Thursday, July 31, 2014

WATCH: Coldstream residents push to make waterfront land a public park

COLDSTREAM, B.C. – Efforts by the District of Coldstream to purchase the Ormsby Property on the shores of Kalamalka Lake and turn the area into a park have so far failed. 

Now park proponents are trying to push local politicians to find a creative solution to make the land public. 

The 2.4 acres of waterfront land belonged to the late Margaret Ormsby.

“The original request of Margaret Ormsby’s was that the district purchase the property and turn it into a park and name it Ormsby Park,” says Coldstream councillor Peter McClean. (read more)


Council was very interested in buying the Ormsby property and investigated options to achieve that objective. However, the asking price is almost $6 million. Annual tax increases for that loan repayment would exceed 9% and would require another referendum strictly for Coldstream. There is not enough time to prepare the legal requirements for the 2014 referendum. If there is enough interest it is possible to have a referendum in 2015. 


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Ormsby property acquisition process


Public gains a second say on proposed pellet plant

by  Jennifer Smith - Vernon Morning Star 
posted Jul 28, 2014 at 7:00 PM

Coldstream council has found a legislative loophole in order to let the people be heard.

Lavington and area residents packed the municipal office Monday night, hoping to have their opinions heard on the proposed pellet plant (a joint venture between Tolko Industries and Pinnacle Renewable Energy).

Council would not let the public be heard due to legislation. Acting Mayor Peter McClean offered the public a chance to come share their opinions at the Committee of the Whole meeting Tuesday, Aug. 5 when the Ministry of Environment is expected to be in attendance.

Council also agreed to rescind third reading of zoning changes which would accommodate the pellet plant, in order to have another public hearing.

The earliest council can have a public hearing is Monday, Aug. 11.

For more details and concerns about the plant from the public, see Wednesday's issue of The Morning Star.


Thursday, July 24, 2014

Friends of Kal Lake Park - Press Release


Morning Star Newsclips - In case you missed them.

The warning signs are everywhere: water scarcity is looming. California is in a three-year long drought. Indeed, we should make every drop count. Instead, we are proposing to filter irrigation water at great expense most of which will be used for crop irrigation. However, one of GVWU's funding principle is "water supply would not fetter growth"


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Additional information re: MWP - Key principles for creating the single water utility

Key principles for creating the single water utility.

The above principles were developed and adopted by the founding members of Greater Vernon Water. Let us examine how those principles worked out over the years.

a.     Currently GVAC is an advisory body to the RDNO Board. GVAC is composed of 3 members from Vernon, 2 from Coldstream and the Directors of Electoral Areas B and C. However, all final decisions are made by the Board of Directors representing Greater Vernon with the composition of 4 Directors from Vernon and one each of Coldstream and Electoral Areas B and C. The current Governance structure is contrary to the key principles of the GVWU agreement.

b.     The water quality is not the same for all non-agricultural customers. It is not a reality now and will not be the reality 5 years from now after the $70 million is expended. Currently the MHWTP water quality is better than that of DCWTP water. Five years from now the situation will reverse when the water will be filtered at Mission Hill. This is contrary to the key principles of the GVWU agreement.

c.    The agricultural industry is indeed insulated from high water rates. However, this comes at a tremendously high cost to the domestic customers. Agriculture’s contribution to the 2014 budget of $18,600,000 is $904,452 or 4.86%. Would a stand alone agriculture irrigation system could sustain itself for $904,452? It’s anyone’s guess. Estimated agricultural water consumption is about 60% of total water consumption. Average cost of 1 cubic meter of agriculture water is about $0.07 while the same volume of water of the same quality is costing domestic customers at least $2.16 if the customer is using 5000 m3 per quarter. I a domestic customer uses 50 m3 the unit cost goes up to $3.10.  Industrial, commercial and institutional customers get a break at slightly over $1.50 per m3. The key principle of insulated agricultural rates meets the intent but at an exorbitant cost to domestic customers.

    Water use for domestic customers is also strictly controlled as to when they can use their water and are urged to conserve water. The same water for irrigation customers is a fraction of the domestic cost and much less controlled as the attached photo illustrates.

d.    Non-agricultural rates are not based on a volume basis and are not uniform throughout the service area. In fact, low volume users pay the highest rates based on a unit volume. 


