Saturday, July 31, 2010

Photo Gallery -- Snake country -- Courtesy: Lilly Senn

This is proof, we are living in rattlesnake country and we are sharing our lives with them. 4 rattlers in two days......Hansruedi is busy collecting them.




Friday, July 30, 2010

Water issues - Mayor Garlick's letter to water customers.

I am writing this letter in response to the recent conversion of Coldstream Residents from Kal Lake water source to the Duteau Creek Water source (former VID). It may not be an easy read. I know it will not satisfy you, but I believe it is important for residents to try and understand. Please be patient for I will get to the part that concerns you directly as soon as possible.

I will start with some background on the history of the original water utilities involved and then move into the recent events that have lead to this move. I will point out here that no one person is responsible for this change. It is the result of a series of events that have left us with no options at this time. In addition, I can sympathies with your concerns since I have been on Duteau Creek water for 15 years, but it was my choice and not imposed upon me.

The three major original water utilities in the Greater Vernon Area were, the Vernon Irrigation District (VID), serving lands in Coldstream, the City of Vernon, Swan Lake and BX), the District of Coldstream domestic water system, and the City of Vernon domestic water system. The VID originally served only irrigation needs. The District of Coldstream and City of Vernon served the domestic needs and yard watering in summer for the most part. The VID was governed by a board of the water users, The District of Coldstream and City of Vernon systems by there local councils separately.

The VID began including domestic customers onto their system in large numbers in the 1970's. Until this time, households in the Coldstream area where usually served by the Coldstream domestic system in their homes and VID water for irrigation. We then began a rash of developments through the following decades served by VID water. The Tassie Drive area was not one of these.

Until the early 70's the Coldstream domestic system had two main sources, and intake on Coldstream Creek in Noble Canyon in Lavington and Antwerp Springs in Lavington. The water flowed from Lavington through the pipes toward Kal Lake serving residents along the way. A second small pump house and reservoir served residents only on the west side of Kal Lake. In the 1970's the District of Coldstream applied for and received licence on Kal Lake. A pump house was built at the end of Coldstream Creek to provide additional water into this same Coldstream domestic system. The three sources served the residents along the line. The water coming out of your tap depended on the use at any given time. It was possible for water for Antwerp Springs and Coldstream Creek to reach the Tassie area during high demand times or if servicing required the Coldstream pump house on Kal Lake to be shut down.

In the 1990's the intake on Coldstream Creek was shut down. A high water runoff year and land slide in Noble Canyon damaged the intake. This resulted in council of the day deciding not to repair the intake and depend on Antwerp Springs and the pump house on Kal Lake for supply of the Coldstream domestic system. In the 1980's concerns had already begun over the need for additional access to water from Kal Lake by Coldstream. A pump house location was considered at Lisheen Estates with a reservoir agreed to in principle in Kal Park. The Council of the day never proceeded with these plans.

In the 90's the City of Vernon also began to have water concerns. The city, like Coldstream, also had residents on VID water through new development they originally had or annexed in form BX or Swan Lake. Vernon also began to realise that they were running out of water licence on their only real water source which was also Kal Lake. In order to get around this the city began to use a large water licence which was held by the VID to convert customers. This however had limitations and a looming water shortage for the city was evident after the Province of BC informed them that Vernon would not be provided with additional water licence on Kal Lake or Okanagan Lake. The only major water licence available was through partnerships with the VID (which had now been converted into the North Okanagan Water Authority, NOWA, operated out of NORD serving the same VID customers) and the District of Coldstream which had excess water licence. The District of Coldstream, Swan Lake, and BX had concerns because of higher water quality requirements imposed on water utilities by the Province of BC (Interior Health, IHA) which required large amounts of money to be spent.

In about 2001, the Great Vernon Services Water Utility was formed at NORD. This was a partnership between the District of Coldstream, the City of Vernon and NOWA (Coldstream, Vernon, Swan Lake, BX) formed. A master water plan was put in place to make improvements to water treatment of all sources in the Greater Vernon Area. It appeared to solve the needs of all those involved. There have been revisions to the original master water plan since the inception. We now have a plan with he main treatment plants being provided with water from the pump house on West Kal Road to treatment on Mission Hill (Complete) and Duteau Creek intake treated just outside of Lavington (to be complete at the end of September).

