Sunday, December 4, 2016

Humps, Bumps or Tables


What's next...a concrete ant hill with a ladder?
Either way you cut it, traffic calming devices are a pain.
The only benefit is they indicate when your vehicle needs shock replacement.

The new humps, bumps, or tables on Kalamalka Lake Road adjacent to Coldstream Elementary School are irritating more than a few residents, not just drivers.

As reported by Smith in today's Morning Star:  "If it's not cars bottoming out, it's grabbing gears," said Dan Paterson, who wants rubber speed bumps installed at the school area.  (Dan's idea is that school custodians could put them out before and after school...as though that would fly!)

Apart from the fact that many roads adjacent to schools have no such barriers, there are specifications for speed barriers.  Do Coldstream's speed barriers meet those specs?

Some examples of traffic calming devices are pictured below.

These fellows are probably not school custodians...

oops...not this!




.


A three-inch high speed table would certainly have been sufficient for Kal Lake Road, but I'm not getting out of the car to measure their height.

And being made of materials different than the road surface may draw attention to them, as is explained in the first page of this website

Read a little further on that page, and you'll learn that a disadvantage is "increased noise", which was entirely Mr. Paterson's point.

"He omitted one thing", Kia would've said, "the sign pollution that Coldstream has created."

Good point.
Now if we could just convince a few of the SUV-Moms, as they are affectionately called, to not do U-turns in front of the school...


Bumpy ideas get a bumpy ride in Coldstream.


Money is Always "the Carrot"


Monetary coercion.
The dollar carrot.
Or mucho dollars as in this push for sewer hook-ups adjacent to a 10-year old line.

Coldstream municipality's soon-to-be compulsory requirement for sewer hookup for residents whose properties have a sewer line going past their home is meeting with some opposition from residents on Kalamalka, Giles, Pine and Mackie Roads.

Coldstream is planning an "educational" component for residents.
Good idea, as the municipality hasn't even announced how many residences are involved.

The muni's pressure equates to intimidation, as some residents have hinted.
So where's the intimidation?


Change the text to "Local Government Act", and you've got it!


...seems there's a pending bylaw (how convenient for the muni...) that the current $2,000 connection fee (I was under the impression sewer connection was $2,500) would climb 150 per cent (or 100 per cent) to $5,000.  (oops...you can tell I was thinking like a retailer here, and considering the "wholesale" price!   $2,000 to $5,000 is a 250 per cent increase!)

Holy Bylaw!
When was the last time your wages, or your pension cheque, saw a 150 (or 100) per cent increase?

Right.
Never!

Plus...then you'll receive sewer "consumption" on quarterly water invoices.
Oh goody.
Are you sitting down?

Don't forget that your suddenly-new sewer bill (based on water consumption) will include your household's Christmas visitors (which "sets" your sewer rates on that period's consumption for the entire year).  Coldstream muni's water meters are historically read around the first week of December...but that is your 4th Q water consumption.

So for Coldstream residents, the 1st Q water consumption starts at the early-December meter reading! 
Yes, it does. 

Perhaps in a thinly-veiled effort to dilute their intimidating tactic, Coldstream advises the new hook-up to sewer cost would be effective two years after the bylaw's adoption.
Plus CAO Seibel (who easily earns $140,000 annually provided by residents' property tax dollars) says there's financing available for up to 15 years to pay off the debt, with residents advised to "just pay quarterly on the utility bill").

Just pay quarterly!
It's still debt, Mr. Chief Administrative Officer!

But with Coldstream residents' generally large lots whose homes are set quite far back from the property line, there are huge costs involved in bringing the line from the house to the road's sewer connection.  One upset resident stated the costs for him could approach $25,000...with a $15,000 minimum cost.
And in two years, those costs won't have stood still either!  

The Kalamalka Lake Road sewer line was installed in 2006 by Coldstream Meadows as a condition of their Development Permit.  Affected properties run along Giles Drive, Pine Drive, Coldstream Creek Road and Mackie Drive to Coldstream Meadows.


"Maybe Coldstream muni is hiding its head in the sand," Kia would've suggested "because old septic tanks throughout  Coldstream Estates have been leaking for many years."


...and yucky water is actually coming out of the ground onto numerous acreages south of Buchanan Road near Grey Road.
Yup...from Coldstream Estates.

Yessirreebob, Coldstream Municipality supports farming.
Especially carrots.

And tell your Christmas visitors to pee anywhere but at your house.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

PSC Arrives in Coldstream


Received this November 21st, 2016, letter from the new Protective Services Coordinator at Coldstream.