        Customers with no consumption:           $99.80
        Customers using 10 m3 per quarter:      $10.48/m3
        Customers using 50 m3 per quarter:      $  3.10/m3
        Customers using 100 m3 per quarter:    $  2.42/m3
        Customers using 1000 m3 per quarter:  $  2.18/m3
        ICI customers pay                                   $  1.50/m3 plus
$99.80 base fee
It is obvious that the non-agricultural rate structure does not follow the key principles adopted by the founding parties.
e.    This principle does not make sense. How can we grow beyond our ability to provide water to the growing population?

It is obvious from the forgoing that all of the principles were broken. So was the trust customers had in the Master Water Plan.


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Back to water: Comparison - domestic customers - irrigation customers!

Rules, water rates and budgetary contributions for your information. Are we getting a fair deal?

Domestic customers' rules:

Domestic water rate samples:

           Customers with no consumption:           $99.80
        Customers using 10 m3 per quarter:     $10.48/m3
        Customers using 50 m3 per quarter:     $  3.10/m3
        Customers using 100 m3 per quarter:   $  2.42/m3
        Customers using 1000 m3 per quarter: $  2.18/m3
        ICI customers pay:                                $  1.50/m3 plus $99.8 access fee


Irrigation customers' rules:

Water rate ~$0.07/m3  domestic quality treated water!

Budget contributions:

      Total budget:           $ 18,600,000       100.00%
      Agriculture:              $     904,452           4.86%
      Other income:         $      600,000           3.23%

      Domestic plus ICI:   $ 17,095,548         91.91%


Monday, July 21, 2014

Sunday, July 20, 2014

West Kelowna Fire 30% Contained

Written by Peter McIntyre Sunday, 20 July 2014 08:00
Smith Creek fire Friday (Craig Foster)A Type 1 Ontario Incident Management team has now assumed command on the Smith Creek fire in West Kelowna.

The transition will bring increased support staff to help manage the wildfire which started two days ago.

The team is looking forward to continuing progress and positive efforts on the suspected human caused fire, which is estimated at 260 hectares and is approximately 30 per cent contained.

Collaboration with the West Kelowna, Peachland, Lake Country and Kelowna fire departments continues. Personnel from the Wildfire Management Branch will also continue to support efforts on this fire in various roles.

Increased fire activity was seen once again Saturday as a result of unburned fuels igniting within the fire's interior. The fire has not exceeded guards or retardant lines. Potential for downhill creep exists this evening as strong winds continue.

The evacuation orders for 1,100 homes and about 2,500 residents are still in effect.
Breaking trees may be noticed within the vicinity of the fire as a result of these strong winds. Fire fighters may be removed from these areas of concern for safety reasons. Other methods of suppression will be tactically considered when safety concerns are present. (more)


Saturday, July 19, 2014

Cosens Bay Residents Clarify Road

Written by Glen Morrison Friday, 18 July 2014 06:00Kal Lake Provincial Park 
A residents' spokesman in Cosens Bay says their push isn't for a wider road, but for safety.

Brent Hauberg says the existing road through Kal Lake Provincial Park does not meet either Parks or Ministry of Transportation standards.

He says "M.O.T. has even been in discussion with the contractors that maintain the road because the road does not meet the minimum requirements for their maintenance vehicles to even be on the road to maintain it."

Hauberg says the 30 meter width wouldn't be for the road way itself, but would rather allow corners to be straightened and drainage issues solved, leaving the roadway at the same width it is now.

He says the Transport Ministry will be publishing a notice of an open house, likely this month.


Excerpts from the Cosens Bay Road lawsuit!

Further to my earlier blog here a couple excerpts regarding road width as contemplated by the Judge and the final Decision.

1. Exercise of powers under s.8 of the Highway Act, supra

LVI.            With respect to the exercise of ministerial powers, the 1911 statute provided:

    8.    It shall be lawful for the Minister, in his absolute discretion, to make public highways of any width not exceeding sixty-six feet, and to vary and alter any existing roads, and to declare the same by a notice in the Gazette, setting forth the direction and extent of such highway; and for such purpose, by himself, his agents, servants, and workmen, without any notice to and without any consent on the part of any person owning or occupying the land, or having or claiming any estate, right, title, or interest therein, to enter upon, set out, ascertain, and take possession of any private roads and any lands in the Province, and any timber thereon; and also in the like discretion to enter upon any land for the purpose of cutting any drains that may be thought necessary, with power to take any gravel, timber, stone, and other materials required for the construction of any highway or bridge.


