Monday, December 24, 2012

You'd Think Local Government Would Get The Idea...

...from all the Letters to the Editor about how local government SPENDS, SPENDS, SPENDS our money!

Another compelling letter, this time from Gabe Siska:

"As one follows the local media, it is always full of aspirations of various residents who talk about requiring this or that service or facility, giving no consideration as to the cost of the same and who will pay for it.

Without mentioning our own personal financial situation, there are many people that require a better or newer car or kitchen stove or perhaps moving up to a larger home.

However, because of more important needs, they make do with what they have.  If they have a leaking roof, they spend a few dollars and repair it.

We presently have a museum, an art gallery, a swimming pool, a running track at Polson Park and facing financial challenges at all three levels of government, not withstanding the governor of the Bank of Canada reminding us to pull in our belts.

Thinking back to Sunday shopping and how it was voted on continuously until it finally passed, certain people will continue to pester and lobby until the money is spent and the vicious circle goes on.

We now have three arenas in Vernon alone, perhaps we should build another one just in case more people move to town.

Or another half-dozen more ball fields because Funtastic is getting more popular.

When these referendums come around in the near future, I believe we should look at our wallets before we vote and remember that it is the taxpayers that end up with the costs of these dreams of the few who think they represent the masses."       Gabe Siska

"Couldn't have said it better, Gabe!" offers Kia.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Bureaucrats' Wages versus Regular Folks'

A tip of the hat to R.Garner for his compelling Letter to the Editor, The Morning Star, December 21/12.

"Cause for Concern:
I'm getting a little too tired of tax increases every year are you?  Here are some sobering facts and I believe them to be correct.
  • 2010 city salaries were $20.9 million
  • 82 employees are making over $75,000.
There are just over 25,000,000 wage earners in Canada.  The average individual income according to StatsCanada in 2010 is $29,250.

Included in this average are the high-paying jobs in the pubkic service sector like city workers, firemen, teachers, nurses, doctors, and police.

It's hard to find stats on how many Vernonites are making less than $15 per hour but you can bet they are not working for the public service sector!

Who doesn't want to work for the government, cities, and municipalities because that's where the money and benefits are.

That puts our city employees making $75,000 or more in the top 12 per cent of earners in all of Canada and the ones making over $100,000 are in the top six per cent in all of Canada. (emphasis:  blog author)

My property taxes from 2000 to 2011 have risen 30 per cent.
My house insurance has risen 94 per cent in 10 years.
My income has risen zero per cent in the last 10 years.

The city is looking to borrow more money and I for one am a little worried.  Canadian personal and government debt are at an all time high and we are seeing other countries like the U.S.A. and Europe in dire straits financially.

We are in a society of instant material reward and we're willing to risk our future and our children's future to get it, and once we have it we move onto the next and the next until our debt is so big we can't face it.

"...looking at a future like Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal and others?"

Many cities in California are facing bankruptcy with some already in bankruptcy.
Why is that?  Because they have run budgets too close to the wire and when city wages, benefits and pensions keep rising, there is less money for services for people like you and me.  When their revenues suddenly take a dip because of various reasons like unemployment or the cost of debts change, there's nowhere to turn but to raise taxes and we as homeowners and businesses are the sitting ducks.

The usual excuse is that you have to pay high salaries for the best qualified people.
I don't believe that for a minute.  Some of these high-paid planners with their extravagant expenses and bonuses have put cities in the position we are now in.

Some cities have had poor visions for the future and now we have cities designed for cars not people.

Now they are in the predicament of inadequate public waterfronts, few multiuse(sic) paths, dangerous pedestrian areas, unsafe parks and more.

Is it fair to think or do these people really think that they are worth three, four, or five times the yearly salary of many other hard-working citizens?

I'm sure there are highly qualified university graduates willing to work for a lot less that are trained in a future vision where people are helping people and working to make a community prosper.

Is it possible we are looking at a future like Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal and others?  We are not immune, we are all connected economically.

