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NORTH WESTSIDE RATEPAYERS ASSOCIATION

North Westside Ratepayers Association Logo

LAST UPDATE May 06, 2014

Click on your refresh button in the top menu, to be sure you see any updates.

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North Westside Ratepayers Association (NWRA)

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Proposed gravel pit has nearby residents worried
Kelowna Capital News - By Jason Luciw - April 02, 2010

Residents say they are ready to “mobilize” against the Westbank First Nation’s proposed gravel pit in the Fintry area, just south of the La Casa subdivision.

The WFN and its partner, Canadian Aggregates Inc., have applied to the B.C. Ministry of Mines to haul up to 249,000 metric tonnes per year from a 50-hectare property, located 27 kilometres up Westside Road.

Approximately 40 gravel truck trips per day would be required along Westside Road to haul that much material from the pit, according to a permit application made to the B.C. Ministry of Mines.

Hearing that, North Westside Ratepayers’ Association president Diane Baldwin and North Westside Community Association president Ian Kilpatrick say they are opposed to the pit because it will make an already unsafe traffic situation on Westside Road even more treacherous.

“There will be opposition from one end of our community to the other,” said Baldwin.

“We won’t go down without a fight against this application.”

Baldwin was even more upset at learning the proposed life of the pit would be 50 years, during which time up to 20 million metric tonnes of gravel could be removed.

“That’s outrageous. We will certainly mobilize against this.”

Baldwin said members of her association have already started a letter-writing campaign against the pit, sending letters to the Central Okanagan Regional District board, the B.C. Ministry of Mines and Westside-Kelowna MLA Ben Stewart.

As for Kilpatrick, his organization’s letter writing campaign is underway too.

And the only way he could see residents support the application now would be if the gravel pit operators agreed to avoid use of Westside Road all together and create another way out, perhaps west to the Coquihalla or north to Highway 97 around Terrace Mountain.

“As it is now they’d have to go north to Vernon because those trucks will not make it to Kelowna on Westside Road,” said Kilpatrick.

“No matter what, the trucks will destroy the road and a few of them will probably end up in the drink.

“Certainly there are needs for gravel in this area, and I don’t want to stand against that, but certainly they can’t make it down Westside Road safely.”

Meanwhile, Central Okanagan Regional District rural director Jim Edgson said he would be meeting with community groups in the coming month to gauge their appetite for finding solutions to the traffic safety issue.

He said he would be conducting a “straw poll” to determine if residents would be more supportive if means could be found to haul gravel away by barge on Okanagan Lake.

“I am willing to help in any way I can. I have no problem with gravel pits in general. But on this one, I want mines (officials) to take a look at every concern including Westside Road.

“And maybe one way to eliminate the use of the road is by barging.”

Edgson also said he would like the mines ministry to postpone consideration of the permit until after the Central Okanagan Aggregate Committee has completed its work to establish a green, yellow and red system that would recommend to the ministry where gravel pits should be permitted in relation to residential subdivisions.

No one from the Westbank First Nation or Canadian Aggregates’ agent AC Eagle Ltd. returned calls requesting their comments.

jluciw "at" kelownacapnews.com

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CORD reduces tax hit
Kelowna Capital News - By Jason Luciw - March 11, 2010

The loss for parks proponents will be a gain for other taxpayers.

The Central Okanagan Regional District board is poised to scale back the Parks Legacy Program in order to give taxpayers a break this year.

The board had originally proposed a tax increase of seven cents per thousand dollars of assessment this year to pay for parkland acquisitions. Instead, the board is now planning to collect 3.5 cents per thousand.

What that would mean is tax decreases on the regional district portion of property tax bills going out in Kelowna, Peachland, Lake Country and West Kelowna later this year.

In Kelowna, the decrease would be $5.29 on average, when compared to last year. The figure is based on a home valued at $440,000––the Central Okanagan average.

By contrast, if the Parks Legacy Program had been funded in full, taxes would have gone up in Kelowna $6.71.

Taxes on the regional district portion of taxes will drop $6.16 in Peachland and $5.21 in Lake Country.

Regional District taxes will go down a whopping $117.90 in West Kelowna. However, only about three to four dollars of that is due to the board’s decision to scale back the parks acquisition program.

The majority of the decrease is the result of the transfer of transit services from the regional district to the municipality. The costs will appear instead on the municipal portion of West Kelowna’s tax bill.

As for the two rural areas, despite the reduction in the parks acquisition program taxes will increase $52.61 in Central Okanagan West and $58.97 in Central Okanagan East.

The added taxes will cover increases in costs of regional district services in areas such as planning, building inspection, fire protection and contributions to the Okanagan Regional Library system.

The regional board is expected to pass its final budget on March 26.

Incidentally, even with cutbacks in the parks acquisition program, the regional district said it would still have $13.02 million in cash and borrowing capacity to purchase parkland this year, compared to the $16.05 million it would have had under the full program.

jluciw "at" kelownacapnews.com

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February 22, 2010 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Agenda

.pdf icon Item 4.1 North Westside Fire Rescue Fire Boat Update.pdf

Agenda No: 4.1
Mtg Date: February 22, 2010
Regional Board Report
TO: Regional Board
FROM:  Rod Miller - Manager Fire Services
DATE:  February 22, 2010
SUBJECT: North Westside Road Fire Rescue Fire Boat

RECOMMENDATION
THAT a Mutual Aid agreement be established with the Okanagan Landing Fire Department to respond to the NWS Fire Protection area for Structural Fire Fighting and Interface Fire Fighting support for a trial period of at least I year, to assist in training and boat trials to better determine the resource needs of the NWS Fire Department and the community.

AND FURTHER to audit the Regional Rescue program as it pel1ains to Marine Fire & Rescue response to determine the appropriate resources and their location on Okanagan Lake.

BACKGROUND
At the November 12, 2009 G&S Committee Meeting staff were directed to provide a report on the mobile water supply vessel for the North Westside Fire Rescue Department. This report includes the following information.

1. Can a Mutual or Automatic Aid agreement be established with the Okanagan Landing Fire Department?
2. Training Costs
3. Technical Boat Specifications
4. Capital costs for the fire boat
5. Annual operating & maintenance costs
6. Boat house costs
7. Location for the boat house
8. Mutual Aid to the Regional District
9. Discussion

1. Mutual Aid Agreement with Okanagan Landing F.D.
In discussion with the Okanagan Landing Fire Department there is a willingness to provide Aid to the RDCO and to the North Westside Community. They have a Fire Boat that is capable of providing water in the event of a structure and/or interface fire along the North West shore.

Their boat is capable of pumping 500 GPM and could provide added resources in areas where water supply is an issue; to the many homes which border the lake. This response is conditional however. If the department's assets are being deployed in their own district they may not be able to respond.. Also there would be a time delay as the boat would have to travel from their community across the lake, approx. 11 km. This time delay would be increased due to weather conditions, etc. In optimum conditions it would take 15 - 20 minutes to reach the center of the NW Fire Protection Area; also response time for the volunteers to respond to the boat could be 10 minutes making the total response time at approximately 25 - 30 minutes.

Along with providing aid to the community it is recommended that joint training sessions take place to:
• Familiarize the fire fighters with the equipment and procedures.
• To establish joint operating guidelines and understand the needs of the area.
• To provide evaluation information based on the need for the boat and if this method of response will serve the community.

One other aspect of the agreement is the fact that this boat is not an asset of the City of Vernon but of the Okanagan Landing Fire Department Society. It is the sole responsibility of the Society to operate, manage, insure and maintain the boat. They do purchase liability insurance for the boat and this would be a condition of the agreement.

Entering in a Mutual Aid agreement with the Okanagan Landing Fire Department Society would allow time to assess the need in the community, to measure the ability of the Fire Department to utilize the boat and integrate it into their fire attack for structure fires and sprinkler protection efforts in an interface fire situation.

2. Training Costs
Several quotes were received for training. The information enclosed matches the Kelowna Fire department boat training requirements for the Regional Rescue boat operators.

The amounts below could be reduced by training fewer members, but the nature of a paid-on call department is such that there is no assurance that one of the people trained will be immediately available.