The plan was to change over from Kal Lake eastward to treated Duteau water this fall. However, an unforeseen event has changed these plans. The unforeseen event I speak of is the contamination of the Antwerp Springs source. It is still under investigation by the ministry of Environment and the Source is closed. We now have only the Kal Lake pump house on Coldstream Creek road supplying water to the original Coldstream domestic system. The eastward areas of the original Coldstream domestic system were converted over to Duteau Creek water earlier this year due to the inability to supply demand. We now have increased demand due to outside watering. The Kal Lake pump house is unable to keep up. In addition, due to limitations of pipe sizes (fire fighting flows required), pipe locates, lack of crossover connections between system, and limited ability of pumping there was no choice except to provide water from Duteau Creek to meet the demands. The limitations listed above do not allow for a simple turning of a valve to provide water from the West Kal pump house source to flow to all of the areas needed. At this time there are no options.

I realise this does not fix your problems due to dirty water but I want to give and explanation for what your are enduring. Council will be pursuing the ability for Kal water to be available to Coldstream residents. I have asked for and received information on projects that will allow the flow of water from the West Kal pump house and improvements to the pump house on Coldstream Creek Road. Council believes that it is important for the water system to have redundancy of sources (Kal Lake, Antwerp Springs, Kal Lake and Coldstream Creek and Duteau). The drought scare and water emergency experienced earlier this year emphasize this need.

I do wish more of an explanation would have come with the change from the water utility.

Thanks for your time and please let me know if you have any questions. I will try to respond in a timely fashion.

Jim Garlick, Mayor
District of Coldstream
9901 Kalamalka Road, Coldstream, BC V1B 1L6
Cell / Voicemail 250 307 9490


Mackie Lakehouse 100th year celebration!


Thursday, July 29, 2010

Further on "Question on sewer rates."

Since I only received half a dozen responses to my question I assume most of the sewer customers are not too concerned about the pending rate increases. Perhaps a little extra information may tweak your interest.

There at least tree issues that annoys me about this sudden increase in sewer rates.

It was presented late into the fiscal year, after all our financial plans were finalized. The last two years rates were quite stable as the following table demonstrates:

The $1.54 per cubic meter increase is 20% higher than the previous two years average rate.

The sewage meter measuring the volume of sewage contributed by Coldstream must have had a hiccup. The following histogram demonstrates the volumes registered by the meter during the past two years and the two quarters this year.

Note the volume in the first quarter of this year sticking out like a sour thumb. How can we reconcile a volume of 186,132 cubic meters, 48% higher than the next highest volume registered in the second quarter of this year? It is 88% higher than the average of the first quarter of 2008 and 2009. Does that sound reasonable to anyone? Now the histogram:

While Coldstream is hit with a huge increase in fees “...Okanagan Spring Brewery will have its sewer (biological oxygen demand) surcharge cut by 50 percent until the end of 2012...”(Vernon Blog). This will cost sewer users an estimated $125,000 annually for a total of about $375,000. Is that fair?


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

PoCo Pork

News report:
“Port Coquitlam has voted in favour of giving themselves a hefty raise, with a 27 per cent increase for councillors and a 42 per cent boost for Mayor Greg Moore...Moore's salary would jump to $85,418 from $67,277, while the councillors' pay would increase to $31,654 from $22,257.” (Vancouver Sun: July 26, 2010 8:14 PM)
Mayor Moore admitted to reporters that this decision was a very difficult one for Council to make. We must applaud the courage and determination of PoCo Council for making this heroic decision. Let’s hope the rest of their decisions will be less arduous to make!


Monday, July 26, 2010

Readers write -- Kin Racetrack shots.

Hi Gyula,

Here are a few pictures taken yesterday at the Kin Race Track, just wondering if you would mind putting them up on your blog, it was a lovely (but hot) day.... nevertheless the event was very well attended.



Just for information: Castanet is conducting a poll asking:
Do you think the Vernon Kin race track should be closed in favour of a sports field? (Race Track.)
As of 9:53 AM 472 of the 664 voters chose not to close the track. Something for us politicians to think about!


Sunday, July 25, 2010

West Kelowna wildfire spurs evacuation alert

Authorities have ordered an evacuation alert as firefighters battle a blaze just north of West Kelowna, B.C.

