General Voting Day Tomorrow Saturday, October 20 2018 Please get out and Vote.
On the day before general election day I thought I would go through the issues before Central Okanagan West one last time. The first issue is your representation myself or my competitor? I believe there is a strong argument for myself as I am the only one that pays taxes and receives services in this case Planning, Parks, Fire Department, Solid Waste (Transfer Sites for garbage & recycling) and as for many EA West residents, Water. I have spent four years dealing with these complicated and very expensive service issues and I believe we are making progress. My competitor receives his services from Westbank First Nations as his home is on WFN land and therefore falls under the jurisdiction of Westbank First Nations Chief and Council not the RDCO Board of Directors. True, residents of IR9 & IR10 (IR means Indian Reserve) do get to vote for the Central Okanagan West Director but… services, functions and taxes collected or delivered through RDCO (sewer…) or West Kelowna (fire department…) are not discussed at the RDCO Board table. The Regional Directors position is a voice for the residents of Brent Road, Crystal Mountain, Trepanier as well as Wilsons Landing/Traders Cove and the North Westside to provide a voice on those services. The person that represents you and will speak on your functions and services and their costs should in good conscience receive and pay for those functions and services. Representation with taxation is where I stand… taxation without representation is the situation of my competitor, please choose wisely. Watch the Candidates Forum in Killiney Beach.
The position here for the EA Directors is for equity, we don’t want more rights or privileges than our municipal partners we just want the same, to be equal is not an unreasonable request in a democracy!
Roads, drainage, flooding & culvert/ditch maintenance
I have met on this issue with the EA East Director, MLA’s representing our districts (Stewart, Ashton, Thompson and Letnik), Todd Stone (Liberal Rep. for Urban Affairs), Senior MOTI Staff and the Assistant Deputy Ministry for Highways, on the drainage problem. The electoral areas have experienced serious drainage issues since the 2017 flooding followed by the same threat in 2018. With the new LIDAR mapping provided through a grant by the OBWB to the RDCO we will have the latest in flood assessment technology. It is Director Bartyik and my goal to have RDCO Engineering and Planning Staff prepare a Report with this mapping technology for the Provincial Ministry responsible for our local roads. The Report would identifying the problems, possible solutions and actions to restore the integrity of the drainage through the residential and road networks, including all associated infrastructure. It has been a lack of proper maintenance to these roadways and ditches that have caused the flooding emergencies block culverts, mudslides, evacuations and the compromised septic fields. The Provincial representatives Director Bartyik and I spoke with agreed that a detailed report with possible solutions provided by the LIDAR mapping would certainly help raise our priority above that of other communities with the same problems, and there are many, on the Provincial action list. We have a strong case; we need to present it appropriately. I suspect the emergency response by MOTI to the mudslides in the Killiney area alone with all that entailed would have paid for many kilometers of road and ditch maintenance. This issue has to be resolved if we are to feel safe in our homes and driving our local roads. Westbank First Nations does not contribute or participate to this function.
A decision was made through the 2015-2016 RDCO Budgetary process on Fringe Area Planning which is the process that is used to provide the municipal members of the RDCO Board a say in the planning and land use of the unincorporated or electoral areas of the RDCO (Westbank First Nations territory of IR & IR10 EXCLUDED as they do not pay taxes to this Function their taxes for Planning would go to WFN Chief and Council). The North Westside area was not fringed so the voting privilege allows the Central Okanagan East Director with no stake in the area is allowed a vote where this is not allowed with the water systems, fire departments and community parks this is an example of the Board changing the rules to suit their agenda. The E.A. Directors were refused a legal opinion on behalf of our residents on these one sided, unfair Fringe Area Agreements. Westbank First Nations does not contribute or participate in this function.