Is it all we can do is hope with ignorance that everything will be OK or can we speak up for better change and equanimity?

Perhaps future referendums should cover all projects of long-term planning of maybe 10-15 years, where these projects can be prioritized and decisions made of what people want and what the city (the people) can afford."      R.Garner.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

What the Mayor Omitted

In the annual State of Coldstream newsletter to taxpayers, Mayor Garlick pontificates about all the stuff they've done.
But it's what he omitted that speaks volumes of this Council.

Everybody's read it by now and wondering why this Council's focus is askew.

Assuming the Mayor's printed words indicate significance, let's focus on word count... 

38 words..."District staff and politicians have also been working with our partners to develop the next phase of the Master Water Plan for Greater Vernon water to meet the drinking water standards set out by the Interior Health Authority."

612 words..."The residents of Greater Vernon, including the areas of Vernon, Coldstream and Electoral Areas "B" and "C", will go to the polls to determine whether or not to borrow fund to build a community sports facility on Okanagan College campus lands...."(blog: other text not copied here, as it was assumed to be on the District's website, however, at today's date the only near-reference is the Demonstration Garden at the College).

Of the first project (with 38 words from the Mayor), Councillor Besso's letter to the CBC indicates the gargantuan cost, naturally, to be paid by everyone.

It's anybody's guess whether Council knows the difference between "hard" and "soft" infrastructure.

"The Mayor is confusing 'soft' with water," advises Kia, adding "but they're soft in the head if they think we'll permit new debt."

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Under-Built B.C. Hydro Rural Distribution Lines

This'll be an eye-opener for residents of East Coldstream.
And prove how residents are being under-served by B.C. Hydro.

Remember the Thanksgiving Sunday power outage in East Coldstream on October 6th, 2012?
And the outage several weeks earlier of similar duration?
Both events left East Coldstream dark for ~4-hours.

Thanksgiving Sunday's event had Coldstream residents scrambling to feed guests by candlelight, and looking for alternatives to undercooked dinner.

Do we merely chalk it up to another occurrence in our lives?
We should not!

Because they're dangerous and destructive!

Proof is the help that was offered in 2007 to residents in another B.C. area based on residential complaints following a power outage and the damage that it caused.  So their regional district complained to the B.C. Utilities Commission.  They got the ball rolling (more on that later).

Did the District of Coldstream--or our North Okanagan Regional District--demand an explanation from B.C. Hydro on behalf of their residents?
I called B.C. Hydro a few days after the outage to enquire as to what had occurred that Sunday.
The reply was "a breaker at the sub-station".

Merely another symptom; not the cause.

A hint is provided in this "Order" to B.C. Hydro from the B.C. Utilities Commission after investigation of another power outage(s) in B.C.

"We submit that the service of (B.C. Hydro) this public utility was and is unreasonable, unsafe, and inadequate ... must therefore ... safe, adequate and fair service, and (we) Order the utility to provide it."                  Erica Hamilton, B.C. Utilities Commission

Back to East Coldstream's Thanksgiving Sunday's power outage.

Many Coldstream residents were cooking Thanksgiving dinner that Sunday when the outage occurred about 5 p.m.
I wasn't.
Despite the golf course having closed October 1st, we were still shutting down the clubhouse and moving patio tables to winter storage.
Weather was warmish  and fairways were still being irrigated (in advance of blowing out the system scheduled for the following weekend.)

Then the power went out.
From the patio I heard several things at once:  the rapid beep of back-up power at the Highlands Golf front desk, and clubhouse emergency lights immediately activated.  Alas, the UPS only serves the clubhouse cash register and lights.  At the same time there were several really loud clicks--almost at banging level--and I sprinted to the nearby Shop.  The three or four clicks had originated somewhere within the irrigation system's computerized controller and pump-start relay equipment.  I immediately turned to the Off position the one (of three) timeclocks (programmable logic controllers) that had been running the fairway irrigation. 

