Wednesday, September 30, 2009

B.C.'s Liberals, federal Tories ducking accountability for HST

By Barbara Yaffe,
Vancouver Sun
August 27, 2009

Regardless of the merits of a harmonized sales tax, the process whereby it has been endorsed in B.C. is politically fraudulent.

Since the new tax was announced July 22, neither the Harper nor Campbell governments has demonstrated due accountability.

Three Conservative MPs have come forward to disavow Ottawa from any role in B.C.'s HST adoption while provincial Finance Minister Colin Hansen has played dumb.

Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, instead of visiting B.C. to sell the tax, has kept a low profile.

Let's be clear. Ottawa has been actively lobbying all provinces to adopt the HST since 1996, when New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland signed on.

Reasons exist that make the HST a beneficial policy, not the least of which is that it puts more cash in the hands of business, which in turn tends to boost private-sector investment to hike productivity. Low productivity has long been one of Canada's biggest challenges.

Like his predecessors, Flaherty has been urging provinces to harmonize, offering cash inducements.

Ontario announced a buy-in in its March 26 budget.

That "changed everything for us," Hansen writes on his Facebook page.

Two weeks after the Campbell government's re-election in mid-May, the province launched its own harmonization talks with Ottawa.

Now you'd think Hansen would have told voters about the HST during the campaign.

After all, campaigns are the venue for such policy discussions. In past elections, tax changes have played a significant role, often resulting in defeat of the politicians proposing them.

Elections thereby act as a check on politicians, preventing them from riding roughshod over voters.

Canadians defeated Brian Mulroney after he introduced the GST. They cut short Joe Clark's Conservative leadership when he proposed an 18-cent-a-gallon gas tax.

They decimated Liberal leader Stephane Dion for proposing a carbon tax in last fall's election.

But Hansen, whose nose has grown considerably of late, says he didn't mention his HST proposal during the campaign because he was unaware of the Ontario budget measure.

Through all of April presumably, and into May, he was unaware.

"After the election, I was able to 're-engage' with finance ministry staff," explains Hansen. "At that time, it became obvious that some key issues had changed dramatically [including, in this context, the HST world]."

If Hansen indeed was oblivious to Ontario's actions for more than a month, campaign or no campaign, British Columbians have good reason to question his fitness as finance minister. It's a minimum responsibility of finance ministers to be up to the minute on Canadian policies that threaten to impact their own jurisdiction's competitiveness.

Hansen's claim of ignorance is not terribly credible -- but it was politically expedient; the B.C. Liberals were loath to face an almost-certain ballot-box repudiation by voters on the issue.

But that's precisely the way our democracy is designed to work. The onus on the campaigning Liberals was either to sell the policy to voters, modify it so it became minimally palatable or drop it.

The province's actions are certain to yield a loss of trust in the Campbell government, a loss that will challenge its future legitimacy.

Ottawa has been equally coy, adopting a hear-see-and-do-no-evil posture.

In a letter to a local newspaper, the Conservative MP for Nanaimo-Alberni, James Lunney, wrote that the HST decision was entirely a provincial one and concerns should be directed to local MLA Ron Cantelon.

Similarly, Dick Harris (Cariboo-Prince George) and Ontario MP Larry Miller, two other Conservatives, have disavowed Ottawa's role in convincing Ontario and B.C. to move to a harmonized sales tax.

A B.C. HST, at 12 per cent and applying to more items than are currently taxed provincially, is -- in macro-economic terms -- a good fiscal measure. But it's a hard sell to consumers already facing the highest housing costs in Canada.

The way it is being introduced in B.C. is an absolute disgrace.


Water devolution update.

Some of you may have read the "STATEMENT OF POSITION OF THE DISTRICT OF COLDSTREAM" with reference to the Arbitration procedure Vernon initiated. Those of you who did not read it and wish to read it you can find it by clicking on here.

The solicitors acting on behalf of Vernon have responded to position of both Coldstream's and Electoral Areas "B" and "C". The document, entitled CITY OF VERNON'S REPLY TO STATEMENTS OF POSITION" is public and copies could be obtained from the District of Coldstream by those interested in the Statement. Some of the items are quite startling and I wish to quote some of them.

