.

Greetings

The information below was sent to me by a contact and also forwarded to Rick Fairbairn, NORD director, who will be discussing it at next Wednesday's NORD meeting. I thought it would be of interest to you to attend the meeting and follow up on this,

Huguette Allen.
250.547.0272

Thank you for returning my phone call so promptly regarding development at Silver Star Mountain Resort. I've attached some photos and pdf files showing the new golf course and some of the logging on the fairways. Here are some of my concerns:

After hearing of all the controversy surrounding Rossland's proposed golf course, I'm surprised that there is little public knowledge about Silver Star Mountain Resort's new golf course under construction. It is approximately 14 km from Lumby (see Golf Course Location aerial photo) on the Deafies Creek Road (turn off from Trinity Valley Road) at 356547E and 5577900N (UTM units). The fairways are currently being logged in the Controlled Recreation Area, which used to be part of Silver Star Provincial Park. The resort has erected "No Trespassing" signs at the boundary of the Controlled Recreation Area to keep the public out of the former Provincial Park. A 6 km road has been constructed from the sewage lagoons at Silver Star to the golf course area, and preparations are being made to install a sewage effluent line for irrigating the golf course.

The resort also has constructed a large water reservoir near Paradise camp (see photo), and is currently extensively modifying the topography (see Paradise camp earthwork photo) above the reservoir in order to funnel meltwater into it next spring. Due to the large number of vacant lots (waiting for approved water supply from the new reservoir) at the resort, and several unfinished excavations, a late spring runoff contributed to significant soil erosion affecting several drainages including BX Creek, Vance Creek, and Putnam Creeks. I don't know how closely the development is monitored for environmental impacts as construction progresses. Due to the Clean Water Act in the U.S., resort development is more closely monitored (see this example at Tamarack Resort).

To expand the capacity of it's privately operated sewage treatment lagoons, the resort will use treated effluent to irrigate the golf course, and is currently upgrading it's sewage treatment system to useeffluent for snowmaking, possibly so that the sewage lagoon can be drained down in the winter. According to Ministry of Environment officials, the current sewage lagoons are operating at 80% capacity. The resort has a permit to irrigate the forest surrounding the sewage lagoons with domestic sewage (see Effluent Irrigation photos). The lowest sewage lagoon exfiltrates into the Vance Creek and Deafies Creek drainages. Mount Hotham in Australia (formerly owned by the Schumann family) is currently using effluent for snowmaking. Sun Peaks in Kamloops is also using effluent for snowmaking, despite many potential public health risks.

The wastewater treatment system at the resort incorporates primary screening, a trickling filter/extended aeration unit, and a 25 million gallon exfiltration pond. It should be noted that cold winter (when most of the sewage is produced) temperatures reduce the effectiveness of this method in outdoor treatment facilities. It is surprising that despite a massive increase in water supply due to the new reservoir, the lagoons do not appear to be slated for any expansion. Canadians on average, use 343 litres of water per person per day , so if Silver Star resort eventually reaches buildout at 16,000 bed units, peak periods could produce enough sewage to entirely fill the 25 million gallon exfiltration pond every 21 days! i.e. - (25,000,000x4.55) / (16,000x343) . Perhaps this is the rationale for implementing snowmaking using treated sewage.

Extensive real estate developments are planned for the former park, and now that the resort has increased it's uphill skier carrying capacity, it can negotiate release of crown land inside the former park for developing exclusive vacation properties, paying as little as $5,000 per acre (plus timber value). Expansion of the Kelowna Airport and lengthening of it's runways will allow direct international flights from Europe to Kelowna, making exclusive 2nd homes within the former park attractive to well-heeled international travellers. Intensive marketing in affluent foreign countries helps to drive up real estate values (and thus developers' profits) inside the former park, as potential investors can shop for properties on their personal computers. Many foreign investors can also purchase 2nd homes outside the resort area, thus driving up local real estate prices, essentially resulting in unaffordable housing for local young families.

It is interesting to read a debate from the B.C. Legislature in 1975 where minister Jordan is quoted as saying:

"As the Minister is aware, we have negotiated for some time to have this park turned over to the regional district for administration. I would like to make public - because I've stood beside the Minister, or asked him to stand beside me - that we are in complete agreement that when the administration of this park is turned over to the regional district, there must be an ironclad agreement that no housing development can take place within that park - no condominiums, no living accommodation.

