Sunday, December 27, 2009

Councillor responds




The above article appeared in the December 23rd edition of the Morning Star. The article accuses two members of Coldstream Council of having their heads buried in the sand and not jumping on the opportunity of expending scarce tax dollars on a ski tournament obviously designed for well to do skiers. As one of those Councillors being dumped on by the above reporter I feel compelled to present my side of the story.

Mr Bjorn W. Meyer speaking on behalf of the Sparkling Hill Masters World Cup 2011 Organizing Committee made the following presentation to Council at the December 21 Council meeting:


Below is my answer:

Apparently, the only people who know how to spend taxpayers’ dollars are sitting in news media offices and writing editorials about it. They know that it is far more important to spend homeowners’ money on supporting well healed skiers’ tournaments then improving infrastructures of the community, providing services, such as water, sewer, protection services and other useless items.

These sages know that businesses benefit far more from these occasional visitors than from local residents who support businesses year around. After all, they reason, some of these business owners live in Coldstream where they pay their municipal taxes. Obviously, these taxes should be spent on subsidizing rich visitors so they would come back in the future expecting more subsidies. The fact that those businesses do pay business tax to the City at 2-3 times the rate of residential taxes is irrelevant.

Some of us backward politicians have a different view. We know that fully 87% of our tax revenues in Coldstream come from residential taxpayers not from businesses. These taxpayers do not benefit from the proposed events. My excuse for “missing the point” is that I do pay attention to the facts presented to me at Council meetings. This, unfortunately, tempers my urges of spending taxpayers’ dollars frivolously. Case in point is the attached presentation by Bjorn W. Meyer speaking on behalf of the Sparkling Hill Masters World Cup 2011 Organizing Committee.

He stressed that the participants of the tournaments “...are typically above average in financial circumstances...”. This to me indicated that they could well afford the $80,000 tournament organizers budgeted for government contribution. That would only be about $70 additional cost for each participant. It seems the Provincial and Federal Governments also realized this as they provide “...poor support...” for the tournament so the organizers want local governments to step up to more downloading.

As for the “...$4-6 million” injection to local economy: I always wonder how organizers calculate these substantial pay backs to taxpayers. How could I get a few morsels from these millions?

Mr Rolke believes that I am wrong in considering taxpayers’ contribution as a subsidy. The only other definition for donating taxpayers money is “charity”. Charity should be reserved for the less fortunate of our society and not the well healed segment of mostly out of area skiers. The present hype for the Olympics provide ample opportunity for the world to see our high quality snow and facilities. Compared to that exposure this event would be of negligible exposure.

The comment “...Kiss and Firman have had no problem accepting federal and provincial infrastructure dollars to stimulate the economy” is puzzling. What is the connection? I can only say: Mr Rolke is missing the point! That money comes from the taxpayers like you and I and is being spent for the benefit of taxpayers like you and I and not for the benefit of recreational skiers coming from various parts of the world.

Come to think Mr Rolke might not be as savvy as he appears to the casual observer. If he thinks he can do better there is always the next election: he can challenge a seat on Council, express to the taxpayers his preference of spending tax dollars and hope for the best.

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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas everyone!




Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Coldstream Council meeting -- December 21, 2009

REGULAR MEETING OF THE COUNCIL
OF THE DISTRICT OF COLDSTREAM

TO BE HELD ON MONDAY, DECEMBER 21, 2009
IN THE MUNICIPAL HALL CHAMBERS
9901 KALAMALKA ROAD, COLDSTREAM, BC
6:00 PM

A G E N D A

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Readers write -- New plans fir Silver Star and Big White.

New, proprietary information has surfaced which reveals that Silver Star Mountain Resort and Big White Mountain Resort, owned by Schumann Resorts, plan to expand to several times their present size, deleting yet more land from Silver Star Provincial Park and virtually eliminating the Big White Mountain Ecological Reserve.

At Big White, plans are to double or triple the size of the resort, building multiple villages, with chairlifts and ski runs planned inside the Big White Mountain Ecological Reserve. For an animated view, click here.

At Silver Star, almost all the lands deleted from Silver Star Provincial Park for the 1991 World Cup Cross Country Ski Races are slated for development into vacation properties. It is now quite obvious what the motivation for hosting the 1991 World Cup was. No mention was made at the time that these lands would be developed for fee-simple property sales.