4. Historical Rights and Practices - Vernon's right to withdraw and the terms and conditions that govern its withdrawal should not be constrained by principles that predate the creation of the utility. In particular Vernon says:

• Various statements of principles were formulated by the parties prior to the establishment of the GVWS, including a statement that the regional authority would only sell bulk water, not retain any class of customers, and that the distribution and sale of water would be the exclusive right of the local jurisdictions;

• Water allocation rights originally provided to agricultural users do not include a right to demand a subsidized rate on an ongoing basis provided by other user classes, which burden disproportionately falls on Vernon's residential and ICI customer base;

6. Asset Division — Reserves — Debt - Vernon's position is that the arbitration should proceed to examine the function division of bulk and local distribution assets in accordance with the proposal set out by Vernon in the QDS Quadra Development Solutions Technical and Financial Report. If B&C do not agree with that proposed division they are entitled to respond with their own analysis and proposal but the arbitration process should not be adjourned for an independent assessment as proposed by B&C. . Vernon's position is that there is sufficient time before any hearing on the substantive issues for B&C to respond to the Vernon/QDS proposal

10. Vernon agrees that water licences issued to Vernon have been transferred to GVS but says that no other assets of Vernon have been transferred, and that none will be in view of its intention to withdraw from the service and pending the outcome of this arbitration.

11. Vernon does not agree that it derived any benefit from Coldstream water licences, funds or infrastructure. Coldstream's infrastructure is depleted and in need of upgrading at significant cost. Vernon, in conjunction with the other participants, obtained access to additional water through licences issued to the GVS. In the case of Duteau Creek, the capacity in the water licences cannot be utilized without the new treatment plant, an undertaking funded by all participants, but with the majority of funds contributed by Vernon.

13. In reply to paragraph 15 of Coldstream's Statement Vernon says that the other participants have benefited similarly from the Water Service. Vernon denies that it has benefited from additional taxation and development cost charge revenues. In addition to the contributions referred to in paragraph 12 above, Vernon's financial contributions to the Water Service from rates paid by its residential and ICI customer base provide a significant subsidy to the agricultural user groups of Coldstream and Electoral Areas B & C.

16. There is no inherent right to equal service costs between jurisdictions. For example, Vernon's taxpayers pay a higher rate per officer than Coldstream's taxpayers for police services. Vernon would not expect that Coldstream transfer funds to achieve equalization in policing costs. Differential service costs are a basic outcome of citizens being organized into local jurisdictions with discrete geography, land uses and community profiles.

17. Decisions with respect to stabilization of irrigation costs are fundamentally a matter of political choice as to whether one customer group should be subsidized by other customer groups. Coldstream and Electoral Areas B&C must accept that the cost implications of subsidizing their large agricultural user base should be borne by their taxpayers. Neither Coldstream or B&C have a right to continue to draw on Vernon for this subsidy as a consequence of Vernon having provided the subsidy during the period of its participation in the Water Service.

20. Separation of irrigation and non-irrigation distribution requires substantial expenditures for lengthy pipe installation to benefit the agricultural customer base which is concentrated in Coldstream and B&C. The cost of doubling the distribution lines exceeded the cost of the required treatment improvements. Vernon should not be expected to subsidize the cost of separating the distribution system in Coldstream and B&C.

21. Coldstream's assertion that an equitable rate structure must be established as a condition of Vernon's withdrawal reflects a claim of an ongoing right to a subsidy provided by Vernon's larger domestic customer base. Vernon's position is that it imposing an ongoing obligation on Vernon's customers following withdrawal is not equitable to Vernon.

30. Vernon denies that it has drawn capacity from Coldstream's licence capacity. In addition to drawing from the capacity under its former licences, Vernon has utilized water from the former NOWA licences, As a participant in the former NOWA Vernon's utilization of this capacity should not give rise to any right to compensation in favour of any other participant.

It is difficult to understand how Vernon politicians could arrive to those conclusions. I could comment on a number of issues knowing full well that they are erroneous. I was involved in negotiations prior to 2000. I know that all parties agreed that the agricultural community should be provided with rates that would allow them to compete fairly within the Valley. They had the original water licences the value of which is immeasurable.

Item 20. appears to be the most ridiculous. Separation of domestic and agriculture water would benefit the domestic customers and not the agricultural users. Agriculture only needs water during the summer months (5-6 months). To say that I am disappointed in the lies and misrepresentations is an understatement.

Comments would be appreciated. I assume most Coldstream water customers would not be happy with double or triple water rates which would be the consequence if Vernon succeeds in their quest.


Monday, September 28, 2009

Liberals to table non-confidence motion Monday -- National Post

Are you ready for another potential Federal Election?

David Akin, Canwest News Service

OTTAWA -- The federal Liberal party will release the text Monday afternoon of its non-confidence motion that MPs will be expected to vote on Thursday.

The Liberals want to bring down Prime Minister Stephen Harper's minority government and force a general election but, to do that, MPs from all three opposition parties must vote in favour of the Liberal non-confidence motion. It appears, though, that the NDPwill stand with the government Thursday.