The park is only 14 miles from the centre of downtown Vernon. It is an excellent road, and highly accessible. If we allow living accommodation to any degree within that park, it is only a matter of time when people would have $20,000 or $30,000 or $40,000 invested in a recreational cottage and they would demand to live there year round. It would make a demand in terms of developing sewers, water, light, fire protection. I would like to say in speaking to that demand which would be imposed that it would be used as an excuse to utilize those facilities for year-round living for families.

I know the Minister stands with me; at least I believe he has come to believe that I am right. I shall stand unilaterally, unalterably opposed to the development of living accommodations in that park, whether it's under the direction of the provincial government or the regional district."

Here we are 33 years later with plans for 16,000 beds (currently about 4,000) and more exclusive real estate developments in the former park.

I am submitting this information because I believe development occurring on public lands should be a very open and transparent process. In fact, the All Season Resort Guidelines prepared for the provincial government, as well as the Best Practices Guide For Resort Development in British Columbia requires resort proponents to openly communicate with all stakeholders regarding proposed developments. The impacts on local watersheds, Silver Star Provincial Park, wildlife, public health, traffic corridors (Silver Star Road), social and community impacts, etc. are potentially extensive. I have not seen any information in the media about the golf course or the resort's plans for using effluent for irrigation and snowmaking.

Given the sensitive sub-alpine environment that the resort developments are occurring in, it would be comforting to know that an Environmental Assessment Revue had been completed to ensure that impacts on wildlife and water quality are minimized. Has such a revue been completed?

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There is a major difference between spray irrigating bottom lands as opposed to irrigating high elevation alpine environment. On bottom lands it is easy to control movements of the sprayed wastewater. Do it on top of the mountain and nobody knows whose drinking water is enriched by the mountain folks' generosity. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing!

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Monday, July 28, 2008

Council meeting --July 28, 2008

Tonight's Council meeting was quite a tame affair. I was not allowed to present my submission to Council, it was received and filed. I wonder if they even read it. Councillor Garlick is traveling and no other member would make any comment on my pointed questions.

However, a few irate citizens showed protesting the major traffic tie-ups in front of their residences by the Kalview boat lunch. Apparently, during weekends there are line ups of boats trying to get in or out of the lake and residents are blocked from entering their homes or leaving. Chair person Mallerby was not saying much about the wonderful resolution of the increased capacity GVSC created after purchasing the old home.

Some of you might remember the public outcry trying to prevent the expansion. They were reassured that it will all be fine. It seems all is not fine. One resident complained that a boat flipped off its trailer and landed in his yard. These residents are paying high taxes living on the lake and they find themselves in the middle of a commercial zone. It seems boat owners rather fight through the congestion since boat launching is free here, while they have to pay a few bucks if they launched at Kekuli Bay. Go figure!


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Readers write -- Huguette Allen Green Party Candidate

This letter was sent to Minister Penner, Premier Campbell, DFO, as well as Mayor and Council of Salmon Arm. I am submitting it as an open letter for your publication if it is of interest.

Huguette Allen.


Mr. Penner,

The intent of this letter is to get your support to stop the backward and destructive activities referred to as "developments" that are happening throughout BC and are particularly popular throughout the Okanagan Shuswap. Recent statements regarding BC becoming more environmentally active gives me hope you will take action while there is still time.

Climate scientists are warning us that significant and urgent changes are required if we are to avoid tipping point events that will result in catastrophes. They have recently warned us that the time to act was now measured in years, not decades.

In 2006, Sir Nicholas Stern, former senior economist to the World Bank estimated that unchecked climate change could result in a $7 trillion hit to the world economy, water shortages for 1 in 6 people, the extinction of up to 40% of Earth's species and up to 200 million environmental refugees.

We now know these estimates were optimistic. Everything is happening much faster than estimated and the impacts are much worst than originally feared.

Isn't it time to change?

The Big Picture:

Many European countries have already made the changes needed. Bicycles and non-gasoline cars are replacing gasoline vehicles in towns and cities, small is replacing big, and local is replacing global. The results are quieter and friendlier places, stronger and more stable economies, and products that are interesting and diverse with a local flair.

Such changes create jobs close to home, add value to resources that are harvested, and encourage environmental innovation.

