Friday, June 29, 2012

Vernon's Council has Free-Thinking Councillors

"Accusations of anti-development policies are coming from within Vernon city hall," begins a Morning Star story titled Application spurs development debate (Rolke June 27/12).

Ya think?

Some councillors, O'Keefe, Nicol, and Quiring deserve credit for not buying into the new bureaucratic strategy that stymies development. 

Councillor Mary-Jo O'Keefe wonders why council is attempting to interfere in what has previously always been a market-driven process.
Councillor Patrick Nicol is concerned that accepting staff's recommendation to deny the development application creates artificial boundaries for developers.
Even Mayor Sawatzky sees the merits of recognizing that investors/landowners already considered the official community plan when they made their land purchases.

But haven't we all seen Official Community Plans change?
It's just a matter of when you bought your land.
And what successive elected officials have done to your family's investment plans with their "laws".

Coldstream is a prime example:  previous elected officials, over many terms, determined future growth would occur on the hillsides, protecting the valley bottom for agriculture.
Made sense to everyone.

Along come Mayor Garlick et al and suddenly there are tweaks to bylaws and official community plans, underscored by "no mile long subdivisions" (quote attributed to Councillor Besso).   They even want to create their own Town Center!  With the exception of Councillor Peter McClean, Coldstream's elected officials--buoyed by the urban vote--are now lockstep with any document created by the bureaucrats of the Union of BC Municipalities.

Obviously staff in both Coldstream and Vernon have fully adopted the North Okanagan Regional District's Growth Management Strategy, to which surrounding communities are signatories.  Hence they now only recommend approving new development in the city center and designated neighbourhood centres in which infrastructure already exists.

Staff philosophical similarities aside, Vernon's elected council actually considered WHO they serve--taxpayers--and defeated the staff recommendation that sought to stymie development to all but the newly-acceptable "Infill" corridors. 

Nope...they've long since lost sight of serving their taxpayers.
Mayor Garlick et al are busy vying for the municipal poster-child position in Victoria.

"The opposite of a Wanted Poster," affirms Kia.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Regional Growth Strategy to blame for CAO woes?

Since the results are the same, it doesn`t matter which came first.

The Regional District of North Okanagan began a Growth Management Strategy five years ago which, last year, led to a Memorandum of Understanding among the adjacent communities of City of Armstrong, District of Coldstream, City of Enderby, Lumby, and Spallumcheen Township.

Managing growth...hmmm.

That's something the Coldstream Acreage Owners has felt, with the District of Coldstream's plan to "protect" agricultural lands with the proposed rezoning of Coldstream acreages to RU10/RU30.

Apart from proving there are way too many bureaucrats on resident-funded payrolls, you'll fall off your chair when you read the memo from regional growth strategy coordinator, Anthony Kittel, in which other communities got to have a say:  Regional District of Central Okanagan, Columbia Shuswap Regional District, Thompson Nicola Regional District, Regional District of Kootenay Boundary, Regional District of Central Kootenay. 

Huh...the Kootenays...

Before your eyes glaze over, look at the 12-page "One Region, One Future", especially maps beginning on page 3, which brings to mind a saying:  `the problem`s bigger than all of us.``
The RDNO website states the North Okanagan had: 
  • Eight growth issues
  • 830 residents commented
  • 135 working group members
  • 200 policy recommendations
  • 1,400 municipal council comments
  • 1 Regional Growth Strategy
Were you--as a resident of Coldstream--one of the 830 residents, or one of the 135 working group members?  I thought not.  Neither was I.

The 75-page Growth Strategy Bylaw is here: 
Have a good look at the map on page 21 for where growth will be allowed to occur.

Coldstream residents will be wondering what came first:  the Rural Protection Boundary, supported by the growth strategy, or the RU10/RU30 "protection of agriculture".  Either way, growth or change is dead.

So what`s a Rural Protection Area anyway...

