Friday, July 30, 2010

Jim Bodkin Letter to the Editor re: NORD

Vernon resident, Jim Bodkin, submitted a thought-provoking letter to The Morning Star, published July 28, 2010, that deserves reprinting.

"It was sad to read that NORD (North Okanagan Regional District) turned down supporting a second bus from the Kalamalka campus of Okanagan College to UBCO and the airport despite the obvious need.  I am glad that Vernon stepped up and decided to underwrite the necessary bus subsidy on its own.  Why support was not forthcoming from Coldstream and Areas B and C completely baffles me.  Surely they too have live-at-home students attending UBCO and travellers interested in accessing the airport via bus.

Perhaps the time has come to take a hard look at the viability of the North Okanagan Regional District and its worth to local taxpayers.  The compensation of politicians reported recently shows heavy five-figure double dipping by both Vernon and Coldstream representatives at NORD.  We taxpayers pay for this double dipping from a single pocket but service on NORD is an integral part of a Vernon and Coldstream politician's job and taxpayers should not be billed for it twice.  Surely it is excessive to pay each of these reps from $10,500 to almost $15,000 extra to represent Vernon and Coldstream at NORD.

I was amazed to read that the head staff honcho at NORD is paid more than Vernon's head guy.  NORD embraces a huge area but the vast bulk of the population is in Vernon and there is far less complexity in the NORD job.  There are lots of other $75,000 and up jobs at NORD too.  Do the citizens of Vernon and Coldstream really need them?  Does it not makes sense for NORD to just deal with the rural/village areas where there is more commonality than exists with urban centres?

Both Vernon and Coldstream have issues with NORD over parks, especially the creation and maintenance of tot lots, small urban green spaces and play areas in city neighbourhoods.  The rural NORD directors think these are just urban fripperies that are expensive to keep up so they refuse to have NORD fund them.  Likewise, some of them opt out of funding for historic sites such as the O'Keefe Ranch and leave the cities to bear the brunt of the cost.

Vernon got so frustrated at NORD lack of action regarding Polson Park and its long ago burnt down grandstand that it finally took matters into its own hands and forced a confrontation that led to something being done...a 'something' that will dig deeper into the pockets of Vernon taxpayers than it should and something that should have happened years ago if the NORD parks and recreation was not so dysfunctional.

Remember the sports complex fiasco that NORD initiated in Coldstream then washed their hands of once a controversy started?  NORD parks and recreation stepped back to observe the fireworks from the sidelines saying it was up to the locals to decide despite NORD being the initiator and largely responsible for the whole mess by doing such a poor planning and presentation job in the first place.

At present, Vernon and NORD are at war over water.  Legal action has been initiated by Vernon to get out of what it sees as NORD-created extra costs on the management of the water distribution system in the city.

NORD has spent millions getting Duteau Creek water, water that was never originally intended for human consumption, to look better, taste better and get rid, hopefully, of the ongoing boil water advisories.  Next they will come looking to dig deeper into taxpayer pockets to spend more to raise the dams, build better weirs, etc. to get some more quantity into the Duteau system.  Virtually none of the mega bucks spent to date have added to our water supply.  Time to change gurus from my way of thinking or at least get the NORD fuddle duddlers out of the picture.

All things considered, it seems prudent to put NORD under a microscope and see what makes sense from a taxpayer point of view.  Cherry picking opting out or collective vetoing by the various rural NORD entities is too expensive for the city taxpayers of Vernon and Coldstream to continue to tolerate.  The rural-urban differing viewpoints have degenerated into an unacceptable waste of taxpayer dollars for all concerned.

NORD costs too much, does too little and is too animosity prone."  Jim Bodkin
"Mr. Bodkin for Mayor," offers Kia!

...of Coldstream!, suggests Kia's owner. 

Saturday, July 24, 2010

10 kw Wind Turbine...operational again

Again operational, after two months and four days of downtime! 

Shown (at the right of the two) in the photo, this is the third Aurora inverter installed.

The first--slow to start up even when its parallel partner at the left was sending electricity to the grid last year--failed around midnight on May 19th, 2010. Sent back to Power One in California, after three weeks they had no answer as to why it failed. So the contractor asked for a replacement inverter to be sent. After several weeks it arrived and was programmed and wired parallel, only to discover it had an "internal fault". Power One was again contacted by Paul Wende of Energy West Power, who insisted a new 6 kw Aurora inverter be put onto Air Express to mitigate this lengthy downtime.

The third Aurora 6 kw inverter arrived Thursday, was immediately programmed, then installed Friday.  We're finally up and running again.

Of the changes made, contractor Paul Wende stated "we have implemented an independent braking function so that when the controller senses either a certain RPM, or voltage, or windspeed, or turbine head temperature, that it will apply the 10 kw dumpload in parallel with turbine output, thus loading the turbine and dissipating excess energy." He added: "We basically installed four new wires."

And early the next day, Paul said 16 kilowatts had been produced since Midnight.

"Thank goodness we have another fan going in this heat," pants Kia.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Coldstream Council Noise Bylaw

They've done it again.

And this Coldstream Bylaw No.1570--a bylaw to regulate or prohibit the making or causing of noises or sounds in the Municipality--will likely draw as many chuckles as did Coldstream's Weapons Discharge Bylaw

Many communities have a noise bylaw.

Apart from the fact that Coldstream's is mute on decibel ranges, this bylaw will no doubt stand out because it regulates or prohibits movement.

What?  Movement!  Movement?  Really?  Really?
 Yep.  Here's their definition:

  (iv)  "Noise" includes any loud outcry, clamour, shouting or movement, or any sound that is loud or harsh or undesirable;"

It's subjective, too.
"General Regulations: (B) No person being the owner or occupier or tenant of real property shall allow or permit such real property to be used so that noise or sound which occurs thereon or flows therefrom, disturbs or tends to disturb (italics mine) the quite (sic), peace, rest, enjoyment, comfort, or convenience of any person or persons on the same property or in the neighbourhood or vicinity.  (italics mine).

Movement?  Tends to disturb?  Entirely subjective.

The capacity at Highlands Golf, a commercial recreation facility within Coldstream, is 129 patrons.

Coldstream Council--despite having two lawyers aboard as councillors--obviously doesn't realize that legally-acquired commercial zoning and the patron capacity that results from that zoning does not require patrons to be invisible or whispering while they are at the premises.

"Yet another moronic bylaw from Coldstream's Mayor and Council," whispers Kia.

Speak up, I didn't hear you!