Saturday, May 09, 2009

Candidates ready for final countdown

Published: May 09, 2009 12:00 PM

The fate of Vernon-Monashee’s six candidates will soon be in the hands of voters. Polls in Tuesday’s provincial election run from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and those individuals listed on the ballot are waiting to see what occurs after a month of intense campaigning. “I don’t know how it will end up. There is a lot of disinterest,” said Green candidate Huguette Allen of what she is hearing from residents. “There seems to have been less in the media but our office has been visible and people are coming in.” Allen is convinced that many Vernon-Monashee voters are receptive to the Green message. “I’d like to win because it would be a third voice in the Legislature that could work with the Liberals or the NDP,” she said.

R.J. Busch admits it took some time to explain what the Refederation Party stands for, but he believes people were open to the platform. “I encourage people to vote for the party they want and don’t just vote NDP because they don’t want the Liberals to get back in,” he said. “If people vote for what they believe in, we can win hands down.”

Independent Gordon Campbell has ran many times before, and he says there was a significant lack of public participation in this election.“Voters are unhappy with the electoral system and the currently party politics,” he said. Campbell continues to push for voter options. “Eventually I want a new ballot with a yes and no beside each candidate’s name and a none-of-the-above at the bottom of the ballot,” he said.

Liberal Eric Foster has been busy over the past month, and he believes residents are looking for consistent government. “We have had great support with the door-knocking and meeting people downtown. I have been talking to a lot of people and they seem to be listening,” he said. Foster says a common theme during his campaigning has been the recession. “The folks here see the concern across the province about the economy and we are the best ones to pull it through,” he said. “The party and the government have done a good job and we are running on that record.”

Mark Olsen, with the NDP, is adamant that the public is getting tired of the Liberal government. “We are getting the message out and people are hearing that we’re trying to get back what we are losing in terms of privatization of rivers and electricity,” he said. And while Olsen hopes to win the election, he admits the actual outcome is uncertain. “It will be very tight across the province and locally. I hope enough people will grab on to our message,” he said.

For Conservative Dean Skoreyko, he has experienced a common trend through the campaign. “People are grateful that there is an alternative to vote for,” he said, adding that there is a possibility that his party could top the polls locally Tuesday. “As the vote break-down happens, there is an opportunity for people to turn away from the Liberals and the NDP. But if we don’t do it this time, next time we’ll be in there.”

Vernon-Monashee polling stations on Tuesday are located at BX Elementary, Cherryville Community Hall, Clarence Fulton Secondary, Coldstream Elementary, Kalamalka Secondary, Lavington Elementary, Mabel Lake Community Hall, Paddlewheel Park Hall, Schubert Centre, St. John’s Lutheran Church, Vernon Japanese Cultural Centre, Vernon Recreation Complex Centre, Vernon Secondary School and the White Valley Community Centre. Voters will also mark the ballot on whether or not the province should adopt a new electoral system - BC-STV.

Section 19(8) of the Assessment Act: Special assessments for certain long term residents

Excerpts: Please read full text from links above)
What does Section 19(8) provide?
This section of the Assessment Act allows certain residential land to be assessed at a lower value than its market value where the owner qualifies and the property has potential for development for a more valuable use than its current use.

Is your property eligible?
Section 19(8) deals with a residential property’s existing use versus its potential use. Examples of residential land with the potential for development are:
• a house located on land that is zoned for, or that has been rezoned for, commercial use (e.g., allowing for a store or office building),
• a house located on a four acre parcel which could be developed into one-quarter acre lots, or
• a single family dwelling in an area zoned for multi-family dwellings (i.e. bungalow in the west end of Vancouver).

Who qualifies?
Residential property owners who have owned and been living on property that is less than 2.03 hectares (approximately five acres) for at least 10 continuous years may be eligible for a reduced property value for assessment purposes. Typically, property owners living in communities or neighbourhoods where land use is changing benefit from this treatment of their properties for assessment purposes. For example, a single family dwelling in an area zoned for multi family high rise buildings could qualify as eligible property for this benefit.
Don Quixote Note: This posting is made to inform people of the possibility that they may get an assessment change under certain circumstances. Please check with B.C. assessment to see if you might qualify. The deadline for this year's assessment was last November 30th but next years assessment deadline is the upcoming Nov. 30.

Rural Lumby seeks water utility vote

Published: May 09, 2009 12:00 PM

Rifts are developing over potentially expanding representation at Greater Vernon’s water utility. On Wednesday, discussions were heated as the North Okanagan Regional District considered a request to add rural Lumby director Rick Fairbairn to the utility board. “The treatment plant is wholly located in Area D as are the reservoirs and a large portion of the watershed,” said Fairbairn. About 30 Whitevale properties receive their water from the utility, including some large agricultural acreages, and because of that, Fairbairn insists there should be official representation at the board. “I want the ability to participate in water decisions in important areas for Area D,” he said. Currently, only Vernon, Coldstream, BX-Swan Lake and BX-Silver Star have votes on water issues because they were part of the establishment bylaw that created the utility. But Coldstream director Doug Dirk questions how the voting structure would occur if rural Lumby was added. “We’re talking about a couple of handfuls of properties compared to the rest of the participants,” he said. And as a result of Fairbairn’s demands, Spallumcheen suggests it should also have a vote because some of its residents get water from the utility. “Spallumcheen is more entitled to that option than Area D because of the properties involved and the potential development,” said Will Hansma, township director. The matter was tabled until NORD’s May 20 meeting so staff can put together information on water delivery and the history relating to Whitevale.

Director questions need for in-person meeting

Published: May 09, 2009 12:00 PM

One politician wonders if a one-on-one lobbying for use of railway right-of-ways is necessary. The North Okanagan Regional District has agreed to send one board member and an employee to meet with CP Rail to see if land along rail lines can be used for trails. “My concern is it will be a resounding no so why not a conference call before a trip to Calgary to test the waters?” said director Mike Macnabb. “If it’s a resounding no, why go to the expense?” However, Al McNiven, parks and recreation general manager, believes the trip is necessary. “You always hope that when you get there and lay out your plan, you will stand a chance,” he said.

Market Fees Waived: The North Okanagan Regional District has agreed to waive the fees for the Vernon Farmers Market. The market had been paying to use the Wesbild Centre parking lot, but directors decided that free rent would help keep the market viable and improve public access to local produce. “It’s a good decision,” said Patrick Nicol, director. “With all of the food studies that have gone on, this is a good call.”

Gym Gets Green Light: The concept of a gymnastics facility is moving ahead. The North Okanagan Regional District has agreed to provide publicly owned land so the North Valley Gymnastics Society can apply to the federal and provincial governments for infrastructure funding. “They are a group that’s been around for years and they have been providing various levels of activities depending on where they are based out of,” said Vernon director Wayne Lippert. “They’ve been looking for a home.” The proposed location is a site right next to the NORD office on Aberdeen Road in Coldstream. The society hopes to land $1 million from the federal government and $650,000 from the provincial government for construction.The society itself has $165,000 in cash and would be willing to finance $560,000 towards construction.