The Trail of the Okanagan above Brent Road received $60,000 in Community Gas Tax Funding at the request of a group of trail supporters from the area. There was funding allotted and approved for $100,000 for a boat launch in Wilsons Landing that the community later returned and asked to have the project cancelled, and it was. The boat launch and beach Site #1 in Fintry Delta still awaits repair by RDCO although the funding has been available for some time now. Fish habitat was the last reason I heard for the delay. Killiney Beach is a disgrace. This beach was damaged in 2017 and disaster mitigation funding was the reason given for no action in 2017. Fair enough but both Provincial and our Community Gas Tax Funding have been available for most of 2018 yet no action. Next reason was did not want to disturb beach goers in the summer then trouble securing a contractor to do the job. This beach should have reopened in 2017 all that was needed was the sand washed onto the road returned to the beach sites, some gravel for the boat launch and the pier blocked off for safety. Instead we got a sign threatening a $500 fine for trespass and a chain blocking access… both ignored by the local residents. There was no effort to make this beach usable y RDCO yet our taxes were collected for both 2017 & 2018. Westbank First Nations does not contribute or participate in this function.
I have spoken with Engineering about a complete face lift for both Westside Road Transfer Sites using existing Community Gas Tax Funding. We need to bring these sites into a twenty first century reality of solid waste and recycling. When these stations were conceived they only dealt with garbage today it’s called solid waste combined with the new collectables such as yard waste, recyclables plus the added bulk and hazardous materials bins. As the amount and different types of material find their way into the returnable system we will need more room just to move safely and efficiently through the site. Westbank First Nations does not contribute or participate in this function.
The six RDCO water systems have been one of the biggest ongoing complications we face as ratepayers within the RDCO governance and service delivery model. Financial accountability does not exist, RDCO has repeatedly and constantly refused to justify their management decisions and explain the continued operational losses. Monies collected for Asset Renewal have been used to offset operational losses and that is illegal yet the Chair tried to justify these accounting irregularities as justified in that ratepayers were not impacted by higher rates. This argument ignores the illegality of the transfer of funds and
disregards the fact that the ratepayer still paid the higher rate they just paid it from an account they thought was safe and in reserve for capital requirements. Instead these asset renewal funds were used to supplement an operational Budget that was not based on realistic costs. This went on for years and has cost you the ratepayer thousands of dollars. The next costly issue before the Killiney and Westshore water systems is the RDCO proposed plan for centralized filtration for both systems at a cost of 3.5 million each! A less costly method Point
of Entry is available but not currently being explored by RDCO as they present only the centralized system that will require an expensive operator’s position to add a continued annual expense for you the ratepayer. To run these water systems ourselves would, according to the RDCO CAO at the Town Hall meeting in 2015, require incorporation. Westbank First Nations does not contribute or participate in this function.
- Removal of the unfair West Kelowna pool and ice rink tax
- 2nd Cistern to provide fire flows closer to the southern residences
- Left turn lane from Hwy. 97 to Brent Road communities
- Paving of the access/egress aprons to Hwy. 97
- Drainage & mud slides as a result of the recent wildfire and poor maintenance of existing infrastructure
- Advanced notification on planning, zoning and land use decisions within and around the community
- Protection of the ground water and local wells
- Financial accountability and future operational costs of the Star Place Water System
- Direct resident input on the development of Local Parks and recreation
Wilsons Landing / Traders Cove
- Mudslides & drainage as a result of wildfires in the area and poor maintenance to the existing ditches, culverts and natural water drainage affected by development changes in and around the community.
- Need for updating and modernization of the Solid Waste Transfer Site to meet current usage and requirements
- Repairs to the sink holes and depressions appearing in the roadways
- Water System rates and future capital expenditures such as filtration and continued asset renewal costs and funding
- Purchase of land for a school as per the North Westside Official Community Plan
- Restoration of Killiney Beach Park and boat launch and Fintry Delta Site #1 and Boat Launch both Parks that were damaged in the 2017 flood. Both Regional and Provincial Funding has been in place for some time now yet still no action.
- Replacement of the highly flammable vinyl siding on Station 101 and the Killiney Hall with Hardy Plank or some less flammable exterior siding with available Community Gas Tax Funding.
- Continuation of the request for the cost of self-Governance as directed by the North Westside Communities Association.