Friday, July 31, 2009

NEW LIBERAL TAX REVEALS DECEIT, ARROGANCE - July 30, 2009 -- BC Conservative Press Release on the HST

The announcement by the BC Liberals to harmonize the provincial sales tax with the GST, after promising never to do so, is the mark of a deceitful and arrogant government, says BC Conservative Party president, Wayne McGrath. McGrath says that the move also reveals a desperate government looking for more and more ways to make up for its colossal blunders and overruns, such as the RAV line, The Vancouver Convention Centre and other Olympic related projects. “The HST is just another way for Premier Campbell to get more money from BC taxpayers. By harmonizing the PST with the hated GST, sales taxes will now apply to goods and services that were previously exempted. It is just another tax grab,” said McGrath.

“I also believe it is a convenient way to take people’s attention off of his scandalous behavior regarding the destruction of emails in the BC Legislature Raid case,” McGrath added.“The fact there has been no internal government investigation into who ordered the destruction of those files tells you volumes about what kind of ethics are emanating from the Premier’s Office.”McGrath says that even though Campbell received a third majority it does not give his government carte blanche to destroy evidence in criminal trials or to levy new taxes during a recession. “This puts the lie to the idea of these Liberals being a fiscally responsible government. You don’t hit people with punitive taxes on goods and services during a slowdown in the economy and expect it to help get us out of the recession. That kind of thinking belongs to socialists, leftists and progressives, not fiscally responsible government. This simply proves what we have contended all along – that the BC Liberals are “big government liberals”, not small ‘c’ conservatives.” “Now you can add duplicitous, deceitful and arrogant to that description as well,” concluded McGrath.

The BC Conservative Party believes that any perceived benefits derived from harmonization could also be achieved with amendments to the PST and without the massive tax increases to BC residents proposed by the BC Liberals. The BC Conservatives would also bring in a single rate of tax on incomes that would be applied only after a basic personal exemption, equivalent to minimum wage, so that low income earners do not pay tax, and working people are able to get ahead by not being taxed in a higher bracket every time they get a raise or work overtime.

For additional information: Wayne McGrath 250.542.7744


Thursday, July 30, 2009

Photo gallery -- A night time visitor. Courtesy: Debbie Gibson.


OK Indian Band Reconfirms Ownership of Road -- by Starlee Speers-Vernon 105.7 SUNFM: 8:54

The Okanagan Indian Band has issued a release stating it will take the appropriate steps to protect their reserve land from trespass and abuse.Chief Fabian Alexis says the Band has officially reconfirmed its ownership of the portion of Lakeshore Rd that crosses Priest's Valley.Alexis states the city of Vernon has betrayed that it knows little about the history or legal status of this road, as neither the Province nor city has acquired legal rights to it.He says the Band is concerned that local residents are using the road to gain access the Kin Beach where the conduct has created problems. Lakeshore road was still open for access as of this morning.


Intel is Right: Windows 7 Will Succeed. --PC World

Todd R. Weiss
Jul 30, 2009 6:59 am

Now here's a prediction you can believe in: Sean Maloney, the chief sales and marketing officer for chip maker Intel, predicted yesterday that Microsoft's upcoming Windows 7 operating system will be welcomed and adopted by consumers and businesses much more quickly than Vista.

In a story in InformationWeek, Maloney said that Windows 7 will be happily embraced after Vista was shunned by millions of users who had heard about Vista's poor compatibility with older printers and other peripherals, and its slow performance.

Windows 7 looks to be "just one big positive" for the marketplace, Maloney said to InformationWeek while making an appearance at Intel's Technology Summit in San Francisco. "This time, we think it will go faster."

I second that emotion. Here's why:

*Even Intel itself shunned Vista last time around. Vista wasn't enough of an improvement over Windows XP; it just wasn't as reliable and well-developed. Intel didn't upgrade some 80,000 of its own workers to Vista from XP because of the issues with the OS, according to a report in The New York Times last June. To me, that's a very telling move from the world's largest and most popular computer chip maker.

