Monday, September 25, 2017

BC Government Launches Public Consultation On Marijuana Sales

Vernon, BC, Canada / 1075 KISS FM Tom Mark September 25, 2017 10:41 am
Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth announced this morning that consultation will begin immediately with the plan to have it done by November 1st. “I hope British Columbians will get involved, be heard, and help us shape how we maximize public health and safety when non-medical cannabis is legalized by the federal government next year,” said Farnworth. “While we already have laws banning drug-affected driving, and they remain in effect, this is also an opportunity for people to let us know how we can make them stronger and more effective.” In addition to the open public engagement process, government will also proactively seek opinions from a representative cross-section of British Columbians on their views concerning non-medical cannabis regulations, with a random telephone survey.Today through Nov. 1, people can share their views about B.C.’s approach to non-medical cannabis legalization at:

Farnworth made the announcement at the Union of BC Municipalities Convention in Vancouver. He said it will include municipal governments, First Nations, the public and affected groups. As well, the Province has invited the Union of B.C. Municipalities to establish a standing committee on cannabis legalization so local governments can share their experience, knowledge and concerns as B.C.’s regulatory framework develops. Farnworth says there may not be a one size fits all approach for distribution. The minister says it will also be critical to work with the federal government to ensure a legal supply of marijuana is available. “We want to hear from as many people as possible about how we can best protect our kids, keep our roads safe, and lock criminals out of the non-medical cannabis industry,” said Farnworth. “It’s critical that we work together to ensure the legalization of non-medical cannabis results in safer, healthier communities.” He says this isn’t about bringing on a new revenue stream for the province. Farnworth says the government wants to ensure the implementation of marijuana sales is done right.
  • minimum age;
  • personal possession limits;
  • public consumption;
  • drug-impaired driving;
  • personal cultivation; and
  • distribution and retail models.
Stakeholders have been invited to send a formal submission by November 1, 2017 at 4 p.m.
Any organization may submit a written submission. Individuals are encouraged to submit the feedback form online.
Don Quixote Note:
I submitted the survey my only added comments were:
  • What are the implications for Home Insurance if Cannabis is allowed to be grown in a house.
  • All cannabis whether sold through Government stores or retail stores in B.C. must be obtained ONLY from the licensed and authorized producers that the federal Govt  has authorized.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Tent city sparks debate Erecting Structures 14.

By Darren Handschuh - Sep 22, 2017 / 12:27 PM
The problem remains the same, but the solution is as elusive as ever. This spring, Vernon city council allowed homeless people to camp in area parks, resulting in a so-called "tent city" in the boardwalk area of Polson Park. Several other parks were also turned into camps, but in August, council changed the rules allowing people to camp in area parks only from 9 p.m. to 9 a.m. The bylaw was since tweaked further to allow people to set up before dark.Now, a new tent camp has popped up along the 25th Avenue linear park. On Friday morning, at least half a dozen tents were set up along the busy road. Campers have been lingering in the area throughout the day. Tne man posted on Facebook that as he was walking along the pathway, he asked three campers to allow him room to get past. According to the man, he was told to go around. That started an online conversation about what to do with the homeless community. But, like the numerous debates in the past, there were many opinions, but no real answers. Many are intimidated by the homeless and are avoiding the area. Some said the city needs to do more, but Coun. Scott Anderson says the city is doing what it can. “Unfortunately, the province has not stepped in, and Vernon simply doesn't have the resources to solve the issue on any level. We don't have the resources to solve drug addiction, lack of housing, mental issues, or any of it. That's a fact, like it or not, so asking us to 'do more' or 'do something' is not only to ignore that our municipal resources are stretched tight in just trying to stay above water on this problem, but to ask of the city an impossibility,” said Anderson. “Anyone who has taken the time to interact with these folks ... knows very well that these folks come to cities with lax bylaws, lax enforcement and easy access to services. That's why they're here. So we have one option, and that is to try to discourage more people from coming here,” he added.
------------------  P.16 Erecting Structures  section 14.

