Saturday, August 20, 2016

A Dangerous Precedent?


It's not that there hasn't been anything to blog about in the last few weeks...
it was just time to take a mid-summer hiatus from blogging.

Until I read the following on Bob Spiers' blog:

Saturday, August 20, 2016

City wants share of pot tax

by Wayne Moore - CASTANET Aug 20, 2016 / 5:00 am
The City of Kelowna should receive a portion of tax revenues derived from legal marijuana sales.That's just one of several recommendations city staff have provided in response to questions asked by the federal government in advance of legislation which will legalize marijuana in Canada. Local and provincial governments across the country have been asked to provide feedback to advise the government on the design of new legislation and the regulatory framework that will include a new system of strict marijuana sales and distribution.City planner Ryan Smith said staff reviewed the government's discussion paper and provided responses to several questions.  (See Bob's blog for what the responses were...)

But MY bone of contention likely mirrors the same alarm bells of other business owners...
and that is:

Have you EVER...EVER seen a tax that doesn't suddenly 
extend to other businesses?

All in the "interests" of procedural fairness? (*grin*)

Of course not.

This slippery slope of local governments wanting a piece of tax revenues from legal marijuana sales can set a very dangerous precedent.
And likely will.

People hate taxes, whether local, provincial or federal.
Tax, borrow and spend is yet another contagion that is spreading to even the lowest levels of government.






"It's absolutely stooooopid that T2 (prime minister) considers legalizing pot to be of prime importance," says Kia, "in a world full of entirely more important issues."


But what can be expected from a kid raised on a trust fund?

Probably can't even spell economics...
A precedent if ever there was one.




Friday, August 5, 2016

The Sham of "Conserving"


All it leads to is an increased unit cost to you, the purchaser.

Whether it's fuelled by outright lies--as is now known to be the case in the B.C. government's "need" for Hydro's Site C--or unbelievable bureaucratic biases whose strategy to have long-sitting politicians save face--who approved the Master Water Plan in the first place--it's become a contagion.

Government lies.
Bureaucratic lies.
Consultants manipulating data.
Arm's-length appointed committees--over whom the electorate has no control--making the rules.  Cases in point:  the B.C. Utilities Commission, to whom Hydro goes for approval of new rates, and the Okanagan Basin Water Board, who now issue provincial grants to municipalities!

Both the BCUC and OBWB have focused on conservation as a tool to conserve (BCUC) electricity and (OBWB) water.

While this blog would never ever promote wasting either water or electricity, get a load of this story in the local Morning Star today...and think of your Greater Vernon water rate increases while reading.

Its title tells it all:  "B.C. Hydro rates rise as demand slows.  (excerpts only, highlighting by blog author)

B.C. Hydro is going ahead with its planned four per cent rate increase this year and deferring more debt to future years as it revises its electricity demand forecast downward. 

The provincially-owned utility has not asked (BCUC!) for an increase in its government-imposed rate plan despite a revised demand forecast with $3.5 billion less revenue over the next 10 years.  Hydro has filed a three-year plan with the BCUC that increases rates 4, 3.5 and 3.0 per cent in the next 3 years.

That's a 10.5 per cent increase over the additional new rates we've been paying for the last four or five years! 

B.C. Hydro is seeing lower revenues (does that sound familiar, GVW water customers????) due to two warm winters and downturns in mining and forest products.

Critic Adrian Dix states Hydro should have added a sixth turbine to the Revelstoke dam (at $450 million) versus forging ahead with the Site C dam ... a $9 billion project!"


Blog readers...for a wayyyyy more accurate--and damaging expose of B.C. Hydro, and how the B.C. Liberals have been draining its coffers dry (now ICBC isn't the sole victim!), you simply must read this Site C article by blogger extraordinaire, Norman Farrell. 

Then go back to his Home Page here to learn the ongoing deceptions of the B.C. Liberals.





"There's no antibiotic that'll rid voters of the lies contagion," says Kia, adding "look at how it's spreading among politicians and the bureaucracy."

Indeed.
Sadly, they're learning from one another.

Lies, Lies, Everywhere Lies...