Massive subdivisions are also planned for the golf course lands, with plans to pave over several subalpine wetlands and to log almost the entire area.

There appears to be a massive disconnect between what the ski resort says they will do, and what they actually do. Will there ever be a golf course at Silver Star? Unlikely. For a quick tour of the golf course, which was supposed to open 9 years ago, check out the Golf Course Video. Notice on the map shown above that the current plan for the golf course area is to simply use it as a disposal area for sewage effluent. I suspect that this is all it will ever be, and that its only purpose will be to serve as a convenient, low-cost alternative to properly treating the sewage.

If this were truly a world-class ski resort, they would firstly put in the proper wastewater treatment infrastructure (i.e. membrane bioreactor) to ensure protection of the community watersheds. Instead, the Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Environment have endorsed a bizarre plan to simply dispose of the effluent on the clearcut golf course fairways. The Ministry of Environment has failed to enforce the Municipal Sewage Regulation, turning a blind eye to obvious infractions (unfenced lagoons, cattle grazing under active effluent sprinklers, contaminated groundwater around lagoons, highly contaminated streams around the lagoons, excavating the exfiltration lagoon down to bedrock, pooling effluent and saturated soils due to excessive effluent irrigation in the Phase 1 and 2 areas, etc.).

The various government bodies that have the responsibility of protecting the public interest seem to forget that the current owners of the ski resort are free to sell the resort at any time. They seem to naively believe that everything will work out fine over time. Instead of insisting that everything adhere to the highest environmental standards at each stage of development, they instead turn a blind eye to all the obvious irregularities, not realizing that the privately owned resort may only be interested in short-term profits and may leave a big mess to clean up at taxpayers' expense.

Silver Star Resort is asking for more land to be deleted from Silver Star Provincial Park, as well as adding land outside the park to its Controlled Recreation Area. B.C. Parks and Land and Water B.C. tried to delete these lands in 1991, and again in 2001, but instead deleted just the golf course lands in April 2001, knowing that by splitting the park into 2 pieces, it would be easy to delete more of the inaccessible East site in the future.


It is truly incredible how the Ministry of Tourism, B.C. Parks, the Ministry of Environment, the Regional District of North Okanagan, Greater Vernon Water, the Ministry of Health, and even the B.C. Ombudsman have turned a blind eye to the obvious irregularities that should be addressed to protect the public interest. Red flags are going up everywhere and no one is prepared to do anything about it, as it appears that the provincial government wants to fast-track ski resort expansion at all costs. Even our MLA does not respond to emails on the subject.

The Resort Development branch of the Ministry of Tourism appears to operate in an ethical vacuum, which does not bode well for the various communities that are faced with ski resort developments in their jurisdictions (i.e. Jumbo Glacier, Garibaldi at Squamish, Juliette Creek, Mount Baldy, Crystal Mountain Resort, Revelstoke Mountain Resort, Hudson Bay Mountain, Cayoosh Creek, etc.).

I do hope that eventually the Wilderness Committee will insist on a public inquiry into the Silver Star fiasco, as that quite likely will be the only way to unravel the tangled web of deceit that B.C. Parks, Land and Water B.C., Ministry of Environment, and Ministry of Tourism have spun in order to hand over Silver Star Provincial Park to private interests.

Kindest Regards,

Randy Schellenberg, Spokesperson

Citizens' Coalition to Save Silver Star Provincial Park
www.savesilverstarpark.org

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Friday, December 18, 2009

You must see this to believe it!

You have to read this to understand what you will see, because it's in a foreign language. Absolutely amazing.

This video shows the winner of "Ukraine’s Got Talent", Kseniya Simonova, 24, drawing a series of pictures on an illuminated sand table showing how ordinary people were affected by the German invasion during World War II. Her talent, which admittedly is a strange one, is mesmeric to watch.

The images, projected onto a large screen, moved many in the audience to tears and she won the top prize of about £75,000.

She begins by creating a scene showing a couple sitting holding hands on a bench under a starry sky, but then warplanes appear and the happy scene is obliterated.

It is replaced by a woman’s face crying, but then a baby arrives and the woman smiles again. Once again war returns and Miss Simonova throws the sand into chaos from which a young woman’s face appears.

She quickly becomes an old widow, her face wrinkled and sad, before the image turns into a monument to an Unknown Soldier.