Parking Lot Delayed By Fuel Tank

Vernon, BC, Canada / 1075 KISS FM Pete McIntyre September 22, 2017 07:19 am

The plan to add more parking in downtown Vernon has been delayed. The city is in the process of creating a paved lot on 29th Street by the library, after tearing down the former New Delhi Restaurant and Open Learning Centre buildings in June. However, City real estate manager Brett Bandy says the discovery of an underground oil tank on the site means the lot likely won’t be finished until next spring. “The soil was contaminated, so it’s being removed and remediated. You will see them out there digging the hole. It’s going to unfortunately set us back for when that parking lot will be complete. We won’t be able to pave it before the snow flies.” Bandy says they’re looking at some temporary parking before then. “We’re hoping to get 100 spaces there when its fully paved and completed. We may be only able to get 50 cars in there over the winter.” Bandy says one of the main issues is snow plowing a gravel lot, which can cause damage. He says they are also talking about setting up barriers around the area being remediated.

Vernon Mayor And Transportation Minister Talk Traffic

Vernon, BC, Canada / 1075 KISS FM Pete McIntyre September 22, 2017 05:54 am
Vernon wants the province to take over control of one of the city’s busiest streets. Mayor Akbal Mund says 27th Street is used by residents from all over the area — not just the City — and it’s costly to maintain. “It should be a provincial road and not left to Vernon. I mean we’re fixing it now again, after fixing it three years ago. And that’s because There’s too much traffic on that road. There’s more traffic on 27th than there is on the highway,” Mund tells Kiss FM. Mund made his case for the changeover during a recent meeting with BC’s new Transportation Minister Claire Travena. Mund says the minister gave no commitment, but agreed it was a good point. “There is no plus for them. That’s not the point. The point is it’s used as a highway, and we can show them that proof. That was my whole discussion about that: the municipality is left carrying the bill for that highway.” Mund also brought the new minister up to speed on other local transport issues like a bypass, which the province says won’t be needed for at least 20 years. “In all honesty, I told her ‘do we really have a lot of traffic issues in Vernon?’ We probably don’t in the minds of many who travel through this small community. We’re nothing like Kelowna. You can still get from one side of town to the other in 10 minutes, doesn’t matter where you are,” adds Mund.
KISS POLL: Results

Say Of The Day

Do you think Vernon's 27th Street should become a provincial highway?

Vernon on hook for RCMP back pay

JENNIFER SMITH Morning Star Thu Sep 21st, 2017 5:00pm
A back pay windfall is on its way for Vernon police officers. The city estimates the pay increase to be approximately $332,090, but it has been planning for the funds. The earnings, retroactive to 2014, are from the last federally approved pay raise for RCMP officers across the country. The federal treasury board finally approved a 1.25-per-cent increase as of Jan. 1, 2015 and another 1.25-per-cent hike as of Jan. 1, 2016 in April of this year.“The city anticipated RCMP pay raises in its budgets so that sufficient funds were set aside until the monies were paid,” said Debra Law, Vernon’s director of financial services. “As such, the retroactive payment will not cause a tax increase in 2017.” Vernon previously funded 48 full time members and as of 2017 there are 50. Meanwhile Kelowna is on the hook for a much higher windfall for police – $1.1 million.

CPI for August 2017
The August 2015 CPI for B.C. of a 1.2% increase was used on Dec 1, 2015 to increase the Councillors and Mayor's base rate.

The August 2016 CPI for B.C. of a 2% increase was used on Dec 1, 2016 to increase the Councillors and Mayor's base rate. 

The August 2017 CPI for B.C. of a 2.0% increase will be used on Dec 1, 2017 to increase the Councillors and Mayor's base rate.

The August 2015 CPI for Canada of 1.3% was used Jan 1, 2016 in relationship to the Facilities agreement contract for GVAC Members. 

The August 2016 CPI for Canada of 1.1% was used on Jan 1, 2017 in relationship to the Facilities agreement contract for GVAC Members. 

The August 2017 CPI for Canada of 1.4% eill be  used Jan 1, 2018 in relationship to the Facilities agreement contract for GVAC Members. 