``RURAL PROTECTION AREAS: are areas that will not have access to water and sewer infrastructure, consist of large lot sizes and are associated with rural uses. Rural Protection Areas are intended to provide for a variety of rural land uses, including low density rural residential development, natural resources, and agricultural and existing small scale neigbourhood commercial uses. Rural Protection Areas help protect rural landscapes and agricultural lands, prevent unsuitable urban development and densities, limit water and sewer infrastructure extensions beyond the Rural Protection Boundary and maintain rural lifestyle
options.  Natural lands, open spaces, agricultural lands and environmentally sensitive lands that are unsuitable for residential development are included within the Rural Protection Areas,
including: the Agricultural Land Reserve, watersheds,  conservation areas, natural habitats, grasslands, forests, wetlands, major parks and recreation areas. Rural developments around drinking water sources and reservoirs should be restricted to protect water quality and quantity.  The Rural Protection Area is complementary to the Okanagan Shuswap Land and Resource
Management Plan (OSLRMP) and does not discourage appropriate designated Crown land uses, as represented in the OSLRMP, UC‐2.8 and UC‐2.9.``

Whichever came first, this growth management strategy is all about control, control, control of a population whose freedoms no longer include choice and self-determination on land we have bought and paid for.
The phrase ``...will not have access to water`` made one resident this morning state: ` `those are fightin`words.``

"These plans are turning the acreage owners into a Distinct Society," suggests Kia.

Just think...all this BEFORE an NDP government takes the reigns in Victoria.

Deja Vu All Over Again

Yogi Berra's famous quote applies to circumstances here as Joel and Rita may be wondering if they have to go through this every decade.

Joel and Rita Allen of Lavington Roses, members of the Coldstream Acreage Owners' Association, made a presentation to the District of Coldstream on Monday.

Here's their excellent presentation to Council (letter was written end of March, asking to be a delegation and allowed to speak at an upcoming meeting).

"Dear Mayor Garlick and Coldstream Council,

We are writing in regards to the proposed zoning changes within the Coldstream Municipality.  As we understand from speaking to the councilors at the information evening, Coldstream council does not want tocreate any more 5 acre parcels. It was explained to us that this will somehow help preserve agriculture in our community. We feel that the ALC has been very diligent in not allowing good farm land to be subdivided. Apparently, many councilors feel that by changing zoning within Coldstream they will save time and money for both staff, council, and landowners.  Every land owner has the right to go through the democratic process of applying for their land to be subdivided, whether it is approved or not. In cases such as our own the ALC recognized that the land was not suitable for agriculture and it was approved for removal from the ALR.

A better approach for preserving farmland might be to allow future development of the Coldstream hillsides, such as Whisper Ridge, that are not suitable for agriculture. This would allow the people with no intention of farming the opportunity to still live on acreage in Coldstream. Thus preserving good agricultural land for actual farming. In every community it is necessary to plan for future growth allowing more revenues to help with ever increasing costs for infrastructure etc.

Prior to the introduction of the ALR valuable farmland had been used for residential subdivisions, such as areas around Lavington, Kal School, Kidston School, the municipal offices, etc. More recently the development of Coldstream Estates and Middleton Mountain have taken place. Some would argue that hillsides should not be developed, although extensive studies have concluded that the overall benefits far outweigh the negatives.  After the impending necessary infrastructure upgrades, Buchanan Road would provide pockets of land that would be very suitable for future development.  This may also go a long way to completing the Grey Canal trail out to Lavington.

On a personal note we would like to address the rezoning of our property to RU30. In 2002 we were invited to attend discussions for the development of the OCP for Coldstream. We were told at that time our property was being considered for rezoning to RU30. Together with some of our neighbors we hired consultants to help us put together a presentation for Mayor Postill and council. After 3 council meetings it was voted on and decided to leave the zoning RU2. We were told at that time the official community plan would show our properties left as RU2 (emphasis blog author). We ask that you respect our time, effort and money and the councils time and effort in making this decision and leave that zoning in place.
Joel and Rita Allen"

Thanks for an excellent presentation, Joel and Rita!

"Results will show whether our ailing democracy is actually dead in Coldstream," chides Kia.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Council's Watershed Moment

We told Council last year.
We told them in March this year, and again and again during the year long fiasco over the Subdivision and Development Servicing Bylaw.

Neither Development costs, nor off-site works, nor spurious and sudden "drainage" fees should be levied by the District of Coldstream against homeowners applying for a simple building permit for a renovation.

But that doesn't mean Coldstream Council wouldn't try.

We were blunt.
Because they brushed us off when we were nice.

"...NOW having drainage problems, to use Councillor Kiss' emphasis, are we Coldstream residents oblivious to a mountain-building event and the entire community used to be flat during the old bylaw?  Drainage and its effects have been around since the glaciers retreated.  Drainage is why we have drinking water year round.  Water runs downhill, and will for some time, at least until December 21st of this year, according to the Mayans."

But a desperate-for-funds local government will use any tool at their disposal to take more of your money.
Even if they have to manufacture the tool.