It wasn't until the following week when we blew out the irrigation lines for winter that I learned the extent to which the timeclock had been damaged (the only one of three that had been operating when the outage occurred), as I struggled to manually over-ride the now-damaged electrical program which opens and closes irrigation valves.  My fears weren't unfounded...the 15 hp immersible Grundfos pump in the irrigation pond and all the electric valves were now controlled by a severely damaged program whose legend no longer matched the numerical sequence on the chart.   Despite the damaged equipment, we managed to finish blowing out the irrigation system that day.

We were grateful for one thing:  that the walk-in cooler's compressor motors had already been shut down since closing for the season, so it's not thought that any damage occurred to clubhouse equipment.

Even the District of Coldstream municipal hall suffered damage (from an earlier outage or spike in that area of Coldstream during summer, likely caused by lightning), referenced in an Agenda item: " ~$11,700 telephone system was destroyed and needs replacing."

"It's not the power outages that do the damage," said my electrician the following week when he replaced the broken timeclock and reprogrammed its replacement (at $500), "it's the power spikes/surges (over-voltage) in the distribution system as power "tries" to come on again (also explained here).  It's these voltage overloads that damage equipment, especially equipment with motors, often beyond repair." 

To understand these phenomena, first understand there are two definitions:  One is TOV, "Temporary Over Voltage", the other is ETOV "Extreme Temporary Over Voltage".  Here's a 4-minute Youtube video that shows what happens to motors during voltage overload.  Sensitive computerized circuits are often destroyed too, depending on the severity of the over voltage.

Back to B.C. Hydro and the Bullshit comment.
Just like at our own residences, circuit breakers are exactly what the name implies, designed to automatically "break" when unregulated voltage (TOVs or ETOVs), etc. occur. 
And that's what happened at the Hydro substation too, likely from a TOV or ETOV occurring on their distribution lines.  It's Hydro's "hardware" that includes thin lines in rural areas that creates the biggest risks to customers.

But Hydro is a business first, with business plans that set out priorities.
And protecting customers (and customers' equipment and appliances) isn't always a priority.  That's why Hydro suggests we install surge suppressors and the like.

Today, B.C. Hydro's "Three Bottom Lines" don't sound like those of the Crown corporation we older folks were familiar with from the Bennett days of the 60's.  Most of us don't even know why there's now a FortisBC.

Back to the outage in another part of B.C.
Congratulations go to the regional district that actually provided a service to their residents...the Squamish‐Lillooet Regional District .  They received complaints from many of their 775 residents (of which 140 were severely affected) following a power outage five years ago that damaged residents' appliances and equipment.
Instead of telling their residents "too bad..." (which is probably how our own RDNO would respond to our request for help), that Regional District contacted the B.C. Utilities Commission Complaints Division and conveyed residents' complaints, requesting an answer to what had occurred on B.C. Hydro's distribution system that day (even demanding compensation for their residents!).

And guess what?
With the exception of compensation, the B.C. Utilities Commission agreed with the Regional District, despite B.C. Hydro's statement that customers should have surge suppressors on household and other equipment.  And this for business customers.

Turns out having surge suppressors wouldn't have mattered, according to the Commission. 

The B.C. Utilities Commission's investigation discovered the real reason, and also discovered that it wasn't just the Squamish and Lillooet area....quoting from their document "During this investigative and review process, other BC Hydro customers in Lake Cowichan, Nakusp and New Denver experienced similar ETOVs that caused damage to customers equipment, destroying surge protectors and leaving burn marks."  (Remember the definition?  ETOVs are Extreme Temporary Over Voltages, TOVs are Temporary Over Voltages).

According to the Commission:

"• the ETOVs damaged or destroyed virtually any electrical appliance connected to the system at the time;
• A residential electrical panel was observed to be smoking and surge protectors were rendered useless, leaving a burn on carpeting in at least one instance;
• This overvoltage (ETOV) incident gave rise to an extremely dangerous situation and it is fortunate that there were no fires and no one was injured as a result."