"To whom it may concern:

My name is Matt Treit and I am the new Protective Services Coordinator for the District of Coldstream.  The purpose of this letter is both to introduce myself as well as to inform you that I will be conducting an inspection of your building within the next one or two months to determine if there are any deficiencies related to fire safety.  I wold ask that you ensure that you have all your fire protection equipment current with regards to maintenance and testing and that you have the appropriate documentation available to confirm that the testing is current.  Fire protection equipment includes, but is not limited to fire alarm systems, sprinkler and stand pipe systems, portable fire extinguishers, commercial kitchen exhaust and suppression systems, special extinguishing systems, exit lights, and emergency lighting and power installations.  In addition, if your building requires a Fire Safety Plan as per the B.C. Fire Code, please have a current copy of this plan available to provide to the District of Coldstream.

At the provincial level, the new Fire Safety Act has now replaced the older Fire Services Act which will result in some changes in the inspection process in the future.  At this time, however, the regulations which accompany the Fire Safety Act are still being developed.  The authority to conduct the inspections is still found in Section 4 of the local Fire Prevention Bylaw.

The responsibility for complying with the(sic) both the British Columbia Fire Code and the British Columbia Building Code remains with the owner of the building as outlined in the following excerpts from the two codes:

"Unless otherwise specified, the owner or the owner's authorized agent shall be responsible for carrying out the provisions of this Code."  (BCFC 2.2.1.1-Div.C)

"The owner of a building is in no way relieved of full responsibility for complying with this Code by the authority having jurisdiction
(a) granting a building permit,
(b) approving drawings or specifications, or
(c) carrying out inspections."  (BCBC 1.2.1.2-Div.A)

To schedule a time and date for an inspection, or if you have questions, please contact me at the District of Coldstream (250.550.1513).  For those who do not make an appointment, inspections will take place without further notice during regular business hours.

Matt Treit
Protective Services Coordinator, District of Coldstream"

After six months without no days day off...I'm not here during winter.




I immediately emailed the following reply to info@coldstream.ca

"Hi Matt, welcome to Coldstream.

Re your letter dated November 21st about a fire inspection, the business is closed until approx. end March/early April.
I’m seldom around in the winter as Highlands is a seasonal business.
In the interim, the building is used for storage of patio furniture, swimming pool solar blanket, and other personal items that don’t have a home otherwise.
Water lines were drained/blown out; electric heating is left on so that upholstered furniture/bar lines don’t freeze.
Look forward to meeting you in the spring when we re-open.
(signed) etc."


"Maybe he's a golfer," Kia would've said.

It'll be good to see everybody back early April when the course re-opens.


Friday, November 25, 2016

Water Plan "Errors" Surface


...because there wasn't even a completed plan at the time!
So it's only natural that glaring errors float up to be seen in the light of day.

"Instead of building a $50 M filtration plant at Mission Hill,
we can negotiate a filtration deferment
and spend our money on extending
 the MH distribution system to
 customers currently using Duteau water.

 We won’t have to spend the $7 M either
 as we already have the UV facility at Mission Hill.

 That’s $57 million savings."
     Gyula Kiss                      

Gyula Kiss' excellent summation--and scary scenario if the $70 million borrowing referendum HAD passed!  From his November 24th blog posting.  Click on his blog's link to view the video he posted entitled "what the VID and later NOWA’s  “domestic” water quality was from 1970 to 2006 check out the video".

"Comments on RDNO’s grant application.

During the 2014 election campaign a high pressure referendum campaign attempted to convince Greater Vernon’s water customers to approve the borrowing of $70 million for the completion of the Master Water Plan. The plan included, among other items, a filtration plant at the Duteau Creek Water Treatment Plant for $26.5 million.

Consultants and staff insisted that the selected Option #2 was the most cost effective solution to GVW’s water problems. There were public presentations and media advertisements urging the ratepayers to approve the borrowing.


Some politicians opposed the proposed MWP. They demanded an independent review of the proposed plan but the majority rejected the request. They accepted the words of the “experts” that there is no need for a review. There could be no improvements to the perfect plan. So, the referendum proceeded. It failed decisively. 

At the November 3, 2016 GVAC meeting the following resolution was approved:
 
“The Greater Vernon Advisory Committee will submit a $5.6 million grant application to the federal government for ultraviolet treatment at the Duteau Creek plant.” (Morning Star, November 6, 2016).
Apparently, there were ways to improve the plan. The above news clip reflects one of the benefits of the failed referendum. Could an independent review uncover additional improvements? The current plan must be reviewed and compared to Option #7 using this new evidence.

Applying for a grant before the plan is completed is like repeating the mistake we made in 2004 (or 2006?).

