Thursday, December 14, 2017

Regional district committees won’t be delegated greater voting authority

BARRY GERDING Dec. 14, 2017 7:00 a.m. COMMUNITYNEWS MORNING STAR
An attempt to streamline the meeting agenda for the Regional District of North Okanagan board has failed. A resolution to delegate greater authority to several committees to remove redundancy in board resolution voting and allow more time for debate on issues affecting all stakeholders was voted 9-5 in favour, but fell short of the two-thirds majority vote required for adoption. The committees directly affected by the move would have been the Electoral Area Advisory Committee, Greater Vernon Advisory Committee, Regional Growth Management Advisory Committee, White Valley Parks, Recreation and Culture Advisory Committee, and the Audit Committee.

Some board directors expressed misgivings about not having an opportunity to be updated at board meetings about all issues being addressed at the committee level, of having the opportunity for a “sober second thought” before resolutions are given final adoption. Others suggested board meetings take up an excessive amount of time voting on issues that don’t directly concern all regional stakeholders. David Sewell, RDNO chief administrative officer, said the initiative was an attempt to eliminate the need for rubber-stamp voting on some committee resolutions, particularly those where not all regional board stakeholders have a vote. “It’s not about have less meetings. It is about meetings being more effective regarding issues of interest to all directors,” Sewell said.

Rick Fairbairn, Electoral Area D director, voiced concerns that information related to committee resolutions won’t be designated to board members in a timely manner, leaving them outside the flow of information about what’s happening across there regional district. Lumpy director Kevin Acton raised the example of the pickleball facility upgrade being addressed by the GVAC, saying that the matter doesn’t directly involve his community, it is of interest to Lumby pickleball players. “There are a lot of issues that all stakeholders may not have a vote on but do have connections to different communities across the region,” he said. Sewell said efforts to enhance communication between the various committees and regional board members could help alleviate those concerns. Mike Macnabb, electoral area C director, felt trying to fix an existing broken meeting structure system was a step worth taking.“Communication protocols can be solved. Let’s just start the process, see how it works and correct the faults as they are identified,” Macnabb said.
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https://rdno.civicweb.net/document/83115/171121_RPT_BL_2758_BOD.pdf?handle=56D02BDD9BE6447F84DBE91D7CAD4030

RENTAL HOUSING INCENTIVE GRANT POLICY (City of Vernon)

https://www.vernon.ca/sites/default/files/docs/building-planning/permits-applications/rental_housing_incent_grant_policy.pdf

Excerpts:
PROCEDURES 1. Applications for funding under this policy are to be submitted to the Community Infrastructure and Development Services Division and can be submitted at any time of the year.
2. The application is to be reviewed by Community Infrastructure and Development and Finance staff. Community Infrastructure and Development staff would prepare and submit a report to City Council. Council is the approving authority for all grant applications.
3. Awarded grants would form part of the year end statistics report prepared by the Community Infrastructure and Development Services Division.

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1. Rental housing grants awarded under this policy are for new private sector rental units that have been issued an Occupancy Permit. The grant is for new rental units that have not been previously occupied for a total of 90 days.
2. The grant applies to multiple family residential projects with four or more units. There can be one or more rental units. The project is to be on one fee simple property or one strata plan with at least four strata lots.
3. Each self contained dwelling unit which is the subject of a grant application is to have a habitable floor area greater than 29 sq.m.
4. The grant amount would be equal to the lesser of $4,000 per rental unit or the City development cost charge levied per unit. This would not include the Regional District of North Okanagan development cost charge levy amount.
5. The grant would not be awarded until the Occupancy Permit for the subject rental unit has been issued.
6. The grant would be awarded to the owner of the rental unit. 7. There is to be a housing agreement bylaw adopted and an associated covenant registered on the property title which governs the rental units. The housing agreement is to be for a term not less than 20 years. The agreement is to be structured so as to require the unit to be available and utilized as a rental unit. The rental unit is not to be occupied by the property owner and is therefore, not eligible for Provincial Home Owner Grant approval while the covenant is in effect.
8. The rental rate is subject to market place conditions and is not governed in the housing agreement and associated covenant. Residency conditions are not subject to a maximum household income threshold.
9. Any request to discharge the housing agreement covenant would be subject to City Council approval, repayment of the rental housing grant plus accrued interest and other conditions that Council may require.
10.The rental housing project for which the rental housing incentive grant is to apply must be registered with and must be designed and constructed to meet the SAFERhome society standards.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Election sign 'free for all'

