Monday, February 27, 2012

Coldstream Destroying Private Property Rights

Excellent letter from Ken and Karen Dahlen, reproduced with permission:

My name is Ken Dahlen and my wife and I own Keith Dahlen Construction located in Coldstream, and we also own 15 acres located on Aberdeen (Road).

As Council knows, we were the contractor chosen to renovate the Paterson's home on Kidston Road.  During the planning process we met Coldstream's planner, Craig Broderick, and the Building Official, Bob Bibby.  This is a common practice for most construction companies to ensure that they have a clear understanding of the bylaws, rules and regulations.  Keith Construction was very clearly advised that if we stayed within the current bylaws and required no variance, or re-zoning that the District of Coldstream would have no issue with our permit application.  We also discussed the possible proposed bike path and again Mr. Broderick advised us that if we stayed within the current regulations that the District of Coldstream would not ask for upgrades or improvements.  We all know we are now almost one year later and no building permit has been issued.  So at this time we have only two possible questions that require answering:
  1. Did Mr. Broderick and Mr. Bibby act on their own and make a mistake in the interpretation of the bylaw?
  2. Or was this set up as a trap for my clients so that they would have no choice but to give in to the demands of Coldstream?
"The process has not been open and transparent and makes me very, very concerned for the future of Coldstream..."
As a professional contractor it is critical that we have clear, transparent guidelines to follow.  Hundreds of thousands of dollars are being invested in personal homes.  For most clients this is their life savings and their last safe holdings for themselves and/or their families.

I believe it is also important for everyone to understand that the District of Coldstream started their demands with the Patersons by the following:
  1. The building permit was conditional that my client upgrade Kidston Road in front of their property, some 300 lineal feet to current standards, (when this did not work)
  2. The District then asked for gifting of the land required for the proposed bike path, (when this did not work)
  3. The District then proposed to purchase the required land at the tax assessment value for the proposed bike path, (when this did not work)
  4. The District then proposed  to purchase the required land at market value for the proposed bike path.
I would like to make sure we all understand that the Patersons were adding on a garage and renovating their home.  That was it.  Hundreds of other homeowners have done so with no issues and no requests for land, or upgrades.  There is no increase on the infrastructure as it is still a single family home and meets all the regulations of the zoning.

There is no impact on the community.  The benefit we will have is a new, improved home that would increase the District's tax base.  I believe this is a good thing, right? 

When you look at how the demands have changed by the District of Coldstream it would seem to me they are doing whatever they can to try and extort this property for a bike path and in doing so, hold up my client from their buiding permit.  The process has not been open and transparent and makes me very, very concerned for the future of Coldstream.

I would ask that Council take a moment and reflect on the property owners of Coldstream.  I believe they know what is right and what is wrong and for our community to steal property from one homeowner for the benefit of the community is wrong.  If we as a community feel we require upgrades to roads, bike paths, wheelchair access to the beach, or a new Works Yard building then we should be advised, understand the costs, negotiate a fair deal and proceed as a community.

I do not support this Council trying to change and manipulate a bylaw so we can play "Robin Hood" and take from those who choose to improve their homes and/or build a new home on property that is already zoned for that exact use!

As a building contractor I am really not sure what to tell new clients when asking about new projects.  This should be a very simple review of the bylaws and very transparent.
"I believe every single property owner in Coldstream should understand what is at risk..."
I would ask Council to open this review of the subdivision bylaw to the public.  I feel that the past "Technical Review Committee" and the new "CoW" is another way of changing bylaws without everyone knowing what is happening.  There seems to be no interest in getting professional input for this review, just Council and staff strategizing on how best to change the bylaws.  I believe every single property owner in Coldstream should understand what is at risk, and you need to be very clear and make them understand your request to change this bylaw.

As a property owner in Coldstream and in Canada, I feel the following points need to be addressed:
  1. Property ownership comes with rights.  When you own your land and pay your taxes it comes with the rules and regulations that allow you to improve your property or build structures based on the zoning of your land.  I believe we live in Canada and owning property still stands for something.
  2. No one can change your zoning if they don't own it, you own it and you have legal rights so stand up for your rights.
  3. When you purchased your land, the roads, sidewalks, sewer and water are installed and owned by the municipality.  The land owner does not own them unless it is a strata development.  The property owner pays taxes each year for the use of and for upgrades as required to the infrastructure.
  4. In your own building permit regulations it states that no permit shall be withheld as long as it meets the current regulations that are on title for this property.
  5. I also believe that you cannot ask for a second development servicing charge on your property.  As long as it stays with the current zoning.
  6. So knowing that land owners do not own the sidewalks, roads, sewer and water, it would seem to make sense that as a community we budget for the repair, maintenane and upgrades as the need arises.
  7. Individual land owners should not be at risk of major upgrades and or gifting of land to the community just to have the right to renovate or build their home!  We already have that right to build and renovate our homes, but the District of Coldstream is trying to suggest that they want the right to check in on all building permits and see if they want upgrades, or land, etc.  I would like to be clear on this also:  A single family renovation and/or home construction is not a development.  Single family home owners are not developers.
  8. How will you handle this if a home burns down and the insurance funds are for replacement of the home only and the District is now wanting curb and gutter or upgrades included?  If the client does not have the funds and the insurance company has confirmed they do not cover sidewalks, curbs and gutters, how does the homeowner rebuild?  The insurance industry has stated clearly that you cannot insure what you don't own.  So how can the District feel entitled to this requirement in their new bylaw?
In closing, we feel that we have lost focus on what is really at stake here.  It is not about one building permit for the Patersons.  It is not about the proposed bike path.  It is about the District of Coldstream using its powers to change the bylaws on our land to allow them to make standard building permits conditional as they choose to see fit They are twisting the current bylaw and using the Subdivision and Development bylaw and trying to apply this to a standard single family building permit.

This is an erosion of our property rights and should not be allowed as long as we own our land in its current zoning.  Banks and Appraisal companies value our land knowing we have the rights to upgrade and build on our land, they are not counting on property owners having to gift land and/or upgrade municipal infrastructure.  If you change this, how will they know how to value our property?

The property owners have rights and I believe this Council needs to understand that we did not elect them to change the bylaws on our property.

Your jobs as councillors should be simple, to ensure that the bylaws, rules and regulations are regulated fairly, openly, and honestly.

Thank you.  (Signed) Ken and Karen Dahlen

(Ed.note:  "bold" text blog author)

"Mr. Dahlen only left out that we're still a democracy ... last time we looked anyway," offers Kia.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Coldstream's Committee-of-the-Whole meeting

I'm an idiot.