The $30 M DCWTP was built with the help of a $13 M grant from Senior Governments. The vision of a grant was too much temptation to resist and GVW decided to build a $30 million 162 ML/d  treatment plant without first completing the entire plan. We are still working on it.

Based on the 2012 MWP proposal we will only need 110 ML of water from the DCWTP for the filtration plant. That makes 47% of the DCWTP production capacity redundant. If we divert even more untreated water to farms it will render redundant even more of the DCWTP.

Had the referendum succeeded, by now we would be building a new $26.5 million filtration plant at Duteau Creek using a maximum of 110 ML/d of pre-treated water. Instead, staff is proposing a new option for $7 million instead of the filtration plant. That would already be a saving of $25 million over the original proposal. Could an independent review uncover some additional savings? Quite likely.
 
Why did this proposal not surface earlier? Why did it take four years and a failed referendum to discover this possible alternative? After all, Kelowna has been using UV treatment since 2005. Our own Mission Hill Treatment Plant is using UV treatment since 2006. It is already in our system. Currently, GVW is working on improving the intake system at Kal Lake and it is expected that the Kal Lake water turbidity would be further reduced. More reason why filtration could be deferred even longer.

So, now that this treatment appears to be an acceptable alternative, why not reassess the MWP options in light of this new revelation?
If the use of ultraviolet treatment instead of filtration at Duteau is acceptable by IHA we can expand its use at Mission Hill and close DC. We are already serving 80% of our customers from MH. Instead of building a $50 M filtration plant at MH we can negotiate a filtration deferment and spend our money on extending the MH distribution system to customers currently using Duteau water. We won’t have to spend the $7 M either as we already have the UV facility at Mission Hill. That’s $57 million savings. 
Also, we must critically review the cost estimates of the total separation. We are relying entirely on the estimates provided by our current consultants. Their first estimates of separation costs were only a fraction of the current one.

We could return to using the original VID irrigation system only for agricultural crops. It was very efficient for irrigation prior to 2006. It just could not provide domestic water."

 

"So now we're driving the Duteau pig to the dance with new lipstick on," Kia would've said.

The Duteau pig should hitch-hike, as it'll never pay its own way.
Agriculture...that is.

That's why GVW needs domestic customers to pay for ag's water lines.
 


Wednesday, November 23, 2016

BCUC call for Public Comments


After a bit of trouble opening/saving their requisite form, the Letter of Comment, my submission made it into the B.C. Utilities Commission pile prior to their November 24, 2016 deadline.

To cut to the chase, the Tier 1 rate for B.C. customers for electrical consumption was set at ~1,350 kWh a month.  I contend they erred (big time!) by not doing what the State of California (of all places!) did:  to set an "all electric baseline" at the outset.

Here's my submission today (which includes blog posts on the topic from ~six years ago):


"Re Tier 1 electricity rates, and the monthly ~ 1,350 kWh Tier 1 rate was set far too low.


My residential electrical bill was the reason for my writing to then-Minister Lekstrom as long ago as 2010.
Why?
Two reasons:  no natural gas is available in this area (to this date) and, most importantly, my residence uses wood heat exclusively.

Electric heaters are never activated in my residence.
Yet hydro bills in 2010 (and following years during winter) showed Step 1 had been exceeded.

We are only two adults in the residence.
Imagine the impact on a family of, say, four who have neither natural gas nor wood heat.

Rationale for my 2010 letter to the Premier of B.C., forwarded to Minister Lekstrom—and today’s Letter of Comment—I contend the BCUC, in determining the monthly kWh at which Tier 2 rates would “kick in”—used an entirely incorrect dataset.
I contend that Total kWh electrical usage in B.C. was tabulated, and the total number of utility accounts/residences determined that each residence used an average monthly amount of electricity of “x” amount.

To support my opinion, I offer that neither B.C. Hydro—nor BCUC—at the time, nor since, had canvassed the residential accounts (which are the only ones affected, as Commercial etc. has no tier process) to ascertain how many accounts use alternative heat sources:  i.e. wood, natural gas, or alternative energy sources.   So no “baseline all electric” was determined, which would have led to higher average monthly electrical usage and a resulting higher Tier 1 level before Tier 2 rates “kicked in”.

As a result, the averaging of ALL residential account electrical usage, would have resulted in a spuriously-determined average because the process included alternative electrical sources!
To their credit, the State of California implemented a “baseline all electric” category (evidenced by supportable research, printed below).

