Wednesday, March 31, 2010

HST announcement!

Responding to the widespread opposition from taxpayers of the Province of British Columbia, Premier Campbell announced this morning that the proposed Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) will not be implemented by his Government.

For further information please visit HST.


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

MLA Foster Says People Will Be Pleased With HST - Pete McIntyre

The MLA for Vernon Monashee has made up his mind how he'll be voting on the HST. Vernon MLA Eric Foster is a big supporter of the HST

The legislation for the new 12 percent blended tax was tabled in Victoria today and Liberal Eric Foster says he's 100 percent in support.

The rookie MLA from Lumby calls it the single biggest thing the government can do to boost BC economy.

"We've been told that by business, by the economists, small business, large business. People are behind this and it's a good thing to do. It will work out well, and at the end of the day, people are going to be pleased with it."

N-D-P leader Carole James has vowed to fight the tax every step of the way, hinting her party may try to filibuster the bill.

Former premier Bill Vander Zalm is also heading a group collecting names on a petition to try and block it.

James blasted the government today in Victoria for dropping a provincial tax tax exemption on energy-saving appliances and subjecting those goods to the higher H-S-T.

Finance Minister Colin Hansen says low income people will get rebates on the H-S-T, and the legislation also includes a seven per cent rebate on motor fuels, books, children's clothing and footwear, car seats and diapers.

The HST will blend the five per cent GST with the seven per cent provincial levy, creating a single 12-per-cent tax that will apply to a much wider array of goods and services.

The new tax would take effect July 1.


Saying no to HST? - by Castanet Staff
Mar 29, 2010 / 5:28 pm

The Lakeside Resort's ballroom in Penticton was packed Sunday for the HST Rally.

The rally was lead by former B.C. Premier Bill Vander Zalm.

He spoke for 35 minutes, saying all political persuasions are working together to keep the HST out of B.C.

“Whether your NDP, Liberal or Conservative, Green Party, it doesn't matter. We are coming together because we are beginning to recognize and we must act upon it, that democracy is gone and we don't have democracy,” says Vander Zalm.

He says the HST will cost British Columbians $500 each annually.

Provincial conservative leader Chris Delaney says the HST is not a done deal.

“For anyone out there who's telling you 'this is a done deal, the HST is coming in on July 1, you guys are wasting your time, don't bother,' they don't understand what it is we're doing. We are going to repeal the tax.

The HST Rally relocated to Osoyoos for Sunday afternoon.

Castanet HST Poll


Poll Results

Question: Do you plan on signing the anti-HST petition?

2227 - 87%
334 = 13%

Total Votes: 2561



Need a new crystal ball! - Huffington Post.


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Proposed infrastructure financing alternative for Greater Vernon Water.

The following submission was made to Coldstream Council and endorsed in principal by Council at the March 22nd regular meeting:

Proposed infrastructure financing alternative for Greater Vernon Water.

The agricultural community is upset with the 9% rate increase of the agricultural water. I commiserate with their plight but I am perplexed why the domestic customers are not protesting the 10.6% to 25% increase in their rates. After all, most customers in Coldstream are still receiving the same quality water they had 25 years ago yet their water price is now over three fold of what it was 10 years ago. This is only the tip of the iceberg. Upcoming expenses associated with further improvements will be out of this world. Why?

It appears that health officials are adamant that future water supplies from surface water sources will have to be filtered and treated by either ozonation or ultraviolet irradiation. This will require much more money.

We cannot continue treating agriculture water to those standards as costs would be prohibitive. The new plant will have to be down sized to serve only the domestic customers due to huge costs associated with the new treatment requirements. Domestic water will have to be separated from agriculture water as was envisioned by the original MWP but never implemented. Financing these projects will be costly.

It is obvious that the present financing model is not working. We urge people to save water and at the same time must sell enough water to meet our financial objectives. Those two objectives clash.

A better alternative would be to guarantee the fixed infrastructure financing costs through taxes and cover the remaining water costs with water rates. In order to encourage water conservation we could develop a graduated block system. The minimum allowance (80 cubic meters at present) could be provided at a low rate and above that volume we should start significant rate increases in steps. Presto: we would guarantee the finance costs through taxation (currently at $2.6 million or about 0.3 mill rate) and water saving would have less influence on our budgetary objectives.

This concept is identical to the way we finance the Multiplex (mill rate 0.3718) and the Theatre (mill rate 0.2039). It is obvious that we could not finance either of them through user fees as we can’t even operate those facilities on user fees, we must subsidize them through taxes. Borrowing for these facilities was approved by the electorate (just as the utility borrowing was) and we are financing them through general taxation. There were no complaints about this method of financing.

Prior to the referendum politicians insisted that the reason for the borrowing was so that current customers would share costs with future users. As it stands, large sums were set aside and, indeed used, for cash funding of infrastructure. This goes against the stated principle of the borrowing referendum. Thus, continued borrowing and financing over time is the most justifiable method of financing present and future infrastructure costs.