Explosive debate erupts over fire plan

Published: May 09, 2009 12:00 PM

Raw emotion boiled over as both sides in the Okanagan Landing fire debate went head-to-head. Accusations, name-calling, clapping and jeering were the norm as about 150 people attended a public input session on the City of Vernon’s proposed fire service plan Thursday at Wesbild Centre. “This nonsense is out of control and we need to put an end to it,” said Keith Green, Vernon Professional Firefighters Association vice-president, of people who have called for some councillors and city staff to resign. “The people involved should be ashamed of themselves.” However, others claimed council has lost control of the process. “The people in the Landing aren’t asking for this so it’s a hostile takeover,” said resident Ed Devlin.

At issue is the proposal for the downtown Vernon fire hall to take over administration of the Okanagan Landing hall, which currently operates independently through a contract with volunteers. The volunteers would remain in place at the Landing hall, but paid, full-time firefighters would also be stationed there. “I want the best there is to protect me,” said resident Jerry Bifano of why he wants paid firefighters at the hall to improve response times. “Volunteers must leave their job, family or social event to respond to a fire.” That was also the view of Jack Blair, who stated that the Landing has grown beyond the capacity of a completely volunteer hall. “They have to be at work and they have families. The city is growing and we can’t expect those people to be there,” he said.Others indicated that the paid firefighters provide first medical responders, and that adding them to the Landing hall won’t be a significant cost. “We’d like to have the same fire protection as Vernon,” said resident Jennifer Caswell. Chris Kulak, a unionized firefighter, also made it clear that the business plan includes volunteers at the hall. “This isn’t about territory or an imaginary boundary,” he said.

However, resident Pat Lett questioned the need for changes when the Landing only has about 110 calls a year, including three structure blazes. “Does a hall with 9.1 calls a month require full-time manning?” he said, adding that volunteers are cost-effective. Rose Pollock expressed concern that unionized crews will cost taxpayers too much. “Council and administration need a financial reality check,” she said. Taking to the podium, Michael Sutch, Landing firefighter, defended the department’s actions. “The average response time is 4.16 minutes out of the door and not the six minutes distributed in newspapers and brochures,” he said. Former firefighter Darryl Payeur pointed out that crews at the hall have first-hand knowledge of the area. “We are equipped with people all around the Landing,” he said.

Instead of having full-time firefighters, Sandra Price says a satellite hall should be constructed at Canadian Lakeview Estates to improve response times to developments at the far edges of the Landing. “When they (residents) moved there, they didn’t see a fire hall standing there or within six minutes,” she said. With her son Ty next to her, Rhonda Cheyne expressed no concern about her family’s safety. “We definitely don’t need more fire service,” she said.

Divisions were clearly evident Thursday and concerns arose that this may affect the ability of paid and volunteers firefighters to work together. “They are all wonderful and we should applaud them,” said Joan DeBella.

Speaking to the media after the meeting, Vernon fire chief Jeff Carlisle defended the process behind the proposal. “All of the information was on the table,” he said, adding that stakeholder groups, including the Landing department, were consulted. “It’s not a Landing issue. It’s not a volunteer issue. It’s not a union issue. It’s about customer service.”

Council could possibly discuss the service plan in two weeks, and Mayor Wayne Lippert says he hasn’t personally decided how he will vote. “Okanagan Landing is just one part of the city. The job of mayor and council is to look at the city as a whole,” he said.

Real estate blow out sale

Castanet May 9 :

The Developer of Kelowna Mountain in the Upper Mission and of the Cottages at Secret Point in West Kelowna has announced a $25 million dollar blowout sale of prime Okanagan real estate. "We will be selling off prime Upper Mission homes and waterfront cottages at a savings of 20% or more, meaning a savings of $150,000 off of today's lower adjusted market price," says Mark Consiglio, Developer. He says this is the first time this concept has been used in the Okanagan.

"Similar to the sales on the coast, the Kelowna Mountain/Secret Point blowout is going to offer significant savings and value to buyers who are ready to invest now. As part of Kelownafs first real estate blowout liquidation we are offering one acre home sites with a 3,000 square foot home for $599,000. Our price, plus our 10% down financing program, opens up this opportunity to own a home with a full one acre home site, to so many more people."

Communities in Bloom Kick-Off event this Saturday

The Vernon Communities in Bloom committee invites you to our Kick-Off event and Symposium. Join us Saturday, May 9th at Polson Park (near the fountain) for a tree-planting ceremony at 1:00 pm, followed by a Symposium at City Hall from 2:00 – 4:00 pm.

The Symposium will introduce the Communities in Bloom program to Vernon and features guest speakers from Armstrong, Kelowna and West Kelowna. Presenters from Downtown Kelowna, One Block at A Time, the Master Gardeners, and the Westbank First Nation will share how Communities in Bloom has been a valuable tool in building prosperity and community up and down the Okanagan Valley. An update on community gardening initiatives in Vernon, as well as a presentation on xeriscaping will round out the afternoon.

Communities across Canada compete in Communities in Bloom program each year. They are judged on eight criteria: environmental awareness, community involvement, tidiness, natural and heritage preservation, tree and urban forest management, landscaped areas, floral displays, and turf and groundcovers. Community participation and environmental sustainability are at the heart of this competition.

The Vernon Communities in Bloom Committee is currently working to build awareness of the program by networking with other levels of government, business, non-profit organizations and general citizens. All members of our community are welcome at the Symposium. Please show your support for our growing community!

Friday, May 08, 2009

* Upload Video File * Record from Webcam Christy Clark: "Vote for STV on May 12"

Popular broadcaster, columnist and former provincial Liberal cabinet minister, Christy Clark, called on her thousands of listeners across BC to join her in voting yes for BC-STV in the referendum

Judge slams 'vulgar' South Park for 'Kick a Ginger Day' attacks

Two Calgary teenagers have been handed absolute discharges in an assault on a classmate on so-called 'Kick a Ginger Day.' Judge Lynn Cook-Stanhope said on Friday she was satisfied the teenagers had taken responsibility for their actions, and she saved her scathing remarks for the animated television show South Park, which she called a "vulgar, socially irreverent program that contributes nothing to society." Unfortunately, the writers and producers of the show will never be called to account for encouraging such action, the judge added.

The charges stemmed from an attack on a red-headed Grade 10 boy in the locker room of St. Francis High School after gym class. The locker room assault happened on Nov. 20, which was promoted by a Facebook group as Kick a Ginger Day. The Facebook group urged members to kick people with red hair — referred to as ginger kids. The group was likely inspired by a South Park episode from 2005 focusing on one character's hateful attitude toward redheads. At least three Calgary schools reported attacks that day on red-headed students. At St. Francis High School, police were asked to investigate rumours of a locker-room swarming, and 13 students were suspended. Two 15-year-old boys were charged with one count each of assault and pleaded guilty in youth court. They can't be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

On Friday, Cook-Stanhope said that since the assault, one of the teenagers has done community service, while the other made a donation to a youth club. Both have written letters of apology to the victim, who she said is still dealing with the aftermath of the assault. The two teenagers showed very little reaction to news of the discharge, but their parents whispered thank you and seemed very relieved. The victim's family left quickly without commenting to the media.

Kingston Voyageurs 3 - Vernon Vipers 6 FINAL

A note to fans: the game will be broadcast live on TSN 2 at 4:30 BC time Sunday, and shown on tape delay on the main TSN network at 8:30 Sunday night.

