Thursday, April 30, 2009

Canada Pressured the US to Dilute Climate Action

Media Release
For Immediate Release
April 30, 2009

OTTAWA--The Conservative government tried to dissuade California from climate action while telling the Canadian public it was going to follow the US lead. Letters posted by the Natural Resources Defence Council written by our Ambassador to the United States, the Hon. Michael Wilson and Natural Resources Minister, the Hon. Lisa Raitt, reveal the government’s intention to thwart international action on climate change. The letters, addressed to California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, urge him not to proceed with California’s low carbon fuel standard --- one of California’s world leading measures to combat global warming.

“The Harper government has attempted to create the impression that we are working closely with the Obama Administration on continental climate action. This piece of fiction was already disputed by former TransAlta Vice President Bob Page in his comments on the National Round Table report,” said Elizabeth May, “Bob Page made it clear no US official with whom he spoke thinks that a cap and trade programme
including Canada is on the works. Now we know that the Conservative government is actively trying to derail action in the United States.”

The letters express concern that California’s low carbon fuel standard will prevent tars sands oil from being exported to California as well as potentially setting a standard that other states will attempt to follow.

The letters also suggest the low carbon fuel standard could lead to unfavourable and discriminatory treatment of tar sands oil. The use of this language can be read as a subtle threat to invoke the North American Free Trade Agreement to challenge California’s regulation.

Minister Raitt’s letter also attempts to mislead Governor Schwarzenegger by confusing Canada’s national emissions reduction target with improvements in the carbon intensity of tar sands production, giving the impression that emissions from the tars sands will be reduced when they are expected to more than double.


Copies of the letters are available at

Contact:Michael Bernard
Communications Officer
Green Party of Canada
613-562-4916 ext. 244
(c) 613-614-4916


All about Spiderman

Something different to enjoy!


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Selected articles, Morning Star -- April 29, 2009


Voter apathy may have contributed to the lack of interest in the forum but the $30 price tag may have been a greater deterrent. After all, during the election campaign we can listen to politicians for free, so why should anyone spend thirty bucks to hear the same thing?


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Rafe Mair, representing the 'Save Our Rivers' campaign, will speak in Armstrong & Vernon this weekend

Rafe Mair, representing the 'Save Our Rivers' campaign, will speak in Armstrong & Vernon this weekend.

Armstrong May 2
Oddfellows Hall, 7pm

Vernon May 3
Schubert Centre 1-4pm

Both events will include a Q & A session.

A photo suitable for print should be attached. It was provided to me by the Save Our Rivers campaign.

Contact info to arrange for an interview with Mr. Mair:

For more info regarding the Armstrong visit:

James Bowlby,
(250)832-8383 - home or 250-833-5134, cell.

For more info regarding the Vernon visit:

Nick Hodge
work 250 542-4048
home 250 547-6202

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Check out the following website:

Watch the DVD


BC’ Agricultural Policies Increase Risks of Swine Flu.

The recent swine flu is quickly reaching Pandemic status. It has now spread to 11 countries including Canada and has killed 150 in Mexico. In BC, we now have all the pieces in place for this pandemic to mutate into an even more deadly form.

Overcrowded conditions are what allows a pathogen like swine flu to mutate into dangerous forms. BC's agricultural regulations restrict traditional farming methods in favour of industrial ones, increasing the crowding of our hogs and poultry well beyond the safety limits. These industrial grown hogs and poultry are so genetically uniform that they might as well be clones, and since genetic uniformity makes it even easier for the pathogen, BC now has a lot to worry about. The Fraser Valley has the highest concentration of industrial poultry in all of Canada.

This is one of the reasons I initiated the petition against BC's Meat Inspection Regulations back in 2007. Small farms raising a variety of genetically diverse animals are the safest. Allowing mobile units to slaughter on farm can prevent the spread of disease from farm to farm and protects diversity as well as consumers. This is yet another wake up call that our cheap global food system is putting us at risk. Local food production is a cornerstone of my platform and should become policies in all parties who really care about the safety and security of our food system.

- 30 -

Huguette Allen,
MLA Candidate, Vernon-Monashee
Green Party Critic, Industry & Small Business
Phone: 250.547.0272 cell: 250.309.5973


Monday, April 27, 2009

How much is your next sewer bill?

Implementation of the user pay sewer bill will change your bill. In order to estimate how much you pay here is a way to calculate.