*For whatever reason, there's a pattern with releases of new "improved" versions of Windows being skipped over on a regular basis. Windows 95 was a giant success when it was released, in large part because it truly moved computing forward. It improved on the trusted but less-glitzy and less-polished Windows 3.11 for Workgroups and DOS 6.22

But then came Microsoft Bob, which was a huge dud, with its animated help feature and other nonsense, and Windows Millennium Edition (Me) - which was named to PC World's "25 worst tech products of all time" list.

The successes, Windows 95 and Windows XP after it, come after waves of expensive embarrassments. It's as though Microsoft brings these things out without enough testing, lets consumers and businesses act as their beta testers, then later saves the day by bringing in the much-needed fixes as a new and improved product. How else can you explain it?

*Maybe Microsoft really, truly believed in all of these operating systems when they created, developed, and released them, but perhaps the company is just so huge that it's lost touch with what consumers and business want. In the lab, maybe those animated dogs and other objects in Bob made perfect sense as a way to help nervous first-time users get acclimated to computers. But did they actually think about using such "innovations" themselves and how ridiculous they would appear?

Some people talk until they are blue in the face about Microsoft being the evil empire that is uncaring about what consumers and businesses want from their computers. I disagree strongly. I think Microsoft's shortcoming is its girth and its layers and layers of insulation from the real world of its users. I think if it listened more to us, they never would have given us Bob and Me and Vista. They'd have given us the good stuff from the start (button).


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Are the visual effects worth $325,000?

The above news item partly explains the debate Council had at their last meeting relating to the siting of the new reservoir on Middleton Mountain. Councillor Besso and I voted against the motion to accept Site A2 as opposed to Site A1. I wish to explain my reasons for my preference to Site A1.

The attached graphics indicate the differences between Sites A1 and A2. The artistic concept between A1 (Figure 8) and A2 (Figure 9) appears to be almost imperceptible. The cross-section drawing also shows negligible differences. The hydraulics appear to be identical.

The major difference is in the price: A1 is projected at $3,089,000, A2 is at $3,416,000, a difference of $327,000 or 10.6%. The cost of this project is coming from water rates that is from you and I. In my opinion a price differential of 10.6% is not justified for the imperceptible visual difference between the two sites.

Obviously, the rest of Council had their own compelling reasons for voting the way they did and they had every right to do so. I felt I should explain my reasons for my vote
to residents of Coldstream.


Selected articles -- Morning Star news -- July 29, 2009

The smoking ban is already in force for Kalamalka Lake Park!


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Photo gallery -- Mutant sparrow.

Of the hundreds of thousands of sparrows I encountered over the years this is the first one that is nearly white. Compare it to the normal sparrows on the bottom of the feeder. You can observe the differences.


Saturday, July 25, 2009

Coldstream Council Meeting -- July 27, 2009 -- Agenda


5:00 PM





THAT Council adjourn to an In-Camera meeting to discuss issues related to the following paragraphs under Section 90(1) of the Community Charter: (g) litigation or potential litigation affecting the municipality.


a. Completion of the Coldstream Agricultural Plan – Background Report and Planning Strategy

Jane Mastin, of True Consulting Group, will be in attendance to speak to this matter.
b. Middleton Mountain Reservoir – Viewscape
Al Cotsworth, Water Manager, Greater Vernon Water, will be in attendance to speak to this matter.

c. Ogo Chaser 10 - Swimming Fundraiser
Daryl Ellis will be in attendance to speak to this matter.


Friday, July 24, 2009

Update: Some progress made on Terrace Mountain fire --

Friday, July 24th, 2009 |Update: 8 a.m.

B.C. Forestry Service says between 5 and 13 mm dropped on the Terrace Mountain Fire last night which buys them a day or two to get ahead of the fire. Crews working overnight are mostly heavy equipment building a fireguard but the rain carries its own problems making the ground slippery for ground crews. The fire has grown to 4,400 hectares.