Destroying surge protectors?
Destroyed any electrical appliance that was on?
Holy cow!

The really good thing here is that B.C. Hydro could not fool the Commission with a pat answer.

The B.C. Utilities Commission knows when B.C. Hydro is lying, or just plain making excuses, or both as evidenced in that episode.  It's not always trees down on power lines!  "The Commission accepts that most of the conditions that may lead to ETOVs are weather related and beyond the control of BC Hydro but the Commission requests BC Hydro to review its Edge Tree Program in respect to vegetation management and how transmission lines with underbuilt distribution lines are dealt with in this program.

Under-built distribution lines?
Did this refer to residents' homes and garages physically situated UNDER Hydro lines?
It meant that Hydro's distribution wires are--in rural areas--old and thin, having been built for a small population and not the high-energy demands of today's modern households in urban areas.

Apparently thin rural wires are common, as quoted here (albeit from Ontario):
"In rural areas, (Ontario's) Hydro One's distribution wires are smaller, thinner and deliver a smaller amount of electricity because they were designed to serve a much smaller amount of customers than in large urban centers."  (from Wikipedia story here).

Want to bet that distribution lines are old and thin in East Coldstream, B.C. too?

The Utilities Commission further said--after B.C. Hydro provided reasons--for various scenarios:
"The Commission recognizes that Alternative 4 ‐ Installation of Station‐Class surge arresters coordinated with transmission line refurbishment and maintenance over the next 5 years had a PV cost (over 30 years) of $2.24 million and that installation of SCSAs may only the first step in addressing the ETOV issue but as the incremental PV cost is only $40,000 over doing nothing, the Commission accepts that this cost is acceptable. The Commission considered the two year alternative 2 and the five year alternative 4 and finds alternative 4 to be more acceptable. As BC Hydro stated, it is “a more thorough and robust solution to the problem” and the Commission recognizes the longer term approach will allow for lessons learned to be implemented. Considering the necessity for lessons learned during the implementation of alternative 4, the Commission concludes BC Hydro’s recommendation that Alternative 4 ‐ installation of Station Class surge arresters be adopted."

Lessons learned by B.C. Hydro?

Here's the Commission's most important conclusion regarding that event:
"we submit that the service of this public utility‐ was and is unreasonable, unsafe, and inadequate and that the Commission must therefore:
(a) Determine what is reasonable, safe, adequate and fair service, and
(b) Order the utility to provide it.”

Among the numerous Commission findings, this will also be of interest to East Coldstream residents:

BC Hydro is directed (to) provide annual status program reports, ETOV reports on converted lines, and on‐going reports on system ETOVs.
But probably not to the public, although a Freedom of Information request is available (more on that later).

The B.C. Utilities Commission's "Order" to B.C. Hydro concludes:   
"(B.C. Hydro must) Report on:
a.  ETOVs on lines that have been remediated under Business Case ‐ alternative 4 to be reported immediately upon occurrence.
b.  ETOVs on lines that have not been remediated under Business Case ‐ alternative 4 to be included in the annual report.
c.  ETOVs as presently being reported.
Notify customers affected by ETOVs in the business case as well as those in the recent New Denver ETOV of the intended corrective actions within 30 days of the date of this letter and place the business case and letter on its website.

So, since Extreme Transmission Over Voltages since 2011 need to be reported to the B.C. Utilities Commission, are we sure that B.C. Hydro told the Commission about East Coldstream's outage, or maybe it was just a TOV outage that doesn't need to be reported to the Commission?

We'll have to contact the B.C. Utilities Commission ourselves.
We East Coldstream folks remember RU10/RU30 and recall all too clearly that we NEED to get involved in stuff, lots of stuff, just to protect ourselves and our properties from harm. you think a TOV or an ETOV did not damage your refrigerator, freezer, television, microwave, and other equipment and appliances?
Think again.
East Coldstream residents DID receive equipment damage, yet many won't know about it for a while until their appliance motors give out (well ahead of their planned obsolescence.)
Speak to any electrician and he'll tell you decreased motor life is always the minimum result of ETOVs, as well as TOVs.