The flat rate part of your next quarter bill will be $83.50. The additional fee calculated as 1.3X your water consumption indicated on your March Utility bill.

As an example: your last bill showed 35 m3 water consumption then your sewer bill will be 83.50+35X1.3=$129 (instead of $142 using the flat rate method). If your water consumption is lower your bill will be lower and if its higher your sewer bill will be higher.

In this example your savings for the year would be $39. However, I intend to press for more improvements in the future, including policy changes that will reduce the amount of reserves we collect for future infrastructure work.

The current policy is to set aside 50% of estimated future infrastructure improvements totally financed by utility (sewer) users. My opinion is that future residents should decide themselves how to pay for infrastructure coming in the distant future. Present customers are still paying for the extension of sewer line in 2007 (almost a million dollars) yet they are required to shoulder major reserve build up at the same time. Residents who are not on sewer do not contribute anything to these funds.

My intent is to remedy this oversight of previous Councils. Your support would be appreciated.


Get used to saving water, Californians told

Drought portends 'a way of life ... now and into the future,' water chief says staff and news service reports
updated 9:07 a.m. PT, Fri., April 24, 2009

GUSTINE, Calif. - When Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger joined thousands of farmers and farm workers at the end of a four-day march to protest water shortages, he said he'd do all he could to bring more water to the San Joaquin Valley.

He promised state and federal dollars to replace an antiquated irrigation and water delivery system. The Obama administration immediately earmarked $260 million from the federal stimulus funds to help do just that.

State and federal officials this week also slightly raised how much water farmers can get from managed rivers around the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, the critical region where most of the nation's fruits and vegetables are grown.

But those allocations are still far below what farmers are used to getting. Moreover, any significant improvements will take years or decades, and not even Schwarzenegger can deliver what Mother Nature hasn't provided — rainfall to end a three-year drought.

As a result of the drought and water restrictions, California farmers have left large swaths of land unplanted — and fewer jobs for farm workers, most of them Hispanic immigrants.

'Saving water ... a way of life'

California's head honcho for water resources was blunt, even as the governor promised help.

"By no means has California been lifted out of this third year of drought," Lester Snow, director of the Department of Water Resources, said last week. "In fact, 2007-2009 is expected to rank in the top 10 driest three-year periods in the last century.

"Saving water must become a way of life for all Californians now and into the future," he added.

Two months earlier, Schwarzenegger declared a state emergency because of California's drought. That order directed state agencies to provide assistance to drought-affected communities and businesses.

He also urged all urban users to reduce their water use by 20 percent.

And even with March rain and snow storms, California's largest reservoirs — Shasta and Oroville — are still only three-quarters as full as they should be at this time of year. The San Joaquin Reservoir is at a historic low.

The Westlands Water District — which serves farms in King and Fresno counties that produce about $1 billion in crops annually — estimates that the water shortages have meant that 300,000 acres of lettuce, tomatoes and other crops won't be planted this year.

Besides the drought, a federal court ruling to protect Delta smelt fish has reduced pumping capacity in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

The delta, which provides water to nearly two thirds of all Californians, has become a highly troubled resource. Three years of below-average precipitation have wreaked havoc on its habitat and water supply. Urban and agricultural pollution are also problems.

"In the future, the delta's fragile ecosystem, uncertain precipitation patterns and reduced snowmelt will further reduce California's water supply reliability," the Department of Water Resources stated.

Obama aide takes notice

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar personally weighed in by touring the delta area with Schwarzenegger earlier this month.

After a helicopter view, Salazar noted that California's massive system of reservoirs, pumps and canals, built a half century ago, was designed for a population half the size of the state's 37.7 million people.

"It is time to modernize, it is time to make hard choices and it's time for the federal government to re-engage in full partnership with the 21st century water system for the state of California," he said in announcing the $260 million in infrastructure funds.

Schwarzenegger, for his part, reiterated his call to build more dams and urged state lawmakers to place a water bond on next year's ballot. He also favors building a canal to pipe river water around the delta, an idea rejected by voters in 1982.

Salazar declined to endorse building new dams or a canal. He did rule out suspending federal environmental laws, as some members of California's Republican congressional delegation have suggested in an attempt to funnel more water to farmers.

"That is not the solution here," Salazar said. "The solution that we're looking at is one that is going to have to be comprehensive in nature that takes into account the huge variations you're seeing in water supply."