https://www.castanet.net/news/Vernon/213750/Election-sign-free-for-all
There should be plenty of election signs up during Vernon's municipal election next year.In a 4-2 decision Monday, city council approved a motion put forward by Coun. Brian Quiring to allow signs on public property as well as on private land, if the owner has given permission. In the past, a bylaw that disallowed election signs on public property was ignored by many candidates. “The signs are going to end up everywhere anyway,” Quiring pointed out during the council session. “It's a free-for-all.” The only exceptions would be if the signs were a safety issue, such as in a driver's sightline. “It benefits newcomers to council more than incumbents because that's a name recognition issue,” said Coun. Scott Anderson. Coun. Catherine Lord and Mayor Akbal Mund opposed the motion. “I want to warn the public there will be a lot of littering around town,” said Lord. “Last time, we had a lot of complaints.”“I didn't display any signs on public property,” said Mund of his election run. “There could be 30 or 40 signs in a row.”
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https://www.vernon.ca/sites/default/files/docs/bylaws/4489_signbylaw_0.pdf
The following signs shall be permitted within all zones and shall be exempt from the requirement to obtain a permit, provided however that all other provisions of this bylaw
are met:
) Political Signs provided that such signs:
i) are not installed before a Provincial or Federal election is officially called or before the end of the nomination period of the City of Vernon and Vernon School Board election;
ii) are removed within seven (7) days after the election; and
iii) are not placed on any dedicated road allowance or lands owned by any government.
http://elections.bc.ca/

Bill C-342 - Cost of carbon pricing deduction from GST

http://www.pbo-dpb.gc.ca/web/default/files/Documents/Reports/2017/Bill%20C-342/Bill%20C-342_EN.pdf


At above link is the full report from the office of the Parliamentary Budget officer (PBO)
of the effect of elimination of GST from carbon tax as proposed in Bill c-342.

(On 20 March 2017, Mark Warawa, MP, introduced a private member’s bill, Bill C-342. The bill amends the Excise Tax Act to provide that any tax, duty or fee imposed in respect of carbon is excluded from the total purchase price for the purpose of calculating the goods and services tax. On 25 October 2017 the bill was defeated at second reading in the House of Commons. The analysis in this report may be useful in determining the impact of a Canada wide carbon pricing policy on revenue from the goods and services tax.)
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Don Quixote Note:
Looks like the end of our tax on tax battle. A special thanks
to MP's Mel Arnold and Mark Warawa for fighting this Quixotic battle in Parliament of Canada.

Also See:
Budget watchdog details millions in potential GST revenues on carbon pricing
http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/pbo-carbon-gst-1.4444627?cmp=rss



Feds agree to give provinces 75 per cent of pot tax revenues Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced the agreement today

THE CANADIAN PRESS Dec. 11, 2017 1:10 p.m.NEWS

The federal government has agreed to give the provinces and territories a 75 per cent share of the tax revenues from the sale of legalized marijuana, a portion of which will be meted out to cities and towns to help them defray the cost of making pot legal across Canada. Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced the two-year agreement today after a day-long meeting with his provincial and territorial counterparts. Morneau says Ottawa will retain the remaining 25 per cent share to a maximum of $100 million a year, with any balance over and above that limit going to the provinces and territories. The larger share, he added, will allow the provinces to “fairly deal with their costs and so they can work with municipalities,” which had been asking for at least a one-third portion of the revenue to help ease the burden of costs like law enforcement.

Morneau said that over the first two years, the federal government expects legalized pot to generate only about $400 million in tax revenues, adding that the ministers are scheduled to gather again a year from now to assess how the framework is working. “Our expectation is that by keeping prices low, we will be able to get rid of the black market. However, that will happen over time,” Morneau said during a closing news conference, his counterparts lined up behind him. “Our estimates suggest that the size of the taxation revenue is roughly … about up to $400 million for the first couple of years. What we’ve agreed at our table today is that we need to come back together; we’re going to come back together in December 2018 to look at how the market’s working, and how the federal government, provinces and municipalities are dealing with this change. “Of course, we’ll stay very much on top of this, but after two years it’s time to rethink the approach to make sure we’re getting it right.” All 14 jurisdictions at the table agreed to the key principles reached at the meeting, Morneau said, calling it a “very good outcome.”