Minister Lekstrom’s reply?  As additional historical info, I have a personal blog called Coldstream Corner on which I posted the following reply from the Minister: 

“Blair Lekstrom, minister of energy, mines and petroleum resources replied thus:
...In your email, you express concern that B.C. Hydro's Residential Inclining Block (RIB) two-step conservation rate is unfair to ratepayers who cannot lower their electricity consumption by switching to other energy sources.  The RIB rate was intended to encourage electricity conservation rather than fuel switching.  More information on the RIB rate.  

B.C. Hydro made an application to the British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC) for their proposed RIB rate.  In response, the BCUC initiated an extensive review with public hearings that took place during the summer of 2008.  Many public interest groups registered as interveners and represented ratepayer interests.  A higher Step 1 threshold and concerns about bill impacts for residencees with electric heating were discussed.  The BCUC considered all parties' arguments and the public interest, ordered revisions to the RIB rate, and instructed B.C. Hydro to put the BCUC revised RIB rate structure into effect.  The BCUC's "Reasons for Decision" document detail the RIB rate application.   (Coldstream Corner note:  It's 157 pages long!)

The reply continues:
B.C. Hydro's electricity rates remain the lowest in North America.  In June 2009, B.C. Hydro filed a report to the BCUC summarizing the results of a North American survey of electricity prices.  The survey, conducted by Hydro Quebec and covering over 20 utilities across Canada and the United States, found that B.C. Hydro had the lowest rates for residential customers consuming 750 kilowatt hours or less per month and the third-lowest rates for residential customers consuming 1,000 to 3,000 kilowatt hours per month.
 
One way to lower your electricity bill is through investments in energy efficiency.  (Coldstream Corner note:  now would be a good time to tell them we installed a 10 kilowatt wind turbine last year!)  British Columbia's 2010 budget includes $35 million in new funding over three years for the "LiveSmart BC: Efficiency Incentive Program".  The Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources is currently working with its utility partners to finalize the structure of the new Program.  Details on the Program are expected to be announced in the coming weeks, and will be posted on the LiveSmart BC website.   (Coldstream Corner note:  would now be a good time to tell them that my 10 kilowatt wind turbine was INELIGIBLE for their program last year?  seems the program only went to a maximum 3 kilowatt turbine, yet the website omitted that).
You may also find lowcost actions to reduce your energy consumption and electricity bill through B.C. Hydro's Power Smart program.   (Coldstream Corner note:  oh yes, the B.C. Hydro "program" that charged me $600.00 for a 10-minute inspection of the wind turbine components prior to start-up). 
I trust this information addresses your concerns.  Thank you for writing.  Sincerely,” etc.

While not critical for this Letter of Comment submission, the balance of my blog story was as follows:

“Coldstream Corner's contention:
The Step 2 rate is not intended to--as Minister Lekstrom says--"encourage electricity conservation".  Proof of that is B.C. Hydro's Fiscal 2011 revenue requirement applicationThey need "x-dollars" from utility consumers.  More like reverse accounting!

And on page 65 of that 157 page document, "BC Hydro stated that it has conducted research into the default residential rate designs offered by 88 different utilities throughout North America, Europe and Asia"...  Europe and Asia???  Minister Lekstrom appears to think it was: "results of a North American survey of electricity prices".  

Also from the same page:  "Tariff sheets were entered in evidence from California..."  California???  That bastion of environment-first,and-to-hell-with-everything-else?  Yet, to California's credit, they have implemented a program that recognizes: 'an “All Electric” baseline allowance available upon application to those customers who have permanently installed electric space heating, or who have electric water heating and receive no energy from another source'.  California recognizes that!  Did Minister Lekstrom realize B.C. Hydro created a disparity when it did not implement a baseline "all electric" allowance?   

Rather than go on ad nauseum, picking apart the documents item by item, it seems that this creative--and reverse--accounting system has spread to Coldstream Council.  They also have a revenue requirement when considering property taxes.  And those are going up 5.59%.”

...Additional information re Hydro's "conservation" rate changes are here.”

My Letter of Comment is concluded.
Thank you for the opportunity to Comment.

Respectfully submitted, etc."



"No comment on that graphic," Kia would've chuckled.

Good...now let's see if BCUC will come up with an analytical and thoughtful reply to their request for comments from the public.



Sunday, November 20, 2016

Regional Growth Strategy


I've heard of it previously, mostly that it was being conducted by the Regional District of North Okanagan.

Didn't pay much attention to it though.

Not until today when I learned that the North Okanagan's Regional Growth Strategy was being conducted with the support of EcoPlan International, the University of British Columbia and the Real Estate Foundation of B.C.    

The RGS framework development was recognized by the Planning Institute of B.C. and awarded a gold medal in 2014 for Excellence in Planning Practice.