Marine Personnel Regulations:
If the vessel is <5GT and carries not more than 12 passengers, the following is required, as a minimum; according to Capt. Jimmy Watt of West Coast Powerboat Handling (Director/ Chief Instructor). The company is a Transport Canada approved course provider.

There is also ongoing training that would need to occur to keep the skill level of the operators and land based firefighters current. This would have to be scheduled at a logical frequency and could be managed in the current training and education budget.

Equipment
There would be additional equipment needed, as mentioned in the Capital portion of the report; 4" hose, PFDs, extreme weather suits. The equipment budget would be impacted as these items would need replacement overtime for normal wear & tear.

6. Boat House Location
The location illustrated is Killiney Beach in the Regional Park. There is already a boat launch, dock and a pump house that are Regional assets in the park and available power if needed for the boat house or equipment.

This location was selected for its ease of access, close proximity to Fire Station # I0 I and facilities already in place.

7. Boat Moorage Costs
As there are no specific guidelines, other than the boat needs to be protected from the environment, it was decided that a simple dock of adequate length with an electric boat lift would be adequate. It would also need to be secure from vandalism. Also some of the construction could be done by the local Fire Department members saving labour costs.

Dock (64') in length  9,000.00  
5 ton boat lift 19,000.00  
Electrical for lift (est.)  3,000.00  
Permit, Licence, etc. 1,000.00  

Total

32,000.00 (+ tax)  

8. Mutual Aid to the Regional District

The boat will be available whenever it is needed in the Regional District. It would provide resources to any fire along the lake whether it is a structure fire or an interface incident.

9. Discussion
Staff has considered input from the NWS Fire Department, Central Okanagan Regional Fire Departments, NWS residents, Marine Professionals, other Fire Departments that currently use Fire Boats to provide resources as are being considered and from Boat building companies throughout North America. Staff have found many conflicting points of view, ideas and as to what should be considered as best practises
for a project of this nature.

In trying to evaluate what is the best approach for the community and the RDCO as a whole; consideration has been given to the community wants and needs, also to how the service could be part of the Regional Rescue program.

Community
Due to insufficient water supply in parts of the area, the extreme fire hazard rating and the approximately 190 + lake front homes it was thought that a marine mobile water supply (fire boat) should be purchased.

That it should have the capability to aid in fire attack along the shore, supply water to Engines and Tankers or directly to firefighters attacking a structure or interface fire. It should also have the ability to pump water to areas that could be easily accessed by a Tender to relay water to the fire scene. It should also provide a means of escape for people or firefighters trapped along the shore due to the advance of a wildfire situation.

Once the boat is purchased it would be utilized in an overall plan to achieve Superior Tender Shuttle rating, from Insurance Underwriters, for the community. This would give the community the equivalent of a rated water supply for fire protection. This could possibly result in lower insurance premiums for those homes which are not currently credited with a water supply for firefighting purposes.

Staff did meet with insurance providers and the potential savings on a home with a fire department and a rated water system could be up to 30% over one which had only a fire department. This could mean potential savings up to 2 - 4,000.00 per year depending on its value and other options selected.

It is not clear to staff that this resource is required at this time by Northwest Fire. There have been only 1 or 2 structure fires per year over the last 5 years. It is not apparent that a boat of this type would have resulted in any different outcomes for the fire department, and may have complicated the efforts due to manning issues and the infrequency of these types of calls.

At any incident start there is always a level of confusion until assignments are made and everyone is clear on the overall goals of the incident commander. Experience in a city fire department for many years and managing fire calls, is that it takes many hours of training, repeated responses and strong leadership to keep the scene controlled and everyone working to the same objectives.

This is a concern for several reasons, unpredictable firefighter response to the scene, firefighters who may not be as familiar with the equipment (boat), predetermined roles for apparatus response. To make an offensive attack on a structure you need a minimum of 13 firefighters on scene filling the various assignments. Adding a boat in the mix would require the need for at least 2 more on the boat, plus firefighters to advance supply lines etc., this may be more resources then are available also adding to the overall confusion.

Regional
To this point there has been no discussion of the boat as a rescue boat. To serve the Regional District as part of the Regional Rescue program a boat at the Northern end of the lake would be an added benefit. A boat of similar design to the current boat (in Kelowna) with a larger pump as specified in the NWS plan could benefit the entire north end of the lake. It would not need to be situated in the NWS area but would still provide the same benefit if it was housed close to the area. There have been occasions when the boat in Kelowna was unavailable to respond or the response time was to slow, because of the distance, for it to be utilized.

Staff would like to review the entire Marine portion of the Regional Rescue Program to determine if an additional boat would be the best solution and if the same view was shared by the Regional District and the Regional Fire Departments.

Rod Miller
Dan Plamondon

To read the rest of this .pdf document   click here on the Regional Districts website.

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This letter from the North Westside Ratepayers Association in regards to the increase in cost of the Sugar Loaf transfer station was posted to the bulletin boards Feb 2010.  Click on each part of the letter to read it.

Part 1 of letter from the North Westside Road Ratepayers Association asks for a justification on garbage disposal cost increase of 275%

Part 2 of letter from the North Westside Road Ratepayers Association asks for a justification on garbage disposal cost increase of 275%

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Dec 14, 2009 Regional District of Central Okanagan Board Agenda

.pdf icon Item 4.2 Woodhaven Boardroom Audio-Video.pdf

TO: Regional Board
FROM: Mary Jane Drouin Corporate Services Coordinator
DATE: December 1,2009
SUBJECT: Video and Audio System for the Woodhaven Boardroom

RECOMMENDATION
THAT the Regional Board approve $40,000 in the 2009 budget for the purchase of an audio sound system for the Woodhaven Boardroom.

BACKGROUND
At the October 26th Board meeting, the Board directed staff to further evaluate and review the implications and costs of a visual component along with a sound system for the Woodhaven Boardroom.

Staff took the opportunity to tour the District of West Kelowna Council chambers as they have recently installed video and audio components for website access by the public. Their system has multiple cameras and requires a person to operate the cameras and technology. The City of Kelowna, District of Lake Country and District of Peachland do not have a video component in their Council Chambers. Shaw Cable tapes their meetings and broadcasts later. Shaw has been contacted and they are not interested in broadcasting Regional Board meetings, but as always, will cover specific issues of interest to the public.

Upon financial review of a video component, it is estimated that it would cost at the minimum $30,000 for a video system similar to what has been installed in West Kelowna's Council Chamber. As well, a staff member would also be required to attend all meetings to operate the equipment, which would be an additional cost. The wireless audio system is budgeted at $40,000 which has a portable use in meetings outside the KLO Road building.

Due to budget impacts to the 2010 budget, staff recommend at this time the Board support an audio system only. It is recommended that the audio for Board meetings be provided for public convenience on the Regional District's website. This option would encourage citizens to go to our website instead of linking to other sites to hear the meeting proceedings. Staff would continue to monitor any concerns the public may have and report back to the Board regarding any demand for video (which could always be added in future years).

Since the October meeting, staff continue to receive queries from a few residents regarding whether a sound system is to be installed as they have a great deal of difficulty hearing all Directors during the meeting process. Staff has not received any inquiries for a video component.

Should the Board wish to proceed with an audio system in 2009, funds could be reallocated from the administration capital budget. In 2009, $12,000 was budgeted for a sound system and $180,000 in the administration capital budget (for renovations, carpet upgrade, etc) and to date $3,193 has been expended [expenses have yet to be paid for the water repair damage to the building]. Alternately, the cost could be added to the 2010 budget (approved in March 2010).

This is for your consideration.

December 14, 2009 Regional District of Central Okanagan Board Report in regards to Audio and Video for the Woodhaven Board Room Page 1 of 2

December 14, 2009 Regional District of Central Okanagan Board Report in regards to Audio and Video for the Woodhaven Board Room Page 2 of 2

.pdf icon December 14, 2009 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regional Board Minutes

Item 4.2 Woodhaven Boardroom Audio-Video.pdf

4.2 Video and Audio System for the Woodhaven Boardroom (All Directors Unweighted Vote)

Staff report dated December 1, 2009 outlined the financial impact for both an audio and video system for the Woodhaven Boardroom. The Board had requested staff evaluate a video system but due to the financial impact staff recommend only the installation of an audio system at this time.

#282/09
HODGE/EDGSON
THAT the Regional Board approves $40,000 in the 2009 budget for the purchase of an audio sound system for the Woodhaven Boardroom.