At least until one of their own makes it abundantly clear they're shimmying up the wrong drainpipe.  Excerpt from the June 25/12 Agenda for Coldstream Council:

"The Chief Administrative Officer commented on the difficulties of formalizing a comprehensive plan to deal with drainage issues in the District.  He added that one solution would not address all of the issues and that the Development Cost Charges could only be used on identified projects and the current amounts accumulated might limit this to a single capital project."

It gets better:

"The Operations Superintendent noted the challenge of distinguishing between storm water issues and flooding issues.  He added that the District was located in a valley bottom surrounded by hillsides and that it wold be impossible to hold a natural watercourse back." 

That's no horse-feathers, Sherlock.

The agenda item concluded with:  "Committee members expressed agreement and commented on the diligence that the Public Works Department displayed with their maintenance and response to stormwater issues."

The Public Works Department DID do a good job -- agreed.

"The Mayor is a physics teacher and he wants to hold back a watercourse?" asks Kia.

Coldstream Council merely wants residents to pay for damage from stormwater run-off, ditches and road repairs that Coldstream has neglected to maintain over the years...all in favour of decidedly warmer and fuzzier projects like bike lanes and solar panels that'll "up" Coldstream's value with provincial bureaucrats in Victoria.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Pandering to Coldstream's Urbanites

12 pages...

Maybe he`s guaranteeing their views after all.
Because the Mayor is certainly not appealing to Coldstream`s acreage owners. 
Downplaying the future tax burden on urbanites--in whose areas the only growth will occur--will eventually wake them up too.

Encouraging residents "to read through the articles and provide feedback to Council and staff", Coldstream's Mayor Jim Garlick begins the newsletter with "...your opportunity to stay informed on news, issues and events..."

Yet for those residents who did provide feedback to Council and staff--in 2011 and half of this year--attended council and committee-of-the-whole meetings, and open houses and all candidates' forums during election campaigns last Fall, this newsletter entirely glosses over the serious issues this council created

If you're one of the residents of Coldstream who hasn't attended more than one or two municipal meetings in the last few years, or you're someone who has never attended, be prepared to read between the lines of this smoke-'n-mirrors newsletter.

Many residents have done their part.  Many provided feedback to the distasteful and callous Subdivision and Development Servicing Bylaw, many residents provided feedback on the proposed Agricultural and Rezoning Amendments, (two letters were conveniently omitted in the Comments).  Yet amendments proceeded.

This Mayor and Council's hunger to be the municipal poster child among Victoria's bureaucrats and government officials has led to the rezoning of the area's predominantly private acreages.  Under the guise of protecting agriculture, our elected officials stated early on that the Agricultural Land Commission--the provincial judicial body--had been inundated with subdivision requests.  So Coldstream's Mayor and Council appear to have fixed the ALC's paperwork load by entirely removing landowners' access to the ALC.  Acreages eligible to access the ALC would now be a minimum of ~24 acres under RU10 and ~74 acres under RU30.

No others need apply!  Plain and simple.  Easy peasy.  

Last year Council sought to enact a bylaw that was triggered with any renovation or building permit where the resident would pay for bike paths along their roadfrontage, calling it needed infrastructure.  The hue and cry that resulted from residents has led to today's "off-site works are now limited to drainage works alone and limited to specific areas of Coldstream with identified needs."  So a list of Coldstream Streets was drawn up where residents--upon applying for a building permit for a renovation whose face value exceeds $50,000--would "trigger" the drainage "contribution" (now reduced to "a maximum of $2,500").

Despite residents' input, the term "directly attributable to drainage impacts" remains in the text.  Imagine that you're doing a $50,000 renovation, with neither an increased building footprint nor roof size ... your renovation is considered to directly affect drainage.  Nonsense!

And that's not between the lines of the Mayor's phrase "These are the first steps toward a more long-term plan to address drainage issues...".  Second steps, maybe third steps?  Looks as though Coldstream has found entirely new ways of digging into residents' wallets.

Let's face it...Coldstream is broke, approximately $3 million in debt.  Despite Councillor Kiss' announcement that "we can borrow up to $19 million", residents remain seriously concerned that debt  -- when combined with the intentional stymying of growth from the forced rezoning of RU10 and RU30 -- will be Coldstream's undoing. 

Ignoring warnings from residents and builders and real estate representatives that building renovations will 'go underground' (to avoid triggering the $2,500), Council turns a blind eye and states it has completed its review of the bylaw.

Plain and simple, easy peasy again.