Fire Information Officer Elise Riedlinger said the fire was reported at around 1 p.m. Sunday in Traders Cove, an area bordering Bear Creek Provincial Park.

Residents living on nearby Rose Valley Road and Bear Creek Road have be told to prepare to leave their homes at a moment's notice.

The fire, which is estimated at roughly two hectares in size, is in the West Kelowna Fire Department's jurisdiction. The department dispatched 20 firefighters to combat the blaze with help from the Kamloops Fire Centre.

"The centre is assisting with air tankers, two initial attack crews, a repel crew from Salmon Arm, and two bucketing helicopters," Riedlinger said.

The cause has not been determined.


Saturday, July 24, 2010

Question on sewer rates -- Poll.

Sewer rate revision.

Faced with the unexpected sewer rate increase by the City, Council is faced with a decision of picking one the four options presented by Staff. These four options are as follows:

Option #1: Increase the sewer rates for the potential shortfall of $275,000 This option would have significant financial implications to an individual property owner on sewer. The consumption rate would be adjusted from $1.26 to $1.54 and the base rate from $83.50 to approximately $138.50. With a quarterly average of 50 cubic meters per, the additional costs would be approximately $69 per quarter, per customer or $138 for the remainder of 201 O. This option would provide the necessary funding to meet the estimated costs for treatment and disposal but would put significant financial hardship on the individual homeowner.

Option #2: Increase the consumption rate to the current rate of $1.54 This option would pass the increased consumption costs of the system along to the users of the system. The consumption rate would be adjusted from $1.26 to $1.54 per cubic meter effective July 1,2010. Based on current consumption of approximately 101,000 cubic meters, the additional $0.28 per cubic meter would generate an additional $28,280 in revenues per quarter or approximately $56,500 for the rest of 201 O. This option would leave the sewer utility with a potential shortfall of $218,500 to address. This could be funded from the sewer surplus/reserve balances to get the utility through 2010

Option #3: Fund the shortfall equally from user rates and surplus/reserves This option would fund the shortfall of $275,000 with $135,000 from surplus/reserves and the other $135,000 from increased user rates. The consumption rate would be adjusted from $1.26 to $1.54 and the base rate from $83.50 to approximately $102.50. With a quarterly consumption average of 50 cubic meters, the additional costs would be approximately $33 per quarter, per residential customer or $66 for the remainder of 2010. This option would fund the calculated shortfall with the least immediate financial impact to the users of the system. This option would also require the rates to be revisited for 2011 to account for the shortage that was funded from surplus.

Option #4: Fund the shortfall entirely from Surplus/Reserves This option would use available balances to fund the calculated shortfall and not adjust the user rates. This option would significantly deplete the District's surplus/reserve balances and would likely require a significant rate increase in 2011 to account for the cost increases to the system as there would be minimal reserve balances to draw from in future years.

Were you to make the decision, which option would you chose? Unfortunately, Google's "Poll function" is not working so please drop me a line with your choice of the above four options (1, 2, 3 or 4) ( Your name will not be used in the polling. Inform your neighbours of this issue in case they have no access to computer. Your help is appreciated.



Council Meeting, July 26, 2010

One of the important issues for decision making relates to Sewer as follows:

Page 65 (2) Sewer Analysis and Update

Report from the Director of Financial Administration, dated July 14, 2010


THAT the report from the Director of Financial Administration, dated July 14, 2010, regarding Sewer Analysis and Update, be received;

AND THAT staff be directed to implement immediate changes to the sewer utility rates based on option #3, identified in the report dated July 14, 2010, wherein the quarterly fixed rate would be adjusted to $102.50 and the consumption rate would be adjusted to $1.54 per cubic meter;

AND FURTHER THAT the letter, as attached in the report dated July 14, 2010, be sent to the City of Vernon.
For your information, staff's analysis is follows: (note: click on jpeg attachment for viewing and click on again for larger view)

Would it not be nice to have the Sewer Reserves of nearly a million dollars which were squandered by previous Councils for the extension of sewer to please Coldstream Meadows? Contrary to what Staff recommended then those funds were NOT surplus, they were reserved precisely for this kind of situations. Sewer customers are screwed again!