This outdoor scene becomes framed by a window as if the viewer is looking out on the monument from within a house.

In the final scene, a mother and child appear inside and a man standing outside, with his hands pressed against the glass, saying goodbye.

The Great Patriotic War, as it is called in Ukraine, resulted in one in four of the population being killed with eight to 11 million deaths out of a population of 42 million.

Kseniya Simonova says: "I find it difficult enough to create art using paper and pencils or paintbrushes, but using sand and fingers is beyond me. The art, especially when the war is used as the subject matter, even brings some audience members to tears. And there’s surely no bigger compliment."

(click for full screen viewing.)

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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Selected articles -- Morning Star,December 16, 2009



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Reform of Alberta water allocation system

“The Government of Alberta has provided its citizens with the opportunity to reform the water allocation system. The purpose of this paper is to inspire Albertans to participate in the discussion about Alberta’s water future in an informed manner.” August, 2009

Introduction

When it comes to water, Alberta is at a crossroads. In the twenty-first century, Alberta faces new challenges. We now know that Alberta’s water supplies are not limitless. In fact, they are decreasing. Over the past three decades, Albertans, along with the rest of the world, have come to recognize the environmental values associated with natural watercourses, aquatic ecosystems, fisheries, and wildlife. The Government of Alberta has passed laws to protect water quality from industrial pollutants, but laws to protect instream water quantity have not kept pace.

For the first time in 12 years, the Alberta government is considering whether to update their water allocation system. Increasingly, it has become apparent that there are more and more demands for a resource that is dwindling. By the close of 2005, Alberta had allocated more than 9.5 billion cubic metres of water annually for various uses throughout the province. Today, the South Saskatchewan River is over-allocated and there are strong arguments that the North Saskatchewan River is headed in the same direction.

Alberta’s current system to allocate water among all users is no longer able to fully respond to population growth, opportunities for industrial growth, reduced water flows, and the coming challenges of climate change. Without significant changes, the current water allocation system will produce winners and losers without any rational consideration of how we want water to be used for the benefit of Albertans.


Specific recommendations include the following:

1. Legally enforceable water management plans for each basin, developed using the best available scientific evidence;

2. Legally enforceable objectives that protect instream flow needs for each basin;

3. Water entitlements based on water “shares” allocating a percentage of the water available in excess of the water left instream. Water volumes allocated to each share are to be adjusted seasonally, and more often if needed, in response to predicted flows in the basin;


4. Provided water is secured for people and the environment, establish a water allocation and share trading system that facilitates the re-allocation of water from one use to another;


5. The ability of the public to hold water shares for instream purposes;


6. The use of incentives to encourage water conservation and the efficient use of water; and


7. The inclusion of groundwater in the water management system.

The purpose of this paper is to inspire Albertans to participate in the discussion about Alberta’s water future in an informed manner. The Government of Alberta has provided its citizens with the opportunity to reform the water allocation system. Albertans should participate in defining a new water future for Alberta. (more)

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Sunday, December 13, 2009

Selected articles -- Morning Star,December 13, 2009



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Readers write -- THIS IS PAR FOR THE COURSE.

Once upon a time the Canadian Government had a vast scrap yard in the middle of nowhere. The Government said, "Someone may steal from the scrap yard at night." So they created a night watchman position and hired a person (bilingual, naturally) for the job. Then the Government said, "How can the watchman do his job without instruction?" So they created a Planning Department and hired two people; one person to write the job description and one person to do time studies.
Then the Government said, "How will we know the night watchman is performing the tasks correctly?" So they created a Quality Control department and hired two people; one to do the studies and one to write the reports.
Then the Government said, "How are these people going to get paid?" So they created the following positions: a Time Keeper and a Payroll Officer; then hired two more people to assist.
Then the Government said, "Who will be accountable for all of these people?" So they created an Administrative Section and hired three people: an Administrative Officer, an Assistant Administrative Officer and a Legal Secretary.
Then the Government said, "We have had this organization in operation for only one year and we are $18,000 over budget; we must cutback our overall costs."
So they laid off the night watchman.

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Saturday, December 12, 2009

Another explanation!



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Palin To Speak At Fundraiser For Canadian Hospital

The Huffington Post

12-11-09 11:53 AM

Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin has made no secret of her opinion on Canadian public health care. But she's scheduled to speak at a fundraiser for a hospital and cancer center in Canada.