First Period Goals:
01:50 PAC 26 Bryce Kakoske (15 Kellen Jones 17 Sahir Gill)PP
02:22 PAC 7 Cameron Brodie (18 Chris Crowell 5 Mike Collins)
08:34 PAC 5 Mike Collins (3 Kyle Bigos 26 Bryce Kakoske)PP
Second Period Goals:
16:59 PAC 11 Cory Kane(26 Bryce Kakoske 7 Cameron Brodie)

19:10 PAC 7 Cameron Brodie(5 Mike Collins 3 Kyle Bigos) PP
Third Period Goals:
01:17 CEN 14 Justin Levac (20 Jarrett Burton )
04:53 PAC 26 Bryce Kakoske (8 James Kerr 28 Adam Thompson)PP
07:34 CEN 12 Ben Power (6 Scott Harrington 8 Dustin Walsh)
10:43 CEN 25 Jeff Blackburn (6 Scott Harrington 14 Justin Levac)

Box Score 1 2 3 Total
Kingston Voyageurs (CEN) 0 - 3
Vernon Vipers (PAC)3216

4 Leading Candidates SQUARE OFF

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Kiss FM Candidate for MLA Profiles:

KISS FM concludes its profiles on the Vernon Monashee candidates with BC Conservative Dean Skoreyko. The businessman who lives in Coldstream says people are looking for an alternative to the Liberals. "The Liberals pretend to be conservatives but they're not, and what we want to do is offer a true conservative party, the only true one in BC, and one that represents that faction that's not being represented anymore. Skoreyko---who has also run for Vernon mayor, Coldstream council, and the federal Conservative nomination in the past---feels he has a good chance of winning the riding. "I see myself as possibly winning this riding. I don't see a great upswing of Liberal or NDP vote. I don't see myself battling for third place. I see myself battling for first place." Skoreyko's campaign manager is former Okanagan Shuswap Reform, Alliance and Conservative M-P Darrel Stinson. In addition to health care, the economy and education, Skoreyko says the lack of seniors housing is also a major issue.
The NDP's Mark Olsen is today's featured candidate in Vernon-Monashee. Olsen says it wasn't hard to get involved in the race. "Anyone that's concerned about what's going on should get involved and I thought it was a good idea for me to try and make a difference. People I've talked to are tired of an government that's arrogant and out of touch with everyday people. I want to take people's concerns forward." The long time School District 22 employee and current school bus driver and CUPE local 5523 president says travelling the riding he's hearing some basic concerns. "The two I'm hearing is the job creation and job losses, particularly in the forest industry, along with the Lavington glass plant closing down and other employers, and also the funding in education and the subsequent layoffs that will occur from that." Olsen says what may become a larger issue's the selling off of BC's rescources, like to private power companies. Olsen has lived in Vernon since moving here from the coast in 1986. He and his wife raised two daughters here and are now the proud grandparents of another young Vernon citizen.
The featured candidate in the Vernon Monshaee race today is Liberal Eric Foster. The Lumby mayor, North Okanagan Regional District chairman, and Charles Bloom forestry program instructor says the campaign has been dominated by one issue. "Pretty well everywhere where we go, people talk about the economy, and all the other issues that come up, are all wrapped around that. As long as we can weather the storm through this global economic downturn, and come out the other end strong--and I think we should--then we'll be able to get back on track." Foster says he's also hearing about the need to address school funding, which he says he will take to Victoria. Foster says the transition from eight year MLA Tom Christensen to himself, has been smooth. "I know a lot of the folks around here, or they know of me through my local government experience, so I've got a pretty good handle on a lot of the issues. I'm getting great reception going door to door and meeting with the business people downtown, that sort of thing." Foster doesn't think residents are tuning-out the election, saying the people he's talked with are interested, and concerned about the economy.
Kiss FM kicks off profiles of the Vernon Monashee election candidates with Huguette Allen of the Green party. The rural Lumby resident, who got 17 percent of the votes in last year's federal election, says people are nervous about the future. "Insecurity of the future is the one thing that links all the people together and of course a lot of families are really concerned, about their own job, about the future. Climate change has not disappeared, it's still there." Allen, a Montreal born business consultant, says the Greens will work towards solutions instead of trying to destroy the other parties. "What I bring is a choice for people to elect someone who will work with whatever party is in power to advance solutions that we really need. I don't think we can wait another four years of just in-fighting and (doing) nothing." Allen believes she can do better than her strong showing federally. "This time it's quite possible all of the swing votes that have gone back and forth between the Liberals and NDP the last few elections may just come our way, so I am very hopeful that I can do very well in this election, perhaps even win it. The Green candidate in Okanagan Vernon in 2005, Erin Nelson, placed fourth with 6.9 percent of the votes.
KISS-FM continues with the profiles of the six candidates running in the Vernon-Monashee riding. Today, it's R-J Busch, of the Re-Federation party. Busch says he decided to enter the race, feeling the Interior was being overlooked by the legislature. "Few issues have been taken care of over the last eight years with the current MLA, and I figure we need to have somebody to actually step up for us here, and get some of our major issues looked after." The retired military worker who lives in Coldstream says other issues include water and highways, in particular the strip between Vernon and Kelowna. "We've had a lot of deaths on there, and finally they're (BC government) doing something just because there's been a stimulus package that's come in, but they've never been there to address any of those issue for us." Busch says the party's fielding 23 candidates this election, up from five in 2005, and he is setting his sights high in Vernon Monashee. "In all honesty, I think we've got an awesome chance of actually winning. People are getting tired of the same issues not being dealt with here." Busch , who has never run for political office before, feels the government should be responsible to the people other than every four years at election time.
Today's featured Vernon Monashee candidate on KISS-FM is independent Gordon Campbell. The meat-cutter from the Armstrong area says he was talked into another run by, among others, federal NDP candidate Alice Brown. "I wasn't going to because sometimes after you reach a certain age you wonder if you're flogging a dead horse, but I had enough people ask me, and the biggest help was Alice of the federal NDP Party who asked me to keep chugging along for a 'none of the above' on the ballot." Campbell says he's appalled by the waste in government..and says winning isn't important. "What's important to me is how many people will pick up on the fact that they are not able to say no, and how many people, for no good reason, realize that non voters are ostracised. Why is it it that I can just say no to everybody (all the candidates) until I have the information I need to make an informed decision?" Among his issues are a desire to see photo radar return. "We went to all that expense years ago to put the program out there, and (currently) a lot of people that would like to drive the speed limit are bumped up so they have to speed, and that piece of legislation at that time, slowed everything down on the highway. It was a pleasure to go to town and know that you didn't have to speed so you weren't being fingered or pushed on, or looked at like you were just driving too slow." Campbell also ran in the 2005 BC election and came in 5th out of 7 candidates with 945 votes (3.5%).

V-E Day May 8

They danced, kissed strangers, waved flags and threw streamers. They crowded outside newspaper offices to hear the latest news, flocked to City Hall, and formed jubilant parades on Bay and Yonge streets. They all celebrated, in their own way, the end of the war.

