Sunday, April 28, 2013

Coldstream's OCP Never Gathers Dust

It's always open, yet officials say the last review was 7 years ago.
They're always reviewing it (checking for rules requirements/infractions).

Seven years is as though it were yesterday to residents who are constantly bombarded by stories of what Council is contemplating and doing.  As in perhaps a roundabout on Kal Lake Road (loud groans), or maybe traffic lights (groan, groan).  Many people I've spoken with simply groan, "plus a provincial election".

Written 20 years ago, Coldstream's Official Community Plan is being opened up (again for public input) at a time when the public remains distracted by a poor economy, lack of new employers and the jobs they would bring, not to mention their own family's focus on increasing property taxes, water rates, and hydro/gas rates.

Add up all the Variances (to the rules) that people apply for, you'd be correct in thinking nobody ever puts the Official Community Plan for Coldstream back on the shelf.  It's always open.

Several open houses are planned for the public to provide input:
May 6th Coldstream Women's Institute 3-5 p.m., reconvening at 6:30-8:30 p.m.
May 8th Lavington Fire Hall, 3-5 p.m., and 6:30-8:30 p.m.

The Mayor states "We're looking at densities, agricultural lands and the uses that occur on them."
Several Coldstream Acreage Owner Association members quickly quipped "they'd better leave last year's RU10/RU30 plan buried, or we'll have to jump all over 'em again."

Other topics that Coldstream Council's review will consider in the Official Community Plan are listed below--followed by responses from Kia and our group:

* residential housing demands (single family, multi-family, retirement).  Leave this to the private sector, as they know what they're doing, and whether it's viable.

* future community growth areas.  Gawd, here we go again.  After this same council has vehemently vetoed "mile long subdivisions", etc. etc.  Unless the good Lord has granted Coldstream some new land, nothing has changed from the last time they studied it.

* residential/rural land-use interface planning.  The Agricultural Land Commission has created details on a buffer zone for such an interface, so that's what will be applied.  No point in reinventing the wheel unless you're Councillor Richard Enns, who is concerned riding arenas--if setback is reduced to 30 metres--will create a lot of dust.  Jeezzuzz!  Buy 'em a sprinkler.

*agricultural land use planning and farming viability.  Yeah, sure, a bunch of bureaucrats and councillors (most of whom are decidedly left-of-center) are going to find the magic formula for farm viability.
As indicated during last year's RU10/RU30 debacle--this Council doesn't have a clue about farming the East Coldstream valley--yes, it's suitable chiefly for forage crops.  Even apples (and certainly stone-fruit crops) don't work in the valley bottom where frost settles late winter/early spring from cold outflow winds from the Monashees. 

* hillsides' long-term land-use planning.  Reiterate Maria Besso's comment from last year: "We don't want mile long subdivisions".  And presto, you won't get them...or their tax dollars. 

* commercial neighbourhood centres. favourite thing to hate.  What merchant in his right mind is going to fly in the face of demographics--and revenue--and build a shop in Coldstream's proposed Town Centre?  Not many.  Not when every fifth retail space in Vernon has For Lease on the window.  Oh, they'll get the odd dentist or chiropractor...

*industrial land availability.  It was the Mayor who stated a year or two ago--after he had been asked if the former Consumers Glass Plant might be subdivided into smaller industrial parcels--that he preferred it to remain in one piece.  Seems a film might be produced there.  (Sigh).  

*municipal parks and trails strategy.  Needed for people who don't have acreage.

*sensitive ecosystems policy strategy.  These rules will continue to arise in Victoria (where they should originate).  Our Mayor should be focusing on a sensitive taxpayer's system policy.

*hazardous lands identification.  TerraSoft, Google Earth and Google Maps = done!  Like dinner!
Haven't seen any new Coldstream lands created recently, but the mountain opposite does look a bit taller.

*infrastructure planning (transportation, utilities, services).  Even local MLA Eric Foster recently admitted that a community "can't do water separation/twinning alone", taxpayers don't want to ask for more services because of the cost.

*interjurisdictional land-use planning.   Coldstream Council is a signatory to the Regional Growth Management Strategy, so they're bound by that, not by what we want to see.  Plus we've stopped telling them what we want.

"Maybe we should tell DoC that many Japanese companies have 300 year plans," offers Kia, "and they stick to them."

Thursday, April 25, 2013

"Plentiful" Water Supply

Finally some good news from Greater Vernon Water.

As reported in the Morning Star on April 17, 2013, Duteau Creek's water content (in snow) is 109 per cent of average, with snow depth at 102 per cent.

The stored water volume of Duteau Creek reservoirs is 154 per cent.
The entire basin that includes Duteau Creek reservoirs is at 111 per cent.

The Okanagan-Kettle basin which includes the Kal Lake water source is at 107 per cent.

"So...nothing about rate decreases?" asks Kia.

Don't hold your breath waiting for that!

Weather system photos as they descend onto the Aberdeen Plateau are here.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

18% Voter Turnout at Referendum

And of that 18 per cent, 47.65 per cent said No, with 52.35 per cent saying Yes to borrowing $7.5 million for the Community Sports Facility adjacent to Okanagan College on Highway 97.

The perennial question after any vote is "Did the non-voters (36,875 in this case) favour the referendum?"
Or does the low voter turnout indicate yet more apathy among North Okanagan residents?
People should care, but often don't cast a ballot to support their opinion.

A total of 45,095 were eligible to vote.

"I'd better not hear any whining from any of the 82 percenters who didn't vote," asserts Kia.

The only aspect I'm personally dead against is that tenants--who do not own property--are permitted to vote in provincial borrowing referenda.  And companies that operate in the area get no vote.  That's the thoughtless manner in which voting rules are applied in British Columbia.

To calculate how much this sports facility will cost your family, here's the residential calculator.   

Multiply that by the 20 year term.
And then hope that (municipal) interest rates remain low.