CARRIED

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October 26, 2009 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regional Board Agenda

.pdf icon Item 4.2 Audio System and Cue Light System.pdf

Regional Board Report

TO: Regional Board
FROM: Mary Jane Drouin
Corporate Services Coordinator
DATE: October 20, 2009
SUBJECT: Audio System for the Woodhaven Boardroom

BACKGROUND
The Regional Board directed staff to investigate the costs for installing an audio system in the Woodhaven Boardroom. At various times during meetings and public hearings, it has become difficult for the public to hear Board members speak and concerns have been raised by the public. As well, at times it is difficult for Board members to hear the public, staff and fellow Board members.

Staff investigated and tested a similar audio system that the Kootenay Boundary Regional District, City of Kelowna and the West Kelowna installed in their Council Chambers. Due to the configuration of the Woodhaven Board room a wireless system is the preferred option.

The pros of the wireless system is that it is portable--no wires will be required under the Board table, across the floor to staff tables and the podium. Due to public hearings and community meetings occasionally being held off site and audio required, a wireless system would be available for these meetings as well. In the past, the Regional District has had to hire an audio company to provide the sound system. The cons of the wireless system is the cost (approximately twice). The cost of the wireless system is $38,400.

Should the Board wish to proceed with an audio system as soon as possible, funds could be reallocated from the administration capital budget. In 2009, $12,000 was budgeted for a sound system and $180,000 in the administration capital budget (for renovations, carpet upgrade, etc) and to date $3,193 has been expended [expenses have yet to be paid for the water repair damage to the building]. Alternately, the cost could be added to the 2010 budget (approved in March 2010).

In addition, staff were asked to confirm what it would cost to setup a cue light/sound system in the Woodhaven Boardroom to assist with timing delegations/input at public hearings, etc. The system researched is the same unit the City of Kelowna has installed in Council Chambers. This system would cost approximately $1,000.

This is for your consideration.

.pdf icon October 26, 2009 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regional Board Minutes

4.2 Audio System & Cue Light System (All Directors - Unweighted Vote)

Staff were asked to investigate the cost of a sound system for the Woodhaven Boardroom. Staff recommend a wireless system in order for the system to be portable. In discussion, the question was raised whether consideration should also be given to implementation of a video system whereby Regional Board meetings could be broadcasted ie: webcasting, cable t.v., etc.
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Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting Minutes - October 26. 2009 (Pg. 5)

FINIDLATER/HODGE
THAT the October 20, 2009 staff report on an audio system and cue light/sound system be received;

AND FURTHER THAT staff be directed to review the implications and cost of a visual component (for web casting, possible video conferencing, etc.) along with a portable sound system.

CARRIED

FINDLATER/BAKER
THAT the Regional Board approve the purchase of a cue light system for an approximate cost of $1,000 for the use of timing delegations at Regional District meetings.

CARRIED

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.pdf icon March 27, 2009 Regional District of Central Okanagan Special Board Meeting Minutes (Pg. 3)

e) Administration

Added $12,000 capital for a sound system in the Woodhaven Boardroom funded from reserves.

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page 4

v) Boardroom Sound System

Staff noted that $12,000 has been budgeted in reserves for a possible boardroom sound system. As the timeline for this request has been limited, true costs are not available and staff have been directed to research options for
a sound system.

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This letter from the North Westside Road Ratepayers
"JUST SAY NO" in regards to the
purchase of a fireboat
was found on the
local bulletin board and in the mailboxes
sometime around November 12, 2009

Say "NO" to the purchase of a fireboat (aka Mobile Marine Water Supply) by North Westside Fire Rescue (NWFR)

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.pdf icon March 27, 2009 Regional District of Central Okanagan Special Board Meeting Minutes (pg 4)

1.4 Public Comment on 2009 - 2013 Financial Plan

i) Petition - North Westside Ratepayers Association (Diane Baldwin)

A petition from the North Westside Ratepayers Association opposing the purchase of a fire boat was circulated to the Board. Diane Baldwin addressed the Board stating their opposition to the purchase of the proposed fire boat.

Several reasons for their opposition were stated: not the region's responsibility to provide cheaper insurance to some property owners, believe purchase will exceed planned budget, specific training will be required, Fire Technical Committee in previous meetings did not support the purchase of a boat, liability and maintenance is of concern, fire boats are not meant to fight land based fires.

Staff reviewed the status of the boat acquisition: money is budgeted in reserves;

CGI study has just been received and will be brought forward to the Board for consideration, Last year, the Board put a caveat on the budget that no decision would be made on the purchase of the boat until the CGI study is completed. It was further noted that although the funds are in the 2009 budget, no purchase would occur without the Board's final approval, community support and technical fire advisory committee recommendations. The director has committed to seek community input on the purchase.

EDGSON/GIVEN
THAT the Regional Board receive the March 21, 2009 petition from the North Westside Ratepayers Association regarding the purchase of a fireboat (mobile marine water supply unit);

AND FURTHER THAT the Regional Board supports including in the 2009 budget the funds to support an equipment purchase but defers any decision with regard to the purchase of a fireboat until all technical information is received, inclUding feedback from the Fire Technical Advisory Committee and public consultation.

CARRIED

ii) Dave Robertson re: North Westside Fire Department
Dave Robertson expressed concern regarding the North Westside Fire Department noting they should be given the resources needed to provide the protection needed in the community. He is a volunteer fire fighter with the department. He has provided alternate equipment information to Rod Miller the Regional District's fire coordinator. He further noted that there is no mention of Engine 102 replacement within the budget when he understood replacement was
needed. Suggested replacing Engine 102 with a proper designed bush truck instead of a fire boat. Proper public input should be completed and a strategic plan needs to be done for the department for the long-term.

iii) Other Presentations
Joe Acres - North Westside homeowner - background is a fire-fighter and is a volunteer firefighter with the North Westside Fire Department. Does not believe there are many homeowners opposed to the purchase of the fire boat nor do the petitioners have the correct information. Concern was expressed regarding the water pumps in the Killiney Beach area. Fire hydrant boat would be better than a fire rescue boat.

The Chair reminded the gallery that the Board is not debating whether to purchase the fire boat, the decision today is based on budget only and whether to keep the funds in the reserves..

Mary Mandarino - Westside Residents Association (spokesperson for the group)
Noted she was chosen by the five charter members as their spokesperson. Concerned about the duplication of services between the District of West Kelowna and the Regional District in particular the issue of parks. Concerned about the costs for increased transit services to the Westside. Does not believe it is the correct economic time to purchase lands for parks acquisition. Concern was noted about fiscal restraint during this difficult time.

Director Findlater noted that the District of West Ke/owna is looking at service reviews between the municipality and the Regional District. Chair Hobson noted that a strategic review of the Regional District will be ongoing throughout 2009.

Bob Johncock - North Westside Communities Association - believes the petition for the fire boat does not represent the true community concerns. Believes the funds should be taken out of reserves and put into the budget. Let the experts
make the decision about the fire boat.

Sharon Scnurr - Valley of the Sun - have no water system to fight fires and it will take three years for the water system to be put in place. Existing water systems should be upgraded so fire departments don't run out of water.

Ms. Landers - expressed concern about the economic downturn and the tax base and increased taxes.

Joe Acres - provided further advice on what type of fire boat equipment should be purchased.

Deborah Iglehart - member of the North West Fire Department - noted support for the purchase of the fire boat. It will help save homes and lives. The boat will provide the water that is required and will be a tool to support the fire department.

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March 27, 2009 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regional Board Agenda

Letter dated March 21, 2009 from North Westside Ratepayers in regards to a North Westside Road Fire / Rescue Dept. fire boat.

.pdf icon Item 1.4 i) Petition North Westside Ratepayers Association.pdf
"We, the undersigned, declare we are residents of the North Westside Road Fire District (Westshore to La Casa). Further, we the undersigned, vigorously oppose and will not support the acquisition of a Fireboat for this area. We prefer the One Hundred and Fifty Thousand dollar ($150,000.00) cost of a Fireboat be spent on more conventional Firefighting equipment."

