Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Interior Illness?

Seeing the 65-page remuneration report for Interior Health employees could actually make a person ill.

At first glance, one might believe that all those pages encompass the entire province's employees...but nope, that's just Interior Health!
And it was for the year ending March, 2015, a full 15 months ago.

There's segregation (if you can call it that), between two classes:  those making under $75,000, and those over $75,000.  The following snippet shows Wages in the first column, the second is Expenses.

Holy crap!

Almost a billion dollars in wages!
Grand total $928,588,950!

The head of the local health authority, Roger Parsonage, had wages of $121,004 plus $9,191 in expenses.

So how many health regions are there in British Columbia?

Take your pick.  There are either 10 health regions in B.C. or 20 (areas within regions).
So are there ten 65-page reports out there?
Or 20?

So that nearly billion dollars was only for Region 8, the Interior Health region?

"I don't think I want to know," gulps Kia.

Poor public purse.


Tuesday, June 28, 2016

$73,333 for each of 3 signs

Sheesh, you'd think the unnamed sign company was quoting on signage for Michigan Stadium, whose seating capacity at 107,000 is larger than Vernon's far.

Vernon had budgeted $55,000 for the three signs.
So $73,333 for each came as quite a shock.

According to Bob Spiers' vernonblog:

Plans for welcome to Vernon signs have hit a financial roadblock. City council was told Monday that only one quote for the three gateway signs was received and it was four times the $55,000 budgeted. “We are looking at how to bring the costs down and then go to requests for proposal again,” said Kim Flick, director of community development and engineering. The situation has created a concern for Coun. Catherine Lord. “The whole intention was to have them up this year and it doesn’t look like that will happen,” she said. Earlier this year, council approved a final design for the signs after sending proposed concepts back to staff twice for fine-tuning. The front of the signs are supposed to have the words Vernon and welcome, and the city’s logo. There will also be an interchangeable banner that allows special events to be promoted. The rear of the signs are designed to say City of Vernon and come again. 

"Can I be a government contractor?" asks Kia.

Gilt-edged, perhaps?
Nope, the price of gold hasn't gone up substantially. 

Sunday, June 26, 2016

UFW = UnFathomable Water! PART TWO

continued...from PART ONE

CLICK to enlarge:

Difficult to make comparisons?
You bet...when the reporting format changes so frequently.
Plus...they lose data.

Even this pirate is confused...


UFW = UnFathomable Water! PART ONE

Yup, who can understand the monumental--unfathomable--discrepancies in numbers reported by Greater Vernon Water?

Further to this blog's entry on June 22, 2016 entitled UFW?, let's have a look at all the unfathomable numbers that GVW has issued regarding Unaccounted For Water.

Click each to enlarge:

 second blog entry PART TWO

(before Blogger platform dies entirely...)

BREXIT Reasons from a Brit

Now I understand.

This email explains it from a Brit's point of view:

...from a friend  about the referendum and Britain pulling out of the EU.  The reply was in response to the question whether they were surprised by the vote to Leave.

"Not even a little bit.  All of my family voted to leave and I would have made the same call.  I know first hand what it is like over there these days and it disgusts me.

It disgusts me what England has to put up with and has done for years and what it has become as they utterly lost their lifestyle and what made them British and this has festered for years but got a lot worse this past 10 years.

I said 43 years ago when I lived in the UK it was a mistake and I still believe that.  No one in England really ever wanted to join the EU.

Britain has a massive immigration problem that would totally piss us off if we had to accept what they do.  They have no choice either.

If you are a member of the EU you cannot refuse entry to another EU resident and everyone and their dog wants to live in England because it used to have the most brilliant social programs which they don’t have now because the country is bursting at the seams.

At the start there was a handful of countries and now there are 28 and that means 28 or 27 if you don’t include the UK, are entitled to move to England and every year millions come to England to live as their own country struggles, which they are.

Don’t be fooled, many countries in Europe are struggling and that EU ain’t a good idea.  Now there are 68 or so million people living in the UK and the UK fits into Alberta with room to spare.  

Every week they have to give the EU well over 350 million pounds which is about 700 million dollars – every single week.

"You are not allowed to call
a black garbage bag a black garbage bag
 because it could
offend a black person."  Brussels "rules" 

This has been a source of major frustration.  They are dictated to and I believe they did not fight two wars to then have Brussels and unelected officials dictate to them.
Apparently a lot of others feel the same way.

We would not like it in Canada.  I would hate for the US, Canada and Mexico to form one union and we lose our autonomy.  I would hate that but this is what has happened in the UK and you might have realized, we are a darn feisty lot and don’t want strangers telling us what to do and certainly not to lose control of our borders.