While waiting for your motors to fail prematurely, and they will, write a letter, specifically about the Thanksgiving Sunday outage and/or the outage several weeks before that.

Write or email your letter:   

Erica M. Hamilton
B.C. Utilities Commission
web site:
Sixth Floor, 900 Howe St., Box 250
Vancouver, B.C. V6Z 2N3
Ph: (604) 660‐4700, toll free: 1‐800‐663‐1385

Maybe the District of Coldstream ought to write a letter too...let the B.C. Utilities Commission know that their entire telephone system was destroyed.
But you can bet they won't, as our elected officials don't care to investigate.
Taxpayers simply buy the municipality a new phone system. 

The Commission's entire 11-page letter, dated April 2011, is  here:

"Hydro could've singed my nice fur coat," says Kia, wide-eyed.

Additional damage discovered at Highlands Golf:

A resistor block for the 10 kW wind turbine failed following the Thanksgiving Sunday power outage and subsequent ETOV/TOV.

Its replacement was relatively cheap, plus two hours maintenance labour.
And we won't know if there's damage to the 15 hp Grundfos or pump start relay system until we start irrigating in 2013, so the list may get longer..(that equipment is very, very expensive!, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed they're not damaged).

Some further info, in case anyone wonders whether the Highlands Golf 10kW wind turbine caused the power outage.:

No, it did not.
Highlands wind turbine is on a "net metering contract" with B.C. Hydro.  We don't use ANY of the power at the golf course that the wind turbine produces.  Production goes straight to the Hydro grid on their distribution lines (...the thin and old lines?).  So, when a power outage occurs on Hydro's distribution lines while the Highlands Golf wind turbine is generating power--all power produced is immediately diverted and converted to heat at the "heat dump" (a sizable metallic structure that acts like an electric heater (albeit an ugly one!).

The "heat dump", below the controller box for the wind turbine.

And Hydro made sure of that during the installation.  The B.C. Hydro inspection ($600 fee for a 15-minute visit/meeting) approved the wind turbine connection to the hydro grid, and start-up commenced when the two-way (Smart) meter was subsequently installed.     

Three senior hydro technical guys approved our wind turbine's "protection methods". 
In retrospect, I wish my wind turbine contractor had pressed B.C. Hydro officials to better protect us from them.  Simply put, I wish there had been disclosure from the Hydro inspection officials that my system might need protection from theirs!

Maybe ETOVs/TOVs are what totally destroyed five (yes, 5) inverters in the first two years of operation!  After about the fourth destroyed inverter, I submitted a Freedom of Information request that asked B.C. Hydro for any information on whether over voltages could've "entered" our two inverters, as well as whether the 135,00kV transmission lines that bisect the golf course could have somehow created damage to the inverters from transmission line surges or over-voltages.  It must've been my non-technical lingo, but Hydro's response was "no data available" and "no data available" to both questions.  So much for submitting a Freedom of Information request (sigh).

So, folks, write your letter to the B.C. Utilities Commission about your own experiences that Thanksgiving Sunday...and/or the previous outage several weeks earlier (in my case, in that earlier one, I heard and actually FELT a loud grinding noise beneath my feet as I stood at my kitchen range).

Be assured that the B.C. Utillities Commission does indeed investigate, even if the results take four years (as in the Squamish Lillooet Regional District complaint).

Because next time, fires COULD result from ETOVs coursing through old and thin hydro distribution lines in East Coldstream.  A fire can occur in your electrical panel, or at any appliance or equipment motor.

"Instead of spending all that money to install Smart Meters," offers Kia, "how about protecting customers' homes and businesses by upgrading old hardware in rural areas?"