Why is Canada, BC, and Salmon Arm insisting on doing the reverse? The projects being approved in BC make no sense whatsoever in an era of climate change. They encourage driving, destroy much needed wetlands and forests, pollute rivers and lakes, and pave over the little habitat that is left for species others than human. As well, they are harmful to the local economy and create unfriendly atmospheres and unhealthy environments.

Isn't it time to design cities around the child rather than around the car?

Example: Salmon Arm's proposal:

The 370,000 sq. ft. retail proposal being planned in Salmon Arm, adjacent to the Salmon River as it enters Shuswap Lake, offers a prime example of the nonsensical retrograde projects happening in this province.

This is the same Salmon River that is officially designated as an "Endangered River" by the Recreation Council of BC, and has great salmon spawning potential.

Because the site for the proposal is on the Shuswap Lake flood plain, the development will require between two and three metres of fill over 40-60 acres of intermittent wet land. For much of this spring, Shuswap Lake covered part of this land.

As well, there are two small tributaries of the Salmon River which are both adjacent to and crossing this fill site. The weight and volume of such a construction will affect the local hydrology of these streams, at least one of which is fish bearing. The plans include redirecting Hobbs Creek entirely, by culvert, to a drainage containment pond. This pond will be between the parking lot and the Salmon River. My understanding is that it has been designed to a 50-year flood standard, which I believe to be substandard and will not meet the needs of environmental protection given the endangered status of the Salmon River.

One wonders why this is happening, particularly given that Salmon Arm already has numerous stores that are almost empty. There is no need for more stores, and certainly no need for a Wall-Mart, which would be the principle tenant of this "development". As you know, Wal-Mart, despite it's many claims of "turning green" has a less than pristine record vis-à-vis the environment. Of the thirty-three Wal-Marts constructed in the State of Connecticut, twenty-two were found in contravention of that state’s environmental laws. This has been a pattern across North America.

Isn't there a better vision for BC?

A vision for our future:

What could happen in BC, and especially in Salmon Arm, to stimulate the economy while preserving what we have? How about shifting from resource extraction to resource celebration?

The wetlands and wonderful aquatic habitat around Salmon Arm offers ample opportunities for celebrations of all sorts. Again, Europe offers us a model to follow. Think of all the festivals and events that would bring people downtown, to the small unique restaurants, markets and businesses, to buy locally produced foods, art and manufactured products.

Protecting the wetlands in the middle of Salmon Arm instead of paving them is sustainable, and the only way to build a future for our children and grandchildren. Think of the air one would breathe, the vistas one would see, and the ambiance that would exist in such an environment. Then let us imagine what it would be like instead in a 2,000 car parking lot.

A mandate for our leaders:

As ministers, mayors, councillors, your job is to help people attain the best future possible. The keywords here are "people", since it refers to the community of inhabitants and not just to a few, and "best future possible". The latter surely needs to be sustainable if it is to refer to more than one generation.

Creating environments we know lead towards catastrophe is not sustainable. Paving over wetlands destroys what sustains us. Shuswap lake and its surroundings need those wetlands as filters.

As leaders, it is your mandate to create a vision that enshrines the rights of future generations to clean air and clean water. Please look across the oceans to Europe for model developments we should follow, instead of south of the border, and lead us in a direction that will make Canada, BC and Salmon Arm leaders, rather than laggards, in smart developments.

Time is short and resources are disappearing fast. Isn't it time to go forward rather than backwards?

Huguette Allen
Okanagan Shuswap Candidate, Green Party of Canada.
Critic, Business & Industry.

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Sunday, July 27, 2008

Selected articles, MS -- 2008-07-27

Perhaps it would be a good idea to have a new rep with the new name. Someone who would actually speak for the constituents and not for the party. Someone who would realize that our hospital does need some more beds and our old age citizens are important. Just a thought!

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Saturday, July 26, 2008

Council meeting --July 28, 2008

REGULAR MEETING OF THE COUNCIL
OF THE DISTRICT OF COLDSTREAM

TO BE HELD ON MONDAY, JULY 28, 2008
IN THE MUNICIPAL HALL COUNCIL CHAMBERS
9901 KALAMALKA ROAD, COLDSTREAM, BC
AT 7:00 PM
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6. CORRESPONDENCE

Page 83 a. Request to have the District Auditor Invited to a Regular Meeting of Council

· Letter from Gyula Kiss, dated for reference, July 23, 2008

Recommendation

THAT the letter from Gyula Kiss, dated for reference, July 23, 2008, regarding Request to have the District Auditor Invited to a Regular Meeting of Council, be received for information.
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Thanks for nothing.