ThinkProgress points out that St. Peter's Hospital is public, performs abortions, and offers end-of-life decision support.

Organizers hope to sell 1,000 tickets at $200 a plate, but raise more via photos with Palin.

When approached recently by a Canadian comedian pretending to be a conservative, Palin gave her opinion on Canadian health care:

"Keep the faith" Palin said, "because common sense conservatism can be plugged in there in Canada too. In fact, Canada needs to reform its health care system and let the private sector take over some of what the government has absorbed."

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Friday, December 11, 2009

Winter wonderlans!

Winter Wonderland

Click on "Winter Wonderland", then "Start Presentation" (top right corner)

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Embarrasing moments.

Candid Camera!

Click on "Candid Camera" then click on photos.


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Texas agency sued over Canadian whooping crane deaths


Canada's most endangered species is at the centre of a U.S. legal battle after 23 whooping cranes from a Canadian national park — nearly 10 per cent of the last natural flock in existence — died of starvation last winter in Texas due to alleged mismanagement of freshwater flows by a state agency.

The Texas-based Aransas Project, a coalition of conservation groups, has filed notice of a lawsuit against the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality citing "illegal harm and harassment" of the cranes from Wood Buffalo National Park as a result of industrial and municipal water diversions from the Guadalupe River that allegedly robbed the birds of crucial food supplies during the winter of 2008-09.

The coalition, including the International Crane Foundation, claims the restricted flow of the river into San Antonio Bay, in southeastern Texas, on the heels of a recent drought affected salinity levels in Gulf estuaries. They say the salinity levels disrupted a delicate ecological balance and caused a steep decline in the availability of blue crabs and wolfberries — key food sources for the wintering cranes.

State wildlife officers reported the worst whooping crane death toll in decades last spring, describing emaciated and "ratty" birds so exhausted and malnourished some didn't take flight from approaching humans.

Of the 270 specimens that arrived in Texas in the fall of 2008, only 247 survivors were seen heading back to Canada in the spring. Normally just one or two birds is lost during the winter season.

"There is strong evidence that the problems experienced by the whooping cranes are directly caused by the permit programs of the TCEQ that allow too much water to be taken from the Guadalupe River Basin, especially during lower flow conditions," the Aransas Project stated this week in announcing the lawsuit.

"The cranes provide us with an early warning system of the overall health of these coastal ecosystems," said Aransas Project regional director Ron Outen. "But we should remember that the whooping crane is the most recognizable endangered species in the world. Mismanagement of water in the Guadalupe River Basin is destroying the winter habitat of these magnificent birds — and killing them."

North America's tallest bird, the whooping crane's population was down to 22 known specimens in 1941, prompting a joint U.S.-Canada recovery effort that has become a global model for species conservation.

Still, there are fewer than 300 cranes in the world's only wild population, which nests in summer at Wood Buffalo — a UNESCO World Heritage Site straddling the Alberta-Northwest Territories border — before flying 4,000 kilometres to winter feeding and breeding grounds in Aransas National Wildlife Refuge in Texas.

The only other surviving members of the species belong to two separate populations with about 250 individuals in total — a captive flock in Florida and a Wisconsin-based migratory flock trained to follow an ultralight aircraft to Florida each winter as part of a unique, Canadian-led recovery project.

The Texas environment commission has 60 days to respond to the lawsuit notice. A spokesperson for the Austin-based agency said this week that an ongoing water-management review begun in 2007 "will enhance our ability to protect wildlife dependent on these flows."

A 2009 planning document at the TCEQ website, which describes the whooping crane as an "iconic" creature dependent on careful water management, acknowledges that "environmental flows, which include flows in rivers and streams and freshwater inflows to bays and estuaries, have not been addressed uniformly in water development project planning and permitting in Texas."

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New climate draft agreement at Copenhagen talks has gaping holes; 40 detained in protests

COPENHAGEN, Denmark - A new draft agreement Friday at the Copenhagen climate talks pulled together the main elements of a global pact but left gaping holes on financing and cutting greenhouse gas emissions for world leaders to fill in next week.

The six-page draft document distilled a much-disputed 180-page negotiating text, laying out the obligations of industrial and developing countries in curbing the growth of greenhouse gases responsible for global warming.