CIII.     For the stated reasons, I declare that Cosens Bay Road, travelled by the public from the turn of the century, is a public highway.

CIV.    The plaintiffs are entitled to their costs.

Vancouver, B.C., May 16, 1996                    "Collver, J."
Note that there is no specifications as to the width or quality of the "public highway" except for the reference of "not exceeding sixty-six feet" (20 meters).

The current effort by Highways to increase the excluded width to 30 meters (98.4 feet) is their own initiative.

Drivers are supposed to drive at a safe speed according to road conditions.

Readers Write - Interesting read

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Further information re: Kalamalka Lake Park.":

Interesting read. Propane/solar power/sewage holding tanks. How does one transport the sewage off these properties?

Posted by Anonymous to **Coldstreamernews** at July 19, 2014 at 4:25 AM 

Indeed, it is a most interesting read!


Friday, July 18, 2014

Update - West Kelowna wildfire evacuation order expanded to 2,500 residents

Emergency officials in the Central Okanagan say despite the rapid spread of the Smith Creek fire outside West Kelowna yesterday, it was relatively quiet overnight. 

More than 2,500 residents from 1,100 homes spent the night elsewhere after the West Kelowna Fire Chief expanded an evacuation order issued earlier in the day again Thursday night.

Another 150 homes along and near Lenz Road, including the Pinewood Villa Mobile Home Park and from 1898 to 2515 Bartley Road, were put on evacuation alert at around 8:30 p.m. PT. Residents there were told to be prepared to leave their home at a moment's notice. more


Court case re: Cosens Bay road access - 1996.

The above lawsuit was initiated by the Cosens Bay cabin owners in 1996. Clicking on the document will provide the reader with the final judgement by Mr Justice Collver. Note the number of references to "water access only" (Anonymous, July 16 on previous post please note). There is no mention of the required of the degree of maintenance nor any services to be provided. The judgement only provided access to the cabins.

Since that judgement efforts were made by cabin owners to obtain services. The closest service provider would be the District of Coldstream. However, it would be a major drain on Coldstream's taxpayers to extend services to the cabins through the approximately 4.5 km access road to the cabin community.


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Further information re: Kalamalka Lake Park.

Relevant pages:

Some additional information:
During my term as Mayor Coldstream Council was approached by a resident of Cosens Bay requesting that Council of the time annex the Cosens Bay community. Considering the consequences (provision of services such as sewer, water transportation, fire protection, etc) Council respectfully declined the request. 
While the residents would have had huge economic benefit the services would have had to be provided through a 4.5 km parkland that would provide no revenues for supporting such services. That would put an enormous drain on Coldstream taxpayers. In my opinion, there would also be a lot of opposition from people who consider this park a gem for the entire region, indeed for the entire Province of British Columbia.

Proposal to split up Kalamalka Lake Park!

The proposal reads as follows: (more)

"Proposal to remove a 30metre right of way to enable widening and upgrade of an existing road. The right of way would be of sufficient size to accommodate potential future utilities."

My concern is for the viability of the Park once this plan is executed and unrestricted vehicular access is allowed through the sensitive environment of this Class A Provincial Park. 


What do you think?

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Campaign Set For $70M Water Vote

Written by Peter McIntyre Friday, 04 July 2014 12:18 
Gyula KissMedia adds, a flyer in utility bills, community presentations, and a web page dedicated to the issue

Those are ways the Regional District of North Okanagan will use to inform Greater Vernon residents on the pros and cons of this fall's 70 million dollar water referendum.

Coldstream Greater Vernon Advisory Committee director Gyula Kiss was the lone opponent to the campaign, feeling it's biased toward the Yes side, and he plans to vote No in November.

"I can't tell somebody how to vote. I'm telling them how I will vote, and why I am voting that way, and then they can make up their mind if they want to vote against or for," Kiss tells Kiss FM.

Kiss is opposed to the direction of the plan which includes $26 million in filtration at the Duteau Creek water treatment Plant, which he feels is wasted spending when most of the water will be used for agriculture.

Kiss also wanted the plan put to a peer review, believing it would be beneficial to get another opinion on it, as he says the same consultants have worked on it since 2002.