The original model put forward by the federal government proposed an even 50-50 split, a plan that was immediately shot down by the provinces, many of which wondered aloud what sort of costs Ottawa would be incurring to deserve such a share. Earlier today, Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa said the federal Liberal government had successfully made the case that it, too, would have costs, but was showing flexibility on related revenue and cost-sharing questions. After a meeting with his Atlantic counterparts in Halifax, Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil let slip that a two-year deal had been reached, and that provinces would have the ability to include a markup above and beyond existing taxation levels. Ottawa’s initial estimates suggested the total pot of tax revenue from marijuana sales could eventually reach $1 billion per year. “If there is a markup that a respective province wants to do it would be outside of that taxation model, so that was the flexibility that we as a province were looking for and I would say indeed it was what we were hearing across the country,” McNeil said. “The two-year window will give each of us the time to go back to the table and say this is actually what policing is costing and this is what the education component is.”

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities has said it wants a third of the revenues earmarked to help municipal governments handle administrative and policing costs, but how that share of the pot is divvied up will be up to the municipalities and their provincial or territorial counterparts. The federal government has already committed more than $1 billion over five years towards pot legalization in areas like policing and border security. When asked about the federal push to ensure enough money goes to cities and towns, Quebec Finance Minister Carlos Leitao said each province will do it their own way. “Of course, the provinces will work with their municipalities, but it’s for us to decide what that percentage will be,” he said. “And every province is different, every city is different, so there is no preconceived amount for the provinces.”
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Don Quixote Note:
It remains to see whether  GST (or PST or HST) is applied to the $10 per gram excise tax  ???  (another tax on a tax  !!)

Friday, December 08, 2017

Proposed Transport of Dangerous Goods Bylaw

https://www.vernon.ca/sites/default/files/docs/meetings/agendas/171211_reg_0.pdf   P.103

Proposed Transport of Dangerous Goods Bylaw Administration has started the required consultation on the proposed Transport of Dangerous Goods bylaw with representatives of the Trucking Industry. It is anticipated that this will be completed by December 8, 2017 allowing for its submission to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure by year end for its review and approval.
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https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/transportation/vehicle-safety-enforcement/information-education/transporting-dangerous-goods

BX Ranch proposed as agricultural park

BARRY GERDING Dec. 7, 2017 6:00 p.m.LOCAL NEWS MORNING Star
Two community groups made their pitch Thursday to the Greater Vernon Advisory Committee to have the BX Ranchlands property turned into an agricultural park.The BX Ranchlands Task Force and the BX/Swan Lake Community Association, backed by a supportive petition with more than 1,300 signatures, are advocating the historic 137-acre site be preserved as a working farm, habitat conservation area and a focal point to both celebrate and raise awareness through public education initiatives of agriculture’s significance to the area.Paul Williamson, a BX Ranchlands Task Force member, said the agricultural park concept exists in other B.C. communities such as Saanich, Salt Spring Island, Pemberton and most recently the Ceres Circle Farm in Kelowna, a 37-acre sheep farm gifted by its owner and currently under transition to a land trust. Besides preserving historic farmlands, Williamson said those initiatives have found ways to generate revenue from tourism and access to public land use and agriculture programs.“It takes vision and people to make a change in our community,” Williamson said. “We are at a pivotal point in the history of the last remaining piece of the BX Ranchlands.”Agrologist Melanie Piorecky told the advisory committee the agricultural park concept complements the food sustainability objectives for the area while providing the opportunity to create incubator farm plots, community gardens, post-secondary agrology research programs and a dedicated location for a farmers’ market.She said the habitat enhancement aspect would help preserve the wetlands portion of the BX Ranchlands already exposed to impact from a neighbouring residential development.The BX future land use has been disputed at times since the land parcel was purchased in 2016 for $2.3 million, with the idea being 36 acres could be kept as park and the remainder sold for development to recoup the land investment costs.If sold, the 36-acre park portion would create a park between BX Ranch and Mutrie Road parks.But the land still remains within the Agricultural Land Reserve, something the BX Ranchlands Task Force and BX/Swan Lake Community Association don’t want to see changed.The Regional District of North Okanagan board has already approved the rezoning of the BX Ranchlands from country residential to large holding, which means the land would be agricultural and residential subdivision development would not be allowed unless there was a further rezoning process considered by the regional district.GVAC chair Juliette Cunningham said the committee will address the agricultural park proposal at their next meeting Jan. 4, which will be held at the Coldstream Municipal Hall
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Also See:   https://www.vernonmorningstar.com/news/bx-ranch-generates-debate/