I attended tonight's Coldstream meeting, pen and notebook in hand to jot down the long-anticipated resolution to the contentious Subdivision Servicing Bylaw 1535.

Plus I wanted to be present, if only to hear that Judy Paterson would, on this one year anniversary of her application for a standard building permit, be receiving her approved permit in the mail.

I actually had felt that Mayor Garlick and Council--after having received their legal opinion in this year-long fiasco--would see the error of their ways; even rescinding the bylaw in its entirety.

How utterly foolish of me to believe sanity and fair play would prevail with this bunch.

It dawned on me tonight that this Mayor and Council--with the exception of newly-arrived Councillors Cochrane and McClean--are themselves an extremely biased special interest group, made up of the founding members of the Coldstream Ratepayers Association.  Each has met the prerequisite for membership:  narrow-mindedness, honed long ago as they circled the wagons to fight Jack Borden's plans for Coldstream Meadows.

They proved tonight they still possess that trait, if not the wagons.

This little clique, this little band of wannabe elitists has its own vision for Coldstream.

What I heard tonight made me wonder why I had been optimistic.

No resolution to the bylaw. 
Indeed the bylaw's to-and-fro machinations will see it remain in Draft version for a long time yet.

No building permit approval, despite a motion by Councillor Peter McClean to grant the permit and deal with other issues of drainage and safety on the road separately.  The motion was seconded by Councillor Pat Cochrane.  With only two supporters, the motion failed.

This mayor and council have been caught with their hands in the jar of their Golden Goose...the Patersons.
And are mad that the Patersons have challenged them and won the popular vote.
So, in the style that is customary with this council, the Patersons "must pay", in more ways than having their building permit withheld.

Council appears more intent on saving face than doing what their lawyer suggested...they could request--but not demand off-site charges.  

Disgusted, I had heard enough.
I walked out after an hour of their blathering nonsense.

Meeting four other attendees in the vestibule, who said they had also heard enough, phrases such as "morons", "idiotic", "lunacy", "bullshit" spilled from strangers' mouths as, one by one, people nodded in agreement.

We left the building, shaking our heads at this abject travesty masquerading as democracy.

Coldstream is going to hell in a hand-basket.

Nulli secundus ...second to none.

"For treating residents like vassals in a feudal system," offers Kia.


Sunday, February 19, 2012

Ken Dahlen's compelling letter for Coldstream residents

Ken is a building contractor in the North Okanagan and--after a year of seeing first-hand the effects and hearing from customers who are delaying work on their homes--is silent no longer regarding Coldstream's Subdivision Servicing Bylaw 1535.

Especially after today's Morning Star story by Jennifer Smith.

We are grateful for Ken's permission to reprint his letter to Jennifer here:

February 19, 2012

To: Jennifer Smith

I would first like to take the time to thank you for your article today in the Morning Star about Coldstream and the development and servicing bylaw. I own Keith Dahlen Construction along with 15 acres in Coldstream. I am very concerned about the District's approach to this bylaw and feel they are really trying to change rules and regulations to allow them to collect another form of tax to help with their own budget overruns. I believe if we check what is happening in the real world every single business in the North Okanagan has had to reduce spending, cut budgets and balance our budgets. However I believe if you check into their (Ed.note: Coldstream's) budgets, they are still increasing even though the economy is struggling. Business is down some 25 to 30% and the municipality's spending is up approx. 40%. This can't continue! Our jobs within the North Okanagan have drastically reduced over the past two years and we need government to understand this is not the time to make things more difficult!

In regards to the changes the District is considering I feel it is important to understand some basic points:

1. Coldstream is looking at changing rules and regulations (Bylaws) on existing property. When this happens this could affect what the owner can or can't do on his property. For some of us we purchase the property knowing we have a right to additions, 2nd buildings and/or structures and possibly have had banks, appraisers involved to give you land values, maybe even take out a mortgage knowing this. The guidelines are very clear on land usage and how to conform.
 So if they have the ability to change Bylaws that can affect your property, do they not have to have the consent of the property owners! Should the property owners all not be made aware of their new (Bylaws) and have a say? Or do we in effect rent the land from them and they can change the rules and regulations tell us what they need! Is this a Monarchy? They must inform every single property owner within Coldstream that they are considering changing the rules and regulations that could effect their own land use and possibly add thousands of dollars to their cost even if it just a small renovation. We should have a say in this!

2. I have also checked with Insurance companies and they have confirmed that when we insure a home we only insure the home. So if a home is required to be re-built due to fire, flood etc. we are only insured to re-build the home. To rebuild the home this would require a building permit. Once again this is just replacement of the home that existed. So if the District is allowed to then ask for roads and drainage upgrades the property owner is not insured for the additional cost. You cannot insure what you don't own. This is a clear message that the roads and drainage are not the owners' responsibility and have been paid by development and/or the district and that our annual taxes are paid to take care of these.

3. If road and infrastructure upgrades are required then as a community we need to understand what they are and have a say in when and how much this should cost the taxpayers and have a plan to have this work completed. This should not be on the back of a single family permit application and/or renovation that has no net effect and meets all guidelines.

I have a growing list of clients that have stopped their plans to proceed with construction during the permit issuance stage as the demands have been too great. I feel it is very important for all the citizens to be advised and understand their rights and at least have an opportunity to speak to this current bylaw review.

I wrote a letter to Coldstream in 2011 and was asked to attend a Technical Review Committee meeting when they were first discussing the change to this bylaw. However I was advised about 1 hour before I attended that I could attend but I would not be allowed to speak. So I attended the meeting only to listen to them cut up my letter and suggest it was not worth responding to! It makes you really wonder is this actually Canada? They are discussing bylaws that affect my property and I have no say! How does this work?

Once again they have renamed this group and now call it "Committee of the Whole" and meet again this Monday Feb. 20th  at 6 pm and no one knows about it. This again is a meeting you can attend but you are not allowed to speak or ask questions. They then push to move right into the next council meeting to possibly change the bylaw. On some bylaws they have even pushed them through by reading 1st, 2nd and 3rd reading in one night so no one has time to debate or ask questions!

I appreciate anything you can do to help get this information out as I believe most people really do not understand the risk at hand.

Thank you for your time.
Ken Dahlen

And thank you, Ken, for allowing us to print your powerful letter...

Coldstream meeting dates and times are (click) here

Coldstream's vague dictionary

Funny how words can be misconstrued.
Or misused.