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Readers write - Information

On May 22 we will have organic ground beef for sale, they come in 1 lb packages and cost $3.00 each.

Anybody who would like to purchase some organic ground beef for the BBQ season could get in touch with us by email:;

Lilly Senn


Thursday, April 23, 2009



6:00 PM


Agenda package1
Agenda package2


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A celebration of Earthday with some creatures of Earth -- by Debbie Gibson.

Spring is here -- let's celebrate!


Readers write -- Information Re: SPK



The Society for the Protection of Kalamalka Lake


The recently registered Society for the Protection of Kalamalka Lake (SPKL) is now in the process of looking for members to support our cause.

The idea to set up this society was originally that of Christine Cookson, who was involved in a
similar movement where she grew up in Switzerland.

The purpose of SPKL is to preserve and protect the quality of Kalamalka Lake and its
watershed for future generations so all user groups may enjoy the lake in an environmentally sustainable manner.

We desire to use a fact-based approach for decision-making with regard to Kalamalka Lake and
its watershed. Our objectives include identifying, researching, monitoring issues of concern and taking appropriate actions where problems exist; collecting valuable water quality data; and providing and promoting educational opportunities. We plan to achieve these objectives by engaging local residents and community groups; partnering with government agencies, educational institutions and other non-profit organizations; and acquiring funding through grant applications and fund-raising events.

Some SPKL activities so far include:
• Collection of water quality information from Kal Lake
• Sending a letter to the Ministry of the Environment requesting information about the spraying of effluent at Silver Star and its possible subsequent effects on the Kal Lake water quality
• Addressing Coldstream Council regarding the above issue
• Sending a letter to the District of Lake Country, urging opposition to the proposed 200-400 boat slip marina on Wood Lake
• Applying for a Unilever - Evergreen Grant for the purpose of enhancing the Kalavista
Lagoon by aiding in its clean up, enhancing the riparian vegetation and habitat, educating the public regarding the role of the lagoon system in the health of Kalamalka Lake, and involving school children and the general public in the process.
We are looking for members who are passionate about the environment, and willing to contribute some of their time and energy to the task of keeping Kal Lake healthy and safe for wildlife as well as humans. We have some ideas and action plans “in the works” around how we wish to accomplish our goals and objectives, and we need more input and people power to make it all happen.

If you are interested in becoming involved in the protection of one of the world’s most valuable
and beautiful resources please join us! The attached membership form can be filled out and sent with a cheque made out to SPKL to: Greg Ockert, 11505 Primrose Drive, Coldstream BC, V1B 2C3

SPKL Directors:
Christine Cookson, Jennifer Sigalet, Janice Morgan, Flo Ryan, Trina Koch, Louise Christie. Greg Ockert

8585 Kalavista Drive, Vernon BC V1B 1K4, (250) 542-4350,

Sparkle -- The Society's Newsletter!


Sunday, April 19, 2009

Selected articles, Morning Star -- April 19, 2009


While there is an appearance of more regulations the reality is that there are practically no enforcement of most regulations. The Ministry responsible for enforcement is decimated and customers are supposed to be self-regulating their activities. We should thank organizations for their selfless work and we should work on trying to resolve problems brought to our attention.

Perhaps the greatest threat of sewage treatment on Silver Star is the practice of storing and utilizing huge supplies of pristine water for domestic use and then replacing it with treated wastewater.
This practice will have adverse effects on creeks originating from Silver Star as well as on groundwater originating from there. The long term effects could be quite serious.


“I don’t see the need for it,” said Wayne Lippert, Vernon director.

seem to look at their own turf and not as it being a utility. The utility is working fine and should be left alone.”

Interesting quote coming from a director involved in the devolution of the Master Water Plan!

If the utility is working fine while the devolution request? Or is he looking at his own turf and wants to protect it? One is left wondering!


Saturday, April 18, 2009

Hey Gordo, What's Going on Here?

For Premier Campbell, unsavoury questions pile up.

By Rafe Mair

Published: April 13, 2009

As I write this, I'm coming to the end of a long road trip where I've been speaking to groups about the Campbell government's energy policy, which bids fair to permanently lay waste to 600 to 700 of our rivers and streams in this wonderful province of ours.

In fact, tomorrow evening I will do my seventh speech in six days, 10 in the past two weeks. During those days, I've had time to reflect on just what makes this premier such a destroyer of our unique environment.