Wednesday, August 3, 2016

When Government "Misleads" the Public


Interesting letter to the editor of the Morning Star today, by Duane A. Mather:

"Public is being ignored on issue:

(Note:  highlighting by blog author because Mr. Mather's letter could just as readily apply to local officials' and bureaucrats' dealings in the GVW master water plan issue!)


While there is always more than one solution to solving a problem and certainly in the problem solving analysis, all options and opinions should be considered.

In the case of the Stickle Road issue, part of the analysis was public consultation (likely a protocol required in our provincial legislation) through the public consultation open house process.

Many people take Abraham Lincoln's words from the Gettysburg address as a definition of democracy; "Government of the people, for the people, by the people."  The open house concept sort of supports the president's decree.

It doesn't seem to apply in this case.

Point in fact, the first solution by the Ministry of Transportation team was solidly rejected by the public attending and all of our community area elected officials.  Back to the drawing board for the ministry, instead of accepting the advice of the majority of the people.

Another open house was again solidly rejected by those attending but suddenly a new position by our mayor and the elected MLA, Eric Foster, citing the need to compromise with the ministry.

I for one do not think we elected these folks to appease Victoria.  We elected them to represent the community's position as presented to them by a majority of the citizens.

At open house round three, there was another attempt to do anything but what the people want, again being solidly rejected by the majority.  In baseball, three strikes and you're out, but not if your(sic) employed in the bureaucracy of the Ministry of Transportation.

The elected officials' job is to provide fiduciary oversight and leadership to the bureaucrats, not to roll over and capitulate to their arrogance.

The ministry must not have any statistical data to substantiate their claim that a light will compromise safety by creating rear end collisions otherwise they would have presented it.

As presented in many letters to this publication, there are many such lights on Highway 97 already in existence in the valley and if there is no data to support that claim, then at best that statement is misleading.

These repeated rounds of open house consultation being totally ignored are another waste of taxpayers' money.

The most economical solution paid for with taxpayers' money, supported by a significant majority of the citizenry, simply is a light.

Unfortunately, we can only deal with elected officials' arrogance during elections and the bureaucrats who are supposedly under their control.

So if they continue to bulldoze their solution through the process, that can only be dealt with in the future.

If I was a business owner along Stickle Road, I'd be looking for other alternatives to persuade the ministry to change their view.  Perhaps a court decreed injunction might provide a more sensible review of the facts.  Recent history of the HST fiasco in this province provides evidence there are ways to deal with issues with government after being misled.

The arrogant governments in Ottawa and our neighbouring province to the east recently got an awakening to voter wrath, something to consider in the future if this stupidity continues."
Duane A. Mather



and from the same publication, same topic, a snippet of the letter from resident, Joyce Penner:

"...This is what (Mayor) Mund told me.  He is on record supporting a traffic light during the first two planning sessions with the Ministry of Transportation.  However, by the third meeting, he realized there would be no traffic light at Stickle Road.  The reason given is it would cause a bottleneck in the traffic flow and, in fact, the ministry is reducing the number of traffic lights on Highway 97.  And the issue could not be put forward for at least 10 years to the provincial government."


Stickle flip/flop with Master Water Plan?

"Yup, elected officials supporting bureaucrats is akin to an evil alliance," offers Kia "with the open house 'input' just paying lip service to the lip-servicing provincial government."

Amen to that, having witnessed the MWP process recently.


Saturday, July 30, 2016

Proof of the Benefit of Age, Education and Experience


Without exception, considerable benefits accrue to an individual with age, education; indeed, with experience.  Sometimes any one of the three provides a benefit...chalk it up to the "wisdom" that often comes with age alone.

Then there's Councillor Gyula Kiss of Coldstream who possesses the benefit of all three.
He not only recently turned 80 years old, he is extremely well educated (just shy of his pH.D), and has spent many years in a scientific field.
So he possesses all three.
Plus perhaps a healthy distrust of bureaucrats' and consultants' plans (learned from his constituents) because he sees firsthand the disjointed and often dysfunctional structure that denotes this area's governance.