Coldstream mayor Jim Garlick offered their lawyer's advice, "You can make this request for works to be done,"  on whether or not the district could legally charge Judy Paterson for a ~$300,000 multi-use path in front of her Kidston Road property when she applied for a standard homeowner's building permit a year ago to build a garage...yes, one year ago!

That legal advice has only recently been requested--and received--by Coldstream, and is reported in Jennifer Smith's excellent story in The Morning Star newspaper issue of February 19th, 2012.

Coldstream's lawyers need to do more work, though, and perhaps highlight the sentence to more accurately reflect their costly advice, since Coldstream Council still haven't caught on to the limitations of their much-touted "broad powers."

Future legal advice for Coldstream might then appear this way:  "You can make this request for works to be done," providing emphasis--via the bold type--to what Coldstream should be cautious about.

Hmmmmm...  "can", "request"

"Can" isn't a synonym for "should", nor is request a synonym for "demand".

It's as simple as that.
Coldstream's lawyers are saying you CAN ask Judy ... you can REQUEST that Judy build the municipality a $300,000. bicycle path.

But you can't DEMAND, which is what Coldstream's mayor and council and staff have done for an entire year.

In other words, Judy Paterson may accede to Coldstream's request for a bike path.
Or she may not, which she did last year.

Judy's lawyer has offered his advice, too (albeit earlier than the response from Coldstream's lawyer):  "In our opinion, the district has acted outside the scope of their authority.  Our opinion is that they are attempting to strong-arm you into granting the (right-of-way) for the pathway and have no legalistic basis on which to request the works and services sought," stated the letter from Farris, Vaughan, Wills and Murphy LLP.

So has getting the proverbial kick in the cargo-pants enticed Coldstream's mayor and council to apologize to Judy Paterson for the year-long Coldstream fiasco as they deliver her now-approved building permit?

No apology.
No building permit.

The Morning Star article continues:  "While Coldstream maintains its right to make such requests, under the Local Government Act, council is examining its current practice." 

"It's a tough problem that we're dealing with," said Councillor Richard Enns, a lawyer by trade (prior to last November's election there were two lawyers on the district's council), adding "But I don't think at this information-gathering stage we should be making decisions about narrowing our focus just yet."

Narrowing their focus?
After one year he calls it an information-gathering stage?
Somebody check his pulse as it's obviously too slow.

Judy Paterson is concerned, as the article states, about what this could mean for other Coldstream residents wanting to renovate.

Getting up out of the dust, now Coldstream Council is adjusting/reviewing its infrastructure needs to determine if specific requests for off-site frontage works may be appropriate).  Shifting gears, the focus now is on a list of drainage requirements, since they seem--finally--to be convinced of our view that bicycle paths are NOT infrastructure! 

But rest not, folks...drainage affects virtually every one of us, every property in this hilly valley.

The next meeting is a Committee of the Whole event, 6 p.m. Monday, February 20th (tomorrow).
And remember, in this quasi-socialist system, members of the public are NOT allowed to speak to the meeting.

Or sneeze.  Or cough...without a permit.

"We should invite Judge Judy to settle this nonsense," offers Kia.

The article concludes:  "Coldstream has also compared its practices with other communities and has found that the district's are more onerous than many others."

Maybe Judy should follow (and quote) the lead recently set by the B.C. Government itself (where persons charged with crimes--but not scheduled for trial because of too-long delays in getting courtroom time-- are being let go...set free).

Quote that, Judy, as "case law".
Put a shovel in the ground and start that garage...without the permit.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Water Source Protection

The Interior Health Authority's stringent demands to filter Duteau Creek water--even after chlorination with last year's construction of the Duteau Creek Water Treatment Plant--point the finger at Greater Vernon Water, entirely missing a critical component :  impacts from current usage of the lands surrounding the reservoirs.

The IHA even ignores the recommendation of a local aquatic biologist with 30 years' experience.

"No substitute exists for source water protection," avowed Heather Larratt at last year's Water Supply Association of British Columbia.  The real clincher with that comment, though, is the bureaucratic mire caused by present and historical uses of the area.

It'd be difficult to choose the worst offenders among wildlife (including geese, deer, fish and reptiles), logging, ranching, recreational, illegal dumping, forest diseases, drought, climate change -- indeed, even privately-owned lakefront cottages -- but all have a negative impact on water quality in Duteau Creek's upland reservoirs, which is one of nine sources of water for the community.  Duteau Creek now supplies approximately 95 per cent of the area's water, as customers formerly on the Kalamalka Lake source are increasingly connected to the Duteau system.

A map of our water system's intricate distribution network is here, with source details here.

The biggest historical complaint about Duteau water has always been turbidity, but the water treatment plant's construction has virtually eliminated the incidences of cloudy, beige water.

What Heather Larratt was talking about in her presentation on source protection is pathogen contamination -- Giardia and Cryptosporidium -- principal pathogens of concern.

So it's good that Interior Health is demanding filtration, right?

You'd think so, even with the fact no Federal or Provincial infrastructure money is offered by the provincial health authority to assist in financing the $20 million anticipated cost.

But we've just spent nearly $30 million on the water treatment plant to eliminate turbidity!  Local officials admit they buckled--despite knowing that bacterial issues were more important to public health--to pressure from homeowners to provide clear -- but not necessarily safer -- water.

Back to aquatic biologist Larratt, who knows British Columbia ranks below--yes, below--Chile and China in watershed protection, who are raising the bar and purchasing back watershed lands owned by the public!
At fault is British Columbia's grandfathering philosophy, because its very principle prevents protecting the water source.  Heather feels we should be purchasing back lakefront cottages from homeowners, as these cottages are certainly not on sewer but use septic fields or approved biological waste disposal systems.

In addition, the Ministry of Environment and Ministry of Health should be working together to form new policy and minimize public impacts, with a view to totally eliminating impacts from mountain bikers, snowmobilers, campers, fishers and hunters, etc.  Educating the public isn't enough to reduce contamination; perhaps eliminating those uses entirely from reservoir perimeters is the only way it can be achieved.

"Many people don't realize that their own activities in the watershed--as small as they may be--can make a huge difference to lake water quality," admits Heather.

Touchy subject, telling recreationists they may in future need to be excluded from Crown lands which they, in effect own..  Even Metro Vancouver's water use plan doesn't do that...yet.

But a great opportunity exists on Tuesday, February 28th, 2012 when officials of Interior Health and Greater Vernon Water get together at the Water Source Protection symposium in Kelowna.   

It's up to Renee Clark, our area's Water Quality Manager, to get the message across to Interior Health that more needs to be done than simply we taxpayers throwing money at filtration.  Let's reduce the prevalence of contamination.