Friday, July 23, 2010

Liberals, lotteries need to face hide gambling and crime links -- Paul Willcocks

Sometimes you have to call people on the rubbish they speak. The B.C. Lottery Corp. scandal is one of those times.
Start with Michael Graydon, the $300,000-a-year CEO. After the news broke that the Crown corporation had been fined $670,000 under federal laws aimed at combating money laundering and terrorism financing, Graydon denied any real problem.
Nothing to see here, he said on Global TV. The fines were levied because B.C. Lottery filed reports late because of computer problems and others had minor technical errors.
That wasn't true. B.C. Lottery was fined for 1,020 infractions. About 40 per cent were for late filing - but 366 reports had errors and 227 lacked accurate information to detect criminal activity.
In eight cases, the most basic information wasn't collected when people walked out of casinos with more than $10,000. They were asked to come back with the information, a trusting approach by those charged with preventing money laundering.
B.C. Lottery was also fined for failing to introduce a program to help identify signs of money laundering.
Solicitor General Mike de Jong said he's worried about organized crime, casinos and online betting. "If some of these early reports are true, yes, it is troubling," he said.
But it's not de Jong's file. Housing Minister Rich Coleman is responsible both for increasing gambling revenue and enforcing the laws. That conflict should be ended immediately.
And if de Jong is only troubled now, he hasn't been paying attention to a string of warnings about criminal activity. The government's Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch 2006 annual report, for example, revealed a crime explosion at casinos and mini-casinos. Investigations into offences such as money laundering and loan sharking more than doubled in a year.
Criminals like casinos. They are good places to move counterfeit money and launder the proceeds of crime. Buy $9,000 worth of chips with cash from a drug deal, make a few safe bets and leave with a casino cheque that legitimizes the money.
And desperate gamblers are good customers for loan sharks.
In 2008-9, the gaming enforcement branch launched 877 investigations into suspected counterfeiting, money laundering and loan sharking. Not a single charge was laid.
Despite the crime surge, the government last year shut down the specialized police unit created in 2004 to help fight gambling-related crime.
Coleman was next to weigh in, with a response much like Graydon's. Technical errors, minor problems, old news, the province will appeal, de Jong and everyone else who has concerns are wrong.
But the agency that levied the fines - the federal Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre, or FINTRAC - said that was untrue.
Fines are only imposed for a "persistent, chronic failure to comply with the law" and when, despite intensive work with the offender, "they just don't get it." The agency had warned B.C. Lottery about problems with its anti-crime efforts in 2008.
These are serious failures. About one-fifth of the money laundering and terrorism financing cases discovered in 2008-9 took place in casinos, FINTRAC reports. Drug dealers and organized crime are the main groups using casinos to launder money.
Yet Coleman and Graydon persist in denying a real problem that almost everyone else - including the solicitor general - acknowledges.
Again, that's because they are in a conflict. Both are charged with increasing the number of gamblers in the province, the amount each one loses and the total take.
Making the effort to track transactions that could be linked to money laundering is a threat to those goals. Casinos fear that asking for information from big gamblers could drive away some of their best customers, who, for whatever reason, want to keep a low profile.
Critics have warned the Liberals have lost their way on gambling. Denying a serious problem in fighting money laundering by big-time criminals shows how far they have fallen.
Footnote: Coleman also insisted it is just a coincidence that the weekly loss limit for online gambling was increased from $120 last year to $9,999 - just $1 below the level that would require reporting transactions to FINTRAC to help prevent money laundering or activities aimed at funding terrorism. The claim is not credible.

Imagine, this is a legitimate, government sanctioned and indeed, government run operation. What happened to British Columbia - The Best Place on Earth?


Selected Articles - Morning Star News - July 23, 2010.

The Column in question for reference.


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Failing the test on gambling.

Times Colonist July 22, 2010

The government's claims that its gambling spree is being carefully monitored to prevent crime and social problems have been shredded. The issues go beyond privacy problems on its online gambling site and failures in dealing with money laundering in casinos and "community gaming centres."

The official responses, in both cases, have also been misleading or incomplete.

B.C. became the first jurisdiction in North America to introduce full-scale online gambling last Thursday, despite research showing higher risks of addiction and gambling-related problems for Internet gamblers.

Within hours, the site was shut down. B.C. Lottery at first offered no explanation. On Friday, CEO Michael Graydon said the site was so popular it reached maximum capacity and had to be closed for maintenance.