V-E (Victory in Europe) Day, the end of the conflict with Hitler’s Germany, came first. Germany surrendered on May 7, 1945, and in Toronto and all cities in Allied countries, people streamed out of workplaces and schools to start the party. May 8, 1945 was declared the official day of celebration, with the City of Toronto organizing concerts, parades, religious services, and fireworks in the parks.

Enforcement Pays Off

Betty Selin - Vernon 105.7 SUNFM:
Vernon RCMP say their stepped up enforcement is already paying off. Police Spokesperson, Gord Molendyk says in the first three months of the year, impaired driving charges are up 64 per cent, but they don't think that means more people are driving drunk, just getting caught because of increased enforcement. Accidents are down 53 per cent. The unit has also been writing more tickets. Molendyk says in the first quarter of last year they wrote 147 tickets, this year it was 546 and part of the money generated will come back to the community.

Fired Up.

Betty Selin - Vernon 105.7 SUN FM

"A frenzy of hatred" - that's how one Okanagan Landing resident described what's going on regarding the battle over fire protection. Emotions ran high as more than 150 people attended last night's public meeting regarding the future of fire protection in Vernon. People spoke both for and against the plan to put union firefighters in the Okanagan Landing Volunteer Hall. Some residents suggested the money would be better spent on improving roads, building escape routes for interface neighbourhoods and setting up satellite firehalls in outlying areas. Others urged city council to slow down the process.

Isabel Fertado, the President of the Canadian Lakeview Community Association, supports the plan and says she speaks for the 219 families in the subdivision. Vernon's Fire Chief, Jeff Carlisle says he stands by the business plan. Carlisle says there is a lot of mis-information out there. Lippert says the plan could be back before council later this month. Lippert says he has not made up his mind regarding the proposal.


Peter McIntyre Friday, 08 May 2009 107.5 KISSFM Big Crowd For Fire Meeting

There were a lot of people, and a lot of emotion, as the public gave input on the city's controversial plan for fire service last night. Close to 150 were on hand for the session, and 40 spoke, with about half in favour and half opposed to adding paid firefighters in Okanagan Landing. Landing resident Pat Lett feels there aren't enough fires to warrant the costs. He says there were only three structure fires in the Landing last year, and wonders about spending 600 thousand dollars for that.

Isabele Furtado, the president of the Canadian Lakeview Estates Community Association says their 219 homeowners support the plan. She says a volunteer department's logistically unable to provide adequate response times and consequently protection for areas like where she lives. Landing resident Jerry Bifano supports the idea of adding paid firefighters in the Landing. "Volunteers have served a very important role here and in smaller communities and I applaud them. However, we are a larger community and they simply can't respond as quickly and efficiently as professional firefighters at a hall 24-7, ready to go, when a call comes in."

Landing resident Rose Pollack says there's nothing wrong with the volunteers. "Until I came here tonight, I didn't realize just how my life has been in danger for the last 40 years, living where I do without the support of the city fire department. This is brand new news to us."

Mayor Wayne Lippert says he hasn't made up his mind on which way to go yet, and suggests a referendum could be one option. He says council could discuss the input and the fate of the plan as early as its May 25 meeting

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Vernon Vipers 8 - Kingston Voyageurs 5 (FINAL)

Box Score 1 2 3 Total
Vernon Vipers (PAC) 3 3 28
Kingston Voyageurs (CEN)2305

First Period

02:10 PAC 17 Sahir Gill (3 Kyle Bigos 24 Steve Weinstein)PP
02:32 CEN 8 Dustin Walsh (21 Adam McAllister 44 Jacob Chiblow)
04:39 PAC 10 Connor Jones (17 Sahir Gill 15 Kellen Jones)
05:43 CEN 25 Jeff Blackburn (44 Jacob Chiblow 20 Jarrett Burton)
16:07 PAC 23 Kory Roy (20 Rob Short )

Second Period Goals:
04:18 CEN 8 Dustin Walsh(5 Kevin Christmas 21 Adam McAllister)
04:46 CEN 15 Craig Laliberte(14 Justin Levac 27 Stephane Chabot)
09:42 CEN 21 Adam McAllister(12 Ben Power 5 Kevin Christmas) PP

10:52 PAC 15 Kellen Jones(11 Cory Kane 4 Cody Ikkala)
12:41 PAC 24 Steve Weinstein(5 Mike Collins 14 Braden Pimm) PP
13:51 PAC 11 Cory Kane(3 Kyle Bigos 24 Steve Weinstein) PP

Third Period Goals:
08:10 PAC 3 Kyle Bigos (27 Ryan Santana 8 James Kerr)PP

13:44 PAC 20 Rob Short (27 Ryan Santana 4 Cody Ikkala)

Forces of demography


The premier's deputy minister Jessica McDonald has stated provincial civil service layoffs, if they do occur, will be under five percent of the workforce. But the Campbell administration is projecting demographic forces will further reduce the number of bureaucrats over the next ten years by 30 to 57 percent. This, according to a government document obtained exclusively by Public Eye. That's why the administration announced in February it would be establishing a $75 million public service transformation fund to find ways of delivering "quality services to citizens with fewer staff." Although, at the time, it wasn't specific about those projected reductions. The following is a complete copy of the relevant portions of that document.

Citizen helps shut down drug house

Castanet Staff - May 7, 2009

Vernon police have a private citizen to thank for the closure of a drug house. RCMP say they were called to an apartment complex in the 1000 block of Middleton Way about 6:30 Tuesday morning for what the caller thought was suspicious activity. Police spokesman, Gord Molendyk, says officers were unable to get an answer at the residence, so they waited for a short period of time. "Around 10 a.m., officers observed two people pushing a blue Yamaha dirt bike from the residence. This bike matched the description of one stolen earlier in the day," says Molendyk. "A male and female were arrested and the bike recovered." Molendyk says police obtained a search warrant for the apartment later in the day and seized three stolen motorbikes and other items that were also suspected to have been stolen. He says the living conditions of the apartment were very unhealthy and with the appearance of drug paraphernalia throughout, police were able to shut down the apartment under the drug by-law. Eight people in all were arrested at the apartment. "Several of them are expected to be facing charges in relation to property offences. Several of the suspects are prolific offenders in the Vernon area."

Cheaper 911 service wanted

By Barb Brouwer - Salmon Arm Observer Published: May 05, 2009

Columbia Shuswap Regional District officials are shopping around for a better deal in fire dispatch services. Directors agreed to transfer $125,000 from reserve funding to purchase and install a fire emergency alerting back-up system at the April board meeting. Part of the CSRD’s 911 program includes fire emergency alerting, which is dispatched out of Firehall 3 in Salmon Arm. The current dispatch agreement between CSRD and the Salmon Arm Fire Department has been extended for one year to the end of 2009. In that time, the regional district is looking at other dispatch locations and options.

“The existing radio system is becoming obsolete and has no emergency backup system,” says Doug Dymond, CSRD works manager. “We’re improving the system, modernizing some of the radio components and computerization for back-up.” The equipment used by Salmon Arm dispatchers is owned by the regional district and it is up to the CSRD to maintain it – just as it is up to each fire department within the regional district to maintain their own radio equipment. “We hope to present options to the board shortly,” says Dymond, noting the regional district’s motive for looking for dispatch service elsewhere is a recent increase in costs. “It is important to note the work we will be doing will be portable in the event the CSRD does change its dispatch source.”