Brad Lavigne, the NDP's national director, appeared on television shows Sunday saying his party's first priority is to see government legislation that would extend the maximum amount of time some people can receive employment insurance benefits approved by the Commons. That legislation, the government says, would help about 190,000 people who are nearing the end of their benefit period.

Ralph Goodale, the Liberal MP from Saskatchewan and his party's House leader, said the motion to be tabled Monday will be unambiguous.

"We want to play this straightforward, very straight-up," Mr. Goodale said.

The motion could be as simple as "Be it Resolved that this House has no confidence in the government."

Confidence motions, though, are typically a little longer than that, with a pre-amble that sets out the reasons why the party proposing the motion does not have confidence in the government.

"This government cannot be trusted in terms of its numbers," Liberal MP David McGuinty said Monday morning after meeting with party leader Michael Ignatieff and his closest advisers.

The Bloc Quebecois has already indicated it will vote with the Liberals and against the government on Thursday's vote.

The Liberals believe they can score some political points at the NDP's expense and the wording of their confidence motion is part of the strategy to do just that.

The preamble in the Liberal confidence motion could, for example, indict the government for failing to act on some issues that are core parts of the NDP's agenda, such as more robust employment insurance reform.

Mr. Ignatieff said last week he does not want to give the NDP anywhere to "hide."

The timing of the confidence motion is connected to the release Monday of the government's third quarterly update on its economic stimulus plan.

In exchange for Liberal support last spring of the budget, the Conservatives agreed to table quarterly updates on some of the objectives and benchmarks outlined in the budget. As part of that Liberal-Conservative agreement last spring, both sides agreed that the Liberals would have the chance to introduce this confidence motion three days after the government tables this third report.



September 25, 2009
Kelowna, BC



“We can’t manage what we don’t measure.” BC’s Living Water Smart Plan

Funding Announcement: On September 24th, 2009, the Okanagan Basin Water Board received $154,000 in Canada/BC Infrastructure Funding to produce a web-based water use reporting tool for the Okanagan valley.

Background: The Okanagan has the lowest per person water availability in Canada but we don’t have a system to track how much water we use. This project will develop a streamlined web-based system for water suppliers and other large water users to record how much water they use each month, evaluate changes from year to year, and look at how their water use compares to other areas. Water planners will also use the system – the water use data will help them manage drought and water shortages, and plan for increased demand from climate change and population growth. The reporting system will give a clear picture of how much water is used in the valley as a whole.

The Okanagan Basin Water Board will create the reporting system through a partnership with water suppliers, local government planners, and BC ministries. It will be designed to bring together information from all large water users: licensed and unlicensed, public and private, surface and groundwater. With this information, the Water Board will be able to help communities match their water demands to water supplies, find funding, and identify critical areas within the valley. Although it is being developed to meet the needs of the Okanagan, this tool can be customized for specific regions or industries in other parts of British Columbia.

Project Outcomes:

1. Water security in the Okanagan: Water security means knowing how much water you have and how much water you need. The new reporting system will help track how community water needs change through time, help resolve conflicts, and help plan for the future. It will be integrated with the water supply and demand project being completed for the valley.

2. Better information for water users: Users will be able to access their own water data and reports on water trends and efficiency improvements. The system will generate summary reports, time series trend graphs, pie charts and bar graphs that can be printed and downloaded for digital or paper filing. It will also create summaries of how water is used in local regions and the watershed as a whole, allowing users to compare water trends.

3. Better management of water use information. The system will eliminate duplication of effort, systems, and costs and eliminate repetitive requests for the same information from water planners and BC ministries.

4. A modernized method to manage water records. The system will be efficient, user-friendly, fast, easy, and streamlined. It will also be able to accommodate automated updates from telemetry-based water meters and other technological advances.

5. Improve data quality. A water management and use study, completed for the Okanagan in 2008, found that out of 57 major purveyors in the valley, only 17 had reliable data for the period from 1996-2006; and extensive estimation was needed to fill information gaps. This system will create a uniform structure and standards for water use reporting;

6. Increase the reporting interval to monthly. The current system of annual reporting does not allow water users or planners to track important trends in seasonal water use, and how those trends vary with environmental conditions;

7. Include groundwater. Groundwater pumping will be reported in the same way as surface water. Where groundwater is not currently measured, irrigation calculators can be integrated into the tool to estimate groundwater use;

8. Future scalability. The architecture of the system will be designed to accommodate future needs. For example, in a small, drought-prone watershed, all individual households could be linked into the system with real-time data reporting. During droughts, users could log on and monitor community water use to track water conservation needs.