The corporation stuck with that story until Tuesday, when it revealed the real reason for the shutdown. Security had failed and accounts used by 134 people could be accessed by other individuals.

Graydon said the corporation chose not to tell the truth because it wanted to notify affected customers first.

That's unacceptable. The corporation's obligation is to British Columbians. There was no justification for providing false or misleading information for four days.

Just as there was no excuse for B.C. Lottery's failure to inform the public it had been fined $670,000 for failing to comply with federal laws aimed at preventing money laundering and terrorism-related financial activities.

The offences are serious. The federal Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre (FINTRAC) requires casinos and financial institutions to report suspicious cash transfers, including all transactions over $10,000.

Casinos -- including online casinos -- offer an efficient way to launder the proceeds of crime. A drug dealer simply has to use cash to buy chips, wait a short time and then cash out, leaving with a casino cheque. FINTRAC reported 20 per cent of money laundering and terrorism financing cases uncovered in 2008-9 took place in casinos.

B.C. Lottery didn't disclose the fines. Solicitor General Mike de Jong said he wasn't told.

And when the news broke, Graydon again misled the public. On Tuesday, he told Global TV the fines came because computer problems caused late filing. Some forms were rejected because of small errors, he said.

The reality is that FINTRAC found 1,020 infractions. Only 419 were related to late reports. Another 336 were rejected because of various clerical errors.

And 227 reports were rejected because the information fell short of the legal requirements, undermining the agency's effectiveness in tracking money laundering. In another eight cases, people cashed out with more than $10,000 without showing any identification.

B.C. Lottery was also fined for failing to implement a program to reduce the risk of money laundering.

Graydon continues to maintain the fines were "administrative" and have nothing to do with money laundering.

That is, at best, an unsupportable claim. Hundreds of the faulty reports could have made it easier for criminals to launder money without detection.

The government has maintained that its gambling expansion is being closely monitored. These failures -- despite at least four years of warnings about increasing money laundering, loan sharking and other crimes at casinos -- undermine those claims.

And the shoddy response by the lottery corporation suggests a failure to understand the basic principles of openness and accountability.


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

130 B.C. lottery web accounts compromised

The B.C. Lottery Corporation launched its online

gambling website on the morning of July 14, but within hours, it h
ad crashed. The B.C. Lottery Corporation launched its online gambling website on the morning of July 14, but within hours, it had crashed. (BCLC)

B.C.'s privacy commissioner has confirmed
that a breach that compromised users' account details forced the shutdown of the B.C. Lottery Corporation's new online casino just hours after it was launched last week.

Elizabeth Denham says the personal information of more than 130 people was inadvertently shared with other customers on the website.

Denham says the problem was not caused by a hacker but by "data crossover" that made the names, contact information and, in some cases, credit card and bank information visible to other gamblers using the site.

Denham says the site will not be back up until the problem is fixed.

She has asked BCLC to pay for a credit monitoring service to ensure the victims of the breach won't be targeted by fraudsters.

BCLC unavailable to comment

The B.C. Lottery Corporation was unavailable to comment on the allegations that customer information and perhaps even cash in online accounts may have been compromised during the launch of its online casino.

On Tuesday, the lottery corporation's CEO failed to return calls from CBC News after scheduling an interview to discuss the website's problems.

The agency has repeatedly blamed an overwhelming rush of customers for the crash of the website last week.

"High player volumes to the website on July 15 exceeded server capacity, creating traffic and load issues," said a statement released by BCLC on Monday.

"When BCLC learned about this situation, immediate action was taken to shut down and a full assessment was initiated."

NDP raises privacy concerns

Before the privacy commissioner confirmed the breach, the B.C. NDP said the continued disruption of the site was raising concerns about the protection of personal information and called on the government to tell the public what is going on with the new gambling website.

"The B.C. Liberal government must tell British Columbians what is going on," said MLA Shane Simpson. "The suggestion by at least one expert that the site crashed because it was hacked is troubling.

"If the government is going to get into online gaming, they need to protect people's privacy. People want to be able to trust that their private information, from credit card numbers to gambling histories, is not being compromised."

The gambling website crashed just hours after its launch last Thursday and has yet to be restarted. Billed as the first government-sanctioned online casino in North America, the site was immediately controversial.