He'd be forgiven for being cynical, yet he isn't.
He's like a dog with a bone, always searching for the value meat for his and voters' bucks.

His knowledge of the North Okanagan's water issues goes wayyy back, based chiefly on having researched the issues of those days.
Way back to the days that culminated in Brian Harvey being Manager of the Vernon Irrigation District. 
And water issues of other days...and other years.

(For a background interview, blog story "20 Year Interview with Brian Harvey of the Vernon Irrigation District"...now almost 30 years old!)

Back to the wise, educated and experienced Gyula Kiss.

This blog story will prove that Kiss the Scientist had his common sense water research done--not just in 2010, or in 2002, or in 1999--but in 1991, a time when it could be said the majority of today's GVW staff and plan consultants and some elected officials of GVAC were still poopin' yellow, as the colloquialism goes.

We're now all aware of the Master Water Plan's failings.
So let's read Gyula's what if we had... after which his 1991 research document is reprinted.




This proves just how clear hindsight can be:

That window is now closed:
"The total cost of extending domestic lines and leaving the Vernon Irrigation District distribution alone would have been well below $75 million.  We would have avoided:
  • constructing 3 potential treatment plants,
  • constructing a third distribution system,
  • cost of treating irrigation water,
  • interfering with agriculture plans.
We would be using Okanagan Lake by now and would have no fights with Interior Health, and no infighting among politicians.  However, that window is now closed. We still have the looming $111 million (and those are 2012 dollars!) facing us to complete the plans.

"Why were consultants, staff and the majority of politicians
so scared to have me as part of the
 stakeholder advisory committee?
Why did they go to such extreme measures
 to keep from my voice being heard
that they even removed me from GVAC?
  I was elected the same as the rest of the politicians"  G.Kiss

Should we spend them foolishly on a very complicated plan designed by the same consultants who brought us to this crazy situation over their 15 year reign of terror?  Or should we have looked at it with an independent consultant(s)...who have no vested interest (reputation to protect!).  That is the question now.

Why were the consultants, staff and the majority of politicians so scared to have me as part of the stakeholder advisory committee?  Why did they go to such extreme measures to keep from my voice being heard that they even removed me from GVAC?  I was elected the same as the rest of the politicians.

Why are GVW officials trying to avoid going back to the public for approval of the finalized plan?  How would current customers benefit from saving large sums of money from their water rates to be used at a later date for MWP construction costs?"

This blog now (finally) gets to Gyula Kiss' 1991 document based on his research.
While reading, think of the $111 million Cadillac water plan that you and your family will now have to pay for...versus what could have been!



1991 document printed with permission, from Gyula Kiss:

"Some comments regarding the Regional Water Authority:

I read with interest the minutes of the meeting of the Interim Water Authority, March 26, 1991.  It is noteworthy that the earlier attempts to form a Regional Water Authority failed because VID could not get assurances that the water supply for farm purposes would be guaranteed.  Has VID received such assurances now?  If so, what assurances have the domestic customers regarding their water supply?

On page two, Mr. Harvey reported that VID was unsuccessful in obtaining grants to carry out pilot water treatment studies.  This is why we were asked to apply for a $10,000 grant, along with the City and the North Okanagan Regional District.  The remainder of the $50,000 study would be provided by VID.

As I have previously stated I was not in favour of applying for such grant.  For the record, I would like to state the reasons for my reluctance:

It is generally believed that Canadians are studied to death.  Unfortunately, common sense does not always prevail when the decision regarding the need for a study is made.  I feel that the study proposed by the Vernon Irrigation District to investigate methods of improving the colour of their water supply is one of these unnecessary studies.

To a superficial observer the study appears to be a worthwhile effort and many people would agree that this is money well spent.  However, appearances can be deceiving.  Why?  I ran a study of my own and came to some conclusions which I wish to relate to you free of charge.

First the facts.  There are thousands of communities in North America that have to treat their domestic water supply.  All sorts of methods are available and numerous companies will provide free estimates to treat whatever ails your water.  In fact, it was reported that 'Penticton Council has approved a plan for a rapid rate sand filtration system which has microbiological control' (Morning Star, April 26, 1991, pg 8).  They believe the new system will eliminate brown water colour caused by spring runoff.  Their problem is similar to ours except for one unique aspect.  What is unique to our area is the delivery system?  So let's take a look at our delivery system.

