Friday, January 31, 2014

District of Coldstream Committee of the Whole meeting - February 3, 2014


GVAC Meeting Agenda - February 6, 2014

Now that the Amalgamation/reunification issue is settled for a while (pending the November Civic Elections) we can turn our attention to more important issues affecting Greater Vernon Citizens. One of the more urgent issues is the proposed newest Master Water Plan.

Most people are probably not familiar with the proposal so I will attempt to explain the plan and its ramification in posts on this blog.

The first item is the attached Agenda with my comments. These comments are not those of Coldstream Council's; they are strictly my own based on my interpretation of the proposed plan.


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Province Won't Review Coldstream Council's Conduct - KISS FM

Written by Peter McIntyre Wednesday, 29 January 2014 12:0
Coldstream District OfficeThe group pushing for a governance study for Greater Vernon is upset at Coldstream council, but the BC government won't be taking action.

The Greater Vernon Governance Society issued a news release today, saying it had asked BC's Community Minister to review Coldstream council's conduct, accusing the elected reps of having a "predetermined decision" and personal biases against a study looking into the pros and cons of unification or amalgamation (see details below).

Vernon-Monashee MLA Eric Foster spoke with senior government reps from that ministry about the request today.
"The opinion is the Coldstream council didn't do anything in contravention to the Local Government Act, so that's the end of the conversation for us," says Foster.

Foster says if Coldstream had done something contrary to the act, there could have been a discussion, but he says that doesn't appear to be the case.

On Tuesday, Foster said the province won't be funding a study into the governance issue, as requested by Vernon council and the governance society, unless all jurisdictions want one.

Coldstream and the electoral area directors have already rejected taking part in a study. (see more)


Review demanded of Coldstream council's actions

The fight over Greater Vernon governance is heating up.

The Greater Vernon Governance Society is demanding the provincial government review actions taken by Coldstream council prior to it deciding not to support a study into possibly merging local jurisdictions.

“Their actions of meeting as a quorum with the Coldstream Ratepayers Association, and encouraging the 60 ratepayers in attendance at that meeting to come out and support their position to not agree to any study, clearly shows they had predetermined their decision because of their personal biases toward not changing the governance structure in the area,” states a society release.

“We believe, in common with other municipal jurisdictions, councillors should not offer personal opinions in public forums, and when a quorum of elected officials is present and speaking on a topic, formal minutes should be taken and entered into the public record.”

The society is calling for all jurisdictions to hold a referendum this fall asking residents if they support a governance study.

Look for more in Friday's Morning Star.

Note: Representatives from Electoral Areas B and C are actually elected by taxpayers of those areas, in these cases they were elected by acclamation!


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Readers write - a noteworthy comment by an Anonymous reader.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Resolution by Vernon Council - to help us, country...":

Prior to this declaration, I would have been up in the dark of night fretting-- peaking out the window at the ominous roseate glow sullying the night sky above our suitor to the north. I would have been desperately clutching my worry beads, working them down to pathetic little nubs: anxious about the clever skills and glossy rhetoric used by such a voracious entity.

Once, their singular resolve, and arrogance would have taken my breath away.

However, this fever to facilitate an unwelcome, arranged marriage with country cousins who are well past the blushing-bride stage, is so beyond the pale, so against the principles of democracy, so contrary to any kind of rational economic, cultural, and social theory, that I can only consider it laughable.

To the uninitiated. this ardent pursuit might be perceived as flattery. Your offer might very well be accepted by some less attractive prospect. Be sure though: we are hard-bitten, and have not been without a few suitors in the past.

We can see that you do not truly want us for our charms, but rather, for our goats and sheep.

"The Merger Delusion":


Monday, January 27, 2014

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Public Hearing, Monday regarding pellet plant

Just a reminder to Coldstream residents. The public hearing on Monday is the last opportunity for residents to voice their opinion on the rezoning of land for the pellet plant. All view points will be considered by Council but after the closing of the public hearing no additional information could be considered by legislation. So, if you have any points you wish to make it will have to be at the public hearing. You cannot make presentation on the subject during the Council meetings "Public Opportunity to Address Council".

During the Regular Council Meeting there will be a presentation by Huguette Allen on "Genetically Engineered (GE) and Genetically Modified (GM) Crops". Anyone interested in the subject is encouraged to attend the meeting. See Agenda pages 53-57.


Friday, January 17, 2014

Morning Star News Clips - in case you missed them.


California Drought Emergency Declared By Governor Jerry Brown - Huffington Post.