Here's the interesting part...and while you're reading...may I suggest you think the word "motivation":
 
The RDNO was successful in securing a $35,000 grant from the
 Real Estate Foundation of B.C. ,
 with contributions from other project partners
 totalling $80,000 to update the
 Monitoring and Evaluation Program
 as a component of the growth strategy's 5-year review.

RDNO has contributed $20,000
 and funds are being contributed by various partners, including:
-   Okanagan Basin Water Board $15,000;
-   Regional District Central Okanagan $5,000;
-   Regional District Okanagan/Similkameen $5,000.

What on earth would the Real Estate Foundation of B.C. have as motivation for giving the North Okanagan's growth management strategy thirty-five thousand big (dollars) ones?

And the Okanagan Basin Water Board's $15,000 grant...kinda like giving some of our money back, ne c'est pas?  But just to the RDNO, not back to residents.


The State of the Region 2016 Report is found here beginning at page 6 of 36, but some noteworthy excerpts are included in this blog entry, called "meat n potatoes" below:

A quick overview shows there are 7 policy areas:  Urban Containment, Agriculture and Food Systems, Water Stewardship, Environment and Natural Lands / Energy and Emissions, Economic Development, Transportation and Infrastructure, and Housing.

Not surprisingly, the add-on (Policy 8) was listed separately:  Governance and Service Delivery.
Maybe because governments know how testy the public here can be when it comes to "governance", or the lack / dysfunction of it, as some political candidates were wont to call it during a recent local election campaign (with residents agreeing wholeheartedly!)

Meat 'n potatoes, with corresponding government report card:
Begin at page 9 (of the 36 page link above), but I'll list some that I consider to be of particular interest:

Urban containment:  Much better.  Only 17 ha lost from 2011 to 2015, the previous five years we lost 178 ha.


Agriculture and Food:
ALR land:  Doing well.  Increase of 0.04% since 2011 despite development pressure
Farm employment:  OK.  Decrease of 8% to 6% of all employment
Farm profitability:  Doing well.  Up from 8 to 11% 2006 to 2011
Farmland diversity:  Baseline.  Diversity 0.23.  87% is forage or pastureland.
Farms diversity by type: Making progress.  Farm diversity high and increasing 0.80 to 0.81 ('06 to '11)

Water stewardship:  (stewardship?  my personal foe!)
Installation of water meters:  Doing Well.  (Did anyone here have a choice?  No!)  100% of households, businesses and agriculture have meter installed in Vernon, Armstrong, Coldstream, Lumby; and 97.4% in Enderby.

Water quality alerts:  Doing Well.  From 2006 to 2016 water quality alerts decreased overall.  Large water utilities decreased from 11 to 1.

Water used by major water utilities:  Baseline.  Much of our regional population and industry receive water from a handful of major utilities.

Groundwater levels:  % of observations wells showing increase/decrease in average annual levels: Possibly improving. Increased an average of 0.4 metres overall with with 78% of wells showing an increase from 2011 to 2016.  However, average levels are still down more than a meter since 2001. 
 
I'm going to stop there and go directly to "How are we doing?"  Readers can go to page 10 of the 36 page (link provided above) to continue reading, with the next being policy being Environment.
 
So...how are the bureaucrat planners and professional educators doing?

"...the amount and rate at which land in the North Okanagan has been rezoned from a "rural" zone (wherein new lots must be at least 1 hectare) to other "non-rural" zoning (wherein new lots may be less than 1 hectare) is one indicator of the demand for new, smaller lots."

"...since 2011, the amount of land in the North Okanagan within the ALR has increased by 6 hectares (+/- 0.04%) with the inclusions primarily taking place in the Spallumcheen area."

Page 13 (of 36) begins a section entitled Focus Development into Growth Areas, Protect Rural Lands.

And then there's this Water Stewardship "gem", where someone forgot to mention to the report writers that other stakeholders were involved too!  (Even though we all know that only agriculture and Interior Health had any clout in the process!)

No wonder only Agriculture and Interior Health reps knew the way in...


"The GVW Master Water Plan, completed in 2012, is a detailed water utility study that reviews progress and provides direction for the next 40 years to ensure compliance with Provincial standards to safeguard health and to meet future water needs based on predicted growth."

"The Master Water Plan is the outcome of a partnership between RDNO, the City of Vernon, and the District of Coldstream in consultation with professional engineers and a Technical Advisory Committee comprised of local government staff as well as representatives from the agricultural community and Interior Health."

"The Master Water Plan is a living document that continues to be updated by expert engineering analysis and current Okanagan water information and technology."


"The MWP omits a professional peer review," Kia would've said.

...Its largest omission was the ability to listen constructively to those whose scientific ideas were (and remain) noteworthy. 