Club Seeks Help With Bill

Vernon, BC, Canada / 1075 KISS FM Pete McIntyre December 07, 2017 05:31 pm
The Vernon Pickleball Association is hoping local government will help with the costs of getting its new site ready to build on. The group has started work on a 12 court facility in Marshall Field.However, member and project manager Don Freisen told the Greater Vernon Advisory Committee, it cost them $95,000 in pre-work fees to move Hydro and irrigation lines, along with a fire hydrant. “At that point, when we actually got the site, we certainly didn’t want to give it up.So when we ran into all these services that we had to deal with, we just went to work because there was no other opportunity. We had to make it work.” Friesen says their volunteers helped with some of the work. “All together we did something like two thousand feet of trenching and two thousand feet of mainline irrigation and hydro lines. All of this before we could go to work.” GVAC will discuss the request at its next meeting.The club plans to have the new courts ready for use sometime in 2018.The regional district provided the site for the facility, and GVAC gave the group a $300,000 grant.
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Also see  https://www.castanet.net/news/Vernon/213500/PIckleball-asks-for-cash

Friday, December 01, 2017

Council to debate pay raise

by Wayne Moore -CASTANET Dec 1, 2017 / 5:48 am
Mayor and council in Lake Country have not received a significant pay increase since 2002. Yearly increases have been tied to the Consumer Price Index, but that could change in 2019. Council will debate a new pay structure that, if approved, would provide the mayor with a 23.7 per cent increase and councillors a 17.3 per cent pay hike. The raises would take the mayor's remuneration from $38,265 to $47,325 and councillors pay from $16,143 to $18,930 a year. Those would not take affect until the new council is sworn in following next fall's municipal elections.The pay structure was determined by a four-member committee comprised of three community members and a staff liaison. The new rates would peg the mayor's salary at the 60th percentile of mayors in comparable B.C. municipalities, while councillors would earn 40 per cent of the mayor's salary.Council approved the establishment of the community committee in 2015. The committee began its work earlier this year.

Typically, one-third of councillors remuneration is tax-free, so expenses incurred during daily duties were not deductible. The federal government eliminated that provision earlier this year, however, officials with the municipality says this latest pay increase is not tied to that announcement.
Staffer Tanis Stoltz says instead, mayor and council will be provided with T2200 forms, which will enable them to deduct regular expenses on a yearly basis.
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Also see https://www.vernonmorningstar.com/news/raises-proposed-for-lake-country-mayor-and-council/

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Another try for mall bus

 By Kate Bouey - CASTANET  Nov 27, 2017 / 7:40 pm 
Efforts will be made to get a bus stop back onsite at the Village Green mall at the north end of Vernon. City council on Monday approved a major expansion of the BC Transit service, including the addition of 7,000 annual service hours and a new north-south route that would run through town every 15 minutes during peak periods. There will also be more HandyDart service. The changes are expected to take effect in April 2018 at a cost of $314,277 for the first nine months. The money will be taken from reserves. Council has also asked city and transit staff to approach the owner of the mall, Bentall Kennedy, to see if the issue of an onsite bus stop can be resolved. “It's just not conducive to people using it that have mobility challenges or those with all their kids,” said Coun. Juliette Cunningham, who made the motion. “Last winter, I saw a woman get stuck in her wheelchair in the snow. It's just crazy.” Cunningham is hopeful new negotiations will work, although they failed a year ago, or a bus stop will have to be chosen along 48th Avenue which is the current situation. Council also heard from Okanagan Landing resident James Kanester who requested a return to 35 minute service in his area of Heritage Drive and Allenby Way, near Bella Vista Road. Council liked his argument to reroute the number 8 bus, which travels Bella Vista, to pick up passengers at an Allenby Way stop. They voted in favour of that action. Council has also asked BC Transit to take a look at routes 7 and 8 to see if 35 minute service can be provided to the area. Meanwhile, council's financial watchdog Bob Spiers questioned the big increase in costs to bussing. He said the annual transit bill, including the HandyDart, will increase 30 per cent to $1.365 million. “I know we've found a way of using the reserves, which should be done but I don't see an increase in revenue as we were promised,” Spiers said. He pointed out that taxpayers would be footing the whole bill once reserves run out in a few years time.
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https://www.vernon.ca/sites/default/files/docs/financial/annual_reports/2018-2022_proposed_financial_plan_0.pdf