"We, the signatories above, declare we are 18 years of age or older, and we are Canadian citizens. We have lived in British Columbia for at least six months before signing this form. We have live in the North Westside Road Fire Protection area (Westshore to La Casa) for at least 30 days before signing this form."

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.pdf icon March 19, 2009 Governance & Services Committee Meeting Minutes

3.2 Letter from Diane Baldwin, North Westside Ratepayers Association re:

Acoustics in Board Meeting Room

A letter of concern was brought forward regarding a problem some residents have hearing board members and staff at meetings. A request to install microphones at each seat at the boardroom table was identified.

#GS24/09 SHEPHERD/RULE
THAT staff to do an analysis and bring back a report on costs for adding a sound system to the Woodhaven Boardroom.

CARRIED

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March 19, 2009 Governance and Services Committee Agenda

letter from North Westside Road Ratepayers Association.

.pdf icon 3.2 Acoustics in Board Meeting Room.pdf

If this is put through, Castanet.net said they would be happy to broadcast the meetings on their website for free.

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.pdf icon February 11, 2009 Governance & Services Committee Meeting Minutes

North Westside Fire Boat - It was noted that correspondence has been received from the North Westside Ratepayers Association stating concerns regarding the possible purchase of a fire boat. Staff noted that the funds are in reserve fund and that no decision has been made whether to purchase a boat. The Regional District is waiting for the CGI Assessment study which has been undertaken for all the RDCO fire departments and recommendations from same. Once the information is received, the Fire Technical Committee will review the study and it is anticipated to provide recommendations. It is expected that the report will be completed by the end of the month.

Directors Shepherd and Reid left the meeting at 11:50 a.m.

#GS09/09 EDGSON/BAKER
THAT the January 29,2009 and the February 9,2009 letters from Diane Baldwin and Allastair Fergusson of the North Westside Ratepayers Association be received and referred to staff for a further response.

CARRIED

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Minutes of a meeting of the Westside Issues Committee held on Monday, March 6, 2006

The Community representatives noted that a 0.25 cent reduction was being proposed for the 2006 tax rate and they suggested that a 0.15 cent reduction may be more appropriate.

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Mailbox high in the sky with the word bills written on it.

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Financial Plan Budget 2008 - Made easier to read than RDCO's .pdf

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We have found some interesting property tax as well as income tax statistics from the Okanagan that you may want to have a look at.

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Letter from North Westside Ratepayers re: March 27, 2009 Budget meeting Bob Johncox
Bob Johncox, Vice President of the North Westside Community Association
(“NWCA”), spoke on behalf of the NWCA at the Budget Meeting directly
subsequent to the NWRA's statements to the Board, in what can only be
described as an irrelevant attack on the NWRA and its members.

Regional District of Central Okanagan Board Report Jan 26, 2009

Appointments to Advisory Commissions for 2009
The Regional Board has appointed two people to become members of its Advisory Planning Commissions. Vanda Mallinson will serve on the Central Okanagan East Advisory Planning Commission while Robert Johncox will join the Advisory Planning Commission for the Central Okanagan West Electoral Area. Both are two-year appointments.

Nov 2008 letter from Allastair Fergusson (director and past president)
RE: FIRE BOAT PURCHASE $150,000

April 2008 letter from Allastair Fergusson, president
RE: FIRE BOAT PURCHASE $150,000

Dec 2007 letter from Allastair Fergusson, president
RE:  THANK YOU LETTER REGARDING
ALTERNATIVE APPROVAL FOR KILLINEY BEACH HALL

Blue Divider Line

The North Westside Ratepayers Association presented a two hundred and sixty name peition opposing the acquisition of a fireboat for the North Westside Fire and Rescue Dept.

The North Westside Ratepayers Association presented a two hundred and sixty name peition opposing the acquisition of a fireboat for the North Westside Fire and Rescue Dept.

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Regional district scales back jaw-dropping tax hikes
Kelowna Capital News - By Jason Luciw - Published: February 12, 2009

A huge tax hike, courtesy of the Central Okanagan Regional District, caused board directors to gasp and wince when they first saw the numbers this week.

The proposed 21.2 per cent increase, contained in the 2009 provisional budget, was quickly reduced, however, to the detriment of a parkland acquisition strategy.

On average, the original hike would have added $45.46 to tax bills in the Central Okanagan. Increases varied by municipality.

Chief financial officer Marilyn Rilkoff quickly pointed out though, that the preliminary budget presented the full gamut of proposed programs and service improvements only for discussion purposes.

She added that she fully expected the board would pare down the number.

In fact, almost immediately after Rilkoff showed a slide proposing one means of reducing taxes, Kelowna Coun. Brian Given moved immediate acceptance.

The first program to be scaled back will be the new Parks Legacy Fund, which was being created to purchase additional parkland.

Originally, the regional district planned to charge seven cents on every $1,000 of a home’s assessed value. That would have been about $32 on a home assessed at $450,000.

However, Given said he felt more comfortable with Rilkoff’s back-up plan of charging 3.5 cents this year, and 3.5 cents in 2010.

The board agreed.

West Kelowna Mayor Doug Findlater added that given the current economic climate and slowed pace of construction, parkland acquisition was a far less pressing matter these days.

“I know that there was agreement on all of this before but the landscape has really changed quite radically since all of this started a couple of years ago,” he said “It needs a fundamental re-look.”

Findlater said the board should also have an in camera discussion to review those properties being considered for purchase.

Given the downward adjustment to the parks legacy program, Kelowna residents will now be looking at a maximum increase of $9.79 on their tax bill for regional district programs and services like 911 service, Crime Stoppers, dog control, economic development and regional rescue, to name a few.

On the other end of the scale, West Kelowna residents could potentially face a much larger increase of $32.79 for added services they receive, such as waste water treatment and transit. Increases would be $29.32 in Peachland, $26.93 in Lake Country and $5.94 in North Westside.

Taxes would drop 29 cents in Joe Rich and Ellison.

However, Rilkoff pointed out that the regional board will make even further cuts to the budget between now and its final adoption on March 27. She will present a second draft to the board on March 19.

Regional district taxes are charged over and above what municipalities bill for their programs and services.

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RE: Singles subsidize families $515 on property tax this year

Being single is hard enough without having to help subsidize others:

Singles are required to pay:
- mortgage all by yourself
- telephone bill by yourself
- hydro bill by yourself
- tv bill by yourself
- internet by yourself
- etc. all by yourself

But why should a single person also have to pay the same as a family of 5 on their property taxes?
- for the garbage
- for water
- for school taxes (what kids)

I am finding it very difficult to be able to afford to live. No I didn't choose to be single ... it just happened that way. And no I had no kids pop out by accident as precautions were always taken. I was lucky that I wasn't one of the women to accidently get pregnant being single! So I do have something to be thankful for.

I am a smoker and I can't just quit smoking because I want to. Most of my money goes to pay for the tax on cigarettes. I smoke between 3 - 4 cartons per month at $67.49 per carton plus GST $3.37 = $70.86. So 4 cartons per month = $283.44 per month. I call the tax on cigarettes rape!

A large portion of my money goes to things I don't fully use like a family would. For instance the garbage, water, and school taxes.

My garbage bill is $90 per year and I think it should look more like this = $90 divided by family of 5 = $18.00 per year

If I had water and didn't have to haul it, my water bill would be approx. $375.00 per year divided by a family of 5 = $75.00 per year.

The 2008 school tax charged on my property tax bill = $143.00
Since I don't have any kids I believe I shouldn't have to pay any of the school taxes


Savings per year on the three items mentioned above garbage, water, and school taxes would come to the following:

garbage $90.00 - $18 = $72 savings
water $375.00 - $75 = $300 savings
school tax $143.00 = $143 savings
So in total I would have a savings of $515.00 per year

These days there are more than likely more singles than there has been in the bolden days. I believe I subsidize families just a little too much and I can't afford it! I want to be able to afford to live!

I am sure that single people don't realize how much they help subsidize families! As a single person I could sure use that $515 per year! If you agree that singles shouldn't subsidize families, please contact your local MLA.

Thank you,
Single and could really use the money!

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Public must get involved in budget
Vernon Morning Star - Opinion - Published: January 02, 2009

It's often said that the only thing in life that we can look forward to is death and taxes, and there's not much you can do about either. But that's not actually the case when it comes to taxes.