The Dec 2015 CPI for B.C of 1.9% was used to increase the Directors Stipend at RDNO as well as Committee Pay (From $147/meeting to $150.)

The Dec 2016 CPI for B.C of 1.9% was used on Jan 1, 2017 to increase the Directors Stipend at RDNO as well as Committee Pay. (From $150/meeting to $153)

The Dec 2017 CPI for B.C of ??% will be used on Jan 1, 2017 to increase the Directors Stipend at RDNO as well as Committee Pay. (From $153/meeting to $??)

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Hurricane names for 2017

Kelowna owes $1.1 million in back pay to RCMP officers

ALISTAIR WATERS Morning Star Mon Sep 18th, 2017 10:10am NEWS

Mounties in Kelowna are about to share a $1.1-million windfall. The city owes that sum in back pay, retroactive to 2014, after the federal treasury board finally approved a 1.25-per-cent increase as of Jan. 1, 2015 and another 1.25-per-cent hike as of Jan. 1, 2016 in April. Kelowna has 170 full-time RCMP officers. The cash will come out of a reserve account the city has been building up since the last federally approved pay rate for RCMP officers across the country expired in 2014. Officials say the retroactive pay hike was anticipated, hence the build up of the reserve account, but it is not part of the city’s current financial plan. Council will be asked to approve the payment and amend the city’s financial plan as such at the next council meeting.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Update: Council Approves Dogs in Park

Vernon, BC, Canada / 1075 KISS FM Pete McIntyre September 18, 2017 05:00 pm

Off to the Park.
Council has approved all the measures for Polson Park, including allowing on-leash dogs.City staff says the earliest dogs could be allowed would be in about a month.The program would cost 28 thousand dollars for dog bag dispensers, signs, garbage pickup, and adding a dual height fountain that both dogs and people could use.Council also supported $32,000 for vegetation removal and improvements to the trail and boardwalk area in the southern part of the park. Council will also consider an increase of $31,185 to the parks operations budget during 2018 budget discussions to provide additional
maintenance to those areas.

Allowances will fill fundraising gap for political parties in B.C.

The Canadian Press September 18, 2017 5:27 PM EDT VICTORIA —
British Columbia’s plan to get big money out of politics and shake off its reputation as the Wild West of election campaign financing comes with a potential cost to taxpayers of almost $30 million over the next five years. Attorney General David Eby introduced legislation Monday that bans donations to political parties by unions and corporations and caps donation limits by individuals at $1,200 annually. The proposed changes to the Election Act include a taxpayer-funded, five-year allowance to wean the parties off those donations, Eby said. Starting next year, political parties will receive $2.50 for every vote they got in the last election and funding will drop by 25 cents each year until 2021, the minister said. It means both the Liberal and New Democrat parties will receive just over $8.1 million over five years, while the Green party will get $3.4 million.

The changes would also ensure that the parties that get at least 10 per cent of the vote are reimbursed for half of their expenses — an estimated cost of $11 million. Eby acknowledged the NDP did not fully address its position on a vote subsidy before or during the election campaign. He said the government considered implementing a permanent vote subsidy after the May election, similar to Quebec’s system, but decided on the five-year allowance instead. This bill takes $65 million out of the political system going forward,” said Eby, referring to the estimated amount that B.C.’s political parties would have fundraised for over the next five years. “We guaranteed the public we would make 2017 that last big money election in B.C. We believe this bill achieves the goal.” He said the legislation also bans out-of-province donations and caps contributions to third-party advertisers. The proposed law does not permit political parties to use the money they have raised since last May’s election to be used in the next election, Eby said.

Elections BC, the agency that monitors provincial elections, reported the Liberals raised $13.1 million in 2016, while the NDP took in $6.2 million and the Greens raised $757,268. None of the parties have officially disclosed how much money they have fundraised since the election. Premier John Horgan said the legislation will take big money out of B.C. politics. “The Wild West financing of the past will come to an end,” he said. “It’s time elections were decided by voters, not by those with the most money in the kitty. This bill is what we campaigned on.” Andrew Wilkinson said the Opposition Liberals will vote against the proposed bill, saying taxpayers should not be funding political parties. “This is a big disappointment,” he said. Green party caucus spokesman Adam Olsen said the influence of special interests through the lax campaign finance laws led to cynicism from those who felt their voices hadn’t been heard. “British Columbians should be able to trust their government to put them, not special interests, first,” he said in a news release. “This legislation is a big step towards restoring that trust.”