Previous update: Some progress has been made on the Terrace Mountain fire as B.C. Forest Service reports the fire is 20 per cent contained and according to the latest report, hasn’t grown in size.


Meanwhile, the RCMP is also asking boaters to stay 400 metres away from western shores where water tankers, fire bosses and helicopters are drawing water.

Resources at the moment include 175 fire fighters, 36 pieces of heavy equipment and seven helicopters, and are being reassessed to meet the needs of the fire. Structural Protection Units, or sprinkler systems, have also been brought in to help protect homes in the area, with 4 engines and 56 fire fighters from the Office of the Fire Commissioner working with those. They are working 24 hours a day when safe to do so.

There are no new evacuation orders since two additional properties were added last night. No word yet on the value of rain overnight.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Photo gallery -- Little bandits. Courtesy: Debbie Gibson.


Terrace Mountain forest fire: A local resident provides an update

Thursday, July 23, 2009
Submitted by Terry Hill

About: I am a new resident of West Kelowna. The recent fires in West Kelowna and the new Terrace Mountain fire have brought back memories of working as a B.C. Forests fire fighter in the 1970's.

My take: West Kelowna is just getting back to normal after the large fire that put a spotlight on this beautiful area of the Okanagan.

Fire crews continue to put out the remaining hot spots of the Glenrosa fire. Meanwhile, a new and potentially much larger, threat consumes the landscape at a rapid pace, northwest of Kelowna.

The Terrace Mountain fire is considered a category 4 fire, currently out of control due to high winds and has grown in size to over 4000 hectares. The weather forecast is predicting hot, dry weather with a risk of thunderstorms throughout the region.

The surrounding areas of Fintry, Caesar’s Landing, La Casa, Nahun, Fintry Delta and Killiney Beach are on evacuation alert. Kamloops officials are closely monitoring the imposing threat to their community.

Hopefully the outstanding coordination of the B.C. Forest Service and the tireless efforts of the fire fighters will prevail, their expertise was greatly appreciated in West Kelowna.

A special thanks goes out to the pilots of both the tankers and helicopters for their precision water drops, a very dangerous and courageous occupation.


Terrace Mountain fire forces 2,200 to flee

Another 2,200 residents living along the northwest shore of Lake Okanagan were ordered to leave their homes Thursday as firefighters struggled to bring the Terrace Mountain fire under control.

Forest fire officials say the blaze has already grown to 4,000 hectares and is expected to continue to expand rapidly on Thursday as winds and high temperatures fan the flames through a forest filled with dry fuel.

Environment Canada was forecasting wind gusts up to 80 km/h on Thursday and Friday as thunderstorms pass through the region, raising concerns lightning strikes could spark more forest fires.

The evacuation order applies to the northern sections of Westside Road about 30 kilometres north of West Kelowna, between Caesar's Landing in the south and Killiney Beach in the north.

Evacuation order issued for:

* Caesar's Landing
* Ewing's Landing
* Nahun
* Valley of the Sun
* Muirallen Estates
* Estamont
* Aspen Shores
* Summersands
* La Casa
* Fintry Provincial Park and campground
* Fintry Delta
* Killiney Beach

Evacuation alert issued for:

* Westshores
* Cinnibar Creek

Officials say the residents must leave the area by travelling north on Westside Road and register in person with Emergency Social Services at the Vernon Recreation Centre, at 3310 37th Ave. in Vernon.
Some refusing to leave

Some residents told CBC News they would not be obeying the evacuation order and would stay at their homes to protect them from the fire and looters, knowing they can leave on their boats if the situation becomes too dangerous.

A new evacuation alert was also issued for the Westshore subdivision to the north of the area under evacuation. To the south of that area, an alert has also been issued for the Cinnebar Creek subdivision to Trader's Cove and Bear Creek Provincial Park. Residents of those areas are warned they must be ready to leave on a moment's notice.