I believe that this would be the most rational solution to our present dilemma regarding financing the infrastructure needed for the completion of the Master Water Plan.

Respectfully submitted:

Gyula Kiss


Schedule of Vander Zalm’s upcoming Fight HST tour:

Delta – FreshA on the heels of a resoundingly successful trip to Northern BC, former BC Premier Bill Vander Zalm, leader of the Fight HST petition to repeal the HST, is bringing his Town Hall Tour to the Okanagan and the Kootenays.

Following is a schedule of Vander Zalm’s upcoming Fight HST tour:

Kamloops – Sat. Mar. 27 – 11:30 am – Kamloops United Church – Chad Moats

Vernon – Sat. Mar. 27 – 3:30pm – Schubert Centre – Contact: Bev Harder

Kelowna – Sat. Mar. 27 – 7:30pm – Delta Grand Hotel – Contact: Dan Thorburn (250) 864-1385

Penticton – Sun. Mar. 28 – 11:30am – Lakeside Resort – Contact: Ron Barillaro (250) 809-1207


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Splitting Water to Store Solar Energy Energy of the future.

Solar Energy Storage MIT professor Daniel Nocera earlier worked on a catalysts that can divide water molecules which can be utilized to store energy. Daniel Nocera has established a company named as Sun Catalytix to give his dreams a concrete shape. His company is backed by venture capital firm Polaris Ventures. Nocera is known as a “huge centralized energy person.” When he thought about the problems faced by developed and developing world then formed the view that the solution to energy problem lies in cheap energy generation. Sun Catalytix is working on an advanced system that will use low-cost solar panels to produce hydrogen. This hydrogen will then be stored and used to produce electricity in a fuel cell.

The star of Sun Catalytix’s technology is a cobalt phosphate catalyst. Nocera pointed out that cobalt phosphate is more efficient at splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen than other catalysts. Its USP is this catalyst will work under ambient temperatures and with a wide range of water quality. His laboratory has got water samples from the Charles River in Boston and it worked well. Many commercial electrolyzers are available in the market that split water to make hydrogen. But their main drawbacks are they are costly and they need lots of energy to run. Nocera’s Sun Catalytix is testing an electroylzer, built around the catalyst that can be produced using cheap PVC plastic. The crux of the matter is to exploit solar panels to power the electrolyzer to produce hydrogen. This hydrogen would be stored in tanks. Whenever the need arises, the stored hydrogen would be put through a fuel cell.

According to Nocera three liters of water a day could power a home, or a fuel cell car in the “legacy world,” or developed countries. These countries hold a record of high consumption of electricity. But if we consider the case of developing countries where people don’t have much energy to use three liters would make a world of a difference. Three liters would fulfill the power needs of many people. He is talking about the future scenario of the world, “The solution, assuming the legacy world does the right thing (and uses energy efficiently), to this problem for the future is attacking the non-legacy world and they don’t have any money. That’s the challenge.”

Nocera declares his enthusiasm to the world, “This technology is moving really fast. We’re already at the engineering prototype design. I’m hiring no scientists–I’m just having a massive engineering effort right now. Within two years, we want to have a totally working kilowatt system.” Nocera attended the EmTech conference on emerging technologies last week, and said that engineers are now working on a model design for the system. His company has also roped in Art Goldstein as Chairman who was the retired CEO of water desalination company Ionics.

Researchers are currently trying to minimize the size of the large-scale systems as happened during the evolution of computers. But shrinking of size will not shrink the costs of production. Nocera didn’t see much evolution as far as batteries are concerned but he is quite optimistic regarding fuel cells. “What you need in my opinion is to start with a blank piece of paper and start inventing. Don’t take what’s there and try to reengineer it.”

For the full commercialization of this product common consumer has to wait for eight or ten years. They have to tie many loose ends such as hydrogen storage, cheaper solar panels, and cheaper fuel cells.


Selected articles -- Morning Star, March 24, 2010.


GVPRC Service Review Committee meeting.

Anyone interested is welcome to attend above meeting tomorrow at 8:30 AM in the NORD Board Room.

Information on previous meeting can be accessed at
Service Definition.


UBC Professor Carl Wieman nominated for White House post.

US President Barack Obama has nominated UBC Prof. Carl Wieman for the position of Associate Director of Science in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. (White House announcement).

Wieman, a 2001Nobel Laureate joined UBC’s Faculty of Science in 2007 as professor of Physics and Director of the $12 million Carl Wieman Science Education Initiative (CWSEI) to transform the teaching of science at UBC and elsewhere. He will take an unpaid leave of absence from the university upon confirmation of his appointment by the US Senate.

Wieman came to UBC from the University of Colorado, where he won the 2001 Nobel Prize in Physics and where he maintains a part-time appointment to head up an education project similar to the CWSEI.