BX-Silver Star director Mike Macnabb calls it a good communication strategy that is simple and clear enough for the public to understand.

"What we're trying to do is have some certainty going forward," said Macnabb.

RDNO administrator David Sewell say both the Yes and No sides are presented in the campaign, and they are trying to be as factual as they can.

"We're not trying to have dire consequences of a No vote," said Sewell, in response to Kiss's comment the information is like "threatening people with hell-fire" if they don't vote Yes.

As for how much a Yes vote would cost the average household, that's described in the material as "below a dollar a day, less than the cost of one litre of bottled water between 2015 and 2020."

The "carrot and stick" approach to public information is what GVW used in the 2004 campaign to "encourage" residents to vote in favour of the $35 million borrowing referendum. Below is a sample of the information provided to voters.

It is quite apparent that the  promises did not materialize and the meteoric rise of water rates surpassed that of the indicated "no" vote rate. While the  Kalamalka source received ultra violet disinfection the Duteau source only received cosmetic improvements, no disinfection other than chlorination.

Total cost up to 2013 on infrastructure improvements was $67 million, well over the $35 million approved by voters.
The current approach to "encourage" voters to vote "Yes" to the $70 million referendum is similar to the technique used in 2004. Note that the recommendation by staff was to use the Alternate Approval Process instead of the referendum. That was not accepted by the politicians. 

Check out the selling plan below.

The above image is the GVAC approved strategy to provide balanced information to voters.
You can observe that if we voluntarily agree to borrow $70 million we will avoid the ire of Interior Health (IH) and complete a yet undetermined set of improvements within 5 years. Failing to approve the borrowing "IH may order GVW to complete the system improvements at any time."
That means if we do not voluntarily spend $70 million then we may have to do so by order. IH is an appointed body. We'll have the opportunity to appeal their order to the Provincial  Government and also have a better reason to request grants to fulfill the order. Further more, IH did not give us this plan, it was the majority of GVAC that gave this plant to IH for approval without an external review. There is nothing we would lose by voting "NO" and there is a potential that the current MWP would be reviewed by an external group.

Just to provide another bit of information: the current loan of $35 million is costing us about $2.45 million annually. That represents about $102.00 per household if we use the base fee as a guide. The additional borrowing, thus, would add an extra $204 per household (using the current number of connections of 24,000).

My major concern, however, is the fact that for a projected $180 million expenditure on infrastructure we would still have an inferior product. We would continue spending $2-2.5 million in perpetuity on treating Duteau Creek water to obtain a quality that is provided by Kalamalka and Okanagan Lakes without treatment. In addition, most of this expensive water would continue to irrigate agricultural crops.
My intention is to provide further information in future postings. I would be quite willing to respond to any questions posed by the readers.


GVAC Meeting - July 3, 2014 

Not yet on the GVAC webpage!
Note the addition below: 
2. Vernon Civic Arena Service Establishment, Loan Authorization and Voting
Question Bylaws

- Staff report dated July 2, 2014 – AMENDMENT


That it be recommended to the Board of Directors:

Vernon & District Multi-Use Facility Expansion Financing Service Establishment
Bylaw No. 2641, 2014 be given First, Second and Third readings; and further,

Vernon & District Multi-Use Facility Expansion Financing Service Establishment
Bylaw No. 2641, 2014 be referred to the Inspector of Municipalities for Statutory
Approval; and further,

Vernon & District Multi-Use Facility Expansion Loan Authorization Bylaw No. 2642,  2014 be given First, Second and Third readings; and further,

Vernon & District Multi-Use Facility Expansion Loan Authorization Bylaw No. 2642, 2014 be referred to the Inspector of Municipalities for Statutory Approval; and further,
That participating area approval for Vernon & District Multi-Use Facility Expansion Financing Service Establishment Bylaw No. 2641, 2014 and Vernon & District Multi-Use Facility Expansion Loan Authorization Bylaw No. 2642, 2014 be obtained for the entire service area; and further,

Vernon & District Multi-Use Facility Expansion Voting Question Bylaw No. 2643,
2014 be given First, Second and Third readings; and further,

Vernon & District Multi-Use Facility Expansion Voting Question Bylaw No. 2643,
2014 be Adopted.

Referendum question:


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.