The laws that come out of Brussels are anal beyond belief.  You are not allowed to call a black garbage bag a black bag because it could offend a black person.

There are on average 50 students per classroom, you cannot get healthcare, doctors, dentists or appointments anymore because of the immigration problem and they are taxed beyond the beyond.  Their GST is 20%.  It was 22% but it did get reduced.

Most of the British cannot stand Cameron either and he only won the last election because of the promise of a referendum.  There are so many things wrong with Britain these days so nope, not even a little bit surprised.  I expected it and knowing how things are now over there I am very pleased for them.

My family literally fears for their grandchildren and they felt this was a last chance for their grandchildren.

England is not England anymore and they lost control a long time ago and they have the very worst of the immigrants fostered upon them, many uneducated and the crime rate is shocking.

England itself overwhelmingly voted to leave.  Such as Scotland did not but Scotland etc. get back more from the EU than England does so they had a vested interest as did Ireland so no surprise they voted to stay although I suspect they will call another referendum and will leave.  They benefitted from the EU.  Surprisingly Wales voted to leave which did surprise me because they get back from the EU per capita more than they pay to them so that surprised me but England itself voted overwhelmingly to leave.

What does surprise me is why it took so long.  The immigration alone is a massive problem and we would not like it if this happened in our country and we had no choice but to take the riff raff and support them and in England these days it is spot the white English person very much so.

I know it will be a struggle to start with but England will get past this and they will be able to take back the control they desperately lost.  I did not know a single person of all the people I knew who voted to stay and in fact they could not wait to vote."    (blog: names removed )

"It's been said that a government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul," says Kia.


Saturday, June 25, 2016

Residential Complaints Head to Victoria...Eventually

Victoria occasionally needs ganging up on by municipalities.

Especially when the MLA--in this case Eric Foster--dragged his heels (or knuckles) and refused to handle residents' complaints.

Think of Stickle Road (which isn't in Coldstream's area...but a contentious issue nevertheless).  Residents and business owners of that area attended several public hearings where the Ministry of Transportation heard concerns and suggestions designed to improve safety where the road meets Hwy. 97N.

MLA Foster didn't even attend.
Finally explaining why, he inanely stated it was to prevent it "being all about me..." 

All about him?

But he jumped into the Amphitheatre fray early on, and soon announced that he would tell Victoria not to allow its construction, stating that a more suitable location needed to be found...(away from all those angry voters.)
That's basically what the annual Union of B.C. Municipalities meetings are...communities all over B.C. attend with recommendations in an attempt to gain allies among mayors and planners and bureaucrats so that projects have an improved likelihood of success with government ministers.

Whether communities want money, more money, more money or more laws and money, they go to the annual Union of B.C. Municipalities meetings with their recommendations.  "Minister grovelling" has become downright critical to a community's goals.

Let's see what's firing Coldstream's jets this year:
(Click table to enlarge)

  • Water infrastructure funding...yup, residents on the GVW water system are all, well, tapped out. Especially since they're meeting soon to discuss new water rates and furthering the Master Water Plan despite the $70 million borrowing referendum having been rejected in November of 2014.

  • MMBC recycling program...FINALLY a hint that officials have been listening to residents' complaints.  Seems they're finally realizing more and more people are simply putting "un-pickup-ables" into the garbage, having given up sorting and separating previously accepted items. 

  • Complaints or issues arising from ALR properties ... whether it's the bird-guns or helicopters that protect cherries from birds and rain damage, residents are wondering whether mile-high buffers are necessary. 

Back to water.
Bob Spiers' Vernonblog indicates three recommendations that are on the hot plate in the next month at RDNO/GVW:

1. Greater Vernon Water (GVW) Strategic Plan for Rates and Fees Structure Workshop – Questions & Answers - Report dated June 20, 2016 RECOMMENDATION 2 Page 1 That the requested information from the May 26, 2016 Special Greater Vernon Advisory Committee meeting regarding the Greater Vernon Water (GVW) Strategic Plan for Rates and Fees Structure Workshop be received for information and discussion at the July 21, 2016 Special Greater Vernon Advisory Committee meeting. 2. Financial Options and Considerations – Greater Vernon Water Master Water Plan - Presentation from the April 14, 2016 GVW 2012 Master Water Plan Stakeholder Advisory Committee Meeting FOR DISCUSSION Page 14 3. 2012 Master Water Plan Review – Stakeholder Advisory Committee Statements and Recommendations - Report dated May 2016
RECOMMENDATION 3 Page 22 That it be recommended to the Board of Directors the request from the Citizens for Changes to the Master Water Plan to hire an independent engineering consultant to undertake a peer Greater Vernon Advisory Committee Agenda – Regular - Special - 2 - June 29, 2016 review of the 2012 Master Water Plan not go forward. 