School Cuts Finalized

Peter McIntyre Thursday, 07 May 2009 107.5 KISSFM:
The four month process of finding ways to chop spending came to an end for the Vernon school board last night. The trustees unanimously passed a new 75 million dollar balanced budget, which includes 2.7 million in cuts. It includes 17 teacher layoffs which Superintendent Bob Peacock will be based mostly on seniority. Peacock says despite that specialized teachers won't be bumped. As an example he says a French immersion teacher won't be bumped by someone who can't speak French. Other moves will see supplies and service budgets reduced by 13 percent, kindergarten will go to full day alternating, and students will get a two week spring break next year.

Darren Thompkins from CUPE local 5-5-2-3 says the cuts will have a big impact on their members. He says that extra week of spring break actually amounts to a week's layoff for CUPE staff, and will affect hundreds of workers.Union officials estimate the equivalent of five full time positions will be lost by the cuts.


Glen Morrison Thursday, 07 May 2009 107.5 KISSFM: New Superintendent

There'll be a new hand on the helm at the Vernon School district as of August 1st. The board's chosen Bev Rundell to replace Bob Peacock. She's been near the top before, having been the district's assistant Superintendent in past.

Fire Info Meeting Tonight

Peter McIntyre Thursday, 07 May 2009 107.5 KISSFM:
The city's controversial plan for fire service gets on the front burner tonight. A public input session scheduled for two hours starts at 6 at Wesbild Centre. Council is looking for input on adding paid staff to the Landing Volunteer department, and other measures. City fire chief Jeff Carlisle says it will standardize response times, but opponents call it unnecessary and a waste of taxpayers money.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Loonie Controversy

Starlee Speers - Vernon 105.7 SUNFM:

Paramedics in the North Okanagan aren't laughing after they say Premier Gordon Campbell passed one member a loonie as a joke last week. Jason Angulo says nearly 30 of them were protesting respectfully outside of the local candidate's office when one of their members asked Campbell "how about that raise?" Campbell made a brief campaign stop in Vernon last Wednesday. The incident came to light at Monday's Vernon-Monashee all candidates forum when NDP candidate Mark Olsen mentioned it. The Liberal candidate for Vernon-Monashee says he doesn't understand why anyone is upset about the loonie incident. Eric Foster says Campbell meant it in a lighthearted way. Foster says the paramedic asked for some spare change so Campbell gave him a dollar and that was it.

An Animated Explanation of STV

Here is a nifty flash cartoon that explains the proposed change to our voting system that we will be voting on in this election.
Not the way to go

Published: May 05, 2009 7:00 PM

As someone who has followed politics for years, I know there are flaws to the first-past-the-post system. A government can be formed simply because it captured the most seats while the party that topped the popular vote is left on the sidelines. So the concept of reforming how we elect MLAs and governments is intriguing and something worth serious consideration. However, I am not convinced that the single transferable vote is the answer to our problems. First off, B.C. would go from 85 to 20 constituencies, which contradicts the concept of representation closer to the people. Looking at an STV map, some of the constituencies would be huge and not take into account common community interests. What does Quesnel have to do with Princeton or Trail with Golden? Right here at home, the North Okanagan’s two constituencies would be absorbed into a single area with Kelowna.

Yes we share the same geographical valley, water, highway and some industries, but there are also some significant differences between our more rural landscape and the urban mass to the south. The new Okanagan-Shuswap constituency would elect four MLAs, so who would a resident turn to for help — all of the politicians, the one they are more aligned with politically, or the official they believe will do what they want? While you may have not voted for the MLA under the first-past-the-post system, you at least know who to go to.

And perhaps my greatest fear is that all four MLAs will come from Kelowna and their activities will be focused on their home turf and not Vernon, Lumby, Armstrong and Enderby. Will they have a sense of who we are and what our needs are? There’s also the possibility that all four MLAs could be from the same party, so how would representation be improved? The other concern is the entire voting process under STV will be complicated. Voters will rank as many candidates as they wish in order of preference and those choices will be transfered through further rounds of counting until somebody rises to the top. Will people actually understand what has happened to their X once they have left the polling station?

It should also be pointed out that there could be 12 to 18 candidates on the ballot in a constituency like Okanagan-Shuswap. I have a hard enough time finding my Cheerios on the long, cluttered wall of cereal. How am I going to make an informed decision on something important like who will represent me when the ballot paper is as long as my arm? And as been seen before in civic elections, dozens of names on a ballot may look like democracy in action but voters have a difficult time getting to know the candidates and what they stand for, so they go for those with brand-name recognition. The election becomes a popularity contest and not one based on ideas. Proponents of STV are quick to point out that the system works well in a number of countries and that minority or coalition governments are common. Sure it may be successful in New Zealand and Switzerland but minorities are a fiasco in so many other places. Do we want to become the next Italy or Israel?

Ultimately, I am not married to first-past-the-post and another electoral system that is more open and democratic is welcome. But instead of endorsing STV May 12, I think B.C. needs to go back to the drawing board.

Kelowna homeowners face 3.49% tax hike

Adrian Nieoczym - Kelowna Capital News Published: May 05, 2009 10:00 PM

City of Kelowna homeowners will see their municipal taxes increase an average of 3.49 per cent this year and their total property tax bills increase an average of 6.1 per cent. Kelowna city council unanimously approved the increases at its meeting Monday. Council was scheduled to hold a special meeting today to give final reading to its 2009 financial plan. The 3.49 per cent increase is slightly more than the 3.35 per cent increase proposed in the provisional budget tabled earlier this year. Since the provisional budget, the city has had to come up with more money for transit and approved a graffiti eradication and prevention program. As well, the provincial and federal governments put infrastructure money on the table, provided the city came up with its share. “We understand the economy is very tough for people out here,” said Kelowna Mayor Sharon Shepherd after Monday’s meeting. “I just feel that our council did the best they could in recognizing that we wanted to maintain a level of services,” and keep the community viable. Costs associated with the new H20 Aquatic Centre in the Mission account for 1.7 of the 3.49 per cent increase.

In the month leading up to the provincial election, Kelowna saw $28 million in new capital projects announced in partnership with senior levels of government. The city managed to come up with most of its $9 million share from reserve funds, gas tax revenues and development cost charges. Only $112,000 will come from general taxation. “We are very pleased that we were able to accommodate the $28 million in infrastructure projects that were not planned for within our budget through the reserve component that we have,” said Shepherd. For the owner of a single family home assessed at $492,800 in 2009, municipal taxes will increase approximately $52. Residents will also see a $55 increase to the garbage collection/reduction fee, to $177, to cover the new automated recycling and waste collection program and changes in the recycling market.