SAN FRANCISCO -- California Gov. Jerry Brown spoke to reporters on Friday morning to declare a drought emergency for the state, which had its driest year in recorded history in 2013.

"Today I'm declaring a drought in the state of California," said Brown. "We're facing perhaps the worst drought California has ever seen since records began being kept about 100 years ago."

Brown's declaration was mostly symbolic. The governor called for a 20 percent voluntary reduction in water use for all citizens "in both rural areas and cities." However, "we're certainly holding out for mandatory conservation," he said.

"There's not a government program that can totally compensate for the lack of rain," he said. "Hopefully it will rain eventually, but in the meantime we all have to do our part."

Brown's decision comes after months of pressure from lawmakers to declare a drought. The official announcement could affect how California's water is distributed and provide the basis for setting formal guidelines for farmers, businesses and residents to cut back.

The governor presented a graph showing the year's dismal precipitation, as well as photos comparing the Sierra Nevada snowpack today versus one year ago. 

The culprit of the drought is a massive high-pressure zone off the West Coast that has been blocking Pacific storms for over a year. Eleven states including Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Kansas, Texas, Utah, Arkansas, Hawaii, Idaho, Oklahoma and California have already been designated primary natural disaster areas by federal inspectors due to the drought. 

At a press conference earlier this week, Brown signaled the announcement would be coming.

"It's coming within the next few days," he said. "But don't think that a letter from the governor's office is going to affect the rain."

There is something to think about when developing our final Master Water Plan. Placing such a heavy reliance on the unpredictable Duteau source for our future water supply could be risky! Okanagan Lake is the most reliable source and we have not thoroughly investigated it for long term supply.


Thursday, January 16, 2014

Sad news - Patrick Nicol passes away

Nicol Passes Away

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Patrick NicolVery sad news out of the city of Vernon today.

Long time councillor, current Regional District of North Okanagan chair, and former Kiss FM general manager Patrick Nicol has died after suffering from an illness.

Mayor Rob Sawatzky issued a statement saying Nicol's service on council was amongst the longest of any councillor in the province.

The mayor says Nicol's dedication to his community was a foundation of his life and work, and many will greatly miss his wisdom and kindness, as well as his efforts to make his community a better place.

"He acted with dignity and respect for others and we, the members of his family at the City of Vernon, extend our condolences to his family and friends."


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Photo Gallery - Debbie


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

An Epitaph on the latest amalgamation efforts.

Generally, taxpayers of a community are proud of their community, especially if that community has been in existence for over a century with rich historic and sentimental values.

Coldstream is such a community. It would take a lot of convincing with for residents to give up their community and replace it with a hastily cobbled dream by a self appointed group of businessmen who might have some ulterior motives not clearly apparent.

If there were some indications that huge tax savings could be reaped by a change of the existing governance system then some people might be convinced. However, there was no such evidence presented by the proponents. At first blush taxpayers of Coldstream would have been hit by a minimum of 10% tax increase based on the city's own tax calculator.

Other consequences would have been the increased cost of protection services (policing, fire protection) and the increased cost of taking over road maintenance of the rural areas, which are currently provincial responsibilities. The Province would love to have the amalgamation proceed as it would be some further downloading onto local governments. 

A review of previous amalgamations provide ample example of negative consequences. Mayor Rob Ford was the gift(?) of the incorporated boroughs in Ontario when they had to abide by a forced amalgamation. We have our own example with the amalgamated Okanagan Landing. My good friend, Alan Hill keeps reminding me every time we are having coffee (once a week) how unhappy he is with the changes and the cost increases. The sewage issue is one of his biggest concern.

The attached letter by former Councillor Bill Kastelen and Peter Tassie summarizes most peoples concerns with such study. Furthermore they pointed out a restructuring study carried out by Sussex Consultants in 1991 which provides a lot of information which the GVGS is seeking with the proposed study. You can access the study by clicking on the attached letter.

Hopefully, this issue is put to bed for now pending the outcome of this November's Municipal Election.

Thanks for the support of Coldstream residents.

See also an evaluation of the results of Ontario's great forced amalgamation project. It achieved the opposite of what the intention was.

Newsclips from the Morning Star - in case you missed them.

I guess the conservation officers now know how the hangmen felt in the old days!


Coldstream Council has taken a stand on amalgamation study.

Coldstream Council chambers were filled with residents to hear the presentation by Mr Peter Moore and Mr Bruce Shepard of the Greater Vernon Governance Association. They promoted a study to investigate the pros and cons of "unification" of Vernon, Coldstream and Electoral Areas B and C. 