P 111 of 2018 budget
P450 note transit increase of $419,036 Annually

P 109 of 2018 budget

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Friday, November 24, 2017

Open House On Vernon Capital Projects

Vernon, BC, Canada / 1075 KISS FM Tom Mark November 24, 2017 07:25 am
The City of Vernon is holding an Open House next Tuesday evening to fill residents in on its Capital Projects plan.They include the next phase of the 30th Street improvements and the city’s cycling network.Since adopting the Official Community Plan in 2008, the City of Vernon has been constructing walking and cycling infrastructure.Projects constructed in 2017 include Phase 1 of the Kalamalka Lake Road multi-use path and the continuation of improvements on 30th Street.The city says both routes promise to become significant regional and commuter connections as they form a link between the Village Green Centre and the Okanagan Rail Trail through downtown.With the 2017 phases of these two projects complete, Vernon’s cycling network has grown to over 85kms of multi-use paths, trails, and on-road bike lanes.Mayor Akbal Mund says Vernon is on the cusp of a big change as major connections are planned for the cycling network in the next two years.The Open House is at the Vernon Rec Centre Tuesday, November 28th from 5 to 7 pm.Residents and businesses will have the opportunity to the review the capital projects scheduled for 2018 and discuss the designs and impacts with the project teams.
Interested residents and business owners that are not able to attend the meeting and who would like more information regarding a project may contact the Infrastructure Management Department at 250-550-3634 or visit www.vernon.ca/capitalworks.
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2018-2022 Proposed Financial Plan ONLINE
                                  
Capital Plan Overview ...... 480 Page #
Infrastructure Report Cards..... 481
Capital Project List Summary .. 484
Capital Project Funding ...... 486
Capital Projects.......... 487
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THE CORPORATION OF THE CITY OF VERNON A G E N D A SPECIAL REGULAR OPEN MEETING OF COUNCIL
COUNCIL CHAMBERS
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 29, 2017 at 9:00 AM
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 30, 2017 at 9:00 AM,

2018 – 2022 FINANCIAL PLAN A. Overview of the Financial Plan
PUBLIC INPUT (11:30 am) C. Opportunity provided to the public to speak to the budget Nov 29
PUBLIC INPUT (2:30 pm) G. Opportunity provided to the public to speak to the budget

PUBLIC INPUT (11:30 am) K. Opportunity provided to the public to speak to the budget Nov 30



Thursday, November 23, 2017

Developer getting more government cash for Vernon property used by National Defence

 By Charlotte Helston INFO News November 22, 2017 - 8:00 PM
VERNON - A B.C. developer has received another payment from the federal government for a Vernon property that may contain buried military explosives. K&L Land Partnership was handed $4.4 million for “environmental damages” according to recently released federal financial documents. It’s not the first time the government has discreetly paid millions to the developer. Last year, it reached an $11-million settlement with K&L Land Partnership, which had sued in 2013 over the possible presence of unexploded ordnances leftover from Second World War military training. The government is not commenting on any details of the settlement, including the reason for the second payment. “A confidentiality agreement prevents us from sharing the details of the settlement between the Crown and K&L Land Partnership. What I can tell you is that the property in question was set aside as a range and training area during the Second World War. Although we (DND) occupied the site beginning in July 1941, the site was not used extensively,” a media spokesperson said in an email to iNFOnews.ca. According to court documents from K&L Partnership’s lawsuit against the government, it bought the 1,349 acre property overlooking Kalamalka Lake for $15 million in 2005. Vancouver-based lawyer Howard Shapray, who represented K&L in the lawsuit, said Wednesday, Nov. 22, he is not at liberty to discuss the terms of the settlement. The Vernon area was used for military training in the 1940s, and unexploded ordnances continue to be unearthed today. Eight people were killed by unexploded bombs between 1948 and 1973 in the Vernon area. Clean-up efforts are underway on Okanagan Indian Band land, which the Department of National Defence leased for training, however band officials have said the progress is moving far too slowly.