So residents' drainage contributions will be on streets and roads the municipality owns.  The intent, says the mayor, is to `have any required works benefit the homeowner as well as the District`.  They`re setting up a drainage fund, but the bylaw includes a proviso that Council doesn't have to do the work right away (so much for the drainage urgency), so they'll just collect money.  Some residents believe they`ll use the funds for other stuff.

Back to the rezoning of ALR and non-ALR lands.
Mayor Garlick states ``...the recent interest ... is an important matter.``

No kidding, Sherlock!
Residents are furious this Council is affecting families` lifetime investment plans.

Before concluding his community message, our Mayor then uses the word `viable` three times when talking about farmland.

The word viable in Botany, for example, means ``able to live and grow``.

``Some acreage owners remain able to grow things,`` offers Kia, ``it`s the living on Coldstream acreages that`s become untenable under this Mayor and Council.``

For even more smoke `n mirrors, read the 2011 Annual Report here, beginning on page 49.

From that document, their Mission Statement:
  We, the Council of the District of Coldstream, are committed to a long-range plan for Coldstream, which fosters orderly growth and which enhances rural living at its best. Our mission is to make this a living plan supported by efficient fiscal management, appropriate policy and procedure development, and effective delivery of service.
 Orderly growth...heck, maybe none at all.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Global Financial Crisis

Timely...from the internet.

A Dummy's guide to what went wrong in Europe.

Helga is the proprietor of a bar.
She realizes that virtually all of her customers are unemployed alcoholics and, as such, can no longer afford to patronize her bar.
To solve this problem she comes up with a new marketing plan that allows her customers to drink now, but pay later.
Helga keeps track of the drinks consumed on a ledger (thereby granting the customers' loans).
Word gets around about Helga's "drink now, pay later" marketing strategy and, as a result, increasing numbers of customers flood into Helga's bar.
Soon she has the largest sales volume for any bar in town.

By providing her customers freedom from immediate payment demands Helga gets no resistance when, at regular intervals, she substantially increases her prices for wine and beer - the most consumed beverages. Consequently, Helga's gross sales volumes and paper profits increase massively.
A young and dynamic vice-president at the local bank recognises that these customer debts constitute valuable future assets and increases Helga's borrowing limit.  He sees no reason for any undue concern, since he has the debts of the unemployed alcoholics as collateral. He is rewarded with a six figure bonus.
At the bank's corporate headquarters, expert traders figure a way to make huge commissions, and transform these customer loans into DRINKBONDS.
These "securities"  are then bundled and traded on international securities markets.
Naive investors don't really understand that the securities being sold to them as "AA Secured Bonds" are really debts of unemployed alcoholics. Nevertheless, the bond prices continuously climb and the securities soon become the hottest-selling items for some of the nation's leading brokerage houses.
The traders all receive a six figure bonus.
One day, even though the bond prices are still climbing, a risk manager at the original local bank decides that the time has come to demand payment on the debts incurred by the drinkers at Helga's bar. He so informs Helga.
Helga then demands payment from her alcoholic patrons but, being unemployed alcoholics, they cannot pay back their drinking debts. Since Helga cannot fulfil her loan obligations she is forced into bankruptcy.
The bar closes and Helga's 11 employees lose their jobs.
Overnight, DRINKBOND prices drop by 90%.
The collapsed bond asset value destroys the bank's liquidity and prevents it from issuing new loans, thus freezing credit and economic activity in the community.

The suppliers of Helga's bar had granted her generous payment extensions and had invested their firms' pension funds in the BOND securities.
They find they are now faced with having to write off her bad debt and with losing over 90% of the presumed value of the bonds. Her wine supplier also claims bankruptcy, closing the doors on a family business that had endured for three generations; her beer supplier is taken over by a competitor, who immediately closes the local plant and lays off 150 workers.

Fortunately though, the bank, the brokerage houses and their respective executives are saved and  bailed out by a multi-billion dollar no-strings attached cash infusion from the government.
They all receive six a figure bonus.
The funds required for this bailout are obtained by new taxes levied on employed,  middle-class, non-drinkers who've never been in Helga's bar. *

"Heavens to Helga," exclaims Kia,  "there oughta be a law."

It's fraud, not misfeasance.

Municipal Debt...thinking locally?

That's where it our own little communities, with politicians spending more money than they take in.

And globally, we've all heard of the debt crises in Greece, soon followed by Spain, Portugal and Italy.

Listen to Member European Parliament Godfrey Bloom from the United Kingdom...
(click here-->) 3 minutes of eye-opening candor.

...and listen for another minute even after he sits down.