"Maybe invite Heather Larratt along," suggests Kia.

Renee has a huge responsibility ahead...good luck on February 28th.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Renovations Go Underground in Coldstream

and no wonder, say many residents.

Fully eight months after Judy Paterson's building permit fiasco, last night's Committee of the Whole meeting at Coldstream municipal hall failed in all but one attempt to solve the dilemma caused by Coldstream's contentious Subdivision Servicing Bylaw #1535 that designates homeowners as Developers.  The desperate-for-funds measure makes homeowners subject to off-site works costs; all triggered by a homeowner's building permit application--for virtually anything...a garage, a renovation--of any kind and whether the $50,000 "trigger" mechanism will remain.  An unperturbed mayor Garlick was quoted in the local paper a few months saying:  "(but) you can still paint..." (your house without a permit).  ...Huh???  Paint my house?  Everything else needs a permit?

Well, the proverbial ka-ka hit the fan last summer when Judy and Dave Paterson were selected in the secret municipal draw to be the first homeowners to provide off-site works in a bylaw that had been in existence--yet never applied to a homeowner--since 2008 when the former 1989 bylaw had been amended.

The Paterson case began what will in future be recalled as Coldstream's Homeowner as Developer era. But not for critical infrastructure such as water or sewer or such; rather a multi-use path was deemed necessary in front of their acreage on Kidston Road.  The path was touted to be a cure for diabetes, take thousands of cars off the road despite being 6 km from grocery shopping in this sleepy corner of Coldstream where the road dead-ends a mile south, and reduce greenhouse gases by a whopping (but unsupportable) percentage.  A bike path...during these economic times!  When a councillor says "oh, but the money comes from Gas Tax Grant," it's important to remind them that they're still using our money, no matter from which government or agency it originates.

There was a fly in Coldstream's soup.  They didn't own any of Judy's land...not even the portion on which they wanted to build the path, so the Patersons were blind-sided...they had to either pay for the path (~$300,000), or a combination of gifting the municipality cash/maybe a bit of land in return for their building permit to construct a garage.  Outrageous nonsense from a public body over a permit to build a garage!

Eight months later, part of the path is finished, stopping at the Paterson property.  Enough of a recap!!!

On Tuesday mid-afternoon, I drove there to see how this multi-use path was being utilized.  Approaching the Red Gate (entrance to Kal Park, the approximate southern start of the path), I took some photos north and south along the path...the path that would cure all manner of ailments and keep our kids from becoming obese.  These photos show the multi-use path's ... er...a...... use about 15 to 30 minutes after nearby Kidston and Kal schools had dismissed their pupils.  

Looking S toward Red Gate

Looking N toward Vernon

Half-way, and the path crosses the road

There wasn't a soul on the path at 3 p.m. on a schoolday, let alone anyone on a bike or a pony.  An old groaner comes to mind:  Why'd the chicken cross the road?   Yes, why does the path cross Kidston when that road's reputation for danger was one reason the path was built, so children could have safe passage on foot to school!  Answer:  So it wouldn't pass in front of Councillor Kiss' house?  Maybe.

But progress has occurred.  Coldstream's elected officials have sent the contentious issue of Homeowner as Developer to a Committee of the Whole meeting.  (I had previously wondered where in-depth stuff was discussed--and suspected it might have been in-camera--because meaningful discussions never seem to occur during regular council meetings). 

An immediate plus is that Coldstream's mayor and council now appear to have stepped back a tad from their stance that flew in the face of Section 930 and 931 of the Local Government Act.  All the stuff about legality!  You'd think with a lawyer sitting on Council--previously two lawyers--that the municipality's legal bills would be low...but you'd be wrong.  I'm still deciding if that, in itself, means something!

Since the Fall, Coldstream residents have been awaiting--some dreading because they're planning renovations--The List...areas identified by Council that need infrastructure upgrades.

With such a list, residents surely would have a guide as to whether or not to apply for a building permit--or indeed purchase a property--in a listed area, and know at first glance if their renovation building permit would incur additional "off-site" charges.  Realtors too have been waiting for The List as they in all conscience must--through disclosure from the seller--advise potential buyers of the ramifications of any purchase.  Realtor Carla Dahlen (half-way down page at this link) stood up and said exactly that at an October 2011 council meeting, although members of the public who attended the meeting agree that her comments were entirely misrepresented in the official minutes.  Typing "yadda yadda yadda" would've been more accurate than what Ms. Dahlen was portrayed to have said.  Who edits/approves Council minutes anyway?  Who indeed!

One homeowner recently confided they're not going to wait for clarification of this bizarre turn of events, adding that council's tactics equate to hidden money-grubbing.   More and more of the following signs, in various colours, pop up daily, despite the worsening local economy which is lowering property values.  Why are people selling in these times?  "To get out of Coldstream; it's socialism," one resident confided, adding "there have already been a couple of foreclosures, with more to come."  

Just Coldstream, one of many
Fortunately, there was scarce mention of a bike path during the CoW meeting.  The focus has now shifted to creating a list of areas that require drainage.  To me that's just a slightly less contentious topic, but it ultimately ends up achieving the same thing.  Drainage and ditches invariably follow either roads or property lines, so isn't it foolish to believe that multi-use/bicycle paths will not also form part of any upgraded drainage projects along roads? 

So where's The List?
 A link to the Infrastructure Assessment document comes up blank as, at blog publication, it is missing from the District website, but a hard copy was printed before it disappeared from the internet, entitled "Subdivision and Development Servicing Bylaw 1535--Infrastructure Assessment", portions critical to this story are excerpted as follows:

"A review of Coldstream's streets was conducted in consideration of the above scenarios.  A list of the streets and suggested drainage infrastructure remedies is as follows:

Ta...da...drumroll...The List:

1.  Buchanan Road, Aberdeen to Upland.  Remedy: ditch realignment/culverting;
2.  Cottonwood Lane, all.  Remedy:  infiltration chambers;
3.  Fairmont Place, all.  Ditching north side/infilitration chamber.
4.  Howe Drive, north of Kalamalka.  Ditching/infiltration chambers.
5.  Kalavista Drive, all.  Infiltration chambers.
6.  Ponderosa Way, all.  Ditching/infilitration chambers.
7.  Rendell Drive, all.  Infiltration chambers.
8.  Rockland Road, all.  Ditchingn on north side/catch basin at curb/ infiltration chambers.
9.  Scenic Drive, west of Upland.  Catch basins/infiltration, chambers on north side.
10. Springfield Road, 9900 block.  Infiltration chambers.
11. Tebo Drive, all.  Infiltration chambers.
12. Torrent Drive, all.  Infiltration chambers.
13. Upland Drive, Crestview to Aberdeen.  Culverting/storm sewer.
14. West Kal Road, all.  Infiltration chambers/drainage easements.