News of the document came as the European Union leaders agreed in Brussels to commit C2.4 billion ($3.6 billion) a year until 2012 to a short-term fund to help poor countries cope with climate change. The EU also conditionally lifted its commitment to reduce carbon emissions by 30 per cent below 1990 levels over the next decade, depending on better commitments by the United States and Canada.

In the past the EU pledged a 20 per cent cut with an option increase that to 30 per cent as part of a global deal.

The draft agreement is less specific than other proposals and attempts to bridge the divide between rich and poor countries. It leaves much to be decided by more 110 heads of state, including President Barack Obama, Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and most of Europe's top leadership, who are due to arrive in the Danish capital in one week for a landmark summit.

"This text will be the focus of the negotiations from now on," said Jake Schmidt, an analyst for the Natural Resources Defence Council.

The paper, drawn up by Michael Zammit Cutajar, the Maltese chairman of the conference's largest committee, says global emissions of greenhouse gases should peak "as soon as possible." But controlling carbon emissions should be subordinate to the effort to wipe out poverty and develop the economies of the world's poorest nations, it said.

It called for new funding over the next three years by wealthy countries to help poor countries adapt to changing climate conditions, but mentioned no figures. The U.N.'s top climate official, Yvo de Boer, has suggested a total $30 billion.

And it made no specific proposals on long-term help for developing countries. "That's the gaping hole," said Antonio Hill, of Oxfam International.

On Saturday, the conference president, Connie Hedegaard, was to prepare a report on the status of the talks.

Outside the negotiating complex in Copenhagen, police detained 40 people in the first street protests linked to the conference. About 200 people rallied in the downtown area where corporate CEOs were meeting to discuss the role of businesses in the fight against global warming - one of many side events to the U.N. conference that started Monday.

The protesters broke into small groups, banging drums and shouting "mind your business, this is our climate!" There were no reports of violence.

Police spokesman Henrik Moeller Nielsen said the detentions were preventative, to avoid disorder.

In Brussels, President Nicolas Sarkozy said the EU commitment of C2.4 billion ($3.6 billion) a year until 2012 "puts Europe in a leadership role in Copenhagen."

The figure was reached after two days of tough talks during which eastern EU countries - still lagging in their own development and further battered by the global economic downturn, resisted pressure to chip in. In the end, all 27 EU nations agreed to donate, but the bulk of the funds were coming from Britain, France and Germany.

"There are few moments in history when nations are summoned to common decisions that will reshape the lives of men and women potentially for generations to come," said British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. "This world deal in Copenhagen must be ambitious, global, comprehensive legally binding within six months."

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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Tiger Woods' top 10 tips for President Obama's game -- er, that would be his golf game

The editors at Golf Digest had this great idea. President Obama has been playing a lot of golf lately. And according to a detailed report in the Wall Street Journal, not playing that well. So why not invite Tiger Woods, the world's preeminent golfer, to give the president some tips?

And, in another brainstorm, they even Photoshopped an image of Tiger Woods in a caddy outfit posed behind Obama as he judged a putt. Golf Digest's January 2010 cover, with Tiger Woods serving as President Obama's caddy

After all, Steve Rusbin explains in the January issue, they are at the top of their fields, both "prominent, multi-ethnic" African Americans, both with an older man as second lieutenant -- Vice President Biden and caddy Steve Williams.

Mostly, said the writer, the difficulty of their tasks is similar. “Shooting back-to-back 65s at Firestone Country Club is -- ask any golfer -- every bit as difficult as achieving world peace,” he wrote.

But that was before Tiger Woods was embroiled in a personal saga gone public, with so many women now stepping forward to claim a relationship with the 34-year-old golf pro that some are talking about Tiger's tally and Woods' back nine.

Now readers are flooding the magazine with complaints about Tiger's behavior, along with some choice tips of their own like, "Don't get caught!"

One interesting political note. The magazine asked readers how much golf Obama should play. Nearly 46% said "as much as he can without affecting his work," while another 8% said never -- and that was before the Woods Thanksgiving driveway stunt.

(UPDATE: The irrepressible Andy Borowitz (click) has his own hilarious take here on the Woods' situation, detailing an alleged million-woman march on Washington by many of the golfer's girlfriends.)

-- Johanna Neuman

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Duteau Creek Leak -- Kate Bouey

Thu, 2009-12-10 11:11.

It's been revealed that a valve leak during recent work to connect the Duteau Creek treatment plant led to two million gallons of water being spilled.