That led some computer security experts to speculate that hackers may have targeted the site with an overwhelming number of hits in order to disrupt the servers.

But officials at BCLC have been quick to deny such speculation.

"To date, the preliminary results from the assessment and a third party security review show no evidence of external interference or hacking," said the statement.

Botnets can overwhelm websites

But Vaclav Vincalek, the head of Pacific Coast Information Systems, said the high number of hits the website immediately experienced could have been created by a hacker tool called a botnet, which the corporation might not have recognized as hacking.

Setting up a botnet involves sending out a computer virus that lies dormant in a network of home computers. The hacker then activates the virus and all those computers start sending normal looking information and requests to one target website at the same time, overwhelming its servers.

Botnets involving as many as 1.5 million computers have been detected on the internet by police, but most are estimated to involve an average of 20,000 computers, in order to avoid detection.

In some cases, botnets are created in an attempt to extort money from the operators of websites, said Vincalek. "So you build your army of botnets and you go after the gambling website like this … and you say, 'Look, you either pay us X amount — $100,000 — or we shut you down,'" said Vincalek.


Sunday, July 18, 2010

The canvas prison.

The canvas prison.

Take a look at what "life" is like for Afgan women. Click on "The canvas prison"and then click on "Start presentation"on the top right of the window.


Selected Articles - Morning Star News - July 18, 2010 .


Saturday, July 17, 2010

What's next for B.C. government? Online porn?

No sooner had the B.C. Lottery Corp.'s new online casino been launched into cyberspace than, whoops, it crashed yesterday, brought to earth by the sheer weight of passengers climbing on board.

Never fear, gamblers. Won't be grounded long, not with all that money in your wallets waiting to be swallowed by a cash-starved provincial government. Just like the Liberals swallowed their principles when they turned to online gambling in the first place.

Remember, the Liberals were elected in 2001 on a platform that included a promise to "halt the expansion of gambling that has increased gambling addiction and put new strains on families."

Apparently those families were doing just fine by the time the Liberals actually took office though, because the provincial government immediately dropped its objections faster than Harry Homeowner dropping the mortgage money on a poker table. What a relief. Glad those families are OK.

Indeed, gambling revenue has pretty much doubled under the Liberals. The government now pulls in more than $1 billion a year (which didn't prevent it from cutting its gaming grants to non-profits to $120 million, down $36 million).

If this week's initial overload is any indication, the province's take will climb even higher following the launch of, billed as the first sanctioned online casino in North America.

The Liberals performed some impressive mental gymnastics to rationalize the expansion. Their argument goes like this: Online gambling is happening anyway. There's nothing we can do to stop it. British Columbians are spending about $100 million a year on illegal online gambling (a number so big and round that it sounds more like a guess than a real estimate), so better that we keep the money inside the province -- where the profits can be spent on highways, hospitals and MLAs' $61 food per diem -- than see it go to some foreign Al Capone.

Not a bad argument, or at least a convenient one. It was first used by the provincial government when it turned liquor stores into a state monopoly after prohibition -- though British Columbians were never bombarded with go-get-drunk ads the way they are subjected to gambling commercials.

But consider this: The B.C. Medical Association released a study last year that estimated 33,000 British Columbians have a severe addiction to illicit drugs. By comparison, 159,000 have a gambling problem, including 31,000 with a severe addiction. Then there are the 344,000 with indications of alcohol addiction, including the 120,000 with "a high probability of alcohol dependence."

"While we tend to think of addiction in terms of illicit drugs, addiction to alcohol and gambling are far more prevalent," BCMA president Dr. Bill Mackie said.

For those keeping score at home, that would be the alcohol and gambling being sold to you by your government. Maybe Big Benevolent Brother should take over the narcotics market, too, just to save us from the gangstas. Given the province's record, we would all be crackheads by Christmas.

And why stop there? If we're going to adopt the government-is-the-lesser-of-two-evils argument when it comes to gambling, might as well extend the logic to other areas of questionable morality, too.

Googling the word "porn" on my computer (actually, I used Dave Obee's computer, just in case the Times Colonist IT Police were watching) brought up 327 million sites. Must be a lot of money in porn. Better that it go to the government, where it can pay for granny's hip replacement, than to some less-virtuous destination.

Prostitution might prove to be a nice little earner for the province, too. Ditto for the sale of endangered-animals parts. Hey, someone is going to do it, might as well be us, right?