Another excerpt of interest:  Other than in commercial areas, infrastructure improvements have only been considered with building permit applications under two scenarios as follows:
  1. the roadway fronting the property is improperly drained.  Remedies for this could include ditching, culverting, storm sewer, catch-basin, or curb installation.  Most commonly, the remedy requested would be an infiltration chamber to deal with localized storm drainage.
  2. the road right-of-way between the pavement edge and the property is steeply sloped.  This creates a problem if there is a need for shouldering or if a bicycle or pedestrian lane is needed.  This infrastructure improvement would be permanently frustrated without cooperation of the property owner.
Yet another:  It should also be noted that there are large areas of Coldstream where the land use is single family or two family residential that do not have curbs, gutters and sidewalks even though the standards call for them in these areas.  Upgrading of these areas to include these has not been considered as part of this exercise.

The second part of the review was to determine if there were slopes that would potentially frustrate the future construction of bicycle/pedestrian pathways or road shouldering improvements.  The roads we reviewed where the Bicycle Network Plan showed a need for additional infrastructure in the right-of-way.(sic) (Ed. note:  find a copy of the Bicycle Network Plan)

In addition to Kidston Road, there are two sites where the slope locations can be considered as problematic for future pathway construction.  These are at 10900 Coldstream Creek Road and at 10008 Coldstreem Creek Road.  Coldstream Creek Road has been designated for widening to accommodate a future bicycle/pedestrian lane.  At this time the properties slope down to the road and cooperation from the property owners would be needed to facilitate pathway installation."  (Ed. note:  the poor folks who live at 10008 and 10900--anybody know who lives there?--better give 'em a head's up)

"Cooperation from owners?"  That sounds expensive.  Consider that virtually ALL of Coldstream is subject to drainage issues...this hilly valley on which homes and subdivisions are only permitted on sideslopes because valley bottom land is "protected" for agricultural use within the Agricultural Land Reserve virtually assures it.  New subdivisions were built by Developers, for whom infrastructure costs to serve those subdivisions were a normal and expected cost under a development permit.  Those costs were factored into the price of homes. No-one's arguing that point.  Developers built everything they were supposed to at the time.  But suddenly older subdivisions in older areas are identified as having deficient drainage because the rules of the day didn't require drainage, catch basins and the like for developers.  That's why Coldstream is now hoping for cooperation from owners.  Coldstream wants more than a "good morning" smile, I can assure you.

Cities and municipalities thought they had it made years ago...when they all bought into the then-new philosophy--hook, line and sinker--called "Infill", from that left-leaning bastion called the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM), which allowed, even encouraged, large lot older properties to subdivide. Infilling allowed densities to increase without any new expenditure for infrastructure.

But soon 40- and 50-year old homes were interspersed with new homes, and frequent tearing up of old roads occurred, adding at the same time curbs, fire hydrants, some catch-basins.  With time, density angst created demands for walking paths and dog parks, and then bike paths.  New residents who arrived from metropolitan areas were accustomed to those amenities and wanted them here too.  Politicians weren't averse to the ideas because walking, biking would be good all around and so tiny communities strove to keep up with big cities' ideas.

Some items are decidedly infrastructure, but bike paths never have been part of infrastructure (and should not be called that), but Coldstream's elected officials seem hard pressed to let go of dreams that place tiny Coldstream on the provincial "poster child" wall picturing healthy and progressive Cities.  Coldstream wants to run with the big dogs, but the metaphor of racing barefoot compared to Cities' Nike-shod racers isn't lost on taxpayers here.   We simply don't have the tax base to run with the big boys. Or build empires.  Or Town Centres.

So, yes, Coldstream's adoption of an infill philosophy meant additional taxpayers, and council seemed happy to not create -- as councillor Besso put it some time ago -- "mile long subdivisions".   New infilled taxpayers were happily welcomed into the area's coffers. 

Was it lack of foresight?  Or sheer blindness?  More rainwater shedding from additional roofs and washing out dusty shallow ditches, more sewage in the same length of pipe, and even more challenges on poorly draining soil for properties still served by septic systems.  Much like the problem that occurred on Vernon's Mission Hill 25+ years ago--where effluent sprayed on the lands above began to percolate up into people's back yards on that clay hill--today we've all seen "water" coming out of the ground at the bottom of Coldstream Estates subdivision.  "Soup's on," they laughingly call out again.  Drainage...  Who would've anticipated drainage issues at the northern tip of Canada's only desert? 

Back to last night's CoW meeting:  So did council vote to increase the $50,000 "triggering" threshhold for off-site works?  No.  Did council vote to remove the trigger?  No. 

A good portion of the meeting compared Coldstream's now-hated servicing bylaw with those of other communities:  Kent (a tiny community administered by adjacent Agassiz), Kelowna, Vernon (halfway down page), Lake Country (page 4 of 26), Peachland (takes 30 sec to load); Metchosin (pgs 18/19 'essential services') Penticton (DCC chart pg6), Summerland (pg7), West Kelowna/RDCO.

Reaffirmed at Monday's meeting is Coldstream's previous decision to adjust Kelowna's servicing bylaw--which does not charge homeowners for off-site works so that it conforms to reflect Coldstream's desire (to have some works charged to homeowners when they apply for building permits). 

Discussions will continue, both to fine-tune the bylaw and quell the homeowner uproar it initially created.

Options for council to consider, presented by staff, were:
  1. exempt all single family and two-family dwellings (new construction, renovations, additions);
  2. revise the City of Kelowna Schedule 7 Guideline to accommodate Coldstream's infrastructure requirements;
  3. set a higher threshold or trigger for permit values;
  4. restrict the type of required infrastructure to offsite drainage works where substandard facilities exist and/or where new construction results in a direct attribution in the localized substandard condition (i.e. renovation or new constructon compounding an existing drainage problem);
  5. research right-of-way and road reserve issues provided legal question is resolved;
  6. some combination of the above options. 
For those readers who, in the past, have said my opinions accurately reflect theirs (thanks, folks!), and are not interested in the following lengthy who said what (nearly-verbatim, my shorthand's not what it used to be!) words of councillors, I present the following summary in a Report Card that summarizes this taxpayer's essence of councillors' input during this meeting on the still controversial Subdivision, Development and Servicing Bylaw 1535, 2008.