Council members have taken turns in questioning the presenters about their reasons for promoting such study again. In 2008 the same group was promoting another potential governance model which eventually died on its own.

Both Directors of the above Electoral Areas attended the meeting and spoke against such study. 

Several residents elected to speak on the issue and except for two of them they all spoke against such study. Many of them passionately defended Coldstream residents right for self governance.

Following the presentations Council debated the issue and unanimously supported a motion of non-participation in the proposed study.

Based on the stance the Directors of Electoral Areas B and C have taken it is unlikely that the study will proceed pending the results of the next Municipal election.


Thursday, January 9, 2014

Coldstream Ratepayers Association Meeting - January 9, 2014

There was a good turn out for the Ratepayers Association Meeting in the Coldstream Women's Institute Hall tonight.

Several speakers opposed any move to join a study for possible amalgamation of Coldstream, Vernon and the Electoral Areas B and C. None of the speakers envisioned any savings from amalgamation. Several examples were produced showing the major pitfalls of amalgamation: loss of identity, loss of contact with elected representatives, higher taxes, potential poorer service levels, inheritance of Vernon's infrastructure deficit etc. 

At the end of the meeting a show of hands encouraged Council not to participate in a Provincial Government funded study.


Readers write - Letter to Coldstream Mayor and Council

I will unfortunately be unable to attend the council meeting next Monday January 13 as Lil and I will be in Vancouver attending my brother Gary’s welcoming ceremony as a B C Supreme Court Judge.  We will be driving back to Coldstream on Monday after noon and evening and will arrive after the council meeting. Therefore I am sending you this memo to give you my thoughts on the proposed amalgamation of Vernon, Coldstream and certain areas of the Regional District.

Some of the people on the Greater Vernon Governance committee are individuals that I know personally and I have a great deal of respect for them.  Having said that and as a long term resident of Coldstream I must say that on this proposal of amalgamation I am in total disagreement.  These are my reasons:

1.   Cost savings – in my career as a Chartered Accountant spanning a total of 37 years I was involved in a number of amalgamations both in our firm and with clients.  In every case one of the main initial arguments for the amalgamation proposal was cost saving and greater efficiency.  In every case after the amalgamation had been accomplished in actual fact costs went up substantially.  New departments were created, additional staff hired and new levels of bureaucracy and frustrations were experienced.  Once new bureaucracies and departments are created it is absolutely impossible to get rid of them.  Based on my personal experience I don’t buy the cost saving argument at all.

2.   Operating efficiency – if the entire North Okanagan is amalgamated into one jurisdiction under Vernon one of the arguments is that there will be less politicians dealing with a much larger area.  This sounds good in theory however less politicians will mean much more work covering a much wider area for those that are elected and they will not have the local knowledge of the people and issues in Coldstream that the councillors in Coldstream do.

3.   Vernon’s Debt Load and Infrastructure Deficit (as noted in a recent Morning Star article quoting Mayor Rob Sawatzky).
– I do not think that we in Coldstream want to take on the additional taxes that will be required in becoming obligated for a share in Vernon’s debt load and infrastructure deficit

4.   Fire Departments – we will certainly lose our volunteer fire departments who do a wonderful job of serving Coldstream and Lavington.  Once we lose our volunteer fire departments our share of fire protection costs will certainly go up substantially.

5.   Community – in Coldstream we are fortunate to have a long history resulting in a unique sense of community and local culture.  We are all proud of our history and our unique community.  With amalgamation, over time we will just become an area of Vernon, our sense of identity and uniqueness of community will be lost.  Margaret Ormsby refers to this in her book “Coldstream Nulli Secundus”, that is Coldstream - Second to None.  We are a unique little “Jewell” and there is no other place like it. Agnes Sovereign and Paddy Mackie often referred to this in discussions with us over the years. As long time residents of Coldstream we understand this and appreciate it.

6.   Okanagan Landing – we are all aware that the forced amalgamation of the Okanagan Landing with the City of Vernon has been a “debacle” to say the least and there is no reason to believe that the same thing wouldn’t happen with Coldstream.

7.   Coldstream Municipal Staff – in my personal experience the staff in Coldstream are good people and good to deal with.  From the people in the office to the roads crew to the water crews and so on (all of whom I have dealt with over time) they are friendly, courteous and very prompt and helpful in getting the problem resolved in a friendly and effective manner.