The draft document's concluding sections are an interesting read.

But I'm left wondering whether the Real Estate Foundation of B.C. felt they got "bang for their $35,000 bucks".
Still wondering about their motivation though.



Anyway, the Draft 36 pages went to the November 17th meeting of the Regional Growth Management Advisory Committee Meeting at RDNO.




B.C. Utilities Commission Request for Comments


...on the 2-tier electricity rates in B.C.
You have only until November 24th to submit your Letter of Comment on hydro rates that comprise the Tier 1 and Tier 2 pricing.

The Google search on the request for comments took me to a website from Bowen Island, and provides some good information.  Presumably residents on the island(s) have no access to natural gas, and are severely affected by high hydro rates.

I did provide my comments already--albeit almost 6 years ago--and also included a reply from then-minister Lekstrom.  The 2010 blog entry was re-sent today to the BCUC.

Why the call for comments?

Obviously, electricity rates are going to keep increasing.

But while there is no hint of it, methinks that the B.C.U.C. is planning to implement Time of Use rates in British Columbia, much like the system currently in place in Ontario.

Before commenting on your personal situation on hydro rates, it may be helpful to read the following excellent entries by blogger Norman Farrell:  private power purchases 2005-2016, which provides information on the types of customers hydro has, and a sub-blog (Tyee) that Norm Farrell has included because of the huge amounts of money that are "at stake here", and the many articles that Norm has penned regarding huge cost overruns on Hydro's Site C dam.

"We'll run the dishwasher and the washing machine at 2 a.m.," Kia would've suggested "to save money, which W.A.C. Bennett would never have seen in our future."

An appropriate graphic for ToU energy use.  Source:  Twitter


Family members will take turns as night owls, thanks in part to the B.C. Government's insatiable appetite for revenue.

The BCUC "comments" initiative may state it's regarding the current Step 1 and Step 2 tiered electricity rates, but results WILL lead to Time of Use electricity rates for British Columbia.

 

Friday, November 18, 2016

Swarm of Stinkbug Soldiers


Well, okay, not soldiers or swarm, really.

But it's an invading army nevertheless.

The brown marmorated stinkbugs haven't been around for very long, as Wikipedia reports: "The brown marmorated stink bug was accidentally introduced into the United States from China or Japan. It is believed to have hitched a ride as a stowaway in packing crates or on various types of machinery."

Accidentally introduced.
Aaaargh!

Drives me crazy now that cold weather is upon us, and the buggers are finding their way into the house.
Not a piece of firewood comes in without a hard tap on the ground to dislodge any that are sleeping on the undersides.   Since they're not small, I wonder how they get in.

But get inside they do.
Aaaargh again!

The Wikipedia gallery shows egg clusters on leaves...but look at what I found on a decorative plant at the edge of the patio:  (click photos to enlarge)

A hardened glob of mud, with some type of larvae inside. Was the stinkbug feeding?  or protecting it?


The stinkbug on the mud glob quickly met its maker 

So was the stinkbug feeding on the contents of the mud glob?
Or are those its own larvae overwintering?

The round depressions on the mud glob were interesting, and appeared as though a penny had been pressed into the mud while it was still wet.  
What made those penny-sized depressions?

A clever adversary, skilled in geometry, if it was the stinkbug.
Arrived via hitch-hiking.

"Between knapweed and stinkbug 'imports'," Kia would've suggested, "B.C. has a trade imbalance with China and Europe."

Knapweed details.



Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Was that a Guesstimate?


Today's Morning Star editorial by Rolke, entitled "It's all about vision", focused on Coldstream purchasing the 2 acres of commercially-zoned land between Dutch's campground and Vernon City boundary.

An excerpt:  "If the Okanagan Rail Trail Initiative is correct, an additional 107,400 visitors will be attracted to the region annually to use the trail....this could possibly pump $6.7 to $8.7 million into the economy, and even if that figure is off slightly, the extra revenue going into businesses and families will be welcome."

And then halfway through, he states: "Of course we can't ignore the cost of preparing the property for hikers and cyclists....figures aren't known..."

I personally don't have an issue with the District of Coldstream spending $550,000 for that 2 acres of land. 

What I do have an issue with is this:

Who/what determined that hikers and cyclists--well known for being outfitted from head to toe and self-sufficient for their trip--would spend any money at either end of the Trail?
  
Let alone that 107,400 of 'em would inject $6.7 to $8.7 million into the economy.


photo:  internet.  See all those backpacks?  Chock full of water, juice, snacks, and sandwiches.  And toilet paper.

Rolke's story concludes:  "These two acres are a diamond in the rough."