All local municipalities and the North Okanagan Regional District are currently developing their budgets for 2009 and determining whether residential and commercial tax increases are necessary.

As part of that process, jurisdictions must solicit input from residents and this is the opportunity for the public to take an active role in determining the level of services provided and at what cost.

Cynics will say that the politicians and bureaucrats will ignore any input and do what ever they want, and while that may be true, at least you could take satisfaction in knowing that you tried. And providing your advice is your right as part of our democratic system, particularly because it's your hard-earned dollars that keep things moving.

In Vernon, city hall has launched what may be the most extensive public input process ever for a budget. As part of every committee of the whole meeting, Mayor Wayne Lippert has vowed there will be a chance for residents to not only observe the council debate, but to have their say.

And the city deserves credit for this move because residents can then familiarize themselves with how complex municipal operations are and the balancing act that is required between taxation and providing public services.

Turnout for such meetings has been low to date, but let's hope that situation will evolve and residents will take an active part in a process that hits them directly in the wallet.

Blue Divider Line

An example of money wasted:

The BC Scrap It Program offers qualifying vehicle owners incentives to scrap their older vehicle. The incentive values are based on the greenhouse gas reduction that occurs when an old vehicle is scrapped and an incentive is used as a replacement.

Incentives valued at $2,000 or more are offered for the incentives with the highest greenhouse benefit. These incentives include very low emission vehicles, transit passes, or the transit pass / bicycle combination.

The Central Okanagan Regional Board has authorized the allocation of transit passes as an incentive option for participants in the BC Scrap-it program. Up to 150-three year passes for the Kelowna Regional Transit System (Regional District of Central Okanagan Board Meeting– November 24, 2008) would be available. The new province-wide Scrap-it program is co-funded by the Provincial Government and the BC Scrap-it Society and replaces the local Cash for Clunkers program, which provides incentives when owners of older high emission vehicles permanently take them off the road in exchange for more environmentally friendly modes of transportation. The Society will pay half the value of the transit passes provided to program participants that choose this option.

 

Option 3: TransLink Monthly Passes and Bicycle / Electric
Bicycle Combination

Scrap your qualifying vehicle with the Scrap-It program and receive one of the following TransLink monthly pass incentives:

12 months one zone
9 months two zone
6 months three zone
18 months concession

AND

Your choice of one of the following:

$1,200 toward the purchase of a new bicycle, or
$1,300 toward the purchase of an electric bicycle

http://www.scrapit.ca/incentive_choices.htm



NOTE* Transit passes are $53.00 per month for an adult ... so $53 over 3 years an adult transit pass is worth $1,908.00
http://www.bctransit.com/regions/kel/fares/

so 150 transit passes worth $1,908 = $286,200

They are only going to help 150 people out of how many people who live in Kelowna?  $286,200 or even half that, would have helped buy a few carpooler vans for Westside Roaders or other rural areas who maybe want to chip in and help pay for the vehicle to share to and from work rather than paying fuel and wear and tear on their own vehicles.  It is a 45 minute drive for some and carpooling would have made a bigger difference and would have helped more people.  Maybe a special insurance system could be worked out by ICBC for vehicles with say RDCO as the owner but the actual drivers have the responsibility.  Maybe just drivers with their own insurance on their own vehicle would be permitted to drive and this persons own insurance would cover damage to RDCO's vehicles if there were an accident? Maybe people without vehicles and insurance could tag along for the ride?  Maybe the person driving pays less and the person without insurance pays more?

The cost of sharing a car from Zip Car Co-operative Auto Network in Vancouver.

This note below was posted on the Scrap It Programs website Jan 17, 2009:

 

Due to the high level of public interest in the Scrap it program we are experiencing unprecedented call volumes. We apologize for any delays in our service levels. We ask for your patience and understanding as we work hard to expand the program across the province.

 

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Regional District of Central Okanagan Regional Board Minutes Nov 24, 2008
(from page 9)
i) Approval of Transit Passes for new BC Scrap-It Program (All Directors - Unweighted Vote)
#283/08 REID/BAKER
That the Regional Board authorize the Transportation Manager to allocate up to 150 three-year transit passes over a three-year period, to participate in the new vehicle scrappage program co-funded by the Province of BC and delivered by the BC Scrap-It Society.
CARRIED

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Politicians choking on auto industry pollution
By Mel Wilde - Lake Country Calendar - Published: November 18, 2008

The power of the big three auto industry and it’s union bosses is once again bamboozling our politicians. Every political party, both federally and in the province of Ontario is knuckling under the demand for huge piles of our tax dollars to keep them afloat.

What our leaders are forgetting is that it is the consumer who has decided to stop buying vehicles from the big three. Sales are down because many folks are buying vehicles from other car manufacturers.

It’s the market place that should decide the fate of any company. Make a good product and cost it fairly and it will sell. When a company is poorly managed and it’s union bosses go hog wild in demands, then that company will fail.

Sure we are in tough economic times. That doesn’t mean the taxpayer should rescue every company that isn’t doing well. Have the high salaried executives of Ford, Chrysler or General Motors taken a cut in pay for failing?

Have the powerful union bosses volunteered t review the compensation package to help reduce the price of these vehicles?

The Canadian public has been pouring huge amounts of tax dollars into the big three coffers for many years. Now these failures, from management and union, want the ultimate bailout from us—the taxpayer.

This same sort of scam on a grand scale has happened before. In England some years back, the home grown auto industry went through the same disgusting debacle.

Poor management and an out of control labour union ended the days of the Austin – Morris automobiles. In that case the government of Britain stepped in and nationalized the two companies into British Leyland. After billions of tax dollars were wasted the companies failed.

Today, no British owned car company exists. There are still cars manufactured in England. It’s jus that the competition won out.

No amount of tax dollars can save a company if the consumer stops buying their products.

The realignment of the British auto industry was painful. It will be the same in Canada. But times change and sometimes it takes a harsh dose of reality to smarten these guys up.

The Canadian taxpayer would probably approve of helping the big three if these people had a track record of responsibly conducting their affairs. Unfortunately, the opposite is true.

Management at these corporations have failed to do a proper job and the total compensation package extorted by the union bosses has killed the ability of the big three to compete.

Our problem is that the number of folks involved in the big three auto industry in Ontario is huge. It is so large and complex that all of our politicians from every party are very much afraid to take a stand.

The principal of the issue is simple; should the consumer decide the fate of any corporation? If the answer to that question is yes, then let the companies and their unions face the music.

If, on the other hand, we don’t live in a free market economy and the taxpayer is forced to prop up failed corporations then at least tell us the truth.

We should not be penalized for making choices when we go shopping.

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A waste of money
By Richard Rolke - Vernon Morning Star - Published: August 26, 2008

Last week, I opened the mail box and found a brochure with the pictures of a tank and a soldier on the front, as well as the words They Protect Us.

But it's what was inside that really caught me off-guard. There was a phoney ballot asking me to vote on which national political leader supports Canada's troops the best. And at the bottom was the smiling face of our MP, Colin Mayes.

I was surprised because the one-page-two-sided brochure was such a dramatic departure from what Mayes usually mails me. Instead of updates on issues he is pursuing on behalf of constituents or how he appeared in the Lumby parade, this latest offering was blatantly partisan. Ultimately, I was left wondering who paid for it?

During an interview Tuesday, Mayes confirmed the brochure was part of a taxpayer-funded program available to all federal politicians.

"All parties have the option of doing this. Every party does this," he said.

Mayes has brochures with about 12 different topics in circulation, and besides the military, some of them deal with gun control and crime. Other potential issues were apparently ignored.

"Some were too political for me. I don't like bashing other parties," he said.

Mayes' office picked up the costs of printing while the postage was covered by Parliament. About 60,000 were printed for Okanagan-Shuswap at a cost of less than $10,000, according to Mayes, who insists that this is an acceptable use of public funding.

"It's appropriate to get our message out and show what our government is doing," he said.

And that is where I take issue with Mayes.

There is of course nothing wrong with the Conservative Party promoting itself and trying to garner the support of Canadians, but to do it under the guise of correspondence between an MP and his constituents is questionable.

And for Mayes to brush the issue off by saying every party does this is absolutely laughable. Keeping with that schoolyard logic, would Mayes thrust himself off a cliff if Jack Layton or Stephane Dion had done so?