Back to Coldstream...The District of Coldstream is today approximately 3 million dollars in debt, but councillors don't seem at all bothered.  Just this winter, Councillor Kiss was quoted to say: "We can be $19 million in debt"...according to the provincial Finance Ministry's rules.

"Maybe Godfrey Bloom will retire here," offers Kia.

God help his savings if he does.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

37 Days, 37 Members

Is the District of Coldstream dragging its heels?

Thirty-seven days later, the thirty-seven members of the Coldstream Acreage Owners' Association still haven't received a reply to this letter from the District of Coldstream.

"They're probably asking the ALC how to respond," offers Kia.

Meanwhile more and more For Sale signs have popped up in Coldstream, among them one in front of Councillor Peter McClean's acreage. 

Lemmee guess the reason for Peter's decision:  No sense having a family farm with long term goals anymore in this municipality.  

I bet that's what he would say.

"Unless maybe you're the Mayor's friend"? asks Kia.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

So, why own land in Coldstream?

This Coldstream Corner article was an unpublished Draft, written December of 2011, as proposed changes to the area's Agricultural Plan became known by landowners.  Published today, if for nothing else but to evidence this council's continuing lack of foresight at the plan's ramifications on landowners here. 

The planned Spring 2012 adoption of Coldstream's Agricultural Plan raises questions that need to be asked.
Especially under this Mayor and Council.

The Agricultural Advisory Committee is frequently referred to.
So, who sits on that appointed committee?

Their plan states:  voting members providing both agricultural representation (5 – 10 members engaged in farming) and community representation (maximum 2 members of the community who are not actively farming).

Appointed members are:  (reps at large): Chris Brown, Paul Christie, Beth Marks (realtor?); (reps farming):  Dr. Lois Philp, Albert Gawne, Jamie Kidston, Philip Pretty, Marnie Skobalski.  In addition, councillor Maria Besso, one BC Agriculture rep, one rep from Environmental committee, one UBCO rep, one rep from Agri-tourism, one local bureaucrat, (the last three having non-voting seats on the committee).

Right off the bat, it looks like the "maximum 2 members of the community" has been exceeded with the first three listed individuals, compounded by just squeaking in at the "minimum 5 members engaged in farming", despite Jamie Kidston having recently divested himself of his orchard. 

People this blog author has spoken to have said:  "Why own land at all, if Council comes along and arbitrarily increases the minimum parcel size as it relates to subdivision, and not only on Agricultural Land Reserve (protected for agriculture) land by rezoning?"

Why indeed!
A landowner's primary goal was likely a family's one--or two--generation investment plan, and included sharing the land among their children.
Home is no longer your castle if this Council has their way.

And there's more.

According to the Ag Plan, "Council’s objective(s) ... to preserve the rural and agricultural character of Coldstream to the greatest extent possible, and, retain the viability of agricultural uses and agricultural land." the greatest extent possible?
a dangerous phrase to put before this Mayor and Council.
They'll begin to believe that Coldstream is Carrot Valley in California!