The District of Coldstream is a corporation, incorporated in 1906.

Obviously, shareholders (the taxpayers) of this community (the Corporation) do not have the right to question the Auditor. In fact, Council members (the Directors of the Corporation) do not have that right either as the Auditor never made an appearance for questioning. Nice way to run the municipality!


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Friday, July 25, 2008

Mom's favourite!


You always liked Joe best!

(thanks to Andrea)

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Selected article MS -- 2008-07-25


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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

In camera meeting -- Coldstream Council.

SPECIAL REGULAR MEETING OF THE COUNCIL
OF THE DISTRICT OF COLDSTREAM
TO BE HELD ON MONDAY, JULY 21, 2008
IN THE MUNICIPAL HALL COUNCIL CHAMBERS
9901 KALAMALKA ROAD, COLDSTREAM, BC

AT 6:00 PM

A G E N D A

1. CALL TO ORDER

2. RESOLUTION TO ADJOURN TO IN-CAMERA

Recommendation

THAT Council adjourn to an In-Camera meeting to discuss issue related to:

Section 90(1)(c) of the Community Charter;
Section 90(1)(g) of the Community Charter.

3. ADJOURNMENT

Last Monday, July 21, 2008 Council had a special in-camera meeting. Unfortunately, it escaped my attention at the time but the agenda seems to be interesting enough to bring it to the taxpayers attention. The reasons for the meeting are intriguing. Below are the pertinent sections of the Community Charter under which the meeting was held in-camera. Curious!

90 (1) A part of a council meeting may be closed to the public if the subject matter being considered relates to or is one or more of the following:

(c) labour relations or other employee relations;

(g) litigation or potential litigation affecting the municipality;

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Selected article MS -- 2008-07-23


Here is an excellent letter to the Editor.










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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Vancouver councillor wants city to stop selling bottled water

An estimated seven million plastic water bottles end up in Vancouver's landfill every year.

A Vancouver councillor wants the city to stop selling and distributing bottled water, including at city hall, public libraries and concession stands in city parks.

"We end up with seven million plastic water bottles in landfill every year," said Tim Stevenson, chair of the Metro Vancouver water committee. "They're not biodegradable. They just clog up the landfill."

He put forward a motion on Tuesday asking staff to produce a report on ways the city can stop selling and distributing a product "that is many times more expensive than gas," and which "you can get free from the tap."

Stevenson said a $650 million water filtration plant, expected to be operational by the end of the year, will ensure pure drinking water is delivered through the tap.

Vancouver Coun. Tim Stevenson says a new state-of the-art filtration system will ensure tap water is free of silt and other impurities.Vancouver Coun. Tim Stevenson says a new state-of the-art filtration system will ensure tap water is free of silt and other impurities. (CBC)

The Seymour-Capilano water filtration plant will treat water drawn from both Seymour and Capilano reservoirs, which supply 70 per cent of Metro Vancouver's drinking water.

"There will be never any silt in the water — just pure water. We need to educate people about water," Stevenson said, adding a massive ad campaign will be launched this fall in Metro Vancouver so residents will get the message.

Stevenson said abandoning bottled water will contribute to better health because the plastic in bottled water will leech into the human system.

He said the city will need to build more water fountains throughout the city so that people can obtain tap water conveniently.

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Finally someone with intelligence! All the complaints about the price of gasoline and we shell out far more for water. At the same time we spend hundreds of millions of dollars on building sophisticated water treatment plants. The bottled water industry has done a masterful job on our society!

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Who is running Council in Coldstream?

Following is my correspondence with the Chief Administrative Officer of the District Of Coldstream in chronological order. The issue revolves around whether the Auditor should appear before Council for the presentation of the Audited Financial Statements. It is customary to have the Auditor present to answer relevant question regarding the financial status of the Corporation.

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July 11, 2008

Hi Wendy.

This request is addressed to Mayor and Council.

During my service on the District's Council it was customary to have the Auditor present at the presentation of the Annual Financial Report. This practice was continued at least the past four years as the Auditor was present at each of the meetings except for this year. I had some questions for the Auditor and his fee for the Audit includes his presence to answer questions from the taxpayers, who actually pay for his services.