Just because the other parties are willing to slurp from the public trough doesn't mean the Conservatives have to.

In fact, wasn't it Stephen Harper and his gang that promised to manage our dollars more wisely and to get away from the political games of the past?

Mayes also appears to be out of touch when he explains that his office paid for printing while the bill for postage was handled by Parliament. That's all well and good, but both places get their cash from the same source — the taxpayer.

Mayes also insists that he doesn't like to bash other political parties, but you'd never know it by looking at the brochure I got in the mail. All of the federal leaders are pictured, but an arrow encourages readers to select Harper as the great defender of the troops. Elsewhere in the brochure, there are phrases like We Will Protect Them and Real Action, Real Results. It's nothing but shameless campaigning, and Mayes can't hide that fact.

In the end, a federal election could be called any day now so obviously all of the parties are trying to get their message out. After all, that is how democracy works in this country.

But if the Conservatives are so proud of their track record in government, they should be willing to foot the bill for the propaganda machine instead of placing it on the backs of taxpayers.

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Highlights of the Regional Board Meeting – April 28, 2008
Regional Park Land Acquisition Program
The Regional Board has given support to a program to acquire additional land for the Regional Park system. The result of a statistically valid survey conducted by Ipsos Reid during March showed that almost three-quarters of residents support the Regional District borrowing up to $25 million to purchase park land. In order acquire the additional land, 71% of respondents support a two per cent
increase in residential taxes or approximately $36 more each year. In light of the survey result, the Board supports a corresponding increase in the 2009
– 2013 Regional Parks budget and has authorized Regional District staff to begin a property acquisition program
. Final support will be considered during the 2009 – 2013 budget discussions.

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Tired of paying double the tax
Kelowna Capital News - Published: August 19, 2008

Open letter to Okanagan-Westside MLA Rick Thorpe:

Because most people probably don’t look at their gas bills in their entirety, our governments are trying to slip more hidden taxes by us.

I would like to thank your government for constantly picking the pockets of your constituents.

First, (your government) give us some income tax breaks—much to be lauded—then it took them back and then some with service charges.

Now your government sees fit to add a carbon tax to gasoline, when you already reaped in the rewards of gas nearly doubling over the past six months.

Obviously this wasn’t enough of a windfall with the taxes gleaned off the increase in gas prices over the last year but (your government) still had to levy the carbon tax to add to the hardships of those who can least afford it.

Not everyone gets paid a wage or a pension or can give themselves a huge raise to cover these extra increases like the people who are supposed to represent us.

Now, to add insult to injury, I notice that on our natural gas bills, when it comes to taxes, the GST is charged on the full amount of the bill, including the carbon tax and the clean energy levy (just a polite way of saying another tax). And if it is clean energy, why is it being taxed?

You should be giving us a discount for using this kind of energy.

I know the pat answer already. “This is a federal tax and we have no control over that.”

Maybe it’s time that the two governments got together and amended the laws so people don’t get double taxed for the same thing.

John D. Grant
Kelowna

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Getting by is getting harder for those in “casual” jobs
Keremeos Review - Published: August 19, 2008

Growth of ‘casual’ work is diminishing standard of living

Many experts are puzzling over a paradox in BC’s economy - why have years of solid growth and low unemployment failed to translate into improved earnings for those in lower end jobs? One piece of the puzzle can be found in the growth in casual work. “Casual” means you have a job but no job security - working without a contract or with one that lasts a very short time (whereas people with permanent jobs expect ongoing employment, barring unforeseen circumstances like layoffs).

The likelihood of being in casual employment has increased more in BC, compared to the rest of Canada - despite the buoyant economic conditions in the province. In other words, even though a strong economy is growing the pool of available jobs, the quality of those jobs is deteriorating.

Casual (or temporary) employment often gets mixed up in the debate about “flexibility.” For some workers, such as professional consultants, the greater flexibility afforded by temporary work can be both desirable and well-paid. But for most people, the flexibility that comes with temporary work is good for the employer and costly for the employee - costly in terms of personal and family stress, and financial hardship.

Casual workers typically have lower quality jobs and fewer benefits such as holiday pay, extended health coverage or pensions. They usually also have lower pay. Casual jobs are found across both the private and public sectors, particularly in teaching and child care/home support occupations, as well as sales and services, construction trades, and occupations in primary industry.

In a survey of casual workers we undertook in Vancouver and Prince George, we found that most people do not choose temporary work. In fact, 80% said they are actively seeking permanent jobs.

The overwhelming picture that emerges from our research is of the double bind in which financial and time constraints affect all aspects of casual workers’ lives and their ability to balance work and family obligations. This is especially true for parents, but extends to many others as well. There is a constant need for more income, yet this is continually undermined by irregular hours, shift work, short call-ins, minimal notice of work schedules, and low pay.

Comments by respondents in our survey reflect the stresses of being trapped in involuntary casual work:

“I constantly have to move my kids to different care-givers.”

“I go to bed early in case I get an early call; plans are always tentative.”

“I have missed many family events. There is a lot of stress and tension.”

Recent provincial policy changes have contributed to the growth in casual work. For example, privatization and contracting out in crown corporations, hospitals and care facilities reduced the stock of public sector jobs - jobs that offered a measure of security and decent pay.

Other policy changes have deregulated the labour market to a significant degree, making work life tougher and undermining the economic security of vulnerable workers in temporary, part-time and low-wage jobs.

For example, a series of changes to the Employment Standards Act (ESA) weakened the already very basic minimums employers had to follow. These include: reducing the minimum shift from four hours to two; dropping the requirement that employers give 24 hours notice of shift changes; excluding whole groups of workers from the ESA altogether (such as those employed in agriculture and truck drivers; and requiring workers whose employment rights are violated to confront their employer using a “self-help kit” instead of direct enforcement by the Employment Standards Branch. As a result, vulnerable workers are left to fend largely for themselves.

It is time the provincial government recognized its responsibility to make sure more British Columbians share in the good times. In addition to reversing the policies listed above, the province should enhance the economic security of workers in the lower end of the labour market by:

Immediately increasing the minimum wage to $10 and indexing it to inflation;

Expanding the Employment Standards Act so that it covers all workers, including independent contract workers and casual workers;

Establishing reasonable minimum shifts and contract lengths and strengthening rules for termination/dismissal, to ensure work provides people with a basic level of security and predictability;

Removing barriers to unionization;

Enhancing child care subsidies and lowering the income threshold at which parents become eligible.

BC is often promoted as “the best place to invest.” But if it also to be “the best place to live and work,” the provincial government must rethink its approach.

Fiona MacPhail and Paul Bowles are Professors of Economics at the University of Northern BC, and co-authors of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives study Improving the Economic Security of Casual Workers in BC. www.policyalternatives.ca

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Complete disclosure required
May 28, 2008 - Kelowna Capital News - Letters

Open letter to the Premier of B.C. and the Minister of Highways:

During the Okanagan Lake Bridge opening on Sunday both of you made statements which apparently contradict each other.

We, the taxpayers, have been told that the bridge costs were $144 million and that they came in “under budget.”

The premier said in a media interview that because the bridge was opened over 100 days early the taxpayers would save $25 million over the next number of years.

Where do these savings occur? Please quantify it.

The Minister of Highways said in an interview that since the engineering company SNC-Lavalin completed the contract ahead of schedule that they would be paid (“earn”) additional bonus funds for early completion.

He did not elucidate how much that amount was.

These two statements appear contradictory.

Since you are committed as a government to transparency and full disclosure of this public-private partnership (P3) contract, and because we also do not know the costs of the long-term maintenance contract for this bridge to be paid to SNC-Lavalin, what are the exact costs and the exact savings?

SNC-Lavalin’s chief executive officer publicly admitted in the Globe and Mail last week that maintenance contracts would be high margin, expensive contracts.

Full transparent public disclosure of these costs and non-documented alleged savings are necessary in view of your contradictory public statements.

Second, would the provincial government reconsider the cost of this self-admitted expensive maintenance contract and renegotiate this on-going cost to the taxpayers to a more moderate level?

This is a long-term contract.

John O. Powell,
Kelowna

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System Abused
Vernon Morning Star Letters - April 11, 2008

Rich or poor, no mater we all need to pay for what we get. Our government enjoys it when we waste our time pointing fingers at each other as it keeps them out of any troubled light.