Coldstream Council Report Card
Doug Dirk:  not present tonight but many residents have often heard his long-held biases--disguised as historical perspective--that span ~16 years as councillor.  I didn't miss him.

Guyla Kiss:  "Sewer man" (his chief bailiwick), seems thunderstruck with the decidedly unusual idea that all newcomers to Coldstream should pay taxes...back taxes, if you will, for all the years they were not here and infrastructure existed here.  Calling these residents latecomers, he's like a dog with a bone.  His idea was repeatedly offered...find a tool to get newcomers to pay.  Maybe even for as much as he's paid.

Richard Enns:   Seat warmer, this on-board lawyer didn't offer anything along his skillset that substantially contributed to tonight's topic (perhaps his gratis legalese is reserved for in-camera sessions).  Are we not allowed to benefit from his legal that bureaucrats don't have to keep going to pricey outside lawyers for advice?  Maybe he doesn't offer...I don't know.  During the November election, he proudly announced he is the first organic farm in Coldstream; alas Vale Farms in Lavington beat him to the punch 20+ years ago.

Maria Besso:  Thankfully she now "gets" the transparency thingy -- what it means to hurt residents by unfair practices or dubious tactics that a lack of transparency creates.  Likes to do her own research and will do more of her own in future because she can trust it.  Doubt she's as enamored of being a councillor today as she was at the start.  Readily adopts environmental issues.  Doesn't go whichever way the wind blows. 

Peter McClean:   Back as councillor after a few terms away.  A welcome addition, in my opinion, for his peculiar ability to see both sides of an issue, while still fulfilling the terms of his oath of office.  He never forgets that taxpayers sign the cheques.  Has other abilities rare among be able to laugh at himself, and being equally effective working alone or in a group.  Not a back stabber.

Pat Cochrane:  Stints on Vernon's council now provide Coldstream with his considerable experience and apparent sensibility.  Appears honestly embarrassed--indeed ashamed--of what Coldstream did during last year's fiasco, the results of which linger into this meeting tonight.  He wants an end to Coldstream's bad reputation of how it deals with residents.  He knows a better job can be done.  Speaks only once an hour or so.  I think he distrusts bureaucrats as much as residents do.

Mayor Jim Garlick:  Appears frustrated (disappointed?) that the carte-blanche servicing bylaw to fill Coldstream's coffers won't be quite so, well, blanche.  Has stated in the past that he's not interested in the opinions of new people, as his family have resided here for 3 generations.  His apparent frustration may stem from that...that he's struggling to tolerate others' opinions.  As a teacher, he can turn on his skills--even coercion--to bring dissenting councillors toward a path he supports.  Doesn't work so well with residents.

End of Report Card.
Last night's discussions on the bylaw follow, naturally with a titillating ending (just to get readers there)

Peter:  "I think 'subdivision' is the key word, not strictly for a homeowner's building permit."

Maria:  "...someone wants to build a shed and it triggers off-site works.  Lake Country and the District of Kent have exemptions for this...based on this 2008 bylaw it does seem very onerous; I don't think we can remedy everything through this."

Richard:  "...helpful to have this list, I was surprised at the extent of the list.  We're in an area facing particular problems...if we are going to keep our taxes down..."  (implying that anyone with the cash to fix their homes should be responsible rather than the whole tax base).  "Whether it's beneficial to the property attached to it, or not."

Guyla:  " sewer, there are a number of properties in Coldstream...they have not been paying for sewer but eventually there will be sewer on that road, and for those who did not hook up when sewer was available, therefore they have not paid taxes and the rest of the community are we going to collect the monies from them for latecomer fees?"

Bureaucrat Stamhuis:  "There is no formal policy for latecomer requirements, but we will be looking at these issues; most were done by property developers; policy still has to be formulated. The original bylaw didn't contemplate sewer hook-ups.  Subdivisions do require sewer services and they are/were installed at the time."

Mayor Garlick:  "so are you saying that latecomer fees for sewer should be added into the servicing bylaw?"

Guyla:  "Yes, there are large properties near the lake..."

Richard:  "we have sewer lines running down roads and people are not hooking up (so) we need a tool to have people hook up."

Maria:  "We have discussed this before, maybe it could be done with local improvement, taxes, not through the servicing bylaw."

Peter:  "The waste management plan is going to be identifying long term plans for hook-ups?  i.e. Aberdeen Road, where we have potential sewer issues?  Did Stamhuis look at the waste management plan prior to creating the list?" 

Bureaucrat Stamhuis:  "Yes, the intent was to update future extensions to sewer...this is a broad recommendation to look at providing infrastructure.  We can leave it as it is so council can interpret it broadly.  You can add more or leave it as it is."

Richard:  "On page 12 is where Vernon provides an element of financial contribution for under 50K 'towards future infrastructure'...'gifting' etc.  What if an amount charged a homeowner isn't sufficient to do the required (other communities) just add the dollars?"

Bureaucrat Broderick:  "In Kelowna, if an amount is under $30,000, they pay 10% gifting towards future infrastructure in the area."

Maria:  States she does not understand why it was even changed in 2008.  "I recommend the option of exempting all single family and two-family dwellings for construction and renovation, as examples from Penticton, Kent and Peachland indicate."

Mayor Garlick:  "It was updated to more modern standards."

Bureaucrat Stamhuis; "The new bylaw makes reference to these specifically, and they're universal in the province among most municipalities.  It was changed to allow councils more flexibility.  The driver for the bylaw was to update it to fit with Master Municipal Specs in B.C., taking out some exemptions."

Richard:  "While there is a provision in Kelowna's design to exempt single or two-family units because those are unlikely to have an impact on infrastructure, it's still not entirely exempt in Kelowna, nor in Vernon."

Bureaucrat Broderick:  "Single family alterations or single family construction would not be required to do may be the road reserve re widening or stormwater drainage to go through the property; it will exempt single and two-family additions and renovations, and evaluates each application on its own buildings may or may not require a contribution for road widening that we could use to request work, but each are evaluated on their own merit."

Richard:  "so we do the same..."

Peter:  "In #932,1989 bylaw, three or more lots were required to provide works; yet #1535, 2008, it says 'any construction'.  I think the intent is that the development is a development, not a building permit.  We have changed the meaning and the intent of the bylaw.  We can't expect 20 years later to go back to those individuals and demand things on a permit."

Bureaucrat Broderick;  "Legal advice is coming...the intent is at the time of development...somebody has already been in existence for 20 years who later makes demands, and issues change; that's the other side."