VID was originally established to provide water for orchards and other agricultural crops.  The farming community acquired water rights on high elevation lakes and rivers and installed conduits to carry this water to their fields.

Compared to Kalamalka and Okanagan Lakes, VID sources look inferior.  Goose Lake is the closest of these sources and in comparison to this lake, MacKay reservoir looks quite acceptable.  Of course, apple trees do not mind what the water looks like.

Eventually some enterprising individuals decided around 1967 that development could proceed much faster if we could secure some readily available water supply.  Since VID water was available in the rural areas, using this water source was an ideal solution.  The directors of VID realized the benefits of this option to themselves as it could reduce the cost of water to farmers.  There was this small matter of water quality for domestic users but the attitude was that this problem could be solved later.

Problems did arise but the gravity of these problems did not hit home until recently when more and more people started to complain about the inferior quality of their water and demanded more for their money.  VID, in essence, supplies raw water to both domestic and agricultural users.  The only treatment VID water receives now is chlorination.  Conversely, for domestic use the treatment is totally inadequate.  Brownish colour during spring runoff coupled with the presence of fine particles makes this water unacceptable for domestic use.

Unfortunately, these are the least of the problems.  At times, VID water fails bacterial tests as well, since the high organic content reduces the effectiveness of chlorination.

Outbreaks of beaver fever caused by Giardia is a constant threat. Giardia is not killed by chlorination and requires more sophisticated treatment.

Let us look at the reasons for these problems.

The ten-year average annual volume of water supplied by VID to all users is 13,285 acre feet (courtesy Mr. B. Harvey).  That is the amount of water that would cover 13,285 acres at 1 foot depth.  To put it in perspective, Vernon produces about 3,000 acre feet of effluent annually (including Coldstream's contribution).  The highest volume of water processed by VID in any one year was apparently 17,300 acre feet.  MacKay reservoir would hold only about a third of this amount.

The average amount of VID water used by domestic customers is about 2,100 acre feet annually (this information was also supplied by Mr. Harvey.  Other sources suggest a much lower domestic/agricultural use ratio).  This is only 15.8% of the total water delivered.

Because domestic users are plugged into the same pipe that delivers water to agricultural customers any treatment will have to be applied to all 13,285 acre feet of water.  The chlorination treatment costs about $60,000 annually.  Of this sum nearly $51,000 is wasted.  Any further treatment also would have to apply to all of the water at fantastic costs.  Since crops would not need this treatment, over 84% of these costs would be wasted.

Who would have to bear the brunt of these new costs?  Obviously, since the treatment would benefit mostly the domestic customers, they would have to be responsible for the costs.  But why should they be responsible for the treatment of this inordinate amount of water when they only use a fraction of it?  This would be unrealistic.  There should be mutually acceptable solutions to this problem.

In fact, there are possible solutions but they are costly.

The first solution is to have filters installed in each domestic customer's home.  However, these filters should be of good quality that would eliminate all the problems, including potential health hazards from the water.  Each unit would have to be a multi media filter system (sand, activated carbon, and ceramic filter) yielding about 1.25 gallon of purified water per minute and costing between $3,000-$4,000, plus replacement filters.

The other solution, in my opinion the more favourable alternative, would be to separate the two delivery systems.

VID would continue to supply raw water to its agricultural customers.  This water would need no treatment.

The Regional Water Authority would be responsible for delivery of domestic water to all domestic customers.  This would require the construction of new conduits to all areas presently supplied by VID.  A water treatment plant would also have to be built to treat the raw water.  The cost of this plant would depend on the source of the raw water.  The source would depend on many factors (I assume this aspect was addressed by the water study which I have not been able to read yet).  Some of these factors would be reliability of adequate quantities, cost of treatment and delivery, and acceptable quality.  The Water Authority would make its decision on the source based on above factors.