It’s not the taxes we pay, it’s how they are used.

This is what we need to be looking at. We do not need to be trying to drive a stake between the people with our commentaries, rich and/or poor.

When it comes to taxes we need to stick together and try to get control of the waste. Make politicians and their ministries accountable for our tax dollars and how they’re spent.

Your comments should not have been tax the rich, they can afford it.

It should have been, let’s get rid of the waste and abuse of our tax dollars and then maybe we could feel good about our tax dollars and how they are being used.

Just think, if that politician in that ministry didn't buy that solid cherry board room table and chairs but instead just used the one that was in surplus at government storage, that extra money could have gone to saving a sick child, shortening the wait time at hospitals and so many more things.

And that's just one board room table.

Taxes I don't mind, abuse of our system I do mind and it is out of control.

Here here to the Republic of Canada.

Ken Jordan

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2008 – 2012 Financial Plan Approved

Central Okanagan West Property Taxes down $33.40 based on a home assessed at $456,000 in 2008
source March 28, 2008 Board Report Highlights

The general decrease for Central Okanagan West Electoral Area property owners reflects that the majority of Westside Parks have been transferred to the new Westside District Municipality. source "What's New"

2007 - 2011 Financial Plan

2008 - 2012 Financial Plan

*Note - Click here to see financial plans for other years.

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Westshore Park Development expense $100,000 2008 budget
on page 60

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North Westside property taxes decrease
North Westside Road taxes decrease 4.54 per cent.  Plus no more fire dept flat fee for 5 years.
click April 2, 2008 Vernon Morning Star article to read larger print

North Westside residents will be paying fewer taxes to the Central Okanagan Regional District.

CORD's 2008 financial plan has been adopted, and it includes a 4.54 per cent decrease in taxes for homes in the Central Okanagan West electoral area.

Based on a home assessed at $456,000 in 2008, this would generally reflect a decrease of $33.40 in the North Westside residential tax rate for general services," said director Jim Edgson.

Beyond this, there is also a $62.10 decrease for the same $456,000 home for the fire department service.

*NOTE*

Remember there was a referendum in Dec. 2005 asking each property to pay an extra $50.00 per year over 5 years for a new fire fighting truck?

Initially it was proposed to be a flat parcel tax of $40.00 pr year over 5 years

Official results of referendum for a flat parcel tax of $50.00 over 5 years was voted in

The flat fee for a new fire truck was first added to our property taxes in 2006.  The flat fee charged on each properties taxes for a new fire truck was $52.62 in 2006 and in 2007 it was $52.65.

Allastair Fergusson says that the property tax decrease is not due to the Fire Truck referendum charge shown at the bottom of this property tax notice, and that we will still be paying for the Fire Truck referendum again this year.  The property tax decrease is the other charge for fire where it says N. Westside Rd. Fire.

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Valley of the Sun, Kelowna, B.C. - Property Tax Notices
click each notice to read larger print

2005 Rural Property Tax Notice from Central Okanagan West at Fintry near Kelowna BC
2005

2006 Rural Property Tax Notice from Central Okanagan West at Valley of the Sun near Fintry BC
2006
2007 Rural Property Tax Notice from Central Okanagan West near Fintry B.C.
2007

In addition to taxation, local services such as sewer, water and garbage are funded through utility billings.

Tax revenues are used to fund a wide range of regional services of benefit to everyone within the boundaries of the region, such as parks, 911 services and recycling. Tax revenues are also used to provide local services such as sewers and streetlights to residents and businesses within the electoral areas of the Regional District. The Regional District also coordinates funding for the Regional Hospital District to fund capital projects. Financial statements for the fiscal year are published by March 31st of the following year. The 5-year financial plans are adopted by the Board by March 31st of each year.

source RDCO Finance Dept

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Tax after tax after...
Vernon Morning Star - March 30, 2008

Between rising wheat costs, $1.26 per litre gas and the looming carbon tax, the average consumer is likely feeling the strain on their bank account.

So when you add into the mix municipal taxes, knowing your assessment has skyrocketed (the taxable value of the entire 2008 B.C. Assessment Roll increased over 16 per cent from 2007), you might start to wonder if the food bank would accept your application. Unfortunately, since you actually own a house in this exorbitant market, it’s not likely.

But if you live in the City of Vernon, luckily the politicians are doing everything they can to keep taxes to a minimum. It’s now down to a 2.25 per cent hike from the original 6.9 per cent.

In Coldstream, politicians there are finally taking note of Vernon’s tax-axing habits.

Originally Coldstream residents were facing one of the highest tax increases around at 9.17 per cent. A good chunk of that (four per cent) is to pay for the two shiny new firehalls currently being built.

Thanks to staff and council efforts, that number is likely to be slashed to somewhere around six per cent after a special budget meeting Monday. Some extra funds from 2007 are enabling the cut.

There is also an opportunity for Coldstream taxes to drop thanks to $162,368 from the North Okanagan Regional District, but no discussions have been had on that yet. The district also shut down its Community Policing Office, so there’s another $120,000 in savings each year – but it’s likely those funds will remain with the service to pay out severances and office costs.

Nevertheless, it’s great to see Coldstream is trying to do everything they can to help out residents, especially now, when taxpayers are crying for relief.

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Taxes will decrease so says Central Okanagan West Director Jim Edgson
Article from the Vernon Morning Star March March 21, 2008 page A6
North Westside Road residents may get a break as part of the Central Okanagan Regional District's budget.  CORD expects to have the 2008 budget finalized by the end of March, and it would include a general tax hike of about $11 for a North Westside home assessed at $456,000.  But the fire department tax requisition will decrease between $50 and $60.  "Overall, taxes will be down for the North Westside," Jim Edgson, director.

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Special Budget Meetings
From Board Report March 17, 2008
In accordance with the Local Government Act, the Regional Board will hold a Special Budget meeting on Friday, March 28th, 2008 at 9:00 am in the Woodhaven Board Room at the Regional District office, 1450 KLO Road. This will allow for public consultation before final adoption of the proposed 5- year financial plan for 2008 – 2012.

March 28, 2008 - Board Report Highlights

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Regional Marine Facilities Study
From Regional Board Report Highlights March 28, 2008

The Regional Board has approved a consulting services contract for preparation of a Recreation Marine Facilities Study for the three major lakes in the Central Okanagan. Three qualified bids were received and after an evaluation, it was recommended that the contract be awarded to the team of GHD Solutions, JF Group and Summit Environmental for $94,899

As well, the Board approved spending $26,700 to complete a statistically valid region-wide survey to gauge public support and opinions regarding present and future amenities for the boating community.

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Central Okanagan Hospital District Budget
From Regional Board Report Highlights March 28, 2008

The Regional Hospital District Board is comprised of the members of the Regional District Board. It meets as required for decisions on tax requisitions and funding of major health-related capital projects and equipment. The Regional Hospital District contributes 40% towards these approved projects.

At the March 28th special meeting, the Regional Hospital District Board approved the Five Year Financial Plan, including the 2008 Budget of $15.7 million. For a home assessed at $456,000 ($316,000 in 2007) the contribution to the Regional Hospital District is $110.96, up $5.23 from 2007.

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Five Year Financial Plan Approved

The Regional Board also adopted the Five-Year Financial Plan for the Central Okanagan Regional Hospital District. Ratepayers within the Hospital District contribute 40% of the funds for approved health service and equipment services. Hobson says, “The Financial Plan outlines revenue and spending of $15.7 million during 2008 including $1.5 million towards the much needed hospice facility for the Central Okanagan which is presently under construction. This year we’re also contributing more than $1.5 million towards the construction of the new Ambulatory Care building adjacent to Kelowna General Hospital, over $750,000 for the Adult Psychiatric facility and half a million dollars that will be used this year for improvements to the Data Centre.” The owner of a home assessed at $456,000 in 2008 ($386,000 in 2007) will contribute $116.19 towards health equipment and capital improvements. That works out to just over 43 cents a month or $5.23 more than last year.

source RDCO website under "What's New" found on April 4, 2008

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Taxpayers are overburdened article
click article to read larger print
Letters article from the Vernon Morning Star

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Where do our tax dollars go article from the Vernon Morning Star
click article to read larger print
Letters article from the Vernon Morning Star

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Tax me, I’m Canadian
By Tyler Olsen - Vernon Morning Star - March 07, 2008

I know this will sound like heresy. I know that most would rather swim in Swan Lake than give the government an extra cent, but here it is: I like paying taxes.