Other changes ratepayers will notice on their tax bills include a 2.3 per cent increase to the school tax levy, a 3.6 per cent increase to the regional district levy, a 4.2 per cent increase to the hospital levy, a 4.8 per cent increase to the library levy and a 3.9 per cent increase to the B.C. assessment charge. The average homeowner will pay $2,520 in property taxes, an increase of $145.76 over last year. In total, $219 million in capital projects will go forward in Kelowna this year. Among the larger projects are the Glenmore Bypass, the widening of Gordon Drive and the construction of Stuart Park. The city is also building an active transportation network that will see off-street pathways along Lakeshore Road, Gordon Drive and Houghton Road and the expansion of the Abbot Street Recreation Corridor.A pathway will also be constructed along Cawston Avenue to connect the downtown to Rails with Trails.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Victoria Grizzlies 4 - Vernon Vipers 5 FINAL

Box Score 1 2 3 Total
Victoria Grizzlies (HST) 0 4 0
Vernon Vipers (PAC) 9.17 OVERTIME Cole Ikkala Scores

Shots on Goal 1 2 3 Total
Victoria Grizzlies815730
Vernon Vipers988

First Period

16:57 PAC 18 Chris Crowell (11 Cory Kane 5 Mike Collins)PP

Second Period Goals:
02:41 HST 11 Cody Bremner(98 Evan Pighin )
06:52 PAC 26 Bryce Kakoske(11 Cory Kane 8 James Kerr)
11:38 HST 15 Brian Nugent(19 Derek Lee 7 Jeff Forsythe) PP
13:22 HST 22 Sam Higgins(21 Dustin Mowrey 14 Justin Courtnall)
14:21 HST 91 Jonathan Milhouse(19 Derek Lee 15 Brian Nugent)

Third Period Goals:
06:05 PAC 15 Kellen Jones (10 Connor Jones 17 Sahir Gill)
18:12 PAC 5 Mike Collins (4 Cody Ikkala 18 Chris Crowell)

09:17 PAC 12 Cole Ikkala (20 Rob Short 27 Ryan Santana)

Forum gives front row seat to health

Published: May 05, 2009 7:00 PM

With paramedics and teachers demonstrating outside the forum, the spotlight was on health care and education for Vernon-Monashee candidates Monday. The event, hosted by the Performing Arts Centre Society, drew 225 voters out to hear from the six candidates as they prepare to make their mark May 12. Liberal candidate Eric Foster was a main target of questions and criticism (particularly from his fellow candidates attacking Liberal leader Gordon Campbell). Foster didn’t hesitate to lay out the facts about what his government has done and is doing for health care. “We are spending record amounts of money on health care,” said Foster, citing the $180 million going to the Vernon Jubilee Hospital new patient care tower and the fact that 90 cents of every new $1 will be spent on health care over the next three years.

Conservative candidate Dean Skoreyko was quick to point out that the investment at VJH has been a long time coming. “We have a hospital that I’m not sure if it leads B.C. with code purples, if it doesn’t, it’s pretty darn close,” said Skoreyko, also unhappy with how surgeries are being dictated out of Kelowna and only given allotted times.

Considering the Vernon School District’s $2.7 million budget cut, education was also a key topic. Green candidate Huguette Allen says the funding system needs to change, and she says it should start with not being based on a per-child basis. She also suggested a 20 per cent reduction in tuition fees in post secondary. “Education and health care are not expenses but investments,” said Allen, adding that being pro-active is the way to improvements, not just in health care, but across the board. Independent Gordon Campbell said the situation children and parents are facing in the schools is because people aren’t allowed to say ‘no’ - something he is advocating for on the ballot. “You don’t have the right to disagree. It’s the reason we can’t say ‘no’ to shortfalls in school budgets.”

NDP candidate Mark Olsen is also unhappy with the services being cut to local kids and is looking for a change in the education funding formula. Olsen laid out his party’s plan for students as well as improvements to health care and other sectors. “We’ll cut hospital wait times and improve senior’s care...protect the environment with an effective plan, make life more affordable for everyday citizens...we have to protect our students in the public sector K to 12 as well as post secondary...”

B.C. Refederation Party candidate R.J. Busch, who has a military background, says the voters need and deserve a direct democracy. “We need to go to the people who are being affected by these situations,” said Busch. “We’re giving them a paycheque, they’re doing a job but they’re not listening to us.“I’m gonna fight like a hound dog in Victoria until we’re heard.”


Vernon Morning Star Editorial: Crucial details are missing

Health care has been a critical issue for many people during the provincial election campaign and that makes sense as it’s something we all eventually require. But during all of the discussions, some important information hasn’t risen to the top and that’s who is actually footing the bill. At Monday’s all-candidates forum in Vernon, Liberal Eric Foster made much of the $180 million being spent on a new patient care tower at Vernon Jubilee Hospital. No one questions the government’s decision to proceed with the project as the tower will greatly enhance the level of care we all receive. However, no one should be left with the impression that the Liberal government is covering the entire cost.

Of that $180 million, 40 per cent is coming from local property owners through the North Okanagan-Columbia-Shuswap Regional Hospital District. On top of this, the new tower will require medical equipment and while some of that cost is coming from the government, the hospital district, the VJH Foundation and the VJH Auxiliary are also participating. Ultimately, there is nothing wrong with Foster or anyone else with the Liberals linking themselves to the tower or other upgrades to health care because that’s what all politicians do. Plus, while there are still a number of challenges in the medical system, the fact that the tower is being constructed, means improvements are happening. However, no one party is responsible for everything that is happening and credit should be given to everyone that is involved.

Questions raised over dispatching firefighters

Published: May 05, 2009 7:00 PM

The battle over firefighting services continues to rage in Vernon. Crews from the Vernon fire hall were dispatched to a blaze on Tronson Road Sunday, eight minutes before the Okanagan Landing hall was paged. “I want to know why?” said Ed Forslund, Okanagan Landing fire chief. “I hope no one was playing games and this was an honest mistake.” City officials insist there was nothing intentional about the delay in dispatching. “It would be a career-ender. No one would do that,” said Rick Owens, deputy chief.

Council is currently considering a business plan developed by administration. It would see the Landing hall downgraded as an autonomous operation, with it falling under the authority of the downtown hall. Unionized staff would be stationed in the Landing along with the current volunteer base. The Okanagan Landing Fire Department Association says such a change is not cost-effective based on the number of call-outs, while city staff claim such a move will provide an equitable level of service to all areas of Vernon.

The Vernon department recently launched dual response so its crews are often going to the same fires as crews from the Landing. On Sunday, dispatch received a report at 5:15 p.m. of an outhouse fire on Tronson Road. “The truck from downtown went right away and it appears that someone forgot to call the Landing right away. The operational guideline wasn’t followed,” said Owens. “It’s an operational issue. We will revisit the matter and hope it doesn’t happen again.” But Owens insists that the bottom line with dual response is public safety. “The customer was served. It doesn’t matter who shows up first,” he said.Forslund isn’t sure how a mistake like the one Sunday could occur. “Tronson is a main road in the Landing. How do you not page to the Landing?” he said. The blaze was located between Adventure Bay and Beachcomber Bay roads.

Questions have also arisen over the Landing department’s claims that it has arrived on scene before the Vernon crews four out of seven times. “Just because an engine is there first doesn’t mean it’s a suitable response,” said Jeff Carlisle, Vernon fire chief. “The number of people on board the truck is an important factor too.” Forslund is concerned that dual response is getting out of hand. “This is not a race. The response coming from downtown is an endangerment,” he said of trucks speeding. It’s a concern that Carlisle shares. “There are claims that we are making this into a NASCAR race and we are looking at the data,” he said.