Greater Vernon water manager Al Cotsworth confirms the leak caused some contaminated water to enter the pipeline but insists it never entered the drinking system. He says it led to a major cleanup job -- four-kilometres of four-foot-wide pipes had to be disinfected --and it added about ten days to the boil water alert. Cotsworth says the project, although late, is still on budget.

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Cattlemen Satisfied with the First Ranching Task Force Report



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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

NORD meeting -- December 9, 2009

REGIONAL DISTRICT OF NORTH OKANAGAN

BOARD of DIRECTORS MEETING
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
4:00 pm
REGULAR AGENDA

ELECTION OF CHAIR AND VICE CHAIR

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Sunday, December 6, 2009

Coldstream Council meeting -- December 7, 2009

REGULAR MEETING OF THE COUNCIL
OF THE DISTRICT OF COLDSTREAM

TO BE HELD ON MONDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2009
IN THE MUNICIPAL HALL CHAMBERS
9901 KALAMALKA ROAD, COLDSTREAM, BC
6:00 PM

A G E N D A

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Page 67
a. Regional Cooperation: Industrial Lands – Memorandum of Understanding
Kevin Poole, Economic Development Officer for the City of Vernon, will be in attendance to speak to this matter.

Page 35
b. Grid Road – Proposed Closure of Kickwillie Loop Road at West Kal Road

Judy and Pat Hughes will be in attendance to speak to this matter.
Those wishing to comment on the road closure (pro or con) can do so during the PUBLIC OPPORTUNITY TO ADDRESS COUNCIL

Page 47
c. Kalavista Neighbourhood Committee

Brent Vignoly will be in attendance to speak to this matter.
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Saturday, December 5, 2009

Readers Write: Who says taxpayers don't appreciate their Council?

This memorial was found on Alexis Park Drive by a reader of this blog (me thinks) and contributed for the edification of others who may not visit the site.



VAE VICTIS (click)


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Photo gallery: Male Oregon junko. Courtesy: Debbie Gibson.



Thanks for the hospitality!



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Thursday, December 3, 2009

Reminder -- Pot luck Supper.

The Coldstream Ratepayers Association will be holding its Annual Community Pot Luck Supper

December 4, 2009
between 5 and 8pm
at the Womens' Institute Hall


Please drop in, bring your families and friends (they don’t have to be members), cutlery, plates, and some food to share.

Liquid refreshments and serviettes will be available!

There will be a short and sweet meeting at about 6:30pm to provide an update to “goings-on” in our community and to celebrate this year’s accomplishments!




REMINDER TO CRA MEMBERS!

MEMBERSHIP FEES FOR 2010 ARE DUE
PLEASE INDICATE YOUR SUPPORT FOR THE CRA BY SUBMITTING $10 (SINGLE) or $15 (FAMILY) TO:

SHIRLEY HENRY AT THE POT LUCK
OR SEND TO:

9009 Mackie Drive
Coldstream, BC
V1B 1H1
Phone 545-5622

NEW MEMBERS ARE WELCOME!

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Amalgamation issues -- another perspective.




In response to the Letter to the Editor (attached) a blog reader provided a copy of an interesting speech about amalgamation delivered to the Annual Meeting of the BC Municipal Finance Authority in 2001 by Brian Lee Crowley, President, Atlantic Institute for Market Studies.

The amalgamation of the City of Halifax, City of Dartmouth, Town of Bedford and the Municipality of the County of Halifax into a single municipality named Halifax Regional Municipality or HRM for short happened in 1996 and was ordered by the Provincial Government of Nova Scotia. For a brief history of the events please visit HRM.

Here is an excerpt from above presentation (for the full presentation please visit Amalgamation).

The Premier and his minister of finance got it into their heads that there were major efficiencies to be had in amalgamating the municipalities. Now if they had actually wanted to test these ideas properly, if they had wanted to engage in that dangerously radical practice known as evidence-based policymaking, they could easily have consulted the literature on local government and amalgamation, a literature which is now quite vast. Had they done so, they would have discovered the following:
First, they would have discovered that local government is not merely a device for supplying municipal services, but also for finding out what services people want and how much they are prepared to pay for them. The smaller the government unit, the better they are at discovering this, because the empirical evidence is very strong that local government is closest to the people. Amalgamation tends to undermine this relationship and therefore can only really be justified if there are pretty remarkable efficiencies to compensate for dilution of responsiveness and democratic accountability.