In fact, when I hear about an extravagant new government program, I actually think I’m getting a good deal. Heck, I’d probably welcome government-funded haircuts. We’ll call it hair-care.

So right now, you’re probably rolling your eyes, labelling me a socialist, and saying I just don’t get it, that my taxes are probably relatively low and that I don’t realize that all the tax money goes down a black hole, or rather un trou noir.

And part of that is probably true. My taxes are probably below average and I do try to avoid looking at my pay stub for the same reason I shut my eyes when I pay for for my car to be fixed. If I don’t see it, I’m not paying for it and thus it’s free, I guess the theory goes.

But don’t throw me in the (government-funded) loony bin quite yet.

I like taxes because the more unequal they are – that is, the more you rob from the rich – the better chance that babies born into poor homes will have the same shot at success as their richer peers. Yes it’s very idealistic (perhaps naive?) So sue me.

Look at the United States, which boasts some of the lowest, and most equal, tax rates in the developed world and where they continually cut taxes for the rich on the pipe dream that maybe, just maybe, the money will trickle down.

Guess again.

According to a study by the Brookings Institute, a well-respected think tank in the U.S., “a growing number of economic studies have found that the United States stands out as having less, not more, intergenerational mobility than do Canada and several European countries.”

In the U.S. and U.K. it would take, on average, six generations for a family’s economic advantage to be erased. That compares to three generations in Canada and Sweden.

So, you ask, where do taxes come in?

Taxes on workers making decent money may, or may not, go to supporting the homeless, the unemployed and those who should be working, depending on your political stance. But they also clearly give low-income families the tools needed to lift themselves and, crucially, their children out of poverty.

The Globe and Mail’s Doug Saunders points out that, as in the U.S., tax rates in Britain and France are relatively flat. And just like the U.S., it is difficult for poor kids in those countries to become richer adults. In Canada, meanwhile, a redistributive tax system has helped ease the generational burden of poverty. In the Brookings study, other countries with a highly-skewed tax system join Canada as nations where it’s easier for children to rise above their parents’ pay, Saunders points out.

In less abstract terms, high taxes pay for good schools, help fund students and (hopefully) help single mothers find the time to raise their children and pay the bills, rather than having to choose between the two.

But money goes astray, voters get bitter and politicians try and buy votes. Now Saunders is warning that, by doling out constant goodies to the middle class, the Canadian “American dream” may be in danger.

Whether conservative or socialist, the idea that a kid should have the opportunity to pursue his or her goals is something most can agree on. But it costs money. Specifically, it costs the money of those with some to spare.

The hard truth is that you get what you pay for, even with taxes. To live in a country where every kid, poor or rich, has a chance to earn a decent living – a point we’re not yet at, and getting further away from – is something I’m willing to pay a little more for, even if that means not being able to buy myself a big screen TV right away.

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Programs impacted
Vernon Morning Star - April 11, 2008

On your editorial page of March 9, Tyler Olsen wrote an excellent article on the joys of taxation.

I was very impressed to hear the comments from a younger man about being happy to pay taxes!

In my work in early childhood education and early childhood development, I see the effects of tax cuts on our most vulnerable population. It may seem like a good idea to put more money into the pockets of the general population, but in reality, tax cuts result in cuts to much-needed programs. I am not an economist, but I do know that in countries with relatively higher taxation there is much greater commitment to social programs.

One only has to look at countries such as Sweden to see the outcomes of a strong commitment to social programs.

Although Canada is one of the richest nations in the world our financial commitment to early childhood development is the very last of the 20 wealthiest countries.

It's been said many times but it rings true - it takes a village to raise a child and it takes a nation to raise a generation.

There is a correlation

Our country made a commitment based on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Children to eradicate child poverty by the year 2000. In 2008, B.C. has seen an increase in child poverty and we have seen cuts to our national child care plan.

There are many examples in other countries of good programs that support families and children's opportunity to reach their potential without taxing the citizens to death. When children and their families do not have the opportunity to reach their potential, we all pay the price.

As Tyler points out, Canada has a much better track record than the U.S. when it comes to intergenerational mobility. Thank you for making this point and let's keep moving in the right direction.

Lynne Reside

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Opinions differ on budget
By Richard Rolke - Vernon Morning Star - February 29, 2008

It should come as no surprise that the federal budget is garnering high praise from Okanagan-Shuswap’s voice in Ottawa, while opposition parties are ripping it apart.

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty tabled the third Conservative budget Tuesday, and MP Colin Mayes believes it is financially pragmatic while providing some tangible benefits to Canadians.

“It’s definitely a cautious budget because our biggest trading partner, the U.S., is facing a slowdown. Revenues will be down,” he said.

There are no major tax breaks and Ottawa is forecasting smaller surpluses in the coming years.

“We were trying to be reasonable in terms of the market. The economy is strong in the west but there are challenges with manufacturing in the east,” said Mayes.

For Mayes, a high point is a new program that will allow people to place up to $5,000 a year in a registered account tax-free.

“It’s a great opportunity for people to save money,” he said.

Mayes also supports spending $25 million on a new scholarship program geared towards top doctoral students.

“It will help us retain the brightest and best in Canada so we don’t have to worry about the brain-drain,” he said.

But Huguette Allen, Green Party candidate, believes the budget has little to prevent climate change.

"Once again this Conservative government fails to put money towards prevention and real solutions," she said.

"While other countries are growing their economies based on new green technologies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the Harper government continues to ignore the greatest threat that faces humanity, and the Liberal government lets them do it." 

Among the environmental items in the budget are $10 million for research on biofuel emissions and $66 million for a process to establish air emissions.

Liberal Buffy Baumbrough sees few original ideas in the budget.

“It adopts many of the measures the Liberals have championed,” he said.

“Among them is making the gas tax transfer (for municipalities) permanent, and improving transportation. In terms of improving resources for police, we committed to that in March 2007,” she said.

Alice Brown, with the NDP, would have preferred to see more spending on social programs in the budget.

“It didn’t make a difference to people overall.  If you are hungry, you will still be hungry. If you are homeless, you will still be homeless,” she said.

Brown believes a clear sign that the Conservatives’ priorities are wrong is the $25 million for the 2010 Olympic torch relay.

“There is no relief for seniors and there’s a lot of hungry children in Canada,” she said.

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Road repairs needed - CHBC TV Video
Wednesday, 30 January 2008

The Okanagan's newest community is facing a huge bill for road upgrades.

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If you had $20,000 out of your yearly income to buy GST chargeable items, how much G.S.T do you think you would be paying in the year?

Close to:

 

$200

 

$400

 

$600

 

$800

 

$1,000

 

$1,200

 

YES

THAT'S

RIGHT

 

$1,200 per year you would pay in G.S.T. @ 6%

And @ 5% GST you would be paying $1,000 per year G.S.T

Think about it, if you paid G.S.T. on everything (which we can't think of much except maybe food and rent that we don't pay GST on) and you earned $20,000 clear in one year after you paid rent and bought groceries; 20,000 x.06 GST = $1,200.00 G.S.T. you pay per year.

Then there is the P.S.T.!

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Between 2006-07 and 2009-10, the Conservatives expect to take 12 percent more from individuals, but 14 percent less from corporations.

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Like mushrooms, we are kept in the dark and fed poop!

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Never doubt the ability of a small group of concerned citizens to change the world.  In fact, it is the only thing that ever has.

Democracy Rules on the North Westside in Central Okanagan West!

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To be updated by email on the latest news regarding the North Westside Ratepayers Association, please send your email address to President Allastair Fergusson.  He will let you know when there are updates, so stay informed!

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THIS SECTION HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE RATEPAYERS ASSOCIATION

www.okanaganlakebc.ca is starting to organize a PURE DEMOCRACY PETITION.  If we all work together we can accomplish anything.  Lets put a little effort into this and get legislation changed by way of a PURE DEMOCRACY PETITION.  Nothing is going to change if we don't change it!!

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