The fire service business plan will be the focus of a City of Vernon public input meeting at Wesbild Centre Thursday at 6 p.m. Council will be in attendance.

Beairsto Will Re-Open Sooner

Starlee Speers-Vernon 105.7 SUNFM:
Bearisto students in Vernon will go back to school on Friday, May 8th. The School district says no further cases of the H1N1 virus have been reported among students attending the school and classes will resume as normal Friday morning. The school was originally set to re-open on Monday, May 11th. The decision to close the school was made after a grade three student contracted the virus while traveling in Mexico with her family.

RCMP traffic officer killed in two-vehicle accident

Updated Tue. May. 5 2009 4:01 PM ET The Canadian Press

MILLET, Alta. -- An RCMP officer has been killed in a traffic accident while on duty south of Edmonton. RCMP say the officer was on traffic duty this morning near Millet when a police car collided with a truck. Police are investigating the collision to determine what happened.No information about the dead officer has been released.


I News Now:

We now know the name of the Mountie killed in the line of duty south of Edmonton Tuesday morning. RCMP say Cst. James Lundblad was killed when his marked cruiser collided with a grain truck along Highway 2A. This was south of the town of Millet.The investigation has determined he was involved in speed enforcement activities at the time. After spotting a violator, police say Lundblad was making a U-turn to make a traffic stop when it happened. Lundblad was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the truck wasn't hurt.

Lundblad was a seven-year veteran of the force. He served with the Camrose detachment for the last year-and-a-half.

Candidates Discuss STV At Forum

Peter McIntyre Tuesday, 05 May 2009 107.5 KISSFM

Most of the candidates said afterwards, it was one of the best forums of the Vernon Monashee campaign. About 200 people came out for the event Monday night at the Performing Arts Centre, and all six candidates were on hand. One of the questions was if the candidates supported the Single Transferable Vote and the only candidate to actually endorse it was Huguette Allen of the Greens. Liberal Eric Foster doesn't think its the best system, the NDP's Mark Olsen said he would leave it up to people to decide, while the BC Refed's R-J Busch feels residents should have more than just one alternative to choose from.

Other topics included the future of Jubilee Hospital and the generous benefit packages for BC MLA's who are quitting. BC Conservative candidate Dean Skoreyko drew one of the biggest cheers of the night by saying he would scrap the severance program that sees each departing MLA get 127-thousand dollars. A number of striking paramedics were in attendance and several posed questions to Eric Foster about their working conditions. Another popular question concerned the Vernon school district cuts, and school funding. New Democrat Mark Olsen feels the funding formula for schools needs to be revamped, as costs are not keeping up with inflation despite Liberal claims its the most funding ever.

Homeowners bracing for tax hike

Ron Seymour 2009-05-05 Kelowna Daily Courier:
Kelowna property taxes are forecast to rise more than 15 per cent in the next five years, council heard Monday. The projection was delivered by city finance officials as council gave formal approval to a municipal tax increase of 3.5 per cent for this year. The owner of a typical Kelowna home assessed at $492,000 will pay an extra $52 in municipal taxes in July. However, when other local charges are factored in ñ for things such as the school district, garbage system, hospital and library ñ the average total tax bill will rise six per cent, from $2,372 to $2,520, after the homeowner grant deduction. After the council meeting, Mayor Sharon Shepherd said she thought the municipal tax increase of 3.5 per cent was reasonable despite the economic downturn. We understand the economy is very tough for people out there,î Shepherd said. ìI just feel council did the best they could in maintaining the level of service. Shepherd said this year’s budget deliberations, at 15 hours, were the longest in the 13 years she’s been on council, reflecting the degree of care and attention brought to the discussions.

Since the budget was given preliminary approval ñ with the tax increase initially forecast at 3.4 per cent - Shepherd said she hadn’t heard many objections from residents. The five-year plan calls for tax increases of 3.5 per cent in 2010, 2.9 per cent in 2011, 3.6 per cent in 2012 and 2.0 per cent in 2013. These are, of course, estimates, and council is not held to them, said finance director Keith Grayston. The biggest change from the preliminary budget was the addition of $28 million in new capital projects, with two-thirds of the funding coming from the provincial and federal governments.

The city’s share is $9 million, but virtually all of that comes from reserve funds and development cost charges, so there was virtually no impact on taxation. "This is the time to invest in critical infrastructure, benefiting from lower construction costs, while at the same time stimulating the economy," Shepherd said. Announced over the past few months, the new capital projects include the widening of Gordon Drive and Highway 33, and off-road pathways along Lakeshore Road and Cawston Avenue.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Four-way split could boost Greens in Vernon-Monashee

The TYEE: Tyler Olsen May 4, 2009

Vernon-Monashee was one of seven ridings highlighted by Green Party Leader Jane Sterk at the close of last night's televised leaders' debate. Here's why: A four-way brawl in the North Okanagan could give the Greens a shot at winning a seat on May 12. At least six candidates are fighting to replace outgoing MLA Tom Christensen in Vernon-Monashee. Leading the pack are: B.C. Liberal Eric Foster, New Democrat Mark Olsen, Conservative Dean Skoreyko, and Green Huguette Allen. Also on the ballot are B.C. Refed candidate RJ Busch, and an independent whose name happens to be Gordon Campbell.

The new Vernon-Monashee riding is almost identical to the former Okanagan-Vernon riding, where the 2005 vote awarded 43 per cent to the B.C. Liberals, 34 per cent to the NDP, 12 per cent to the Conservative, 7 per cent to the Green and almost 4 per cent to an independent Campbell. In that election, the relatively unknown Green candidate, Erin Nelson, spent only $164. This campaign is starkly different, with Huguette Allen boasting strong name recognition, support from the provincial Green leadership and a platform the puts a focus on rural issues.

Foster, the Liberals candidate, is considered the favourite. The mayor of Lumby, a tiny logging town 30 minutes east of Vernon, Foster is well-liked and has a firm command of the issue. Beating him – and ending the Liberals' two-decade-long hold on the North Okanagan – will be difficult. Olsen, the New Democrat, finished 12th out of 22 candidates for Vernon city council in 2005. An active union leader, he will likely fight to match the NDP's 2005 showing by Juliette Cunningham, who, after losing out in the provincial election, was elected to Vernon council. Conservative candidate Dean Skoreyko has ran both for Coldstream council and the Vernon mayoralship, both times losing but garnering respectable support. But while his name is known, he's likely best remembered for trying to unseat sitting Conservative MP Colin Mayes in a nasty nomination battle.

Green candidate Allen, though, is the X-Factor. If she can boost the Greens to double-digits, she will turn this longtime Liberals stronghold into a horse race. While this is her first time running provincially, Allen has ran twice for the federal Green Party. Most recently, in 2008, she took 17 per cent of the vote in the Okanagan-Shuswap. Allen knows provincial and federal voting habits do not mirror each other. "A lot of people who vote Green during the federal election could vote the other way because they don't want (Liberal leader) Gordon Campbell," she said. But the provincial riding is more favourable to her campaign, she said. The provincial electoral district of Vernon-Monashee riding encompasses much of the southern portion of Okanagan-Shuswap. And Allen, who lives east of Lumby, says a post-electoral analysis of the federal vote had her winning at several polling stations. This, she said, is what led her to throw her hat in the ring – a ring that has now become quite crowded.