But, second, they would have discovered that the evidence is quite strong that creating single-tier local government monopolies doesn’t reduce costs — it increases them. It levels costs up to the highest common denominator in the pre-existing units, and seems to result in higher trends of cost growth over time. This is especially true where amalgamation has eliminated competition between pre-existing municipalities both in terms of attracting residents and industry and in terms of tax and service levels. It seems that the most dynamic force helping to keep costs down is not a highly centralised and bureaucratic monopoly provider of public services, but a decentralisation of authority and decision making within several municipalities within an urban area where residents cannot vote themselves benefits at the expense of other taxpayers in other parts of the city. This ensures that people only demand services that they’re prepared to pay for, and municipalities have powerful incentives to keep costs low and satisfaction high, or risk the erosion of their tax base as people and businesses vote with their feet.

Third, they would have discovered that it is a fairly small part of public services where there are significant returns to scale — in other words where the bigger you are, the cheaper it is to produce a unit of a given service. The evidence says pretty unambiguously that the lowest observable level of per unit costs for most services are compatible with very small municipal units (on the order of 5,000-10,000 residents). Moreover, there are significant diseconomies of scale beyond relatively small population numbers — on the order of 250,000 residents. And, finally, that the supposed savings from smaller councils and elimination of several city halls and other trappings of multiple local governments, is so paltry as to be not even worth mentioning.
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BOIL WATER NOTICE DOWNGRADED TO WATER QUALITY ADVISORY

BOIL WATER NOTICE DOWNGRADED TO WATER QUALITY ADVISORY

December 3, 2009

The Regional District of North Okanagan – Greater Vernon Water (RDNO-GVW) and Interior Health Authority have downgraded the Boil Water Notice to a Water Quality Advisory for customers on the Duteau Creek Water System.

The construction modifications have been completed and water quality has returned to a “FAIR” rating. All bacterial testing results and disinfection (chlorine) levels are satisfactory.

What does a FAIR rating mean?

A fair warning means that some customers should be careful when ingesting the water.

Who should be careful?

The following customers should be careful when ingesting the water:
children
the elderly
people with weakened immune systems
What should these customers do?

For these customers, water intended for the following uses should be boiled for one minute:
drinking
washing fruits and vegetables
making beverages or ice
brushing teeth
If you have any questions, please contact us at 250-550-3700 or check our website at www.rdno.ca or www.greatervernon.ca for notifications, and updates

Contact:

Al Cotsworth
RDNO Water Manager
250.550.3700
Email: gvw@rdno.ca

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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Vernon Operational Review Paves the Way for 2011 New Patient Care Tower

KELOWNA – Interior Health has received the report of Medical Management Consulting which conducted a review of the operational services of Vernon Jubilee Hospital and the services offered in the communities of the North Okanagan.

“The review is very timely as Interior Health, physicians and staff plan for opening Vernon Jubilee Hospital’s new patient care tower in 2011,” notes Pat Furey, Health Services Administrator for the North Okanagan. “This will be a collaborative process going forward. Interior Health, together with our physician team, is committed to building on our strengths and working towards an exciting future.”

The scope of work included identifying resources and utilization rates (community, acute and residential care) within North Okanagan communities including Revelstoke and Salmon Arm, and comparing these with the other five large sites in Interior Health (Kamloops, Kelowna, Penticton, Trail and Cranbrook) and with two other external comparison sites Langley Memorial Hospital and Peace Arch Hospital in White Rock.

The report has identified a number of different areas where administration, staff and physicians can focus to build for the future:

Review bed supply and requirement projections
Examine whether more inpatient cases can safely be converted to day procedures
Establish an OR Management Committee with physicians, administration, nursing and support staff
Create an OR Utilization Committee with OR access based upon set criteria including surgeons’ wait times
Establish a task group to examine emergency surgery volumes
Strengthen and develop medical leadership

“We recognize there are challenges,” says Dr. Doug Hardy, Chair of the Medical Advisory Committee. “The North Okanagan is a large and growing area, with a high number of people over age 65. Vernon Jubilee consistently manages high occupancy rates and we know this places a strain on the physicians and staff. However we intend this to be a collaborative process and we will address the report’s recommendations together with Interior Health so we are on the best possible footing when the new tower opens.”