Per-vote funding isn’t a new idea. The federal Liberal government introduced such a subsidy in 2004 after banning political donations from unions and corporations. The Conservatives vowed in 2008 to do away with the $1.95 per-vote subsidy, with then-prime minister Stephen Harper saying political parties should have to rely on support from individual citizens, not all taxpayers. The allowance was phased out and ended in 2015.
FINAL VOTING RESULTS (2017 by riding)

Monday, September 18, 2017

Hurlburt needs work

By Kate Bouey -CASTANET Sep 18, 2017 / 5:00 am
City of Vernon staff say Hurlburt Park needs a lot of work to improve accessibility, safety and usability. A fixture on Okanagan Lake for more than eight decades, the park was purchased by the North Okanagan Regional District two years ago for $2.3 million. A report to city council Monday states $477,549 is needed for traffic calming, parking spaces and a permanent toilet as well as a danger tree assessment and a safety inspection. Council is being urged to approach the Greater Vernon Advisory Committee for funding.The report says most vehicles travel at 70 kph along the road to the old camp and calls for traffic calming in order to reduce speed. “The costs to improve the access and provide paved parking is estimated to be $359,549,” says Kim Flick, community infrastructure and development manager. “Given the nature of this road it is recommended that pilot vertical measures be installed either side of the park access. These would be flat top road humps which are suitable for emergency vehicles, larger vehicles and trailers.” In terms of dangerous trees, she says, “There are also trees on the property and adjacent Crown land that have been damaged by beavers that may need to be limbed and protected.” Flick says fencing along Eastside Road need to be repaired, amphitheatre steps and seating should be reconstructed or removed and old lighting should go

Saturday, September 16, 2017

BC Cons eye Clark's seat

 BY Darren Handschuh - DASTANET Sep 16, 2017 / 5:00 am |

BC Conservatives are eyeing Christy Clark's former riding to get a toehold in the legislature. The party will elect a new board of directors at its annual general meeting, Sept. 30 in Langley. Members will vote on constitutional and bylaw changes, including a proposed name change.Aside from organizing a leadership race, members will assemble a campaign to elect a BC Conservative in the Kelowna West byelection forced by the former premier's departure from politics. The AGM runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Murrayville Hall, 21667 48th Ave., Langley, and includes guest speakers Jack Froese, mayor of Langley, Lori Ackerman from Fort St. John, and former New Westminster-Burnaby candidate Chloe Ellis.The public is invited to attend.

Addictions recovery centre in Vernon not just for men anymore

By Charlotte Helston
VERNON - A longtime gap in services for women struggling with addictions in Vernon is about to be filled.Next month, Bill’s Place, an addictions recovery home for men, will start accepting women for the first time since it was established in 2013.Previously, women seeking help with their addictions faced costly fees for private recovery facilities and often had to travel as far as the Lower Mainland to get help.“It’s always been a challenge with such limited resources for women in Vernon. We are very excited to provide this greatly needed service,” co-executive director of the John Howard Society of the North Okanagan Kelly Fehr says.The average price for a privately run facility, according to Fehr, is roughly $10,000 to $15,000 a month. The fee is much lower at Bill’s Place — about $1,800 a month for those who can pay it— and the non-profit ensures no one is turned away due to finances. Those on income assistance are eligible to have their recovery costs paid for by the provincial government.“Our goal has always been to provide services for people who are marginalized or on fixed incomes,” Fehr says.The shortfall of women’s services has often been bemoaned by outreach workers in Vernon and Fehr says the society has been working since 2010 to develop more resources for women. Before now, the only other facility operated by the John Howard Society that took women was the Gateway Shelter.With funding now secured, Bill’s Place will start accepting women who are ready to tackle their addictions beginning Oct. 1.