About 175 firefighters and seven helicopters were fighting the fire on Thursday, but its rapid advance was making it too dangerous for ground crews to attack the advancing front, according to forest protection technician Tim Neal.

"We are looking at contingency lines and putting in guards and natural breaks because we can't put the crews in front of the fires," said Neal.

"For one, the fire is moving. For another, we can't put crews in there because there are no escape routes and it's hard for us to get anchor points, so it's a response thing for our crews," he said.


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Fintry High Farm being evacuated -- West Kelowna News

by Wayne Moore - Story: 48383
Jul 22, 2009 / 12:19 pm

As residents of Glenrosa and Rose Valley prepare to head home, about a dozen homeowners at Fintry High Farm have received orders to evacuate.

This order affects 10 homes and 13 people.

In addition, another 2,200 residents living in North Westside Road communities of Caesar's Landing, Nahun, La Casa, Fintry and Fintry Delta and Killiney Beach have been placed on evacuation alert.

The Terrace Mountain Fire, which erupted Saturday afternoon, has grown to more than 2,000 hectares in size.

Central Okanagan West regional director, Jim Edgson, says the Terrace Mountain fire is now just two kilometres away from structures at Fintry High Farm.

"Being as there is one road in and out, Westside Road, we are in the process now of making sure people understand that there is a possibility and to get prepared," says Edgson.

Keep in mind as well, there are a lot of farm animals up there (Fintry High Farms).

Those being evacuated are being asked to report and register in person with Emergency Social Services at the reception centre located at Mount Boucherie Senior Secondary School, 2751 Cameron Road in West Kelowna.

Volunteers are on hand to assist these evacuated residents with food, lodging and other needs.

It would be prudent for these North Westside residents under Evacuation Alert to begin preparations to leave their homes on short notice.

Inquiries may be directed to the Emergency Social Services Call Centre at 778-797-2269.

The public is asked to please stay out of areas under evacuation order to allow emergency services to focus on public safety.


See also:


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Homes of West Kelowna fire evacuees burglarized

At least two homes of evacuees who had to leave West Kelowna, B.C., because of forest fires have been burglarized, CBC News has learned.

Wayne Desabrais found out Saturday that the doors of his home had been breached and his computers stolen despite assurances he got from police that the area would be heavily patrolled.

"It's not usually ... what they take; it's what they break and the damage they do," he said Tuesday.

Desabrais said he is not sure how the crooks got to his home.

"They supposedly had [the road] secure," he said. "How anybody even gets up this road? 'Cause this is a dead-end road, you know? ... They think they maybe came up around the back side in quads or walking or who knows?"

Another house belonging to a single mother was also burglarized. She reportedly lost electronics and gaming equipment.

Police were also looking at three condominiums to assess whether they were broken into or whether firefighters had entered them during the course of battling the blaze.

Large parts of the Okanagan community were evacuated Saturday because of forest fires. Two fires in the Rose Valley and Glenrosa areas of West Kelowna were almost fully contained by Tuesday evening, and the bulk of the roughly 11,000 residents who were forced out of their homes were allowed to return home.


Monday, July 20, 2009

Six thousand West Kelowna fire evacuees allowed to return home Tuesday at 8 a.m.

Katharine Sawchuk WEST KELOWNA (NEWS1130) |
Monday, July 20th, 2009 10:20 pm

WEST KELOWNA (NEWS1130) - There is some good news for at least half of those forced from their homes by the current B.C. fires. The Emergency Operations Centre says 6,000 evacuees will be allowed back into their homes at 8 a.m., Tuesday.

Kirsten Jones with the Emergency Operations Centre says portions of the Glenrosa area have been taken off evacuation order and placed on evacuation alert. "Residents should keep in mind it's an alert still, so they should be prepared to leave at anytime as there's still active fire. They felt it was safe for residents in these particular areas to go back home."