When Gordon Campbell was leader of the opposition, I was up to my eyeballs fighting Alcan over Kemano II, or as they preferred to call it, the Kemano Completion Project. He wanted to know more about this matter so he came to my radio studio and looked at my material. He was with me for half a day whereupon he pronounced himself opposed.

Some time afterwards I asked him what had made him take that position and he related to me that he had seen a billboard showing sockeye salmon going into the Adams River to spawn and he didn't want his kids deprived of this wonder. I was impressed.

It surprised me when he became premier and almost immediately took the moratorium off Atlantic salmon fish farms. Read more


Readers write: Letter to the Editor, Morning Star.

Dear Editor.

I was thrilled to read Norman Jaques letter to the Editor in the April 17th LVT regarding STV. I totally agree with him on many points regarding the STV campaign for the upcoming provincial election but the part that hit home the most is the part about power in the hands of a few. I take it one step further and add attitude of our public servants : our politicians.

We are truly not proportionally represented. The parties in power can pretty much do as they please once elected; and those who lead them by the nose ie. big business can influence major decisions?

Rather than work as OUR representative in true Democratic style with input from every point of view, they become power mongers and self serving once we elect them: sound familiar?

On a small scale this was brought home to me when I attended the April 15th NORD meeting. The issue on the agenda was WATER….now WHAT IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN THAT? You certainly don’t have to have science degree to recognize that the issue of potable clean water is in jeopardy worldwide and should be given priority and garner rapt attention anytime someone brings concerns to the table of decision makes at ALL levels of Government.

At this particular NORD meeting two persons with well researched, and first hand information brought this topic forward: one regarding the Fouling of water at the Source by Carla Vierke and the other regarding Silver Star Provincial Park by Randy Schellenberg. His concern was for both the Park and the two watersheds affected by development (including the controversial recommended golf course).

The simplicity of the Message (WATER), in my world, should have garnered close attention by our leadership but I was aghast at the pompous attitude of our representatives when both people addressed their subjects with two well organized power point presentations. When Carla started her slide show not ONE member of the panel, whose back was to the screen, bothered to turn around to watch it and the body language of most was bored beyond comprehension: complete with rolling eyes, yawning and other obvious signs of disrespect.

I could not believe my eyes. At the end of her presentation the councilors responded with rhetorical questions and challenged not only her resources and research but with a superior attitude. I became enraged as I felt that any citizen who has concerns and takes the time to make a respectable presentation then rallies for a cause that affects everyone, should be welcomed and considered with great admiration and respectful gratitude. We are all very busy and not all of us have the time nor the passion to bring attention & concerns about fouling our water at it’s source BEFORE irreversible and permanent damage is done .

I am generalizing, somewhat, since there were two councilors who were polite and offered helpful ideas and suggestions to those in attendance but were certainly overshadowed by those who presented obvious signs of contempt and gave a ‘how dare you’ perception.

Alas, when Randy Schellenberg stepped up to the podium to make the Silver Star presentation, all chairs immediately turned and at least watched the power point message with some interest. My first reaction was disbelief. Both presenters were certainly equally well prepared, cleanly represented in their demeanor and polite. What was the difference? Man vs Woman?

I dare not even ‘go there’. It was not long, however that the same challenges and the same confrontational questioning began. Why did these 10-12 MEN feel so threatened by the information? Why the confrontational attitude? I cannot answer these questions but it would seem that it goes back to my original thesis: power, lack of understanding true Democracy but my biggest question is ‘What do these people have to hide and How do they make their decisions on our behalf? If they totally rely on present environment laws and controls then that is obviously not good enough’. My challenge to our leadership, AT ANY LEVEL, is: here is your chance to be pro-active, be true LEADERS, and listen to the people who have first hand information in their own back yard that dispel any so called guidelines that are NOT working. Be smart, strong and do the job in the best interest of the environment and the people who live here NOT the developer or the money mongers whose decisions are short sighted and self serving.

Respectfully submitted
Ursula Jensen


Letter to the Editor Morning Star.

This sounds like gallows humour.

It is incredible that people faced with this unbearable situation are so resigned to accept the situation. The water rates are about to increase to 84 cents per m3 yet about a third of the consumers are getting absolutely no improvements as of now. Since 2002 water rates increased about 140% and the complaints are few.