If VID could supply adequate quantities on a sustained basis and if the treatment and pumping costs were lower than the same costs of the water obtained from Okanagan Lake, then it could enter into contractual agreement with the Regional Water Authority to supply the raw water.

This solution would cost money also but it would make sense.  No treatment would be needed for irrigation water and high quality treatment could be afforded for domestic users.  The sooner we realize that we have to act the cheaper the solution will be.

Who will pay for this solution?

Once the idea is accepted we must look for funding alternatives.  Grants are often available and we would have to start actively searching for them.  The users, who would have to buy treatment systems for their homes, would also have to contribute.  The filtering system for individual households discussed above would cost them a lot of money ($3,000-$4,000 * 4,100 households = $12,000,000 - $16,000,000).  They might be persuaded to use some of this money towards a new delivery system.  The first obstacle we have to overcome is the need to recognize the most sensible solution to the problem.

I would welcome comments on this issue from all concerned and would be glad to discuss any aspect of this matter.  Gyula Kiss, Alderman, Coldstream"


So...we'll now repeat here part of his summary:
"The total cost of extending domestic lines and leaving the Vernon Irrigation District distribution alone would have been well below $75 million.  We would have avoided:
  • constructing 3 potential treatment plants,
  • constructing a third distribution system,
  • cost of treating irrigation water,
  • interfering with agriculture plans.
We would be using Okanagan Lake by now and would have no fights with Interior Health, and no infighting among politicians.  However, that window is now closed. We still have the looming $111 million (and those are 2012 dollars!) facing us to complete the plans."

 

"GVW today would never be allowed to divert water to Harvey Lake from the Duteau/Aberdeen system for use in the North Okanagan," offers Kia, "ergo today's fervor by bureaucrats and consultants and some elected officials to retain that 'grandfathering' at all costs."

We residents on the Greater Vernon Water system today know what "any and all costs" actually means.

...and do we ever know what that means!
Yup!




Frankly speaking, GVW may never achieve a water license on Okanagan Lake...it should have been applied for 20 years ago (versus recently)!  Just look at the photos below of the upland reservoirs.  Evident at first glance is what climate change can--and will--do to the upland water supply in the North Okanagan.  (click to enlarge):








Friday, July 29, 2016

Curse of the Commercial Phone Number


...and my cellphone, too.

It's grown to be beyond the nuisance stage.
Now, daily, my company phone/cellphone receives at least 8 or 9 telemarketer and/or robocalls daily.
Yes daily.

Whether personally or for business, what an incredibly unproductive interruption these calls are.

No, I'm not talking about the 2011 Robocall scandal.

My calls--and likely yours too--are ostensibly from telus, but they're not! ("get a $20 a month saving"), from loans available for business ("wouldn't your business benefit from an infusion of cash?"), from previously unheard of types of point of sale merchant terminals ("faster than your current supplier"), to all manner of business supplies including toilet paper ("wouldn't you benefit from cheaper paper supplies?")...

Appropriately named, a book called the Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell gives a bit of history, beginning with email in the 1970's where the author eagerly anticipated receiving emails, leading us up to the present where junk calls and emails have increased tenfold.

Now if only Canada would do what the UK did in 2006.  The United Kingdom increased the penalty for "silent calls" tenfold!  What did Canada do?  Well, they allowed people--sick and tired of calls--to actually place the phone number on a Do Not Call list.  Then, because of freedom of information laws, (yes...really!) some idiotic bureaucrat forgot to disallow telemarketing companies from accessing that new list of numbers to call.

Like an idiot, we subscribed to that Do Not Call list, and gave them our numbers.
All our numbers several years ago.

"So I suppose we can blame ourselves for at least some of these interruptions," says Kia.



Yeah, I suppose.
And one would think that we would've stopped trusting bureaucrats by now...(sigh)




That ought'a do it for the small number of door knockers.

Now what to do about all those telemarketers...who, by the way, I can't even understand mostly.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

CCMWP Objective Officially Denied by RDNO


More than one person said opposing GVW's plan would fail.
And that was way back following the 2014 failed $70 million water borrowing referendum after which the grassroots group Citizens for Changes to the Master Water Plan was formed.