9. Future integration with water quality reporting: Water suppliers are now required to separately report water quality information to health authorities. The water use reporting system will be designed to allow development of a one-stop shop for reporting water quality and water use in the future.

Implementing this streamlined water use reporting system will help Okanagan communities build a stronger economy and sustainable environment. Individual suppliers will have more powerful tools for tracking their water trends over time. As a valley, we will be better able to prepare for drought, share water in times of shortages, and identify critical areas where supplies are not meeting demand.


Please direct all media inquires to:
Dr. Anna Warwick Sears
Executive Director, OBWB
Tel. 250-469-6251

For more information on the Okanagan Basin Water Board, please visit


Selected articles -- Morning Star news -- September 27, 2009


Saturday, September 26, 2009

Jamie Kidston's reward for hard work -- Courtesy: Debbie Gibson


Coldstream Council Meeting -- September 28, 2009 -- Agenda


6:00 PM



Friday, September 25, 2009

SPKL information

The Society for the Protection of Kalamalka Lake is proud to present

Michael Sokal, PhD
Impact Assessment Biologist
Environmental Protection
Ministry of Environment
Speaking on:

An Introduction to the Okanagan Large Lakes Water Quality Monitoring Program: Successes, Discoveries & Kalamalka Lake.

It will cover some general material about the MOE large lakes monitoring program, with a focus on Kal Lake Water Quality status and trends.


Heather Larratt (R.P. Bio)
Larratt Aquatic Consulting (LAC)
aquatic consulting to the Greater Vernon Water Utility.

Speaking on:

The Inner Transport of Kalamalka Lake

Beneath the deceptive calm and stunning beauty of Kalamalka Lake, there is incessant motion: the summer water layers tip and twist in 20 m high waves; the inflow from Coldstream Creek moves like a river within the lake, and there is a continuous rain of algae and marl from the surface water. All thie relentless motion is subtle and silent. Water movement affects every aspect of Kalamalka Lake.

WHEN: Sunday September 27th, 2009 3:30pm - 6:30pm

WHERE: Kalamalka Women's Institute Hall ( Near the Coldstream Municipal Hall) 9909 Kalamalka Lake Rd.

Talks will be followed by a raffle draw for the beautiful Kal Quilt, followed by refreshments and a brief AGM meeting.

For more info :


Thursday, September 24, 2009

Coldstream receives Federal funds.

By Peter McIntyre
Thursday, 24 September 2009.

It took seven months, but B-C and Ottawa have finally signed a deal that will see more than 700 million dollars in stimulus spending on public works projects in the province.

Eleven million dollars worth of North Okanagan infrastructure projects have got the green light to proceed.

Vernon Monashee MLA Eric Foster made the announcements today.

The biggest project is a new $6.9 million grid road in Coldstream.

Coldstream's administrator Mike Stamhuis says the project has been on the books for about 20 years and will connect Kalamalka Road near Husband Road with the highway.

"It would go up through the area of Crown land on the east side of the seed orchard and then in between the seed orchard and the Sage Point subdivison, connecting to College Drive where the hairpin turn is, just before it goes into Kickwillie Loop. In effect it provides a much improved connection between 90 percent of Coldstream and Highway 97."

Stamhuis says as part of the grant, the project has to be finished by March 2011 with designs currently underway.

He says the District has been "squirreling" away funds for years and has its share of the project in place.

Stamhuis says a big part of the cost is for a bridge over Vernon Creek and an underpass for the railway tracks.

A separate bike and pedestrian pathway alongside will cost another $1.7.

Foster says the other projects include three million dollars worth of improvements to 34th Street in Vernon and more than $680,000 for stage three water supply in Lumby.


Total grant is $4,614,278 ($2,307,179 from each of the senior governments). Coldstream's share is also $2,307,179 from the road DCC account.


Rancher calls water order attack on agriculture -- Kammloops Daily News.

By CAM FORTEMS Daily News Staff Reporter

A rancher forced to shut down irrigation pumps on the Nicola River to conserve fish called the order an assault on agriculture that trumps a water licence in existence for more than a century.

Mike Rose estimated orders from Victoria and Ottawa to cease irrigation will cost the family-owned Quilchena Ranch $150,000. It will now have to purchase feed on the open market to tide over the herd for the fall and winter season once they are off range grass.

“We’re just trying to grow our third crop (of alfalfa) which is what we feed cows between now and Christmas,” said Mike Rose, part of the family that owns the historic ranch.

The order comes during a continued economic depression in the industry. The ranch’s water licence is more than 130 years old.