Friday, July 16, 2010

Selected Articles - Morning Star News - July 14, 2010 - and the response.

Response from Mayor Garlick:

As mayor of Coldstream, I am writing in response to Mr. Rolke’s column "Beyond the Headlines – Get on the Bus Gus" with regard to my requesting information in order to make a decision on whether or not to support an additional bus to UBCO. Since Mr Rolke never interviewed me and the reporter Mr Knox, who did, had only a short time to speak, I would like to fill in the gaps of this story. Coldstream Council is taking steps to determine if the additional UBCO bus is justified because we will bear responsibility for this decision, not Mr. Rolke. Our decision will depend on a number of factors beyond how many users of the UBCO bus are from Coldstream.

Firstly, Coldstream is faced with the possibility of our other partners in the Transit service not supporting the additional bus. If Coldstream and Vernon go it alone due to other partners pulling out of the service, our increase will not be the $3,600 alluded to by Mr. Rolke, but just over $11,000. This will be in addition to cost increases due to other proposed transit service enhancements which will result in an increase from our current cost of about $103, 000 to about $147, 000 annually with no added services. This will be a 1.16% tax increase to our residents. We have to decide at what cost we are willing to support this service and its benefits to Coldstream.

Next, I personally want to have some confidence that the UBCO bus line operates somewhat efficiently. It makes no sense to simply fund transit because it sounds environmentally friendly when in fact it may not be. I do not support large empty buses traveling down our roads. Coldstream does not have a high population density. We want the opportunity to work with BC Transit to set up routes that will make the best of a bad situation. We provide bussing more out of convenience to some of our residents rather than environmental or sustainability factors. If costs are found to be too high this could lead to reducing our already limited transit service within Coldstream to support the UBCO bus.

Finally, I am not convinced that this push to fund an additional transit bus is without unintended, negative side effects. We have our own Okanagan College sitting in Coldstream. In speaking to John Lent from the college I was told that Okanagan College has been asking for a transit bus to pick up students after evening classes with no results. Why would we not try and improve the bussing to our local college first? I would also like to know how many students attending UBCO are simply in their first and second years of university. Courses at this level are also being offered at Okanagan College. Do we need to send these students all the way to Kelowna? Are we unintentionally creating a drain of students away from our local college? Should we not support Okanagan College to provide even more programs? This could result in Okanagan College becoming an even more successful local post secondary educational facility where young people can attend.

I and my council are trying to make the best decision and make transit work in some form for Coldstream. Before we get on any bus, as Mr. Rolke suggests, we will check the fare to see if we can afford it and determine if this is the right bus to get on in order to arrive at where we want to go.

It is advisable to interview the subject of one's article to ensure all facts are presented!


Thursday, July 15, 2010

BC Hydro's Plans.


I’m sending you this email because you are on my 10,000 person email list of community leaders in British Columbia and I know that you want to be made aware of a very serious event which has emerged due to dryer climatic conditions here in BC.

Yesterday, our public electricity utility BC Hydro applied to the B.C. Utilities Commission to use $220 million from a deferral account to cover increased power exports expected during the fiscal year that ends next March.

The BC Hydro deferral account is used to keep fluctuations in electricity costs from causing sudden spikes in electricity rates. The account is drawn on when costs go up, and the utility pays it down in years like 2007 when an abundance of water allowed more power to be sold for export.

“We” as BC Hydro customers pay a "rate rider" on our monthly bills that goes into the deferral account, currently at four per cent of the residential electricity billing.

This application represents a pivotal point in energy policy where BC residents will be blatantly abandoned in favour of export contracts with the United States. This is a trend that must be reversed. BC energy must be first and foremost for the people of British Columbia – not to be used as a cash cow for decision-makers in Victoria.

The trend is clear, northern BC rivers are running at near-record low levels, the region missed out on much of the June rain that filled lakes and streams in the rest of the province after a warm winter that left low snowpack behind. The Peace, Stikine, Nass and Skeena Rivers are all near record low levels for this time of year, according to this week's water supply bulletin from the B.C. environment ministry.

The dry conditions have left the Williston Lake reservoir on the Peace River at 77 per cent of normal level for this time of year. Stream flow conditions are normal in most of southern B.C., except for the Fraser River, which is well below normal level throughout its length.