An Implementation Committee has been established to oversee progress over the coming months; the Implementation Committee has representation from VJH physicians and Interior Health administration. A project manager has also been appointed and will begin work with the Implementation Committee immediately.

The report is available on the Interior Health website at: http://www.interiorhealth.ca/information.aspx?id=10816

Or by following this path: Information > Accountability > Reports > Reviews, Backgrounders and Planning Documents > Operational Review – VJH.

For more information:
Karen Cairns, IH Communications
250-862-7228

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

NORD REGIONAL GROWTH MANAGEMENT ADVISORY COMMITTEE MEETING

REGIONAL DISTRICT OF NORTH OKANAGAN
REGIONAL GROWTH MANAGEMENT ADVISORY
COMMITTEE MEETING
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
4:00 pm

REGULAR AGENDA

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Richard Rolke - Vernon Morning Star Published: November 21, 2009 12:00 PM

Greater Vernon politicians are gathering again to keep a water dispute from boiling over. The mayors of Vernon and Coldstream and the directors of BX-Swan Lake and BX-Silver Star will meet Tuesday to discuss water distribution and the city’s decision to withdraw from the service. “I want them to get their issues on the table,” said Herman Halvorson, North Okanagan Regional District chairman, who will facilitate the session. “I’ve requested that the four parties come forward with their problems and hopefully we can work them out. If they don’t talk, it won’t happen.” This will be the second meeting since mid-September and among the outstanding issues are governance of the function and non-agricultural users (such as hobby farmers) receiving the low water rate. The city has claimed that withdrawing from water distribution will lower rates for Vernon residents, increase customer accountability and improve customer service.

However, Coldstream and the electoral areas say water rates for their residents could soar if Vernon is not involved. Mike Macnabb, BX-Silver Star director, believes dismantling of the function could have negative consequences for all jurisdictions. “We have to keep talking. We have to make progress,” he said. Wayne Lippert, Vernon mayor, says all of the onus has been on the city to find a solution, and it’s time the electoral areas and Coldstream came to the table. “My biggest hope is everyone works to find solutions. Give us options and let’s talk about it,” he said.

The public can observe the proceedings, which start at 3 p.m. at the NORD office.

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"Wayne Lippert, Vernon mayor, says all of the onus has been on the city to find a solution, and it’s time the electoral areas and Coldstream came to the table."

It was the City which decided to go to arbitration. They are the ones who do not like the terms of the agreement signed by their previous Councils. The rest of the participants are honouring that agreement. No wonder the onus is on the City.

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Finance Committee meeting tonight.

Coldstream's Finance Committee continues its meetings tonight at 6 PM in Council chambers. The meeting is open to the public and everyone is welcome.

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Monday, November 23, 2009

Flu clinics news.

For Immediate Release | November 23, 2009

MEDIA—Check IH Website for Most Up-to-Date Flu Clinic Details!

There may have been changes made to dates, times, etc. for some IH combination flu clinics this week, so all media are encouraged to check the IH website before broadcasting local clinics.

Please click on the following link for an alphabetical list of communities offering clinics this week:

Health clinics

As of last Friday, the combination flu clinics are providing H1N1 vaccination to anyone, 6 months or older, within Interior Health that needs or wants it, as well as the seasonal flu shot to those 65 years and older and those at risk of health complications from the seasonal flu.


H1N1 Vaccine Dosing for Kids:
On November 13th, The Public Health Agency of Canada updated its recommendations on H1N1 flu vaccine dosing for children between 3 and 9 years of age. The updated recommendations suggest that a single half-dose of adjuvanted H1N1 flu vaccine for healthy children may provide an acceptable level of protection from infection from the H1N1 flu virus.

To Find the Clinic Nearest You
Details about times, dates and locations of the clinic nearest you the following week – where you can get both the H1N1 vaccine and a seasonal flu shot – will be posted by end of day Wednesday at:
· Flu Clinic Locator at www.interiorhealth.ca or www.immunizebc.ca
· HealthLink BC, dial 8-1-1, available 24 hours a day
· Your local Public Health Centre.

For the week of November 23rd, people living in communities where there will not be a mass clinic nearby, are directed to attend the nearest clinic to them or check with their family physician or walk-in clinics to see if they have vaccine available.

For media please contact:

Lannea Parfitt
Public Health Communications
250-870-5898
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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***

***Coldstreamernews***
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.