Rose said his operation was the only one affected by a Ministry of Environment clampdown on water use. The order comes as an attempt to save spawning kokanee salmon by increasing levels in the Nicola River upstream of Nicola Lake.

Valerie Cameron, a regional manager with the Ministry of Environment, said the run of kokanee is in critical shape. The run, which returns on three-year cycles, was decimated by the 2003 drought that produced Firestorm 2003.

“This (2003) was a year of one of the worst droughts. Fish have really reacted negatively to low flows.”

Rose said information on a provincial and federal water flow website shows the level has been lower in more than a dozen years. He walked the stream this morning and didn’t see any spawning or dead kokanee salmon, which he believes may show up later when irrigation season is over.

The ranch has made strides to conserve water, including undertaking a federally sponsored environmental farm plan that saw hundreds of irrigation nozzles replaced with smaller units.

“By doing that we got down to 65 per cent of our legal allotment. We stuck our necks out, cut our use and thought we’d be OK.”

B.C. Cattlemen’s Association spokeswoman Elaine Stovin said the move comes as a shock to those with historical water rights placing them as the No. 1 user.

“They’re not used to having those rights temporarily suspended. Because water rights are so important it will be a big concern for our members.”

The province recently adopted new legislation allowing orders to be given to save fish habitat. Environment Minister Barry Penner said the situation is a crisis because flows were below .35 metres per second.

Even with the order and voluntary release of upstream water by Douglas Lake and Upper Nicola band, Cameron levels are still below what is considered necessary for the fish to thrive.

Rose is also angry that it is his water storage dams on the plateau that cause water to flow at this time of year. The irrigation dams hold back water from spring freshet.

“If no one created the storage the creek would be dry every year. Agriculture has created the storage upstream. Now we can’t use it.”

The order represents the first time in B.C. new regulations have been enacted but it is unlikely to be the last. The stream is considered at a five- or 10-year low this season, suggesting orders may become a regular occurance.

Cameron said officials are also looking at flows in the Nicola River below the City of Merritt, an important stream for salmon.


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

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

This cub and his/her sibling came to visit us tonight. One came up on the sundeck and got scared and climbed up into the pine tree. Did not call the police or wildlife!!!


Selected articles -- Morning Star news -- September 23, 2009


All that smoke over the summer must have affected our judgement with regards to "fresh air".

Let me explain.

1. Eliminate GVAC, give Vernon total control over water and parks. We can trust them, they don't always vote in a block. Murphy's Law comes to mind.

"With three representatives, Vernon would have the most votes, and that has created some concern.“Based on population, Vernon would take it every time,” said Mike Macnabb, BX-Silver Star director. Lippert disagrees with that view. “The city representatives have been known on numerous occasions not to vote together,” he said."
2. Hobby farms. How many hobby farms are there to justify Vernon's claim of over $3 million subsidy to Coldstream and the Electoral Areas? To arrive at the $3 million all agricultural use is considered hobby farm by Vernon. I have seen no attempt to explain from where that subsidy figure came. If the City truly supports "true agriculture" then the $3 million plus subsidy is a myth.

3. Facts must be the guiding light in negotiations not "entrenched views".

"I say that because some of Garlick’s councillors have entrenched views about regional issues. Animosity towards Vernon also lies just below the surface, and some of them were featured players in previous disputes between the municipalities.It will be Garlick’s job to lead his council to a position of comfort — where the interests of Coldstream and all water users are addressed."
4. In spite of the offer to negotiate the City continues with the arbitration process belying the stated "good will negotiations". As Mayor Lippert stated "to keep Electoral Areas' and Coldstream's politicians' feet to the fire". That does not generate much trust. Every note our lawyers send us, every response we make cost the taxpayers money. The same is true for the other participants. Every time the Arbitrator reads a submission and makes a determination the cash flows.

Still waiting for something less than an ultimatum!


Letters of sorts!


I seem to remeber another letter from this same author to Coldstream Council of 2004. I found it!

This letter resulted in sewer extension at taxpayers' expense! Interesting! Take a look!


This is a reminder about our Annual General Meeting tomorrow night, Thursday, Sept. 24, 7 PM

Coldstream Ratepayers Association

Annual General Meeting tomorrow night,

Thursday, Sept. 24, 7 PM,

Women's Institute Hall

(next to the old fire hall)

We have several important matters for our CRA to take up, especially the issue of water devolution by Vernon, and its possible impact on our water rates.

We will also have an update on the struggle over the gravel pit on Coldstream Ranch, plus several announcements, election of officers (brief!), etc.