“Carl has a passion for and profound understanding of how science education is essential for an informed and engaged society to deal with the most challenging questions of our time,” said UBC President Prof. Stephen Toope. “In just three years, his teaching and research and methods have touched more than 18,000 UBC students. His work here has attracted attention from around the world, so we are not surprised that President Obama would seek him out for this position.”

Sarah Gilbert, CWSEI Associate Director, will become Acting Director upon Senate confirmation of Wieman’s appointment.

“We are tremendously proud of how the CWSEI is improving the educational experiences of UBC students, and are firmly committed to it, so we are delighted that Sarah Gilbert will step in to advance the initiative in Carl’s absence,” said David Farrar, Provost and Vice President Academic. “We look forward to welcoming Carl back at the completion of his service in Washington.”


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Coldstream Wants Water Mediation Shelved -- by Glen Morrison

Coldstream is asking for a bit of second thought in the ongoing issue of Greater Vernon Water devolution.

Coldstream Mayor Jim Garlick says his council is making a request now that Vernon has decided to appeal a ruling by an arbitrator.

"We are also going into mediation, and we're just saying maybe the mediation should go on hold until the appeal of the arbitration is finished."

Garlick says it doesn't make much sense to be negotiating and having court action at the same time.

"The (legal action) could negate everything you're working towards. It doesn't make much sense. Either chose one direction or the other."

Garlick says they're a long way from a resolution on the issue however it might be accomplished.


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Photo gallery - Spring has sprung! Courtesy: Debbie Gibson.


A message from Rafe Mair - Private power for export.

Rafe here

The BC Citizens for Green Energy, a front for the private power thieves who are about as green as a coal mine, have put out a release wherein, in Churchill's words, it would be difficult to demonstrate the opposite of the case more accurately.

Dr Shaffer is a professor at SFU and makes the following observations.

We have a hostile press and it's critical that you pass this on and ask them to do the same.
Mar 11th, 2010
by Marvin Shaffer

Every now and again you read something so outrageous you have to laugh. So it is with the report recently released by BC Citizens for Clean Energy: A Triple Legacy for Future Generations.

The essence of this lobby group’s proposal is that the government should develop an export policy for green energy targeting up to 17000 MW of exports by 2016, an amount greater than the size of BC Hydro’e entire existing hydroelectric system. Then it wants to target for more than double that amount of exports by 2036. And the legacy they offer if this is done:

- secure supply of renewable energy
- substantial reductions in climate change impacts
- the elimination of B.C. tax-supported debt within 15 years or less and eventually even the elimination of the provincial sales tax (or presumably the provincial component of the impending HST).

The promised legacies are, of course, nonsense. Committing all that energy potential to export won’t enhance B.C.’s security of supply. It is the export of privately-developed, privately-owned power this group wants government to promote. BC Hydro couldn’t use that power itself when the power is committed to export; it would just be the conduit making the development and exports happen.

Nor will the export sales substantially reduce climate change impacts. It will be the greenhouse gas targets adopted in the U.S., Canada and elsewhere that will determine how much GHG emissions will be reduced and potential climate change impacts avoided. Greater green energy exports from B.C. may affect how U.S. targets are met, but they certainly won’t determine what those targets are. (Read more...)


Monday, March 15, 2010

Water issues - Response to comments.

I received the following comment on my article: “New water rates! - Supplementary.”
“Please note that the average consumption for the Greater Vernon Area is around 500 litres per person per day or about 45 cubic metres per quarter. That is for one person. So there will have to be a total change in consumption pattern for couples or families to use less water than 20 cubic metres per quarter.

Leon Gous “
I do appreciate the constructive comments of Mr Gous, who after all, is one of the “Founding Fathers” of the original Master Water Plan and one of the “Adoptive Fathers” of the much inferior present Master Water Plan. He possesses more relevant information than most people. I totally agree that the average individual water consumption on an annual basis could be about 500 liters or even more.

However, averages are derived from individual observations, some higher, some lower. Averages also include heavy summer use on gardens and lawns. Could individual customers survive on less than 20 m3 per quarter? My answer is an emphatic YES.

To prove my point I researched our water bills (2 people with frequent visitors from grown up children for Christmas and New Years and a birthday) going back 7 years. During those years our total water consumption for the first quarter was 240 m3 which averages 17 m3 per person per quarter. That should be convincing enough that it is possible for a person living alone in an apartment to use less than 20 m3 of water each quarter.

Considering this example I believe I was justified for my comments that was:
“You might be interested to note that if you were one of those using less than 20 cubic meters of water per quarter in 2009, your water price increase in 2010 will be greater than for those using 20 cubic meters or slightly more quarterly.

For example, if your quarterly water consumption was 15 cubic meter per quarter last year your total water bill was $164.88. The same amount of water this year would cost you $200.80 this year or 22% more.

If you really saved water and only used 10 cubic meters quarterly your increase over last year would be $52.52 or 35%. Is it not an eye opener?

This points out a failure of the system: up to 20 cubic meters per quarter there is no incentive to save water.”


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.