"Might be a cubic zirconia," Kia would've whispered.

Both are shiny and attract people.

So we'll see...if any of those 107,400 people need anything here.



Sunday, November 13, 2016

It's Open


30th Street is open again! 
Yay!

But somewhere, somehow during its 3+ month closure, it went on a diet.
30th Street came back skinnier.
No parking.
On either side, possibly?

Looking south on the newly re-piped, re-sewered, re-paved, nicer-lamped 30th Street

Wider sidewalks are to encourage more walking ... past a 50-year old costume house, tattoo parlour, friendship center, most businesses that are closed on weekends...even the Shaw-TV business is boarded up!

"Get your cane, Myrtle," Kia would've said, "we're going for a walk in this new neighbourhood."

Some other time, thanks.

Future 30th Street sign?

Friday, November 11, 2016

Murkily Transparent


It's not life or death...

It's not a huge deal that the District of Coldstream omitted the "Applicant" part of a public hearing's rezoning application...but the point is that it was omitted...when other public hearing documents include the applicant's name.

In this case, it's a resident's application to rezone their property to Bed 'n Breakfast--allowed in their area--by the Official Community Plan (and zoning regulations).

I am not against the application, and with the planned Okanagan Rail Trail, the bed 'n breakfast application is likely a good idea as those people using the trail may wish to access accommodations without going into downtown Vernon.

It's simply that some things aren't done in a consistent manner by some local governments (in this case, Coldstream).

Unlike Vernon:  An October hearing, with applicant clearly defined.

Have a look at the 7+ pages of public hearing documents from the City of Vernon...you'll be hard pressed to find the Applicant information omitted.








"Coldstream only includes Applicant names when officials deem the issue to be earth-fracking (-shaking), like a decidedly-sinful liquor license," Kia would've said.


Bed 'n breakfasts don't qualify.

But they won't want transparent windows...


Bellringer "Out to Lunch"


Yup...B.C.'s Auditor General, Carole Bellringer, is out to lunch if she thinks she has a good grasp on the recycling program(s) in the province.
She's obviously listening to the wrong people.

A November 10th Kiss-FM news story reported that no recycling audit was necessary.

""Such as ensuring the quality of reporting and recycling outcomes, expanding access to recycling services to more locations throughout the province including  rural communities, and encouraging accountability through transparent financial reporting."

The program's working well, Ms. Bellringer?
Really?

"Those who make, distribute or sell certain types of products are responsible for recycling them.
 The intent is to take the responsibility off of taxpayers
 and local governments and put it with the producers,"
 Carole Bellringer, B.C. Auditor General


Abject hogwash.

Notice something?  (You should...)
Well, perhaps not...because you have to dig for it.

"Those who make..." includes Weston Bakeries, the largest bread manufacturer in Canada.

an apt description...


"So does Bellringer know that bread bags aren't allowed in the recycling containers?", Kia would've asked.

Apparently she hasn't a clue that bread bags aren't allowed.

The problem with recycling program(s) in B.C. should ring a bell.
But apparently not for everyone.

Just more ka-ka from the B.C. government, whose regional districts got lots of moolah (= bribe?) to enable the program...


T2 Condones Chaos?


I almost fell off my chair when I read about this.
So much so that I almost posted this blog entry's heading as "Drama Teacher vs. Economist (Trudeau vs. Harper).

Almost.


The story concerns a woman named Charmaine Stick who went on a 13-day hunger strike as a result of Onion Lake Reservation chief Wallace Fox denying her request for an explanation of financial problems at the band.

The First Nations Financial Transparency Act requires disclosure.

The transparency act was enacted under Prime Minister Harper after years of problems with bands who were unable--and unwilling--to show where the money went.  We've all heard the horror stories of Federal money going to bands whose members live in unsafe and unsanitary housing, etc.

So what happened?  it appears that T2 (Justin Trudeau, prime minister) actually refuses to enforce the act, and has halted the court action that would've had the Onion Lake band comply with the Act.

At this point I was almost spitting nails, so will leave it to the CTF to explain the debacle:
"
Charmaine Stick and the Canadian Taxpayers Federation are taking the Onion Lake Cree Nation to court to force band leaders to tell band members what’s happening with the community’s money. Today we filed the final court documents and announced the court application to the media.

If she wins, it will set a precedent across Canada and force dozens of other First Nations bands to open their books.

Charmaine is courageous. When she heard about financial problems at her band, she demanded answers from her leaders. When they refused, she went on a 13-day hunger strike. Now, because of donations from people like you, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation is a co-applicant on her court case and we’re covering all of the legal expenses.