Addictions Services Manager Brad Houghton says men and women will have separate living quarters at Bill’s Place, but will do much of the program together. “It will add a whole new element and depth to the conversation,” Houghton says of having women in the room.Bill’s Place has space for 19 people at any given time and is forced to tell people on a monthly basis that there is no room for them at the moment. In the past two days, for example, Houghton has received inquiries from about eight people. There is only room for one.“We need to expand,” Fehr says. “We are bursting at the seams.” Bill’s Place is based on the 12 Step recovery model, but incorporates many other approaches as well.“We’re not going to pass around a liver in a jar and say this is what will happen to you. Fear is a terrible motivator,” Houghton says. “We look at the symptoms, just like any other illness, and we focus on those.”

Donations to Bill’s Place are graciously accepted and can be made online. If you are interested in attending Bill’s Place, or would like to inquire for a friend or family member, call 250-542-3555 or email

Friday, September 15, 2017

City Of Vernon Considers Transit Improvements

Vernon, BC, Canada / 1075 KISS FM Pete McIntyre September 06, 2017 05:44 am
Public input will be the next step for proposed improvements to Vernon’s transit system. The city is looking at adding three new buses, and 7-thousand more hours of service by next March. Councillor Scott Anderson says he doesn’t want to keep investing money into transit, to try and make it successful. “But if we can be shown that it’s actually having an effect, that people are actually starting to take the bus, or increasing their use of the bus, then I am in favour ot it,” Anderson tells Kiss FM. Councillor Brian Quiring says reconfiguring some of the routes would make them more efficient. “That might actually enough , but if it proves out that we need to bolster some of the routes with additional time, then we’ll add the hours,’ says Quiring. Councillor Bob Spiers is concerned about the city’s share of the extra costs — over 419-thousand dollars — which he says would increase the budget by 1.5 percent.“It’s a heck of an increase,” stated Spiers. Under an agreement with BC Transit, the City would pay 52% of the $810,000 cost.The City will get input from the public at consultation stations at the downtown bus exchange, the Schubert Centre and Walmart. and through an online survey Sept. 22 to Oct. 6.
Also See:

2017 Budget: $1,365,000 Conventional & $367,366 Handi-Dart

Transit Reserve
By the end of 2017 there will be $760,230 in the Transit Reserve. Administration will be presenting a report to Council in November regarding the financial implications of the planned 2018 Transit Service Expansion and Changes including a summary of the public engagement. This report will include recommendations to draw on this reserve in 2018, 2019and 2020 to partially fund the planned transit service expansions.

Hazardous truck route stalled

Update: AdminReport from Sept 18 agenda (P.37)
Transport of Dangerous Goods Bylaw Administration will commence the process of drafting a Transport of Dangerous Goods Bylaw, including consultation, and submit to the Minister requesting its approval by the end of 2017.

RICHARD ROLKE Wed Sep 6th, 2017 5:00am NEWS
A Vernon official is accusing bureaucracy of sending a planned hazardous truck route in circles. Coun. Bob Spiers isn’t satisfied with administration’s suggestion that work on a dangerous goods route would not begin until late 2018. “It’s been on my bucket list since 2012 and I’d like it finished off,” said Coun. Bob Spiers, who is concerned about the risk hazardous goods may pose on civic roads and believes such vehicles should be restricted to Highway 97 and not 27th Street. City staff have stated that development of a dangerous goods route cannot occur before late 2018 because of the need for Ministry of Transportation approval and consultation with the trucking sector. City staff have also stated they currently don’t have the capacity to develop a new bylaw right now, but Spiers says such a process shouldn’t be onerous. “Salmon Arm’s bylaw is a two-pager with a list of maps. I don’t see why we can’t put it in front of the ministry and get it done in quick order,” he said.
A bylaw to regulate the transportation and vehicle storage of dangerous goodswithin the District of Salmon Arm