There is still no firm plans for the improvement of the Old Kamloops Road area water system but their rates are as steep as those in the city where water can be safely consumed from the tap. Consumers receiving their water from Goose Lake have to buy their drinking water, an additional expense of probably $100-150 annually. When do you complain to your elected representatives?

Fairness to all is important in life but it appears we are getting less and less of it!


Selected articles, Morning Star -- April 17, 2009


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Adoption of the sewer budget tonight.

Tonight’s Council meeting will address the long standing inequities relating to the sewer fees. It will not address the unfair treatment utility users suffered from the actions of previous administrations but it will start on the way of charging some portions of the sewer fees based on consumption. For this Council deserves commendation.

This issue was debated for several years. Unlike water rates, sewer rates were imposed on a flat fee basis. Regardless of how much sewage a household contributed they were charged the same rate. Administration argued that it was a simple way of ensuring that the required funds were available to cover the cost of service. Notwithstanding the facts that the City of Vernon has been using consumption based billing for years Coldstream was reluctant to change the system. Families with one or two members subsidized families with multiple numbers.

There are still problems with the system but Council agreed to address those problems in the coming year.

One of the problems is the fact that in order to recover the utility’s reserves spent on extending the sewer system to Aberdeen Road (about $665,000) we are being charged significantly more than what it costs to provide the service. Council is in the process of debating policies relating to future financing of infrastructure replacement. Some argue that we should accumulate significant reserves in advance rather than borrow for the infrastructure replacement. Others support the pay as you go principle. This principle is like a home owner contracting for a mortgage to buy his/her home and pay it off in installments. Both arguments have some merits.

When taxpayers have significant amount of disposable income it might be beneficial to accumulate large reserves so we might be able to pay cash for infrastructure replacement. It may be cheaper on the long run but it also requires hitting up the taxpayers now for taxes that will be spent in the distant future when many of those paying into the reserves might not even be around for the benefit. It also creates the potential for misuse of the reserves for projects for which it was not intended. An excellent example of this is the spending of the utility’s reserves for sewer extension from McClounie Drive to Aberdeen Road. Taxpayers living on a pay cheque or receiving fixed pensions cannot afford this type of expenditure.

Borrowing the money requires significantly less contribution from existing taxpayers. Let’s look at an example of borrowing for the replacement of a major peace of infrastructure such as a lift station costing $500,000.

It would cost about $37,500 annually to service the $500,000 loan. There are roughly 2100 customers (households) in the utility, thus, the annual servicing cost would be about $18 per household or $4.50 per quarter.

Check out the sewer utility budget for 2009 (see attached Table 1). Note the Fee revenue (in blue) at $1,201,158. Also note the operating expenses (Subtotal in blue) at $462,547. This last item is what it costs Coldstream to operate the utility.

The treatment and disposal is a fee for service bill from the City of Vernon. It should be a separate, independent account. In 2008 the budgeted sum for this account was $615,000 but the actual bill was $513,523 (Table 2) a difference of over $100,000. The bill from the City should be passed directly to the utility customers without taking a big cut for the District’s use. Reserves in this account should be modest just to compensate for year to year variation in consumption. This year the budgeted amount is $630,000, a very unrealistic figure.

The utility’s operating budget should be for the cost of operating and maintaining the collection system by Coldstream staff. It should have a reasonable reserve for unforeseen maintenance cost of the system but it certainly should not be in the million plus dollar range. This account was raided by the previous administration for the purpose of buying out the latecomer agreement from Coldstream Meadows. None of the existing users of the utility got any benefit from the transaction yet they collectively lost $250,000 (over $100 per household). Another example of the temptation created by a large surplus!

Table 3 is an illustration of the state of sewer reserves at the end of 2008.

The estimated cost of service for 2009 is $1,092,922. The estimated revenues from fees is $1,209,158 for a potential surplus of $116,236. When you also consider the overestimated cost of the City’s bill for 2009 ($630,000 when it might not be more than $550,000) this surplus may be close to $200,000.

Make sure you provide your input to Council in the coming months to help them make the right decisions for you. It’s your money!


Saturday, April 11, 2009

Coldstream Council Meeting -- April 14, 2009

Council meeting, April 14, 2009

Remember time and day change!

6:00 PM
on Tuesday!

Due to some technical malfunction the wrong agenda package is presented at Coldstream's website. Below is the correct agenda.
(Click on page to enlarge.)

Council package 1

Council package 2


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;


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.