Mayor Garlick:  "Example is Vimy Road, but there's no road, lots were subdivided 100 years ago.

Peter:  "The lots haven't been developed...then you have the choice on a piece of property; it complied with all the rules and regulations of the day...and later a garage or a barn is added, but not by bringing forth all the charges."

Mayor Garlick:  "Are we responsible for Vimy Road?"

Bureaucrat Stamhuis:  "Yes".
        (editor note:  I'll eat my slippers if this isn't absolute nonsense, if Stamhuis is inferring to Garlick that if the Coldstream Ranch wants to develop some lots that the municipality has to build Vimy Road (properly)!  At issue is an undeveloped cow-path like a lane through the middle of the Coldstream Ranch that somebody years ago named Vimy as it appears on maps today.  Vimy Road starts across from the Highlands Golf driveway on Buchanan Road and heads into the ranch, but it does not exit onto Highway 6.   Vimy Road runs adjacent to an area of 14 never developed five-acre parcels that were subdivided nearly 100 years ago.  If the Coldstream Ranch wishes to develop those 14 five-acre parcels (and good for them if they do!), the Coldstream Ranch, as developer, would apply for a Development Permit to create a 14 lot subdivision, to which current subdivision permitting, access and services all apply...the Ranch would have the responsibility of building the road to specs that including paving and curbing (just like up at Ranchlands above Coldstream Estates) with low-glare streetlights, all the bells 'n whistles.  But, yes, Coldstream would have to plow snow on Vimy Road in winter once the development was up and running, as they must do on all roads.)

Peter:  "So we are committed to build that road?"

Mayor Garlick:  "yes".

Peter:  "If the Coldstream Ranch sells off 5 acre parcels the municipality is responsible for developing the road?  The developer/development is the key word...if the Ranch wants to develop it, then it is their responsibility to build the road that leads to the development."

Bureaucrat Broderick:  "for example, there are lots approved many many years ago...we had to work something out with the developer.  He had to build a road and he built the houses.  There are 14 lots there in the middle of the property.  The owner built that road to the standards of the day, when there was no infrastructure."  (Ed note...again..sigh...Vimy Road was/is a private farm access road, not open to the public, see the No Trespassing signs???? It's not a road, despite having a name!  It's private!!!!)

Mayor Garlick:  "So did the 2008 bylaw give us that?"

Bureaucrat Broderick:  "We would not be able to entertain building permits unless there was a road.  Vimy would be the same as that."

Guyla:  "Coldstream is ... 14 roads identified on page 5 to consider, are those all?  How are we going to do it if we have no tools?  How are we going to change any road?"

Maria:  "What about Kidston Road?"

Bureaucrat Stamhuis:  "It is already on Council's list...this list is on drainage.  If we don't get improvements through a building permit, there are two other mechanisms...local improvement process, give to all property owners to see if they want to contribute, or direct taxation."

Guyla:  "What happens if we don't own the land for the roadways that we need or for drainage if not through bylaw?  1.  we defer or stymie improvement?, or 2.  expropriate?"

Peter:  "Coldstream Valley Estates for example was built a long time ago, there are a lot of deficiencies.  We got them talking, we came up with ... if they wanted sidewalks, etc. and at that time they showed no interest.  Identified the areas of concern and identified where they were brought forward by staff or residents.  To me, do it through consultation and let area residents know in the long term and provide feedback and they might participate with them to address some of the concerns that we have.  Consultation is key.  If property owners are aware in advance then we will have better buy-in with no dissention."

Guyla:  "Coldstream is 100 years old...a mosaic all over the place.  We need to have some kind of tool.  Surveys for example are wrong and a resurvey shows a property owns some of the neighbour's land with some developments poorly executed."

Mayor Garlick:  "Two years ago, through provincial government grant stormwater management of Coldstream Estates to give a working plan, many of that involved easements and rights of way.  The lots were put in there years ago without any thoughts of drainage."

Bureaucrat Stamhuis:  "We had to review that stormwater management report; this list incorporates some of those items."

Peter:  "So #9 is identified from that?  We worked with the people up there?  Have we gone up there?"

Bureaucrat Stamhuis:  "We have not.  In this list are remedies that work to the advantage of both the property owner and the district.  We would be putting in installations that would solve drainage including adjacent roadway.  If the building permit was used, then we could ask for certain things along that route."

Peter:  "Why wait until we have a (drainage?) catastrophe?  Maybe enact a long term plan with the residents as we are able to ... we can get these jobs done."

Guyla:  "Bylaws are tricky, re survey (repeated)...he had to buy the next door neighbour's part of the property because the survey was wrong; a road allowance was required from the seller."

Richard:  "We are on the right path looking at alternatives; I think we should resist cherry-picking."

Peter:  "We all know that in 30-40 years...what bylaws we have in place today will not satisfy 2050, nor did 1950 satisfy today.  We have to live with this.  We correct these bylaws and correct them, but we cannot look into the future and make 50-year changes."

Guyla:  "They have to know we are looking at all the issues."

Mayor Garlick:  " 11 'each application will be reviewed individually'...clarification was requested (to Craig Broderick) and what do they ask of one or two-family households?"

Bureaucrat Broderick:  "None for single or two-family additions, rights of way for storm management they can ask for; we need legal on that; I'm asking Chris Murdy." (Ed. note:  I'm told this information is apparently already in the hands of the District, but they have severed it from the public record under 'in-camera' item).

Pat:  "If we go forward and pass our bylaw on the Kelowna example we are not providing the clarity we need.  It puts it in the hands of staff.  For consistency, I think it needs some more work.  I move that we send this back to staff and they come back with something more roads and projects we need to be absolutely clear on what it is and where it is and not have any suggestion that it is at the whim of staff."

Maria:  "I will second that we send it back to staff...but nothing else."

Pat:  "It has been hanging for several months...instead of having the public trust....or them berate us when it gets to the next stage, I would rather do it right this time."

Mayor Garlick:  "is there a direction...are we heading in, i.e. the table (Kelowna's bylaw); how does that look?"

Pat:  "I don't like the Kelowna model where the public still has to go in and talk to staff; they have the ability to impose demands.  Where the permit triggers upgrades.  If we are going to choose not to apply something, I would rather we didn't have the ability to do it.  Instead of dumping it onto the general tax...and maybe it should be strictly drainage.  There is a better way to do this that the public can understand, so no-one or area is treated differently than another.  It has to be there for anyone to find and understand."  (Ed. note:  maybe Kelowna's staff has had better training in dealing with residents in an forthright and consistent manner!)