We’ve given Onion Lake Chief Wallace Fox every chance to do the right thing, but he refuses to comply with the CTF-inspired First Nations Financial Transparency Act. The act requires First Nations to publish the salaries and expenses of the chief and council as well as the band’s basic financial information. More than 98 per cent of First Nations have complied to some degree. The disclosures show some chiefs got paid more than the prime minister and others serve as unpaid volunteers. But Chief Fox says it’s “
racist” to have a law requiring transparency in First Nations communities and he won’t open the books.

It gets worse.

The previous Conservative government went to court to force Onion Lake to follow the law. When the Liberals formed government, they
halted the court action and stopped enforcing the law.

The federal government may have given in, but Charmaine hasn’t and neither have we. Now Charmaine will have her day in court. And she’s getting the opportunity to tell her story to the world through the media.

It’s now time to turn the heat up on the federal government. Can you email the Prime Minister, Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, and the opposition critics and ask the federal government to apply to be an intervenor in this case on behalf of transparency?

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s email is:
justin.trudeau@parl.gc.ca

Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Indigenous and Norther Affairs’ email is: carolyn.bennett@parl.gc.ca

Cathy McLeod, Conservative Party critic for Indigenous Affairs’ email is: cathy.mcleod@parl.gc.ca

Charlie Angus, NDP critic for Indigenous and Northern Affairs’ email is:
charlie.angus@parl.gc.ca
"
 

Whad'ya expect from our new Prime Minister?
...remember how important legalizing marijuana was for him?
As though that's important in a world fraught with crises... but what do you expect from a Trust Fund child?




"Isn't that akin to Reverse Racism?", Kia would've asked.

Good point.
It certainly is chaos, and T2 appears to condone it.

Further reference:  Attawapiskat housing debacle

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Need Another Room to Pile It


...just so I don't get another "note" from the recycler/driver.


Since the recycling system collects only every two weeks--and I only put recycling out once a month--there are 4 weeks of recycling in the blue bins...all of which is acceptable (no rejected containers or packaging, or illegal items in the tiny world of the recycling industry).

But I toss stuff into the blue bins (located in the garage) as--and when--containers are emptied in the house through cooking etc. 
So it's only natural that there may be some items somewhat mixed up in the blue box.
Otherwise I'd have to have numerous loose piles in my laundry room--which I vehemently refuse to do--and then on the morning of recycling, I would have to selectively load into the required categories the items in the order they want.


To be fair, the driver DID take all my recycling, despite the green--slap on my wrist--note stating they had been unable to collect it today, so thank you.

And, yes, he left a RDNO brochure about the partnership with Emterra Environmental and MMBC.

Notice anything?  hmmmm.

Notice anything about the recycling guide brochure the driver left? 
Yup...it's got plastic overwrap.

Plastic overwrap isn't allowed by our recycling program (if you can call it a program), and the plastic overwrap has to be taken to a separate depot.

So...anybody else have piles and piles of loose stuff in their laundry room--waiting for recycling day--so that you can nicely arrange it for the driver (to prevent getting a green note)?

"Maybe you should offer to drive the bloody truck, too," Kia would've said.

Recycling director, Mr. Allen Langdon should be driving the truck.



Tuesday, November 8, 2016

"Earning" My Carbon Tax


Okay, it may have been difficult--let alone expensive--for Canada Post to provide the same keyed locks that residents already possess when CP switched the old group mailboxes to the new fancy-schmancy style.

But really, just think of how inconvenient it is/was for people from 38 residences (in just this one area, one grouping of boxes) to hoof it in to Canada Post downtown to pick up new keys.


So imagine thousands of people making individual car trips--with supporting parking coins for the meters--to pick up their new keys.

Inconvenient indeed!

But perhaps the "improved security features" will pay off, with fewer attempts to tamper with mailboxes in unlit and infrequently travelled rural areas.



"Too bad the Morning Star box was recently vandalized--and now removed entirely," Kia would've said.

Just think of all those inconvenient new, gas-guzzling trips:

1.  since the blue bag recycling program ended--with Mini-Material B.C. taking fewer recyclables than their predecessors--we hoof it into town to drop-off centres where we can spend 20 minutes placing recyclables into one or two of the myriad labelled containers.  If MMBC's managing director, Mr. Langdon, lived in this community, I would be one of many people who would happily line up at the curb to place the "unrecyclables" on his lawn!

2.  since the Morning Star box is gone at this location, we hoof it into town to pick up a newspaper three times a week, if the box isn't replaced.

3.  since the group mailbox changed, we all made a one-time trip into the Post Office to pick up new keys.

We're getting mileage out of our carbon taxes.

Yessirreebob.

The bureaucratic way...