On behalf of the Coldstream Ratepayers Association I respectfully request that the Auditor be made available at the next or a subsequent Council meeting to answer some questions regarding the 2007 Annual Financial Report.

Gyula Kiss
President, CRPA
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Jul 19, 2008 Gyula: The Auditor generally comes to present the Annual Financial Statements and not the Annual Financial Report. Council received the Financial Statements earlier this year and determined the need to have the Auditor to be present was not required. The Annual Financial Report is prepared by the District of Coldstream. Council has denied your request to have the Auditor attend our next Council meeting. If you have questions related to the Annual Financial Report, I urge you to put these in writing and forward to the Director of Financial Administration for appropriate response. Wendy -----------------------------------------------------------------------

Jul 22, 2008 Gyula: Keri-Ann has passed your email onto me regarding a request to appear as a delegation with respect to the Auditor. As previously advised, Council has denied your request to have the Auditor appear before Council. I would suggest you forward a letter to Council outlining your concerns for Council direction on your correspondence. As you are aware, the delegation portion and public opportunity portion of the agenda provides an opportunity to provide input to Council on a specific matter or issue of concern, this is not an opportunity to debate amongst people in the gallery or those making presentations. Although Council is versed on my subjects, it would be unfair to assume they can answer all of your questions, hence the suggestion to put your concerns in writing for the appropriate people to respond. Noting the above, this matter will not be placed on the agenda under delegations, and I urge you to provide your concerns in writing, addressed to Mayor and Council. Wendy Kay Chief Administrative Officer 9901 Kalamalka Road Coldstream, BC V1B-1L6 Phone: 545-5304 Fax: 545-4733
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Jul 22, 2008

Wendy

Thank you for your prompt reply and for your suggestion. Hence I have my letter to Council attached. I hope this will satisfy the reasons for my request.

I am quite aware of the fact that Council may not be able to answer all my questions. That is exactly the reason why I want to have the Auditor present who may be able to sort out these questions. Once again I wish to point out that when a corporation's Audited Financial Statements are presented to the shareholders of the corporation the Auditor's presence is mandatory to answer questions posed by shareholders.

Thank you for your attention.

Gyula Kiss
President, CRPA
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Subsequently the following letter was sent to members of Council in support of my application:



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Sunday, July 20, 2008

Saturday, July 19, 2008

More fun with the sewer debate!

The following request was emailed to Coldstream Mayor and Council on July 11, 2008:

This request is addressed to Mayor and Council.

During my service on the District's Council it was customary to have the Auditor present at the presentation of the Annual Financial Report. This practice was continued at least the past four years as the Auditor was present at each of the meetings except for this year. I had some questions for the Auditor and his fee for the Audit includes his presence to answer questions from the taxpayers, who actually pay for his services.

On behalf of the Coldstream Ratepayers Association I respectfully request that the Auditor be made available at the next or a subsequent Council meeting to answer some questions regarding the 2007 Annual Financial Report.

Gyula Kiss President, CRPA

The response arrived today as follows:

Gyula:

The Auditor generally comes to present the Annual Financial Statements and not the Annual Financial Report. Council received the Financial Statements earlier this year and determined the need to have the Auditor to be present was not required.

The Annual Financial Report is prepared by the District of Coldstream. Council has denied your request to have the Auditor attend our next Council meeting. If you have questions related to the Annual Financial Report, I urge you to put these in writing and forward to the Director of Financial Administration for appropriate response.

Wendy
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My Mistake, forgive me. However, as the Auditor was not present at either occasion, it is immaterial when he should have been there.

When I requested the audit last year I did not get it. Instead I got a note that a lawyer presented his opinion that everything was done legally. A lawyer is not an accountant. His response was a legal opinion and not an audit. I did not even get a copy of his opinion.

This time I wanted to ask the Auditor, who signed the annual financial statements, how he could accept a financial statement in which the basic assumptions were wrong. The statement by the Director of Finance that
"In the past, major sewer lines have been constructed with the aid of government grants. In total these various grants provided for up to 93% of the cost of the sewer line. This meant that the residents being provided with sewer were paying 7% of the capital costs of the sewer lines."(see attached)
Even if one could accept a flawed argument such as this (which I cannot) her statements are wrong on at least two counts.

First of all, only a blind person could not see that if the old customers contribute any amount to the new sewer extension, their cost for the sewer capital costs will significantly exceed the 7% the DF referred to in her letter. We know that neither Santa nor the Tooth Ferry contributed the additional 93% of the sewer extension but it was the sewer users who were robbed.