Please attend because our Council needs our support in these important matters.

Steve Heeren, Pres., CRA


Monday, September 21, 2009

Coldstream Special Council Meeting -- September 22, 2009 -- Agenda



7:00 PM



Coldstream Committee Meetings -- Technical Planning Committee, September 21, 2009


Sunday, September 20, 2009

Another kick at the can -- Water devolution issues.

Water devolution is a term used by the City of Vernon as a euphemism for breaking a contract duly signed by the City, the District of Coldstream and Electoral Areas “B” and “C” back in 2002. The purpose of this contract, laid down in the Master Water Plan (MWP), was to develop a joint water utility that would provide safe drinking water for all domestic customers and maintain affordable agricultural water for the agriculture industry.

The basic principle of the original plan was to create separate delivery system for the domestic and the agriculture water. Each home within the utility would receive highly treated water for domestic use and untreated water would continue to be delivered through the existing irrigation system. All domestic customers within the utility would pay the same water rate and agriculture users would receive water at rates competitive within the Okanagan Valley.

Unfortunately, the plan was modified in 2004, whereby the extension of domestic water lines only happened in Vernon. The rest of the utility customers would be receiving treated water through the irrigation water delivery system. We voted for this change in a referendum in 2004 (at least about 10% of eligible voters did). This change was necessitated by the fact that the expected government grants did not materialize (how could we even expect it in less then two years?!) and the City was desperate for water as they exceeded their existing licenses.

The major consequences of this decision were as follows:

Higher quality water for city customers;
Lower quality water for the rest of us;
Significantly larger treatment plant at Duteau Creek;
Most of the treated water from DC plant used for agriculture irrigation;
Two different price for same quality water.

When the Mayor of Vernon claims that:
“Since the establishment of the Greater Vernon Water Service, Vernon water users have paid in excess of $3 million each year to subsidize discount water rates for irrigation in Coldstream and Areas “B” and “C”. (Morning Star Ad).
he ignores the facts presented above. He also ignores the fact that Directors at NORD representing the City repeatedly supported increases in water rates since 2002 to this year. Why did they do so if they believed the subsidy claim?

In fact, Coldstream and Electoral Areas' customers subsidized the city customers as they had not received any benefit from their highly elevated water rates.

The creators of the 2002 MWP addressed the potential problems of treating agricultural water to domestic requirements:
“On an average annual basis, about 80% of the water use in the existing NOWA combined system goes to irrigation. The remainder is for domestic use. The quality of water used for potable purposes must be improved to meet the water quality goals. The question is therefore – is it better to treat all of the water or is it better to separate the irrigation and domestic functions and treat only the domestic supply?

The major factor in this decision is cost. This was investigated using an economic analysis technique known as “life cycle costing”. The results clearly show that water system separation, to create a domestic water system and an irrigation water system, has a clear economic advantage over the long-term. Based on a 50-year lifecycle cost analysis, the cost to implement and operate a separated water system is about $149 million. The cost for a combined water system, over the same period and providing the same domestic water quality, is about $198 million – some $49 million higher!” (MWP page 6).

Despite this warning politicians of the day, including those from Vernon, opted to accept this new plan fully knowing that they would have to subsidize agricultural users.

Weighing the consequences of signing the contract should have been done before the signing it!


Saturday, September 19, 2009

Coldstream takes aim at ad -- By Brent Mutis, MS

September 19, 2009

Coldstream’s mayor and council are disappointed in a recent ad run by the city of Vernon in The Morning Star that states the city is subsidizing its water-using neighbours to the tune of $3 million.

The ad claims Vernon is subsidizing neighbouring jurisdictions through its inclusion in the current water distribution arrangement.

“Vernon is arguing they’re subsidizing Coldstream and the electoral areas,” said Coldstream chief administrative officer Mike Stamhuis. “To call it a subsidy is fundamentally incorrect.”

Stamhuis says Vernon is making this claim based on calculations using the domestic water rate. But most of the water used in Coldstream and the electoral areas is for agricultural use which is a cheaper rate because it’s not chlorinated.

Coldstream Mayor Jim Garlick says the information in the ad is misleading.

“They have to realize we’re talking about different sets of users here, agricultural versus domestic.”

Vernon Mayor Wayne Lippert is trying to avoid an arbitration process which has seen all parties involved hire legal counsel. He also bristles at accusations his ad message is not entirely accurate.

“From my point of view, anything that’s been held back has been from Coldstream and (electoral areas) B and C. We’ve always been forthcoming.”

Stamhuis disagrees.