New Media Person For RCMP

Vernon, BC, Canada / 1075 KISS FM Pete McIntyre November 22, 2017 03:09 pm
The Vernon North Okanagan RCMP has a new media relations officer Constable Kelly Brett takes over the role that has been vacant since Cst. Jocelyn Noseworthy went on maternity leave last year. “Cst. Brett has been a trusted and highly motivated Member of the RCMP since 2007. Over the past decade she has served communities throughout British Columbia, including the Squamish and Kelowna RCMP, ” says a release from Superintendent Jim McNamara.
Brett has 10 years of policing experience, with a strong background in media relations. She also holds a degree in Business Administration. Born and raised in the Vernon area, Brett is an active member of her community and is proud to be directly serving its residents in her new role. “We would like to thank the city of Vernon and all media outlets for their patience as we worked strategically to fill the Media Relations Officer role with an RCMP Member. We are confident she will provide the highest calibre service to our community,” says McNamara. In addition to Brett’s media relations role, she will also be responsible for working alongside the volunteer programs at the Vernon North Okanagan Detachment. That will include working with the Auxiliary Constable program, Crime Stoppers, Community Safety Office and the City of Vernon RCMP Volunteers. Cst. Brett started her duties Monday.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Community policing moving

Kate Bouey - CASTANET Nov 21, 2017 / 5:00 am
Vernon's Community Policing Office is moving and changing its name. As of Thursday Nov. 23, the office and the Restorative Justice Society North Okanagan will be at 3010-31 Avenue in the downtown. The building is the former Toppers Cleaners site. The office will now be known as the Community Safety Office. "The new location will offer greater access to the community and is ideally located to provide greater service to downtown merchant," said Rachael Zubick, City of Vernon community safety coordinator.

All contact numbers remain the same.
Community Safety Office 250-550-7842 Email: rzubick@vernon.ca
Restorative Justice Office 250-550-7846 Email:mclark@rjsno.ca
The old community policing building at the corner of 32nd Avenue and 29th Street is slated for demolition.Meanwhile, to mark Restorative Justice Week, the society is hosting the Peoples Law School's Justice Theatre Troupe at the Schubert Centre on Nov. 23, 5-9 p.m. The burger and a beverage night costs $30 and tickets can be purchased online.

Monday, November 20, 2017

New Mayor Likely For Coldstream Next Fall

Vernon, BC, Canada / 1075 KISS FM Tom Mark November 20, 2017 07:13 am
As of Nov. 20, 2017
Coldstream could have a new mayor
next year. Jim Garlick tells Kiss FM he’s been thinking about running for re-election, but maybe for a council seat instead of the Mayor’s Chair. “Just out of the idea to give it some continuity, but I’ve been thinking hard on whether to continue as Mayor. That’ll be ten years. I think to step back a little wouldn’t be bad.” Garlick jokes if you stay around too long you gather moss, but says it might be good to have fresh ideas in the office. It’s not that the fire has burned out. “No, It’s just that you get all those things done you wanted to get done and so you gotta sit back and wait for more of them to come forward. But I think a lot of the stuff that I got onto council to do, a lot of that has taken place.” Garlick says one of the biggest issues for him was parks.“I think things with restructuring with parks within the regional district. To have jurisdictions take them back under care and control because more attention is paid to them and I think a better job can be done of it.” He says it’s been gratifying to be part of developing a Master Water Plan and improving roads, bike paths and sidewalk improvements.“I think some really positive things happen in the community and we want to continue that. That’s why I’d like to continue on council moving forward just to ensure that that stays rather than walking away and letting it fall apart because of you get a whole brand new group of people on council, I think, you want to have some continuity.” Garlick says he’s been encouraging some people to think about taking on the challenge.

Eyes on BX ranch land

Kate Bouey - CASTANET Nov 20, 2017 / 5:00 am 
The possible sale of 55 acres of BX ranch land has sparked some concern, with a community group hoping to save it for public use. The BX Ranch Land Task Force, a group of concerned citizens, will be providing information on the historic land and getting public input during a presentation at the Schubert Centre on Tuesday, Nov. 21 from 7-9 p.m. Everyone is welcome.“We feel this property can be kept as open green space and one possible use is a community agricultural park,” stated a Facebook post by the group. The North Okanagan Regional District spent $2.315 million to purchase 166.96 acres of ranch land in the BX area last year, in order to provide trail connectivity between BX Road near BX Ranch Dog Park, Mutrie Dog Park, the Wetlands bird sanctuary and Black Rock Park. The entire property is within the Agricultural Land Reserve.Paul Williamson, task force spokesperson, said there is fear the regional district will sell a 55 acre chunk of the land on the open market.He said people should know what the community is losing and what type of farm could be situated on the land.“There are some farms that could cause conflict,” Williamson said. “Cherries, for instance, a feed lot, a hog farm or a chicken farm. They are not suitable as farm use when they are next to a city.”The task force is hoping to have 1,500 signatures on its petition by the time it is presented to a meeting of the Greater Vernon Advisory Committee on Dec. 7th.