Peter:  "Development is the key word, or subdivision, not the building permit that renos a house on an existing lot.  Staff has to have a clear direction that it is for development and subdivision, not for a building permit."

Mayor Garlick:  "...where it should take place and also for consistency."

Bureaucrat Broderick:  "What exemptions does council want?"

Maria:  "The suggestion that we deal with them in a different way than just through the bylaw on building permits...I would not want to see Kelowna's here ... all single and two-family new construction and renos should be exempt.  We have to deal with deficiency with a definite plan and we bring the owners together and tell them 'you have a plan to do it over 10 years', etc."

Brief discussion ensued that it has to be a Motion.

Maria:  "Not by doing it are driving building permits underground."

Bureaucrat Broderick:  "Re Kelowna by case basis.  Should we remove that for the homeowner?"

Pat:  "How (else) can anyone know where they stand?  Another item was the 50K threshhold.  I don't think it is totally fair to put it back to council...we should do some research."

Bureaucrat Broderick:  "50K figure?  ... is way too low if there is going to be a threshhold...or do away with a number entirely?  Alterations for commercial can stay.  It will become a shell game with 49K being reported on building permits if we leave it in.  I say drop the 50K."

Pat:  "Someone who wants to add a deck or a shed or a pool...make it simple.  Example:  single family homes, or whatever."

Guyla:  "We can anticipate some work will be needed.  This was the kind of schedule so people who are coming to ask for a permit...they should know what this is for...that we have to ask for this."

Mayor Garlick:  "Does Kelowna have a list of roads, or projects?"

Bureaucrat Broderick: "I don't believe so."

Guyla:  "Major problem I heard from people during the election:  I don't know if my permit will require a financial contribution."

Mayor Garlick:  "So identifying projects or deficiencies is a benefit."

Guyla:  "Yes."

Mayor Garlick:  " 2008 bylaw we need off-site works identified...a question of what happened before...were any off-site works requested on the Christie home?"

Building Inspecgtor Bibby:  "Before my time.  None were asked for since '04."

Peter:  "if my recollection is was a development variance permit to allow a house to be built, and in order to grant that development, variance states that proper storm drainage be built in.  So municipalities could request these off-site services."

Richard; "Kelowna upgrades necessary for safety reasons re directly it the only focus of Kelowna bylaw?  Is stormwater or sewer enough?"

Mayor Garlick:  "The table ... so it needs to be more substantive than staff decisions?"

Maria:  "Re table, remove asterisked section...not required.  I would leave that up to the recommendation from staff.  I don't want to put the municipality in a negative financial case.  Yes, the options .. and we will pick up the options on page 13.  My choice would be #1, #2 and #3, some combination of the above."

Richard:  "In Vernon if you are under a certain threshold ... you have to contribute money.  We could adopt this and look to Vernon to check this out."

Peter:  "what's the triggering mechanism?  The simple thing is taking Maria's idea of what is considered a development."

Bureaucrat Broderick: "new development means 'construction'.  In Vernon this is used for future road widening...I am a little concerned about legality."

Mayor Garlick:  "So option #2, #4, #6 and revise Kelowna's schedule, restrict off-site drainage, research right-of-way demands for renovations, provided the legal question is resolved."

Maria:  "I still want #1 -- exemption of one and two-family dwellings.

Peter:  "Put #1 in."

Maria:  "Amend it to include #1, #2, #4, #5.

Peter:  "Seconded".

Pat:  "I'm OK with withdrawing my motion."

Mayor Garlick:  "call the question."  Called.

Pat:  "In favour."

Opposed:  Besso, Kiss, Garlick, Enns

Mayor Garlick:  "Recommend page 13, selecting #1, #2, #4, #5."  (note that public attendees have no copies of any documents to which councillors refer)

Peter:  "Seconded".

Richard: "I am concerned about how we are just restricting this to drainage and ignoring safety travel to school, proper turns on roadways.  One of the reasons we have to exercise our power, we must give it some thought."

Pat:  "This is not poviding clarity to see...I wonder about bulleted number 5.  It's not doable if you have #1 included.  Especially if council wants the ability to ask for road right-of-way or road reserve, pending legal advice."

Richard:  "I'm voting against this."

Mayor Garlick continued the discussion...with Pat Cochrane adding he's prepared to let staff come back with more info. Mayor Garlick concluded with "staff will be coming back to another CoW meeting with further recommendations."

Richard: again stated that he was opposed.

Mayor Garlick:  "It is broad right now.  I suggest we get more along the lines of what you are saying, so a recommendation #2...and you are pulling from these bullets at the bottom."

That's where we're at after 8 months.

A municipal mechanism called Local Improvement Area was mentioned during the meeting to deal with area-specific issues.  Here's a photo of one such project on Tassie Drive, implemented in 2000.

A curb installed in 2000 on Tassie Drive
Back in 1999, residents were canvassed to ascertain who was in favour of the $12,000 per home cost for curbing along their small lot frontage (about the time Sage Drive became a through street from the previous cul-de-sac configuration).

On the condition of anonymity, the resident stated that "half were for it, half against, but Coldstream built it anyway."

So does storm water now take a different route?  "No, during heavy rain it still comes over top of this shallow curb into our yards."

The resident added:  "We pay $84 a year for 20 years, but one neighbour paid the $12,000 up front."

Both neighbours are dead wrong.  Firstly, the $12,000 cost for that 50-foot length of 3-inch high curb is ridiculous, but it is the amount the municipality charges you because it includes interest and inflation.  The neighbour who paid the $12,000 up front should have called for a quote from an independent contractor.  The actual cost was likely $3,000 per residence and, because no borrowing occurred--therefore no interest/inflation factored in--the neighbour should have offered the municipality $3,000., which was the actual cost of the work per residence (based on the competitive quote). 

As to the neighbour who is paying "$84 a year for 20 years".  Think about it. That's only $1,680 in 20 years (with no compounded interest), and the municipality is charging you $12,000? Whatever rates the municipality factors onto the cost of the initial work, the curb will have self-destructed before you've paid the money back.

As Coldstream appears to be considering Local Improvement Areas for future work, take heed of the above, folks!

Understand what really happens when a community borrows money for a project and allows residents to put it on installments ... maybe have a glance at the bottom of your VISA statement "if paying the minimum amount, it will take "x" years to pay off.

"So what's the promised titillating ending," asks Kia, "after all THAT?"

My suggestion:  that bureaucrats are no longer allowed to attend annual UBCM meetings!
Actually two:  ...and remove UBCM from bureaucrats' speed dial phones.