Using this argument it would be logical to conclude that if we wanted equality those new customers should also be paying more than the 7% Council requested. Logic is a precious thing and some people seem to lack it.

Second, the sewer system constructed by Trintec was without government grants. Since those sewer costs were transferred directly to the new residents, they paid 100% of their sewer system's capital. As they have been paying their share of the sewer fees that also accumulated in the sewer reserve, one can argue that Council actually hit them up for 193% of the sewer costs. In fact, the approval of the Aberdeen sewer extension will create another set of taxpayers who will be contributing to the near free sewer connection of Coldstream Meadows. This whole mess could be an interesting legal battle.

Another interesting question is this: if each of those residents fronting the McClounie-Mackie Drive sewer line must pay $2000 connection fee why is it that Coldstream Meadows with its 160 +/- units did not have to pay connection fees to the McClounie-Aberdeen sewer line that was constructed with funds fleeced from sewer customers? It was Coldstream Meadows that connected their line to the above trunk line therefore they should pay compensation to the utility for connecting to it. Why was it not done? Why is Coldstream Meadows more equal than the rest of the customers on Kalamalka Road (see George Orwell: Animal Farm:
All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others?)

These are some of the questions I would like to pose to the Auditor who affixed his signature to these false conclusions. As a taxpayer I have the right to ask these questions of the Auditor who gets paid out of my taxes. Why is the Auditor afraid to show up to answer these questions? Or is it staff that show the reluctance? It was my understanding that the taxpayers are on top of the organizational chart!

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Canadian soldier James Hayward Arnal killed by roadside bomb in Afghanistan


By Alexander Panetta, The Canadian Press

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan - A Canadian soldier has been killed by roadside bomb in Afghanistan.

Cpl. James Hayward Arnal was struck by an explosion late Friday during a night patrol in Panjwaii district near Kandahar city.

Canada's top soldier in Afghanistan lauded him as a fearless fighter who had left a lucrative career in information technology to join the army.

"Clearly, he was a dedicated soldier with a very promising career ahead of him," said Brig.-Gen. Denis Thompson, Canada's commander in Afghanistan.

Arnal, based out of CFB Shilo, Man., was the 88th Canadian soldier killed in the Afghan mission, and the first in two weeks.

After paying tribute to his corporal, Thompson appeared to address suggestions that the Canadian government and military have been sugar-coating the difficult realities of the Afghan mission.

He bluntly described the situation as difficult.

"Of course, soldiers are also not afraid to talk about the challenges faced here in Afghanistan," Thompson said.

"Let there be no doubt - we do have our work cut out for us."

"This insurgency is not going to be defeated in the short term, which is why our focus is on winning the trust of the Afghan people, and building up local government and security institutions."

He said the military is determined to carry on with the mission - and is convinced it will succeed.

Another Canadian soldier sustained injuries in the blast but was said to be in good condition and was expected to return to duty.

Suicide attacks, roadside bombs and coalition casualties have significantly increased in each of the last three years.

But the number of Afghan children going to school and the national economy has also been growing.

In a reminder of the security risk Saturday, a suicide bomber blew himself up just several hundred metres away from the main coalition base in Kandahar.

The bomber was spotted by an Afghan policeman on the main road to Kandahar Airfield, tried running away, and detonated himself with nobody close by.

One policeman and one young boy were injured, while the bomber's body was ripped to pieces by the force of the blast.

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Friday, July 18, 2008

Selected article MS -- 2008-07-18

Councillor Firman was correct, this issue should not have been dealt with until they finalized their sewer servicing policies.

The Mayor's tactics were diabolical. He
would not allow presentation involving the sewer during the public hearing and then they would not accept submissions following the Hearing. Ingenious! However, he must have forgotten the strategy as he allowed Maria Besso-Ockert make a presentation despite the rules as demonstrated on the left:
NO SUBMISSIONS ON THE ABOVE BYLAW WILL BE RECEIVED BY COUNCIL FOLLOWING THE CONCLUSION OF THE PUBLIC HEARING.
Note the costs: the developer will cover $1 million while Coldstream will cover the remainder ($300,000 and likely more). That would amount to a 10% tax hike except Council might keep to their old habit of using sewer customers' funds.