“We don’t believe we’ve withheld anything because we haven’t been putting ads in the paper to tell our story. Vernon has taken this (legal) action so it’s hard for us to accept that we’re withholding information.”

Garlick believes a lot of the background information is not being taken into account in the decisions Vernon is currently making.

“What I think Vernon council’s problem is is they have a lot of people that weren’t involved in (the original process). Let’s set up a history lesson on how we got to where we are because the players have changed.”

Vernon originally proposed pulling out of the current water distribution plan which went into effect in 2003 after two years of compromising. The city’s latest offer is to shift voting on water from the Greater Vernon Advisory Committee to the North Okanagan Regional District board.

“I just want to take the politics out of it,” said Lippert. “The utility itself does work pretty well but the governance gets in the way and people’s egos.”


That last paragraph is "PRICELESS"!


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Morning Star Editorial: It’s time to start talking again

Although the water distribution battle in Greater Vernon is far from over, at least there appears to be the willingness to talk about it. And that’s good news in the wake of the City of Vernon’s proposal to keep the water distribution function in one piece.The city’s plan would see all voting on water and parks and recreation shift to the North Okanagan Regional District board instead of the Greater Vernon Advisory Committee. This is the latest move in an ongoing saga that was launched when the city gave notice of withdrawing from the water distribution function back in 2006. The city claims its water users are subsidizing rural customers while the District of Coldstream and the electoral areas claim many of their citizens use water for agricultural purposes which makes it an unfair comparison.

It appeared the two sides were at a stalemate until this latest move by the city which should at least take it out of the hands of the lawyers and back into the hands of the politicians where it belongs. We urge members of NORD, Vernon and Coldstream councils to at least use this as a starting point for discussions towards a negotiated solution that makes sense and is accountable to all involved, namely the taxpayers of Greater Vernon who elected these people to do just that.There is a history to this dispute that predates many, if not most, of the politicians currently serving in the area. However it’s definitely a problem created by politicians that needs to be solved by the same. Rather than exasperating the situation by going the legal route, it’s time to get the deal done. (From the Vernon Blog).


Vernon presents option on water -- Richard Rolke, MS

Published: September 17, 2009 6:00 PM

A small light of optimism may be shed on a fight that’s ripped Greater Vernon apart.

City of Vernon officials have presented Coldstream and the two electoral areas with a proposal it claims could keep the water distribution function in one piece.

“This is an effort to keep looking at possible solutions,” said Mayor Wayne Lippert.

“This would take devolution (withdrawal) off the table.”

The city’s plan would see all voting on water and parks and recreation shift to the North Okanagan Regional District board instead of at the Greater Vernon Advisory Committee.

“There’s a lot of politics at GVAC. The same politics don’t exist at the regional district,” said Lippert.

The proposal also calls for all votes to be weighted, meaning each director would be delegated a certain number of votes based on the size of the jurisdiction they represent. With three representatives, Vernon would have the most votes.

However, Lippert denies this would give the city control.

“It would be control if we voted as a block but the Vernon representatives don’t always agree,” he said.

Issues surrounding water distribution first arose in 2006, and the city officially gave notice of withdrawal in 2006.

The city claims withdrawing from the function will not only lower rates, but increase customer accountability, improve customer service and better co-ordinate infrastructure projects.

Opposition has come from Coldstream and the electoral areas, saying water rates for their residents could soar if Vernon is not involved. But an arbitration process was recently launched so the city can leave the function.

Despite that process, though, Vernon officials say they are willing to talk with their partners.

“We have to come up with a better solution than currently sits. That’s something we can all agree on,” said Patrick Nicol, a city councillor.

Wednesday was the first chance for the other Greater Vernon jurisdictions to look at the plan.

“Thank you to Vernon for bringing it forward. It’s a positive step and we will take a look at it,” said Mike Macnabb, BX-Silver Star director.

If the plan goes ahead, it could mean increased workload at the NORD board.

“Does this board want to start sorting out Greater Vernon? Because if you do, we don’t need a (GVAC) committee,” said Doug Dirk, Coldstream councillor.


“There’s a lot of politics at GVAC. The same politics don’t exist at the regional district,” said Lippert.
If anything this proposal is a lot of politics. It would essentially be an amalgamation without a referendum. With the veighted votes the three Vernon Directors could out vote the remaining ten Directors, meaning that Vernon would have total control of everything relating to water and parks. Judging from the Mayor's ad in the Morning Star it could spell the death-knell to agriculture water rates in Coldstream and Electoral Areas "B" and "C".
“It would be control if we voted as a block but the Vernon representatives don’t always agree,” he said.
Oh really? Now that committee members will collect extra wages in Vernon some Councillors will really try to please the Mayor as it is the Mayor who appoints Committee members and doles out the juicy $137 fees for each committee attended. I am sure the Mayor would require absolute loyalty in the matters of water and parks.