Let's consider what the committee set as their short-term goals:
  • providing orchards with a cost effective way to annually dispose of tree pruning material that minimizes open-air burning ... potential options, including rental or purchase of a chipper that would be available to farmers at reduced rates.  
Blog:  So...which commercial rental business will the committee suggest should subsidize chipping machines for farms?  Fermco Rental?  Farrer Rentals?  Wonder if those commercial business owners will have a say in whether they subsidize farms?
  • opportunities for community dialogue on ways to enhance and preserve local agriculture.  The hosting of community workshops or think tank sessions, for example, may help to connect growers of local vegetables with potential local processors and sales opportunities (e.g. Friesen’s Restaurant and Market or the Farmers Market).  Community input could also be obtained on opportunities for future farm related uses for the old Fire Hall (e.g. farmers market and/or community kitchen or processing facility).
Blog: Q:  Yet more dialogue?  Think tank sessions?  The committee should get on the phone and ask Friesen's if they need carrots or cabbage, rent a stall at the Vernon Farmer's Market (oops, that's closed, it's mid-December), but the old Fire Hall is open for Coldstream's Winter Market.
  • the establishment of a community trail association that would work to support new partnerships for trail expansion on private and public lands that minimize impacts on agriculture.  Preferably, trail network development should compliment agricultural activities (e.g. walking trails integrated with winery tours).
Blog: Trail expansion on private land? Trails that minimize impacts on agriculture?  Huh? These  would be downright laughable if it weren't sad they were included in the report.  How on earth does somebody strolling through a farmer's field, probably with a dog or two, preserve and enhance agriculture?  Council may need to be reminded that farmers fence their property as much to keep people out as to keep animals in.  No farmer in his right mind wants a public trail through his farm.  Repeat this three times:  his farm, his farm, his farm!  Possessive!  He owns it, and will NOT partner (*grin*) with this Council to allow a trail through it.  Oh...and "integrate trails with winery tours"  Huh?  Wineries in Coldstream?  
  •  develop strategies to recruit experienced producers to the area to locate and operate in Coldstream.
Blog:  So only experienced farmers are wanted?  Come on council and ag committee, get real!  Do you really believe you're capable of developing a strategy to get experienced producers to move here?  Wait until they hear of Coldstream's new and BIGGER land sizes for subdivision, and the off-site servicing bylaw, among others...these so-called experienced producers will run the other way (following long-time landowners who are today leaving). 
  • ... provide leadership in the organization of events that will promote agriculture and agricultural history (e.g. Coldstream Days, Agriculture Week, Farm Success Awards, Farm Tours).
Blog:  We residents have opinions on how your "leadership" is working out for you.  Bet it doesn't match your own opinion. 
  •  Work with the School District, Okanagan College and UBC Okanagan to explore strategies to improve local education and awareness of agriculture and food systems.
Blog:   Just hazarding a guess that the curriculum has already been fine-tuned provincially and federally along those lines.  Leave it alone, council and ag committee.
  • Work with local government and provincial agencies to advocate for a local abattoir (a delicate word for slaughterhouse).
Blog:  Work with?  Advocate?  Phone Eric Foster, local MLA.  It's his job to get a slaughterhouse approved here for local farmers.  It's also his government that eliminated slaughterhouses in the first place.
  • Review zoning regulations for agricultural setbacks. As part of the plan process it has been noted that the current regulations are targeted to more intensive agricultural opportunities and could be adapted for “lighter” agricultural operation such as small hobby farms that are compatible with neighbouring agricultural uses.
Blog:  That's all farmers want to see...more changes to regulations.  What's next...a "meter" to determine how Council can keep a hobby farm small?  No in future months, this Council will virtually eliminate small hobby farms, opting for large producers with their rezoning. 
  • Provincial legislation tightly governs land use within provincial parks; however, it is possible that grazing can benefit the forest ecosystem by reducing the accumulation of vegetation that is susceptible to wildfires. Discussions with BC Parks are encouraged to explore opportunities within the Park legislation. Kalamalka Park is also a focal point for local recreation activities as most adjacent lands are privately owned or leased and unavailable for public use. There may be opportunities for BC Parks to partner with surrounding property owners regarding the management of public access to trails on lands
    outside the park.
Q:  Really?  Now this committee wants people whose lands border the Park to also "partner" and allow the public to have a trail through private lands?  What's next?  Short-cuts through someone's kitchen to get to the beach?
  • Respond to referrals on water servicing issues as they relate to agriculture.
Blog:  Water servicing?  Leave that to the water authority, Council.  It's not your purview. 
  • Maintain relations with urban residents, promoting both sides as “good neighbours”.
Blog:  Landowners either are or they aren't 'good neighbours'.  One thing's for sure -- acreage landowners are truly fed up with urbanites telling them how to run their properties.
  • Promoting programs that support urban agricultural strategies such as: community gardens, urban hen policies and edible landscapes.
Blog:  Who wrote that 'program' and 'strategy' garbage?  Edible landscapes?  You first, Council, nibble on this stick.  Myriad excellent gardening magazines have promoted these programs for years...nobody needs council or the ag committee to dabble in this, as they lack the knowledge and experience!

  • Assist with the development of an inventory of municipal lands with the objective of identifying potential sites for either urban agriculture ( gardens) or vacant land that may be available for agricultural leases.
Blog:  Okanagan University College has been declared the site of the demonstration garden,  announced by Coldstream's Mayor.  But adjacent to Hwy 97?  Just think of all the years of  leaded gas emissions that settled on those lands!  Yuk, no thanks.

A revealing quote was attributed to Councillor Maria Besso in The Morning Star on May 30th, 2012:  "If taxpayers want me to make informed decisions, they should be happy I am there (at committee meetings)."

"Happy she's there?" intones Kia incredulously, adding  "to make INFORMED decisions?"

If the Ag Plan is proof of Councillor Besso's informed decision-making, heaven help us all.

Coldstream acreage owners now prefer someone uninformed, who evidences an ability to learn.
It's obviously too late for that.