The cost of the up-sizing of the old line on Kalamalka Road was estimated to be $2 million in 1997 by the Clerk/Administrator of the time. In addition, the up-sizing of the transmission line beyond Coldstream's boundary would also have to be born by sewer customers.

Fortunately for the Mayor and four of the Councillors they will not have to bear the financial consequences of their decision. Ironically, the previous Council also had six members not connected to the sewer so they were very free in spending funds belonging to the utility.

Just for something to think about!

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Selected article MS -- 2008-07-18

Letters to the Editor




















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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Trunk Sanitary Sewer Options -- by Maria G. Besso-Ockert

Delegation to Coldstream Council meeting, July 14, 2008
by Maria G. Besso-Ockert

Preamble:

"In case people reading this are not aware - the presentation below was made because Coldstream Council was going to vote ( at the July 14th Council Meeting) on the re-zoning of a parcel of land on Aberdeen Road to allow Sugoi Development to build Multi-Family houses. What most people were not aware of is that in approving that development Coldstream Council had tied the requirement that the new sewer line would have to be installed down Aberdeen Road, as per Option 1 of a Study done in 2004 by Urban Systems.

There was never any public discussion of the ramifications of the new Sewer Trunk down Aberdeen Rd. . At the public hearing a few weeks earlier only discussion regarding the re-zoning was allowed. Any comments on the Sewer were shut out - as Coldstream Council took the view that this was not on the Agenda.

For this reason, I prepared this presentation and gave it in vain, at the July 14th, 2008 Council meeting. As Gyula notes below minds were already made up, so it was no surprise later on in the meeting - when the 4th and final reading of the re-zoning bylaw came up, it passed. Unless you were really following this, you would not even have realized that something so monumental had just happened. "

Thanks,
Maria
Re: Trunk Sanitary Sewer Options

Thank you for this opportunity to address you tonig
ht.
I have been trying for a few months now, to understand the sewer issues in Coldstream and I realize that the history and the technical nature of the issues, make them very complex and hard to understand.
I do not think that the majority of the electorate in Cold
stream are aware of the magnitude and the importance of the decision to expand the sewer trunk line down Aberdeen Road. They have no idea how profoundly this decision will impact the future of Coldstream. And I also think that, IF they understood this impact, they would want to be consulted.
In the last two week
s I have met with your district Engineer Mike Stamhuis a couple of times, I have read the full Urban Systems 2004 Report ( all three binders) and I have read the August 2007 Golder and Associates Report.

I thank Mike for being so willing to explain his reasoning and conclusions to me, and now I think I understand why he is recommending Option 1 to Council. From a technical point of view I cannot disagree with him. However I still have strong reservations about the timing of this project, the financial impact, the lack
of public consultation, and the philosophical direction of the development of Coldstream

As I now understand it, Urban Systems was contracted
back in 2002 to examine the best ways to expand the sewer in Coldstream . They made recommendations to Council in their final report (Feb. 2004) and Option 1 ( put slide up ) was selected.

Option 1 consists of :

Kal Lake Rd Trunk Sewer-
Trunk along Kal Lk Rd Between Mclounie & Aberdeen Rd

Aberdeen Road Trunk Sewer –
Trunk along Aberdeen between Kal Lake Rd and high point on Aberdeen (180 m north of Middleton Dr.).

Forcemain and Coversion of the Trintec Lift Station-
Due to a topographic
low at the intersection of Aberdeen and Highway 6 (Coldstream Estates ) priority are #3 on the map, needs a sewage lift station. The sewage lift station will pump from the existing Trintec Lift station. A new forcemain will follow the ditch of highway 6 and south along Aberdeen Rd until reaching the gravity sewer system.

The key objective of the District at the time was to expand the current sewage collection area for long term environmental health and growth of the Community. It was stated in the report that “it was a high priority of Council to extend the existing sewer trunk to protect the major regional water supply, provide capacity to accommodate failing septic systems and facilitate development of the Town Centre” (page 1-1 Urban Systems final report Feb.2004)


Four years later, in 20
08, these aspirations are still pertinent however actions taken in between have not been consistent with the recommendations made in the Urban Systems report.
1) The Trintec Properties development immediately south of
the NORD office was fed through a new lift station on Selkirk Drive (that is not shown on the map) and then pumped to an existing gravity main on the south terminus of Inverness Dr- that leads to the Sarsons Road Lift Station.