Thursday, September 14, 2017

Hockey No. 1 at Games

By Kate Bouey - Castanet Sep 14, 2017 / 2:00 pm |
Ice rinks in Vernon and Armstrong are busy this week, from sun up to sun down, as players from all over the province fight to win at the BC 55+ Games. While it may come as no surprise to many, ice hockey is the most popular sport of these games in terms of numbers. A total of 453 men and women signed up and have been suiting up to play in local arenas. Divisions are split in terms of age, ranging from a 55+ division to a 75+ division. That means any hockey player over 80 has to play with his younger counterparts. Former Vernon mayor Wayne McGrath, 74, has played hockey in past senior games and continues with his love of hockey. “I just love the guys I play with, good friendships there, and it's good long as you don't get injured,” McGrath said. McGrath admitted there are still bumps, bruises and a few stitches for players along the way. “It's non checking, no contact they call it, but occasionally there are accidental contacts,” he laughed. No matter, McGrath said he'll be on the ice as long as he is able and as long as he enjoys it. “And I hope that's another 10 years.”

Dog Runs For Mayor

Vernon, BC, Canada / 1075 KISS FM Jason Armstrong September 14, 2017 05:43 am
Boy, for this guy, public office could be ‘ruff’.A 5-year-old Australian cattle dog named Finn is jokingly running for mayor of St. John’s Newfoundland. The four-legged politician even has his own campaign commercial…For the record, Finn isn’t the first non-human candidate in the history of Atlantic politics; a cat named Tuxedo Stan ran for mayor of Halifax in 2012.Finn’s owner, Glen Richmond, announced his canine’s candidacy in order to highlight several local issues like potholes and snow removal. A doggone bold move, if you ask me. ~ Jason

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

RCMP identify Nova Scotia Mountie killed in highway collision near Memramcook Const. Francis Deschenes was a 12-year veteran, recipient of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee medal

 CBC News Posted: Sep 13, 2017 4:41 PM AT
The Nova Scotia Mountie who was killed Tuesday night when he pulled over to help change a flat tire on Highway 2 near Memramcook, N.B., has been identified as Const. Francis Deschenes. Deschenes, 35, a was a recently married, 12-year veteran of the national police force and a recipient of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee medal in 2013."This is a tragic day for the Nova Scotia RCMP and our entire RCMP family," commanding officer for the Nova Scotia RCMP, Assistant Commissioner Brian Brennan, said during a news conference in Amherst on Wednesday afternoon. "It is extremely challenging to describe what it feels like when we lose one of our own. In the RCMP, we are a family and every employee in Nova Scotia and across the country is impacted by the loss of Francis … Frank as he was better known." More

Census Shows Rise In Vernon Household Incomes

Vernon, BC, Canada / 1075 KISS FMTom Mark September 13, 2017 11:03 am
Statistics Canada says results from the 2016 census indicate Canadian’s income rose slightly more than 10 per cent from 2005. The median household income in British Columbia was $69,995, up 12.2% from 2005.In Vernon, the median household income was 64 thousand 780 dollars.That’s up 13.4 per cent from the 57 thousand 121 dollars noted in 2005.

Breaking it down even further, In 2015, 7,920 people or 14.1% were in low income, while in 2005, 14.8% of the persons in Vernon lived in low income. The low-income rate for those under 18 years of age was 17.1% compared to 13.2% for those aged 18 to 64 and 13.8% for persons 65 and over in 2015. Single parent families in Vernon had a higher rate of low income at 32.9%, while those living in couple families without children had a lower rate of 6.5%. In 31.7% of couples in Vernon, each partner had fairly equal incomes in 2015 while men had higher income in 53.8% of couples and women had higher income in the remaining 14.5% of couples.