Jones says both Highway 97 and the Highway 97C Connector will reopen, also at 8 a.m., Tuesday. You can check out the list of areas on evacuation alert here. Five thousand still remain on evacuation order.


West Kelowna homeowners await fire damage reports -- CBC News

Last Updated: Monday, July 20, 2009 | 1:22 PM PT

Some residents of West Kelowna are anxiously awaiting word on the condition of their homes, after three forest fires forced the evacuation of more than 11,000 people from the Okanagan community in the southern Interior of B.C. over the weekend.

Police gave the residents only minutes to leave on Saturday when the fires first broke out, and many left pets and valuable possessions behind as they fled for emergency shelters and the homes of family and friends.

So far officials have only said that three homes were destroyed in the Glenrosa fire, and refused to comment on the state of any other homes.

At a news conference on Monday at noon, officials said crews were still inspecting homes in the lower Glenrosa area and would be able to provide specific information to people about their homes later at an unspecified time.

B.C. Public Safety Minister Kash Heed said he had flown over the affected area Monday morning and called the damage devastating. News media were being scheduled to get an escorted view of the area during the afternoon.

Meanwhile, RCMP said they were conducting roving patrols of the evacuated areas and were taking down the names and details of anyone they encountered, but there were no reports of looting.

Several people also failed to stop at police roadblocks and were issued tickets, but no police were injured in the incidents, they said.

Highway 97 remained closed through the West Kelowna area, but Heed said opening it would be a priority when conditions were safe. An alternative route using back roads on the east side of the lake along Highway 33 and Forest Service Road 201 was opened to the public on the weekend.


Coldstream Technical Committee Meeting --July 20, 2009

Reminder: Anyone interested in contributing ideas should contact Council.

Committe debate on the proposed new Firearms Bylaw. Anyone interested may attend.


Smokey Skies & Your Health -- MEDIA RELEASE

July 19, 2009

Residents of the Okanagan regions and other areas affected by the West Kelowna fires should be aware that smoke conditions and local air pollution levels can change due to the unpredictable nature of fires.

Individuals with heart or lung conditions may be more sensitive to the effects of smoke from forest fires. These individuals should watch for any change in symptoms that may be due to smoke exposure. If any symptoms are noted, affected individuals should take steps to reduce their exposure to smoke and if necessary see their physician or local walk-in clinic.

People with severe symptoms should present themselves to the nearest Emergency Department.

Reducing Exposure to Smoke

There are some actions you can take to reduce the health effects of smoke in the air:

* Use common sense regarding outdoor physical activity – if your breathing becomes difficult or uncomfortable, stop or reduce the activity.

* You may be able to reduce your exposure to smoke by moving to cleaner air. Large air conditioned areas such as shopping malls will likely provide improved air quality. However, not all air conditioning systems, e.g. some household systems, will necessarily improve air quality. Conditions can vary dramatically by area and elevation.

* Residents with asthma or other chronic illness should activate their asthma or personal care plan.

* If necessary, see your physician or visit a local walk-in clinic.

For general information about smoke and your health, contact HealthLink BC available toll free, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 8-1-1, or via the web at:

If the public wants to know the Air Quality Health Index for their region, log on to or call (250) 952-2039.

During a forest fire, it's also important to be aware of health risks associated with food safety in power outages and water quality. Interior Health's website contains helpful information and other resources related to forest fire smoke exposure / air quality, as well as food safety when the power is out and ensuring your drinking water is safe. Visit, click on the Health & Safety tab at the top of the page, then follow the links for Emergency Information > Forest Fires.

Media, for more info:

Karen Cairns,
IH Communications Officer


B.C. forest fires still burning uncontrolled -- CBC News

Last Updated: Monday, July 20, 2009 | 4:20 AM PT

Aerial photos of the Rose Valley fire, captured from a small plane flying in from the north on Sunday evening.
Aerial photos of the Rose Valley fire, captured from a small plane flying in from the north on Sunday evening.
(Betsy Trumpener/CBC)

Fire crews are assessing the best way to fight three largely uncontrolled fires in B.C.'s Okanagan Valley on Monday, but with no rain and high temperatures forecast, nature will likely provide little help.