Using the environment ministry rating system, the drought level for the Southern Interior and Vancouver Island is generally level one (normal). The Central Interior is classified as level two (dry) and the drought level for northern rivers is generally level three (very dry).

Last year saw summer drought conditions in parts of the southern Interior that prompted the first-ever suspension of a water license for a ranch in the Nicola Valley. So what we are learning is that in BC there are extreme and fluctuating climatic conditions that are unpredictable.

The government must set a priority to protect its citizens within a good framework of stewardship first – before it creates export contracts that it may not be able to deliver on.

Please make your voice heard – tell your MLA that you are not satisfied with the BC Hydro application to squander “our” deferral account.

Email your concern directly to the Minister in charge:

Honourable Bill Bennett

Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources

Please forward this email to your friends and contacts.


Don Elzer


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Returned to the grind.

It seems I missed some nasty weather here while I was visiting my daughter, sons and grand children in Coquitlam. It was just the perfect weather down there: not too hot, not too cold and no rain.

I returned this morning and driving back home something hit me. It was not an object, it was the Ogogrow smell. It definitely was unpleasant. I am hoping that this is still temporary otherwise we will have some justifiable complaints from the neighbouring residents.

Anyway, I am back.


Sunday, July 11, 2010

Water issues - reminder.

Just a quick note to remind you all that even if your water is coloured yellow (as if Snoopy paid a visit) it still costs you $1.10 a cubic meter so be frugal. Come to think of it if you don't use enough water then the utility will have to raise your rates to ensure we get your money anyway. Subsidies are for recreation only!!

I am taking the next three days off so the blog will probably be idle for the time being (unless I can find a computer in Vancouver). Back on Wednesday!


Saturday, July 10, 2010

HST ad-cost secrecy a Liberal self-inflicted wound - Paying attention by Paul Willcocks on B.C. politics and life.

Poor Colin Hansen. Being the front man for the harmonized sales tax is a wretched job that seems to get worse every day.

Now that the anti-HST petition signatures are being counted, the government is launching its ad campaign to try and sell the tax. It's running radio ads around the province over the next three weeks and plans to mail flyers to every one of B.C.'s 1.7 million households.
But as the campaign lurched out of the starting gate, Hansen was back on the defensive.
What will the radio ads cost, reporters asked. I don't know, he said.
What about the flyer? I don't know that either, Hansen responded.
He was involved in planning the strategy and the messaging, Hansen acknowledged. But he doesn't know what it is costing taxpayers.
Which leaves the public to consider two options. Hansen doesn't pay much attention to how their money is spent. Or he's determined to keep it a secret in case people get angry about the expense.
The second is the correct answer, I'd say. As health minister, Hansen was amazingly well-informed on all aspects of the ministry, including the financial ones. more


Water advisory extended.

July 8, 2010


Due to recent warm weather, water demands have increased significantly. Areas in the West Coldstream area that were temporarily switched to the East Kalamalka Lake intake water source from Antwerp Springs are now on Duteau Creek source. The Duteau Creek and East Kalamalka Lake are both currently rated as “FAIR” therefore a “Water Quality Advisory” is in effect as directed by the Interior Health Authority. The water quality of Duteau Creek is described as colored, very soft and low alkalinity..

The changeover took place on Thursday, July 08, 2010 and customers will remain on the Duteau water system.

Click to view the affected areas of the West Coldstream Area


July 7, 2010


The Regional District of North Okanagan – Greater Vernon Water (RDNO-GVW) advises that due to recent warm weather, water demands have increased significantly. Areas in the Middleton Mountain area that were temporarily switched to the Kalamalka Lake water source last fall are being returned to the Duteau Creek source which they normally received in the past. The Duteau Creek Water Quality is currently rated as “FAIR” therefore a “Water Quality Advisory” is in effect as directed by the Interior Health Authority. .

The changeover took place on Wednesday, July 07, 2010 and will remain on the Duteau water system.

Click to view the affected areas of the Middleton Mountain Area

If you have any questions, please contact Greater Vernon Water at 250-550-3700


Thursday, July 8, 2010

Grid Road progress photos.

Some of you might be interested in the progress of Coldstream's Grid Road. I took some photos today and I'm attaching them for those who might be interested.


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.