In 2015, the median total income of couples in Vernon was $84,426. The median income of higher-income partners in 2015 was $56,865 and the median income of lower-income partners was $23,296. The report also shows the median total income of households in Coldstream in 2015 rose by 14.3 per cent from 2005 to 95 thousand 921 dollars.
For comparison, a list of Okanagan communities' median incomes is below:
  • Osoyoos $52,352
  • Penticton $54,319
  • Oliver $54,656
  • Vernon $59,353
  • Summerland $66,461
  • Kelowna $68,627
  • Lake Country $83,243
  • West Kelowna $83,943
  • Greater Vancouver $72,662

Manitoba mulls new health care tax -- Heath care premium could make up for Ottawa changing rate of health care increases

By Austin Grabish, CBC News Posted: Sep 13, 2017 12:22 PM CTThe Manitoba government is considering introducing a health care tax that residents would be forced to pay based on income.Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister made the announcement at a press conference Wednesday morning. The government said health care premiums could help Manitoba maintain its level of care in the wake of Ottawa reducing the amount federal health transfers will go up by over the next several years.The province signed an agreement with the federal government last month ending a standoff over funding. The deal will see Manitoba get three per cent annual increases to the Canada Health Transfer and $399.6 million over 10 years for mental health and home care services. Pallister says, compared to the old model, the cash Ottawa is offering leaves Manitoba short $2 billion over 10 years, and asking Manitobans to pay premiums on health care could make up for it. "It's most certainly a tax increase there's no doubt of that and I don't think we should couch it in any way different from that," Pallister said. The new tax would be based on income and pay directly for health care costs, Pallister added. The province is asking Manitobans to weigh in on the plan for premiums through a new online survey. Also in the survey are questions about the upcoming legalization of pot. (more)
Don Quixote Note: Contrast this to the new proposal in B.C. that will cut the premium in 1/2 on Jan 1, 2018 and eliminate it completely within 4 years.
1. MSP premiums cut by 50 per cent

Starting on Jan. 1, 2018, the provincial government will cut Medical Service Plan premiums in half for everyone. Unlike the promise from the previous government, there will be no need to apply for the rebate. The government is also announcing plans to establish an MSP Task Force to eliminate premiums and replace the revenues by 2021.

OgoGrow just got a lot cheaper, but you're going to need a bigger truck

By John McDonald September 12, 2017 - 8:00 PM
KELOWNA - With a small mountain of the garden compost piling up, Kelowna council has made a move to boost the sale of OgoGrow. Council on Monday approved amendments to the bylaws governing the sale and price of OgoGrow, allowing the compost to be sold at negotiated prices rather than a minimum flat rate. Utiltiy services manager Kevin Van Vliet says this allows the city to sell the product much further afield. “With compost, the cost of hauling it any distance becomes a real inhibitor,” he explains. “Our current market area is really defined by the costs of trucking.” While there’s a steady stream of OgoGrow leaving local distribution points with gardeners in their pickup trucks, Van Vliet says 90 per cent of sales are to regional wholesalers who either sell the product as is or upgrade it further.But the production of 65,000 cubic yards annually has exceeded demand for the last six years, Van Vliet says, leaving the city with aproximately 50,000 cubic metres of excess inventory.Local gardeners will now pay $21.43 per cubic yard for anything less than 50 cubic yards of OgoGrow at the Glenmore but they would need a pretty big truck to take advantage of the lowest bulk price of $5 for 20,000 yards and up. However the bylaw also gives the city’s director of civic operations authority to negotiate bulk sale prices of between $0 and $7 per cubic yard should stored inventory exceed 25 per cent of annual production. Van Vliet says the move should immediately boost sales and take some pressure off the production site it shares with the City of Vernon.

“Compost needs to be turned regularly so it’s stored on an asphalt slab,” he says. “If you store it off the slab, it gets mixed with dirt when you turn it and degrades the quality which might affect sales.” According to the City of Kelowna website, OgoGrow is made from biosolids from both Vernon and Kelowna waste treatment plants, mixed with wood waste and wood ash. It is recommended for application on flowers, shrubs and in vegetable gardens, however, its use and production are controversial. The Central Okanagan Regional District was forced two years ago to change the contractor who was receiving its biosolids after protestors in the Nicola Valley near Merritt began picketing against the dumping of what they call toxic sewage sludge. While Kelowna sends its biosolids to Vernon, the regional district as well as the City of West Kelowna, Peachland and the Westbank First Nation all use the Westside regional wastewater treatment plant.
Kelowna Report & Bylaw   (p114-118)
New Rates from proposed bylaw

April 2017 Meeting Agenda