In my opinion this is just a hollow gesture appearing to give something that if accepted would be the betrayal of my constituents.

It is nothing but a Trojan Horse! Coldstreamer


Allen speaks at HST rally

Vernon Morning Star

More details about an anti-harmonized sales tax event are being known.

Lumby area resident Huguette Allen will speak at the rally in front of the Vernon courthouse Saturday at noon.

Allen is the former Green Party candidate both federally and provincially.

As part of the rally, an address from former Social Credit premier Bill Vander Zalm will also be read.

The rally will be held at the same time as similar events across the province.

For more information about the rally, cal Miles Lehn at 250 545-4350.


Monday, September 14, 2009

Coldstream Ratepayers Meeting -- September 24, 2009.

To all members of the Coldstream Ratepayers Association (CRA):

The Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the CRA will be held on

Thursday, September 24, at 7 PM

in the Women's Institute Hall, on Kal Lake Road, (near the Coldstream Municipal Hall.)

If you have any suggestions for items on the agenda of that meeting, will you please forward them to me BY NO LATER THAN 10 AM, Monday, September 21? At our Executive Meeting (prior to the AGM) we will consider which suggestions need to be taken up by the membership.

You can send your suggestions to me at <> or call me at 545-3202 (mornings or evenings only, please).

The CRA is currently without a Vice-President so I would welcome anyone who wants to become active in the CRA and will step forward for such a position.

See you on the 24th of September!

Steve Heeren,
President, CRA


Correction -- Coldstream Council meeting tonight at 6:00 PM not 7:00 as posted.





6:00 PM



Saturday, September 12, 2009

Coldstream Council Meeting -- September 14, 2009 -- Agenda


7:00 PM



Friday, September 11, 2009

Selected articles -- Morning Star news -- September 11, 2009


In order to be diplomatic I have to say that the Mayor of Vernon is misinformed (I chose to believe that he would not be deliberately paying for misinformation).

By the year 2000 the City exceeded its water license and had no room to develop. Coldstream and NORD (North Okanagan Water Authority or NOWA) had significant excess water licenses. That is why the "have's" and the "have not's" joined forces and developed the Master Water Plan and established the Greater Vernon Water utility.

The agreement provided water for Vernon and they could go ahead with massive developments such as the Rise and Turtle Mountain. Homes on Turtle Mountain recently were advertised at "reduced rates" starting at around $500,000. Without water those lands were worth very little.

Vernon, in turn, agreed that all domestic and industrial customers of the utility will pay the same domestic rate. Agriculture users would be provided with rates that would continue to make their products competitive with other agricultural establishments within the Valley. It's quite easy to understand that all the infrastructure improvements were needed only by domestic customers as farmers were quite happy with the raw water for their crops.

Domestic rates immediately begin to rise in 2002 and all customers paid the same. At present the rates are set at about $110 per year fixed plus $0.84 per cubic meter consumption rate. All water quality and all infrastructure improvements benefited Vernon to date. None of the Regional District and very few of Coldstream customers got any improvement. Thus, one can say that Coldstream and "B" and "C" subsidized Vernon for the last seven years. When we add to this the value of the water licenses Vernon received, any reasonable observer can see that the greatest beneficiary of the agreement was the City of Vernon. The tax benefits from those developments must be huge. Yet the Mayor of Vernon claims that the City is subsidizing the rest of us. Is black now turned white and white is now black? The “Nouveau Riche” turned on those who made the riches possible.

It was not Coldstream and Areas “B” and “C” that requested the devolution arbitration: it was the City and any claim that the continued increase in legal and arbitration costs are the fault of Coldstream and the electoral area’s is bogus. If two people (let’s call them Joe and Bill) sign a contract and Bill wants to break that contract and goes to court it is not Joe’s fault that there are court costs, it is Bill’s.

If your Council would agree to Vernon’s demands that they be allowed to pull out of water distribution the result would be that a domestic water customer in Vernon using 400 cubic meters of water per year would pay about $290 while a Coldstream domestic customer using the same volume of water would pay almost $700! A resident of Area B or C would pay almost $1000 for the same amount of water!

It’s a hell of a way to repay the gift of water Vernon received from Coldstream and NORD. In many states of the USA farmers make huge profits not from growing agricultural products but from the sale of their water licenses. It’s proven that water licenses have great value. The Mayor of Vernon should realize this simple truth.


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.