2) The sewer line was extended beyond Aberdeen Rd. through the Gilles Dr. and Pine Drive Area to accommodate the new Coldstream Meadows development prior to continuing with the option 1 plan that would have seen the sewer extended north up Aberdeen, to the more environmentally pressing area
s in the Rendell Drive, Shamanski Drive area.( as shown on the Golder Associates 2007 report) ( show map)

These two things were inconsistent with the Urban Systems Report Recommendations, however they happened and they now have an impact on this next decision.

It is unfortunate for Sugoi , the new developer that they have come along at this point and may be caught in a philosophical dispute about the fut
ure development direction of Coldstream.

One of the concerns that I raised with Mike Stamhuis was about potential development pressure on the ALR. As you all know from the recent results of the Spicer Block referendum, the p
eople of Coldstream do not want to see erosion of the ALR , they voted overwhelmingly not to send the Application for Non Farm use of the Spicer Block Land to the ALC. At the time many of the people that were in favor of the Sport Complex development stated that “ if it was going to go to houses anyway ( as indicated on the plan) then they would rather see it go to playing fields”. I remember being perplexed by this and looking into why this showed as residential development on the Official Community Plan. I was told that this land was part of Coldstream Ranch – and prior to the establishment of the Agricultural Land Reserve in 1978 some large parcels of the Coldstream Ranch had been subdivided - the ALC had indicated ( in prior correspondence ) that it may consider removal of this parcel from the ALR in exchange for Coldstream Ranch amalgamating its subdivided parcels ( ie a net gain to Agriculture).
When the owner of Coldstream Ranch was asked about this, during the Spicer Block referendum – he stated flatly that he had no intention of ever doing this. So it bothers me when I see this block shaded on the map as future develo
pment and I have my doubts about the resolve or abilities of future councils, faced with pressure from developers, to safe guard the ALR.

So when I asked Mike Stamhuis about the 190 properties slated for future development on the blue part of the map and how not having those in the picture (since they are in the ALR) would affect the viability of the sewer trunk down Aberdeen . He reassured me that it was councils intention to safe guard the ALR. Mike also pointed out that the sewage for the existing Trintec development would eventually be re-routed ( the Selkirk lift station would be eliminated) to the force main on Aberdeen etc. ( adding numbers that way) as opposed to development in the ALR.

He also told me that time is of the essence, the district has to take advantage of the opportunity presented by this developer (Sugoi), this is a chance to get the full ? cost of the sewer line down Aberdeen paid for by development, and because the infrastructure is in Coldstream, it will be less costly and more beneficial to the community in the long run.

As I said before I cannot argue the technical recommendation, so my argument is more on a philosophical basis:

I believe that the people of Coldstream are not ready timing wise for this sewer expansion.

There are still so many unresolved issues with the sewer expansion to Coldstream Meadows.

Many resident living along the new sewer line have yet to be convinced of the benefits of hooking up.

The new Town Centre development, that was used as a partial justification for the sewer line, has yet to materialize.

Council still has to decide and disclose to residents the rules and costs they will be faced with to connect their properties to the new sewer line.

In the mean time present sewer customers are left paying more than their fair share of future sewer expansion costs.

I urge you to inform and consult your constituents – we are at a crossroad and should not be rushed into a decision we may regret later.

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Comments: Maria has spent considerable time researching the subject and she deserves commendation for her diligent work. Having done all the work she made this excellent presentation to Council to no avail. Mayor Corner prevented anyone to make a presentation on the potential problems and it appears that the five members (Corner, Taylor, Williams, Dirk and Mallerby) have made up their minds before the public hearing.

The problem is that Council is not supposed to hear any more input following the public hearing. Since the Mayor did not allow any input on the sewer issue, whatever presentations were made after that fell on deaf ears (and closed minds).

As you may note, there is the argument again that "...
time is of the essence...". Why? It is worth taking the time for such important decisions. True, this Council only has four month in office but Councils are considered to be a continuum. The next Council should be just as capable of making decisions as this is.

There is absolutely no need to rush this decision through without adequate public input. You will hear the argument from the Mayor that there was ample opportunity for public input except for the fact that he did not allow it. It is becoming painfully obvious that does not share the vision of the majority on Coldstream's future.


The Eagle

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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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We must protect our rights and freedom! (Photo courtesy of D. Gibson) Click on eagle to watch EAGLECAMS

About Me

My photo
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.