Many of the group's members are of a generational mindset that scoffs at quitting for that reason alone.
Forecasted failure simply meant more work was required.
So the group persevered.

The group's diverse membership was spurred on to proceed.
An outraged public attended numerous presentations, the most notable being a standing-room-only event at the Schubert Center. 

CCMWP members were aghast at the lack of procedural fairness (indeed, common sense) with Master Water Plan 2012 (versus its predecessor MWP 2002 which planned line twinning and raw water for large irrigators).

Little line twinning would occur with Plan 2012 and domestic customers would continue to bear the brunt of a growing agriculture industry that irrigated lands with chlorinated -- yes, chlorinated -- water.   Agriculture paid barely four per cent of Greater Vernon Water's annual budget.

The deeply-entrenched Ag industry took solace from a majority of elected officials who "had their backs".  But for a lone elected official at the District of Coldstream--councillor Gyula Kiss--who sounded frequent warnings of the inequity of MWP 2012, domestic customers felt powerless that they would continue to fund the North Okanagan's water system improvements.

In a monumental flip-flop during the municipal and city elections, the majority of elected officials even assured their constituents they would vote No in the $70 million referendum.

And then changed their minds!
And continued on in their Greater Vernon Advisory Committee roles, whose decision would ultimately decide the fate of the water plan...albeit after a stakeholder committee was formed, spending eight months hearing biased data from politicians and consultants.  Citizens for Changes to the Master Water Plan were instrumental in the formation of a SAC committee, having recommended a professional peer review.


Spurious data--many of which showed water consumption 50 per cent higher than actual--formed spreadsheets and consulting reports that promoted the "need" for the gravity-fed upland water system to be enhanced, versus citizen wishes that Okanagan Lake would be less vulnerable to climate change than the "Duteau Ditch", as it has been called.

Councillor Kiss was even turfed from regular voting on the Greater Vernon Advisory Committee due to a recently discovered and conveniently-timed technicality that applied to Alternate directors.
While it thankfully didn't silence Mr. Kiss' opposition, it gave elected officials at GVAC a bit of a smoother ride during meetings.

Such was what awaited the Stakeholder Advisory Committee 
Basically a stacked deck.

This hit the local paper on July 24th (Knox story, Morning Star), as featured on Bob Spiers' vernonblog:

"Greater Vernon Water’s 2012 master water plan will not be reviewed by an independent engineer. Regional District of North Okanagan directors voted almost unanimously with a Greater Vernon Water Advisory Committee recommendation not to hire an independent engineer to conduct a peer review as requested by the Citizens for Changes to the Master Water Plan. RDNO directors voted in favour of nine recommendations from the advisory committee, including a scheduled review of the MWP be completed every five-to-10 years or prior to the construction of any significant capital project. The lone dissenter was alternate Vernon director Scott Anderson. “Asking for a peer review is not way out there in left field, it’s something that’s a fairly standard operating procedure,” said Anderson. “With a small investment in a peer review, we’ll potentially save money, gain credibility with the public and do what’s actually expected.” But Vernon director Juliette Cunningham said a review of the plan will take place “each and every time a major investment to the plan happens.” A 2014 referendum to borrow up to $70 million to undertake Phase 1 projects identified in trhe plan failed, which led to the creation of a stakeholder advisory committee to review the MWP. “I’ve sat at every stakeholder meeting with people representing commercial, agricultural, residential and industrial interests,” said Cunningham. “Part of that committee is made up of at least three engineers. “A tremendous amount of work has already been done.” The stakeholder advisory group voted in May to recommend to Greater Vernon Water that Duteau Creek and Kalamalka Lake be maintained as drinking water sources and that two treatment plants remain. It also wants partial separation of agricultural land from treated water primarily in eastern Coldstream. GVAC is also being urged to proceed with filtration at the Mission Hill treatment plant before the Duteau Creek facility. RDNO directors agreed to the recommendations Wednesday. The Citizens for Changes to the Master Water Plan had pushed for a peer review of the water plan, but that request was denied by the stakeholders. The full scope of the master water plan is about $108 million over 50 years but the cost could depend on factors such as government grants and filtration being deferred or not occurring at Duteau. While another referendum is possible, funds could also come from reserves and existing revenue."