Yes, how about it, B.C. Hydro?

Update:  in October and November this year, B.C. Hydro crews were working along the road examining Edge Trees.  A contractor--hired by B.C. Hydro--removed and chipped a golf course Elm tree at #2 Tee box that had grown too large, as well as topping two pyramidal cedar trees at the golf course entrance.
This work--for which we are grateful--indicates this area is part of their Edge Tree Program; perhaps further proof that East Coldstream is an integral part of Hydro's under-built rural distribution line.  Some hilarious results of tree pruning occurred. 

Arborists would cringe, but Hydro's Edge Tree program does protect their distribution lines.

"But Smart Meters will notify BC Hydro, won't they?" asks Kia.

Don't count on a Smart Meter telling Hydro what they REALLY NEED to be told.  We have the B.C. Utilities Commission for that, thankfully.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Besso Airs Laundry in Letter to CBC

...ostensibly to "save" the South Kelowna Irrigation District from repeating her mistake (as one of the sitting councillors when these matters were voted on and advanced to referendum).  

So Coldstream Councillor Maria Besso wrote a letter to CBC's Daybreak South program. 

No indication if she was ever interviewed on the daily live program, so the councillor's letter is being reprinted in its entirety: 

"October 30, 2012

The dilemma of water in the Okanagan

It is nice to hear that the recent referendum to borrow 15.3 million dollars to upgrade the South Kelowna Irrigation District's water treatment facility has failed.

The reason that I am glad it has failed, is because finally, there may be some public attention and discussion of the unique problems, and questionable assumptions, that have been made in the name of drinking water protection in the Okanagan.

What nobody mentioned directly in yesterday's interviews is that pure money and the ability to borrow (emphasis blog author) and/or get government grants (from whatever level of government) is not always the answer.

The problem for the South Kelowna Irrigation District is the same as it was in 2004 for the North Okanagan.

In the North Okanagan we combined three water utilities in 2003, formerly it was known as the Vernon Irrigation District (combination of North Okanagan Water Utility, Vernon Water, and Coldstream Water). The new Greater Vernon Water Utility was run by the Regional District of the North Okanagan and could now qualify for senior government grants. We did a Master Water Plan and were able to borrow 15.4 million dollars (went to referendum) plus we got 3.3 million in grants from the Municipal Rural Infrastructure Fund, and 10.5 million from a federal gas tax grant. In 2008 we started building the 29.2 million dollar Duteau Creek Water Treatment Plant. The Plant took 18 months to build and was opened September 20th , of 2010. Our first full year of Operation was 2011 and we treated 13,375 Megalitres of water at an operating cost of 1.7 million dollars.

You would think all our troubles would be over, but instead we have a 29.2 million dollar, sate(sic) of the art plant treating very large volumes of water, to mostly spray on our agricultural and landscape fields. We have taken over all the irrigation distribution infrastructure (ie Pipes) to deliver this highly treated water, and really only 14% max is domestic and commercial drinking water (indoor use, OBWB supply and demand study). The rest has outdoor irrigation uses and does not need this high level of treatment.

"...either have to be given senior government grants for separating irrigation water from drinking water entirely or IHA has to relax or change the rules so that we do not repeat the mistakes of the North Okanagan."
District of Coldstream Councillor Maria Besso

You might ask yourself why would you use treated water for irrigation?

Well, it is for the same reason that the South Kelowna Irrigation District might have found itself in trouble if it had just been given the okay from electors to borrow the money for the "drinking" water upgrades. It is because you only have one set of pipes in the ground there is no magic second set of pipes to deliver untreated water to agriculture. You cannot get money (grants) for twinning agricultural pipes, you can only get it for water treatment facilities. So you have to build a huge water treatment plant to handle the peak summer irrigation demands, you treat all the water to this high standard (at great cost) and then you dump most of it on your fields.

"...cost anywhere from 60 million to 145 million dollars, depending on the amount of separation they choose to do, and needs to be funded by water rates."  