Environment Canada predicted temperatures in Kelowna on Monday would reach 32 C — about seven degrees warmer than Sunday's high — and 35 on Tuesday, but fortunately the winds were not forecast to be strong on Monday.

About 11,000 people were ordered out of their homes in the West Kelowna area over the weekend while another 6,000 remain on alert to leave at a moment's notice.

The most dangerous fire started Saturday afternoon in the Glenrosa area near West Kelowna and spread quickly, destroying three homes.

Dale Bojahra, a forest protection technician with the B.C. Forest Service said that fire is four square kilometres in size, but 40 per cent contained, after crews were able to get heavy machinery into one section and create a partial fireguard on Sunday.

Fire crews plan to continuing attacking that fire on the ground Monday.

Another fire near the West Kelowna area of Rose Valley is now 1.5 square kilometres in size, but fire officials said that blaze is not contained due to the rough terrain in the area.

The Forest Service said the steep terrain made it too dangerous to fight that fire from the ground, so firefighters are using helicopters and air tankers to battle the blaze.

Meanwhile, a third fire at Terrace Mountain, near Fintry, has grown to 8.5 square kilometres. The fire is not contained and has only been fought from the air, but is not a risk to homes or communities.

Road closures

Highway 97 through West Kelowna has been closed because of the fires, but an alternate path along Route 201 is open for light vehicle traffic.

Police are asking people to stay away from critical areas like the highway roadblock and portions of Okanagan Lake where air support is scooping up water to use on the fires.

A Telus official asked people to use their cellphones only if necessary, because wireless service in the area is overwhelmed. Dr. Paul Hasselback of the Interior Health Authority said air quality has also become a concern.


Sunday, July 19, 2009

The West Kelowna fire as seen from Kidston Road in Coldstream.

Photos by the Eagle


Photo gallery -- Eastern Kingbird with young. Courtesy: Debbie Gibson.


Highway update from MOT -- West Kelowna News

by Contributed - Story: 48299
Jul 19, 2009 / 2:27 pm

The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure has provided the following highway traffic information update for motorists:
  • Highway 97 is closed from Highway 97 C through Westbank.
  • Highway 97 C is closed at Highway 5A to the interchange with Highway 97 due to smoke.
  • At present we are only recommending travelers use the numbered routes for detours in the Kelowna area being:
  • From Merritt to Kelowna use Highway 5 to the Trans Canada Highway to Highway 97 via the Monte Creek turn off at Kamloops,
  • From Kelowna to Summerland and points south use Highway 33 to Highway 3 and follow the signs to Osoyoos to Highway 97, and
  • From Summerland and points south use Highway 97 to Highway 3 to highway 33 at Rock Creek.
  • A temporary detour route for traffic under 27,000 kg GVW is being prepared along the 201 Forest Service Road between Penticton and Highway 33 via McCulloch Road. This roadway will be available as of 3:00 pm this afternoon. This road is restricted to light traffic only. Vehicles in excess of 27,000 kg GVW are required to use the number highway routes only.
  • Presently the Ministry’s maintenance contractor, Argo has mobilized 2 water trucks and 3 graders on the road and steps have been taken to engage the forestry contractor in the area to use their grader in assisting in road maintenance.
  • In addition, Argo and Ministry staff including Commercial Vehicle Safety Enforcement (CVSE) staff are performing 24 hour patrols along the road.

The safety of the travelling public is the Ministry’s first priority. Travelers are reminded to observe all traffic control devices, obey all traffic control persons and watch for changing conditions.

For updated Highway information and road closures at anytime visit the or call 1-800-550-4997.


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.