Bob Spiers summarizes:
"The 'recommended chosen' option 2 by SAC Committee is a $111 million dollar expenditure that should have a peer review or an engineering/operational/financing review before it is reincorporated into the master water plan for Interior Health blessing and approval.

We originally managed to get a Peer Review of Duteau Filtration and that $30,000 study concluded that the cost of this method could reduce the Filtration Costs at Duteau from the $26.5 million Filtration in Option 2 (http://www.rdno.ca/docs/TM10_Financial_Plan_FINAL.pdf ) to between $8 and $10 million for the ultraviolet and scrubbing method as recommended in this peer review (if approved by IHA)"

Bob Spiers continues:  "I asked for a peer review before the last election and referendum and still feel that when we are requiring a $111 million expenditure (with $26.5 million for Duteau Filtration and $30 million for Mission Hill Filtration in 2022) that we pursue a professional review."  Bob Spiers


bureaucrats' operating procedures...

So...citizens turned down a $70 million borrowing referendum only to now be faced with a Cadillac system that will cost $111 million!
CLARIFICATION RESULTING FROM READER COMMENT: 
The option 2 which was incorporated into the master water plan was always to cost $111 million. The $70 million borrowing was for the first phase with an additional $41 million to be borrowed in 2022. (mostly for the Filtration at mission hill.)   At the borrowing rates at the time this would have necessitated a 30% increase in water rates with a further 17% in 2022.

So where to from here?
Terry Mooney, chair of CCMWP states:  "on September 27, 2015, the membership of CCMWP adopted the following Mission Statement:

"The main objective of Citizens for Changes to the
 Master Water Plan is two-fold: 
- achieve a Review of the 2012 Master Water Plan by the GVAC, and
- achieve the inclusion of an independent, expert, funded consultant,
whose mandate is to provide unbiased, professional,
technical support to the Review process"


A Reluctant Good-Bye:
Terry Mooney, chair of CCMWP continues: 


"The Review process called for was initiated largely due to pressure generated through the public outreach efforts of the CCMWP culminating in the formation of the SAC in June , 2015 and active involvement of our group in an eight-month Review of the 2012 MWP.


Now that the regional district has officially denied our request for involvement of an independent consultant, it is incumbent upon our group to report to the public our perceptions of the outcome of the Review process.

As press officer, I have informed the Media that we would report following the final outcome.  Due to personal reasons, I am unable to continue my involvement with this effort and wish to bring to a close my involvement in this chapter of the water situation.  I believe that the fight should continue and for the immediate future, will watch from the sidelines as it evolves."  T.Mooney


The public is grateful for what you and your group have achieved, Terry.
Please be assured of that.
Without CCMWP--and your leadership--the stacked deck that for many years has defined area bureaucracy and political governance would've assured an angry and uninformed electorate.

At least now the public is informed.

This blog will leave the last word to Councillor Kiss:

"As it happened the Staff supported Option 2 prevailed, eliminating all of the options that would have used Kalamalka and Okanagan lakes for fully separated domestic supplies. Never mind the threat of climate change and higher treatment costs! 

The process will totally dismantle the original VID irrigation system and replace it with a complicated new system. There will be three supply lines (domestic only from Mission Hill, mixed irrigation/domestic water from the Duteau Treatment Plant and a new untreated irrigation water supply directly from Harvey Lake). All those systems will be the financial responsibility of the domestic customers. They will pay the cost of construction, operation and maintenance and the replacement value of the total system. The current 4% agriculture contribution of the total budget is a smidgen of those costs."


"So, folks, when you purchase fresh fruits and veggies from the local farmers' markets," suggests Kia "remember to look the grower in the eye and say You're Welcome."


...for subsidizing (actually, almost free) his water costs this year.
And into the future.


Sunday, July 24, 2016

Deathknell Rings for MWP Peer Review


As though we didn't know this would be the result.
The MWP 2012 "will not be reviewed by an independent engineer" begins the Morning Star story today by Roger Knox.