But who's the bad guy? Is it IHA? No not really they are just trying to protect human health.

The 'Drinking water Protection act was enacted April 11, 2001 after the Walkerton tragedy to protect the public from water born diseases. So the standards are meant for drinking water, and they are very good, but if 86% of the water you use is NOT for drinking AND both your irrigation water and your drinking water are using the same pipes and infrastructure, then you are unnecessarily treating a huge amount of water and that is a waste of taxpayers money. In our zeal to enforce drinking water

protection we are not taking into account that in the Okanagan we live in the driest water basin per capita in Canada. We are also not accounting for the fact that Agriculture relies on irrigation in the Okanagan. No irrigation, no crops, no crops, no farmland, no farmland no Okanagan identity. 

"...a huge waste of taxpayers money."

Someone needs to say to IHA that these water utilities are not just drinking water utilities - they have a dual purpose, and it is not economically feasible or desirable to treat irrigation water to the Drinking Water Protection standards. The unintended consequences of these well meaning regulations spell a huge waste of taxpayers money.

Water Utilities in the dry Okanagan either have to be given senior government grants for separating irrigation water from drinking water entirely or IHA has to relax or change the rules so that we do not repeat the mistakes of the North Okanagan.

You know that beautiful state of the art 29.2 million dollar water treatment plant we just built in the North Okanagan. Well, in the peak of summer 2011 demand, the plant treated 160 megaliters of water per day, in the winter time the water treatment plant only treated around 6 megalitres per day. That means that in the summer, approx. 96.25% of the water that is treated, is used for irrigation.

So now, after the fact, Greater Vernon Water is trying to play catch-up and separate the pipes, this is estimated to cost anywhere from 60 million to 145 million dollars, depending on the amount of separation they choose to do, and needs to be funded by water rates. Then we will still need a $20 million dollar filtration unit to be added to the Duteau Creek Water Treatment plant by 2015.

How much can the taxpayer take?   Sincerely, Maria Besso Coldstream Councillor"
There is no indication that Councillor Besso also contacted federal MP, Colin Mayes.

 "Or maybe she's saying "don't blame ME," offers Kia, adding "she might have political aspirations in Victoria...good place for her."

(See also John Hegler's letter:

Living on the Edge in Coldstream

...a hazardous place when it comes to fire boundaries.

Why?  Because neighbour helping neighbour belongs to a bygone age.
And it's being condoned by your elected officials if bureaucrats get their way.

As part of the ongoing--and never ending--editing of the District of Coldstream's Policy Manual under the guise of streamlining its principles and practices, Chief Administrative Officer Michael Stamhuis recommends the following policy to our elected officials:

"The District of Coldstream will not respond to any fire calls beyond the District of Coldstream's Fire Protection Boundary unless a mutual-aid agreement is in place."
Draft of Policy #FD08, To designate the response area for the Fire Department

Whether or not a mutual-aid agreement is in place won't be important as your--or your neighbour's--structure burns.  

And response delays caused by Fire Chiefs fumbling through streetmaps, or Google Streetview--all the while scanners and pagers crackling with alarm--doesn't bode well for public safety.

It's just a matter of knowing where you live, and the North Okanagan Regional District's Fire Boundary map may be a good place to start looking.

When it comes down to the potential risk to life and property posed by a fire--any fire--it would be reassuring to know that two fire halls respond--versus none--if your residence happens to be on the perimeter of two (or even three) fire jurisdictions, especially in the maze of boundaries found in the North Okanagan.

Ask any long-serving volunteer fire fighter and they'll shake their head in disbelief at the apparent need for a mutual-aid agreement (draft here), adding "They're our neighbours!  We respond to alarm and smoke;  to hell with a bureaucrat's paper boundaries"

Bureaucrats justify their existence with paperwork.

" the District of Stamhuis," adds Kia.

Remember:  Primum non nocere?  First, do no harm!