By the way, don't look for the agenda yet that contains the above.
It'll be available to we peons a few days before the meeting(s).


"What's that saying...give (some) politicians two in office and one in jail?" asks Kia.

Sewer Bill Sympathy

EDIT:  Bob Spiers has done a masterful job of comparing sewer rates between Vernon and Coldstream.
The link is here.   Wow! Look at the comparison!

R.J. Johnston's letter to the editor hit the newspaper June 24th, 2016.
As you read the letter, it helps to adopt a similar tongue-in-cheek stance as the author obviously employed when writing it...

"Can you feel sadness for Mark Sandberg as he wonders why his water bill is so high?

I guess he wasn't around when the regional district first decided to grab even more money from we, the sheep, that populate and pay for their whims and extravagant schemes all in the name of improvements.

Originally, we were told that we would never pay for one drop more than we used if we spent gobs of money on water meters.  Too many saved water so that plan was amended to add a basic charge.  So much for that.

" taxes are less than
 what I pay for the water bill!"

We were charged a basic amount for sewer use by the City of Vernon.  It didn't take them long to discover that even more money can be squeezed from the population by charging for how much water you use in the winter months as your actual use would be just for household use, i.e. whatever came from the tap went down the sewer (of course we all buy bottled water).

Another dim light came on when the realization came to light that if you were a snowbird you wouldn't have a sewer bill at all.  Not fair, except the solution wasn't made for two or three years.

These water meters were to last 50 years.  Somewhere there may be a few meters that go slow, so let's replace them with another round of waste and change them.

When you actually can find the person in charge, you will be told the funds for this will come from infrastructure we have been paying all along.  Instead of that, why not just not charge that extra amount in the first place?  Wait:  it is so that he/she can justify their existence?

When I got my property tax notice, I found that the taxes are less than what I pay for the water bill!

In their minds, that is an anomaly and somehow will be fixed.  Do you think the water bill will be reduced?  Doubt it?  Last words of wisdom for Mark:  Be careful for what you wish for."
                      R.J. Johnston

It appears the Morning Star likes to "save" letters, so that same topic letters generally appear in the same issue...interesting then that the following letter to the editor hasn't been published:

"Wait until Mark Sandberg (first quarter sewer billing, June 1/16 letter to editor) learns this!

Add this to your complaint about your quarterly sewer invoices being based on the first quarter’s usage:

Did you know that your first quarter water meter reading isn’t actually for the months of January, February and March?

Meters are actually read sometime in early December, again in early February.  That’s the first quarter period on which your sewer charges are based for the entire year.

By reading your meter around the first week of December, the “consumption” includes all your family’s Christmas visitors!

And of course, all visitors over the festive season flush your toilets.

The Greater Vernon Water utility regularly and routinely overcharges for services they are not providing...quarterly base water rates are proof.

The North Okanagan’s elected officials allow this customer gouging to continue year after year."

"...probably more important to print a similar-length letter about a near-miss traffic event," chuckles Kia.

Yeah, that's it.
The second letter was submitted 22 days ago... 


Thursday, June 23, 2016

Harvey Lake Found--ha ha

It's part of the Duteau system...actually. 
Not some newly-discovered water source near Grizzly Swamp.
Not some indistinct Gold Paradise water bog.

Who knew?
Obviously not me.

Here's details, this from Technical Memorandum 3:

"The outlet at Haddo supplies the controlled releases to Lower Duteau Creek  ... further downstream at Harvey Lake."

"Harvey Lake is the headpond created on Lower Duteau Creek for the main pipeline diversion into the GVW distribution system.  The head pond and associated infrastructure were completed in the late 1960s..."...travelling intake screens, gas chlorination system, flow meter and telemetry.  AECOM (2006) identified Harvey Lake potential upgrades to the headgates as part of the Duteau WTP upgrades."

"Prior to construction of the Duteau WTP, GVW commissioned Earthtech (2005) to examine options...updating the Harvey Lake intake.  The intake pond requires dredging every five to ten years...frequently cleaning silt and debris from the infrastructure.  The study examined different forms...prevention and complete bypass.  The study summarized that the most economical option was to replace the infrastructure one day."

Source:  EarthTech 2005 Harvey Lake By-Pass Feasibility Study - Final Report Greater Vernon Water Utility.

See this document:  Headgates Dam Improvements (Ref #372-14-14.03)  regarding sediment removal and the protection of incubating Coho Salmon eggs. 

Harvey Lake's basically Duteau "headgates"

"Sheesh...", exclaims Kia.

The plot thickens now with three water sources...yup, three (technically).
A whole new Vernon irrigation system is born?

At the expense of domestic customers...who will be paying for the entire system...always.