Citizens for Changes to the Master Water Plan "had pushed for a peer review of the water plan, but that request was denied by the stakeholders," summarizes the wordy article.

Concluding paragraphs are:

"The full scope of the master water plan is about $108 million
 over 50 years
 but the cost could depend on factors such as
 government grants and filtration being deferred or not occurring at Duteau.
While another referendum is possible,
 funds could also come from reserves and existing revenue."

Reserves?
Existing revenue?
Think, folks!

If that monumental amount of money is to come from reserves, it'll come from increased base rates!
If that monumental amount of money is to come from "existing(?) revenue", it'll come from drastically increased consumption rates!

Greater Vernon Water wouldn't dare hold another borrowing referendum!!!!
It'd fail just like the last one in 2014.

GVW's gouging continues...

"And funds could also come from an exit interview fee as people leave the community," sighs Kia.

It's been said GVW wants a Cadillac water system.
For residents who are selling their second vehicles.

 

Communicating...Albeit a Tad Late


Oh for heaven's sake!

Today's RDNO blurb in the newspaper, entitled "Coldstream Locates" stated:

"The Regional District of North Okanagan - Greater Vernon Water
would like to notify District of Coldstream customers
that a GVW representative is in their area
completing locates for water meter service valves, meters
 and property posts.
This is being done to ensure efficient operation of the GVW system
and possibly prepare for future infrastructure upgrades.
If you have any questions, please contact our office
at 250.550.3700 or engineering@rdno.ca"

Well, that explains it.
A bit.

GVW previously committed to improving communications/notifications with their customers--especially since the failed water referendum in November 2014--of planned projects.  

But the RDNO notice should've preceded the visit by the Gentech technician (story here "Now I'm Really Confused").



"Late communication is still an improvement over bureaucratic doublespeak," offers Kia.

Suppose so.

However the RDNO notice in the newspaper should've actually preceded the technician's visit, "Lavington Questionnaire" in hand.

Neighbours wouldn't have called and asked what the heck was going on with the MWP.


Saturday, July 23, 2016

Industry Smoke-n-Mirrors Goes to DoC Council


Mark your calendars, Coldstream residents.

Go see Mr. Allen Langdon make a MMBC recycling presentation to the Council of Coldstream on Monday, July 5th.

Or don't go.

You'll recall he's the managing director of MMBC, multi-material B.C., our area's recycling program.
Unaffectionately renamed Mini-Material B.C. by residents, by the way, because they take fewer "acceptable" items than the old blue bag system did.  And residents all loved that blue bag system!

His 9-page powerpoint presentation is here, so you can save yourself the aggravation of wanting to shout aloud against his patronizing and condescending bafflegab (remember when he suggested residents combine trips to the recycling depot with grocery errands???)


Hopefully Coldstream council will see through the smoke and mirrors.
Many of us want one question asked:

Why...when the largest Bakery in Canada is Weston...are their (and others') plastic bread bags NOT allowed in the curbside collection boxes?
  (after all, Weston is one of the big boys who bring us this decidedly-shoddy program!)

And Mr. Langdon still doesn't get it, evidenced by the last statement on his presentation:

"In addition, MMBC is willing to work
in partnership with the District of Coldstream
to help address any specific issues
with their residents through targeted education activities."
 
 
Yeah, right!  "targeted education activities".
Translation:  we residents will be further educated!
 
 
 
"How about they get Mr. Langdon up to the garbage dump--media reporter and camera as witnesses--and have Langdon do 'an audit' of garbage bags.  Place everything that could've gone into a blue bin (or taken by a resident to a recycling depot) into one ever-growing pile," offers Kia.
 
 
That'd suit residents nicely, as long as the Morning Star takes a giant panoramic shot of the pile Langdon discovers.
 
Everyone we've talked to is putting most "recyclables" into garbage bags again.
Poor Mother Earth.
And it's MMBC's fault.
And Langdon's.
 
For more on which companies are the corporate biggies who are force-feeding us with this bullshit, click here.