Allen has been able to get the other candidates to play on her turf. When the Liberals introduced new rules governing meat processing plants in 2007, Allen launched a petition calling for the rules to be eased in order to allow farm-gate sales for small-scale poultry producers. With the regulations still causing complaints, the issue once again reared its head at a debate. There, while his three opponents hammered the regulations, the Liberals' Foster said he would take concerns regarding the rules to Victoria, if elected. Foster told The Tyee he firmly supports the regulations as a whole and that they are meant to keep the food supply safe. But he reiterated that he would provide a voice for his constituents' concerns. As for Allen and the crowded field, Foster said he is campaigning heavily and taking nothing for granted as a candidate running in a normally Liberal riding. "We're spending as much time as we possibly can on the street," he said.

Tyler Olsen is a freelance reporter based in Vancouver. He is no relation to the NDP candidate.

And the house keeps winning

Public Eye Online:

The province's slot machines have been paying out too much to British Columbia's casino-goers, according to the government agency responsible for gaming. Last year, the corporation found those machines were keeping 6.93 percent of all the wagers played over the entire life of the game. But those machines are supposed to keep 8 percent of those wagers. As a result, in March, British Columbia Lottery Corp. "made some adjustments to align the actual average slot machine payout with BCLC's targeted average slot machine payout." Although, a corporation spokesperson stated "it is too early to tell what impact this will have on BCLC's revenue given the adjustment was made recently."

Provincial Election Forum for the Vernon-Monashee Riding

WHEN: MON. May 4, 7 pm – 9 pm

Where: Vernon District Performing Arts Centre

The event will be held Monday, May 4th, 7 p.m. at the Vernon District Performing Arts Centre. An all-candidates forum has been set for the Vernon – Monashee riding. The event will be held Monday, May 4th, 7 p.m. at the Vernon District Performing Arts Centre. Kiss FM's Pete McIntyre will be officiating. There is a request for admission by donation to support the Children's Theatre Fund. There are six candidates running in Vernon-Monashee.

Eric Foster ( Liberals), Mark Olsen(NDP), Huguette Allen (Green Party), Dean Skoreyko (B.C.Conservatives) R.J. Busch (B.C. Refederation Party), and Gordon Campbell (independent).

Local Flu Update

Glen Morrison Monday, 04 May 2009 107.5 KISSFM:

Students at Beairsto Elementary all 500 of them, are still getting this week off due to the lone recorded case of flu. But for the 200 or so at the West Vernon children's centre, it'll be back to it on Wednesday. That's if there aren't any more cases that show up..

Supportive-housing plan shelved

Don Plant 2009-05-04 Kelowna Daily Courier:

Poor people hoping to move into a new apartment block in Rutland may have to find other accommodation. The B.C. government has suspended $5 million in funding for the 49-suite supportive-housing complex planned for 195 Rutland Road North. The building is one of three projects Housing Minister Rich Coleman announced to help homeless people get off the street. Kelowna Mayor Sharon Shepherd has drafted a letter expressing her dismay over the setback. She‘s waiting to send it after the May 12 election so she knows who the housing minister is. “We‘re very disappointed with only funding allocated for two projects when all three were to be funded. There was no indication there would be hold-back on any one of the projects,” she said.

The city, which is providing the land for all three buildings, signed a memorandum of understanding with the province at a ceremony in March 2008. The province promised to spend $30 million on designing and building 150 suites in all, plus $1.6 million to operate them each year. A 40-unit building on Boyce Crescent and the Newgate Apartments on Rutland Road are designed to complement each other. The recently homeless will live in the Boyce building for up to six months before “graduating” to the longer-term apartments in Rutland. NOW Canada will operate a 39-suite complex for women and children on Tutt Street. No funding for the Rutland Road project means a large piece in the “continuum of care” for the homeless is missing, said Shelagh Turner, executive director of the Canadian Mental Health Association in Kelowna, which will manage the Boyce project.

“Given the economic climate, who knows when the money will be available? Supportive housing is such an integral part of addressing homelessness in our community,” she said. “There‘s a perceived loss if it doesn‘t go ahead.” Council issued a development permit to green-light the Rutland project on April 6. It‘s to supply similar permits for the other two buildings on Boyce Crescent and Tutt Road today. City staff found out the province was funding only the Boyce and Tutt Street projects on April 9. The Housing Ministry announced in a news release it was investing $22.7 million to construct the Boyce and Tutt buildings without mentioning the Rutland project. Ironically, the Rutland project was farthest along in its preparation for construction. “It is an off-the-shelf, ready-to-go project,” said Shepherd. “Apparently (the province) didn‘t have enough funds to allocate as they appeared to.”

The province may have overextended itself. The government made agreements with Kelowna and seven other cities to develop 30 supportive-housing sites. So far, it has committed $302 million for construction on 17 sites, including the two in Kelowna, said a Ministry spokesperson who asked not to be identified. “The province will be in a position to identify capital funding for the remaining sites and units in the coming months.” The John Howard Society, which will manage the Newgate Apts., believes the money will come through eventually, said executive director Shelley Cook. “I‘m still very optimistic we‘ll get this funding,” she said. “As soon as the province identifies the capital financing, we‘re ready to go.”

Rafe Mair endorses NDP candidate Mark Olsen in Vernon Monashee

Sunday, May 3, 2009 NDP MEDIA RELEASE

VERNON — Mark Olsen, the NDP candidate for Vernon Monashee, received a public endorsement from Rafe Mair. Mair says the Liberal energy policy is one in which “no one but industry had a hand in formulating [and] will ruin an ever-increasing number of rivers.” Mair, a former Social Credit environment minister, endorsed Olsen at a public meeting at the Schubert Centre today.

Rafe Mair is concerned that Campbell and the BC Liberals are destroying the publicly-owned utility, BC Hydro, and that they are handing over BC’s water rights to international corporate interests. “This election, for me, boils down to a single issue—the environment and the plans by Campbell to deface and destroy the province I was born in and love and where seven out of my eight grandchildren live.”

Mark Olsen is a school bus driver for School District 22. He is president of the school district's support workers, and a passionate advocate for public education.

Mark Olsen
ph. 250 540-4637

Donna Easto, media relations

Sunday, May 03, 2009


First Period Goals:
00:13 PAC 14 Braden Pimm (5 Mike Collins )
06:40 PAC 10 Connor Jones (15 Kellen Jones 6 Mike Leidl)SH

Second Period Goals:
11:17 PAC 10 Connor Jones(2 Kevin Kraus 6 Mike Leidl)
11:43 PAC 5 Mike Collins(14 Braden Pimm 2 Kevin Kraus)

Third Period Goals:
07:01 EST 18 Nathan DesRoches (27 Brad Smith 12 Parker Deighan)PP
16:43 EST 6 Josh McKinnon (20 Chad Locke 71 Nathan Snowie)

Shots on Goal 1 2 3 Total
Vernon Vipers821938
Summerside Western Capitals741021

Box Score 1 2 3 Total
Vernon Vipers (PAC) 2 2 04
Summerside Western Capitals (EST)0022