8.   Coldstream Ranch – one of the great assets in Coldstream is the Coldstream Ranch.  We are all very fortunate that the current owner (as well as previous management and owners) Mr Keith Balcaen loves the ranch and loves ranching.  He is doing a great job in looking after the property and as a result we all enjoy beautiful vistas of green space and well cared for hay fields, corn fields and pastures.  In addition the Coldstream Ranch pays for and harvests the crops of many small acreages in the Coldstream enabling the owners to stay on their property, realize some income in order to pay irrigation water bills and maintain their farm status as well as keeping their properties green and in good shape.  These all add to beautiful vistas in Coldstream.  If the Coldstream Ranch were to be broken up and all of its lots were to be sold off there would be a huge change in the vistas and landscapes that we all currently enjoy and probably take for granted.  Without proper land management we are at risk of being overrun by Scotch Thistle, Knapweed, Burdock and other noxious weeds as well as many pests such as gophers etc. There are a few examples of this in Coldstream now where farming has ceased on some properties and I shudder to think what would happen if Coldstream were to be amalgamated into Vernon and the Coldstream Ranch were to become under the Vernon jurisdiction.

9.   Heritage – Coldstream has a tremendous heritage.  Those that came before us put a lot of time effort and money to build this municipality and make if what it is today.  If we were to amalgamate with the City of Vernon I fear that there would be a “deafening” roar coming out of the Coldstream Cemetery on Howe Drive as our forefathers all turn over in their graves in their disapproval of us allowing the destruction of what they worked so hard to create and preserve.

10.  Regional Services – Regional services such as water, recreation and so on are hugh expenditures and probably represent the largest portion of total costs in the North Okanagan.  These services are already amalgamated with good administration and proper oversight so there would be no advantage gained in these areas through amalgamation.

One thing the Greater Vernon Governance Committee is proposing is to have a study on amalgamation done.  I am not in favour of supporting a study either.  It is possible to get a study to conclude whatever you want depending on who requests the study and what assumptions are used.  If the Coldstream Council supports having a study done then it will be a signal that they are open to the idea of amalgamation and I think that Council should indicate that they are not open to amalgamation at all.  If the voters are unhappy with this they can of course run new candidates in Novembers election and if successful this will become a “self destruct” council.  I am told that the BC government will not force an amalgamation if the people in Coldstream do not want it.  I think we should send a strong message that we don’t want amalgamation.

Jim, you as Mayor and your fellow Councillors are doing a good job of looking after our best interests  and we appreciate what you are doing.  My wife and I would much prefer that we continue to be Coldstream and not amalgamated with the City of Vernon.  If a change were to occur our fear is that it will become “Urban Living at its Worst” rather than “Rural Living at its Best.”

Thank you Jim for taking the time to read my thoughts.  If you wish to share them with the other members of Council please go right ahead.

Good luck in your deliberations.

Bob and Lil Weatherill
January 8, 2014

Published with permission from the author.

Coldstream Counci Meeting - January 13, 2014

Pages 33 - 80

Study for the Unification of Coldstream, Vernon and Electoral Areas 'B' and 'C'
 Presentation Materials from the Greater Vernon Governance Society dated, for reference, January 13, 2014
Greater Vernon Governance Presentation & Petition.pdf


THAT the Presentation Materials from the Greater Vernon Governance Society dated, for reference, January 13, 2014, regarding Study for the Unification of Coldstream, Vernon and Electoral Areas 'B' and 'C', be received for information and filed.Page 81

Page 81

8.b. Proposed Provincial Study Regarding the Amalgamation of Coldstream and Vernon Municipalities
 Letter from Mr. Bill Kastelen and Mr. Peter Tassie dated January 2, 2013
Kastelen Tassie Letter.pdf


THAT the letter from Mr. Bill Kastelen and Mr. Peter Tassie, dated January 2, 2013, regarding Proposed Provincial Study Regarding the Amalgamation of Coldstream and Vernon Municipalities, be received for information and filed.


9.a. CoW #1 re: North Okanagan Arts, Culture and Youth Service


HAT Council advise the Regional District of North Okanagan that Coldstream Council supports the establishment of a subcommittee of the Greater Vernon Advisory Committee to investigate how to best deliver services to arts, youth and culture.

9.b. CoW #2 re: Master Water Plan


THAT Council advise the Regional District of North Okanagan that Coldstream Council supports the establishment of a subcommittee of the Greater Vernon Advisory Committee to investigate how to best implement the Master Water Plan.


Morning Star Newsclip - Amalgamation Meeting


Coldstream and Lavington Fire Halls held their Annual General Meetings.

On behalf of the residents protected by our fire brigades I am giving a big "thank you" to all members!


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.