Saturday, October 21, 2017

2-1/2 month Blog Hiatus ends with Windstorm

2017 has been a busy year.
My last post was on July, that's almost three months ago.

My Mom has now been at Coldstream Meadows for six months, and appears to be settling in comfortably with the assisted living routine.  She's luckily getting "the hang of it", although the early-Dementia diagnosis is likely accurate.  Mom isn't enthused "about the Canadian food", and has shed pounds...pounds that were unnecessary anyway.  I visit her twice a week and look after her personal shopping needs.  She seems to have forgotten that her house has been sold since the possession date mid-July, and occasionally asks for a mop or a ladder!

Since the golf course closed September 30th, I've again had a super-nice trip to my favourite shopping destination--Wenatchee, Washington state--during this Fall's mild October weather.  It was wonderful to point the truck South and just go!

This interesting man from Vancouver and his ride allowed a photo during a U.S. fuel-up.

The grandson is approaching 3-1/2 years old and now has a closet full of new clothes to fit his growing frame.  While the Canadian to U.S. exchange rate can be a challenge for our beleaguered loonie, I find the selection of children's clothing so much better in Washington state.  Add to that the U.S. fuel price of $2.89 a gallon--easily half what we Canadians pay for fuel; there's no sticker shock while fueling up--it remains worthwhile to shop down south.  Plus there's my "need" for a brief "escape".

This trip I noticed hotels were a tad pricier than other years, but maybe that was because of Canadians heading south the Thanksgiving weekend, having left for the U.S. on Thursday October 5th.  While the U.S. Thanksgiving isn't until November, our Thanksgiving was Monday, October 9th (by which time I was back) and we all enjoyed a wonderful turkey and ham dinner at our daughter's home.  She fed 24 people (including 6 toddlers) that evening!  Wow!  Sometimes I joke that she must be adopted as I wouldn't have been able to get through cooking for such a crowd as that at my home.  She just laughs it off.

Ah...the trip.  It was certainly worthwhile, and I managed to spend some "donut" time with golf pro Ed Paine in his retail golf shop, Golfer's Edge, in Wenatchee.  He has become a good friend over the years, advising me in golf-business matters when needed.  We generally meet twice a year...March and October if I'm lucky enough to go south twice.

Golfer's Edge golf shop owned by Ed Paine, golf professional, on Mission in Wenatchee, WA
Oh yes.
Back to the shopping for grandson.

Gettin' things organized in the hotel...

...and new boots
Some work on the house interior's ceilings had been planned.  Or at least I thought it was planned for completion by the time I arrived home.  Nope...a contractor's delay meant I was back home when this work was performed...aaaargh!  Messy!

Ceilings needed redoing after a contractor--7 years ago during the last renovations--screwed up by using the wrong paint, which was coming off 'in sheets'!
Husband and employee, Ian, had put the clubhouse and patio furniture to bed by the time I returned from the U.S., as well as having brought in all the benches and tee-box paraphernalia.  Men's nite manager, Denny Wallace had come out and winterized the big barbeque as well as removed the tee-box signs for his annual reapplication of marine (waterproof) stain.  And the new gazebo canopy is now safely stored (and nicely folded--thank you, Denny!) inside the clubhouse.

Backyard Pools and Spas were hired (spur of the moment...a good decision) to perform the winterizing work on our 16 x 32 inground swimming pool.  Twice-yearly (start-up and shut-down) work had previously done by another company.  We frankly had grown tired of the other company postponing our winter pool shutdown time and again.  Turns out the new company is a hell of a lot cheaper too!  And they listened to every request!

So now...finally to the windstorm.
I had driven a friend to a Kelowna medical appointment at noon on Tuesday, October 17th.  The day started out clear and sunny, but windy.  As we approached the new highway section just north of Lake Country--above Gatzke's orchard where the speed limit increases to 100 kph--a VERY strong gust of wind almost blew the Toyota truck into the right lane from the middle lane!  Wow.  Gripping the steering wheel more tightly, the wind blew and blew the rest of the way south, including while we attended her medical appointment.  Frequent heavy showers accompanied the racing clouds overhead.

Arriving safely back in Vernon, roads everywhere were littered with tree and ditch-debris. A child's plastic swimming pool was impaled on a fence post.  Plastic garbage cans, now without lids, sought new owners!

The golf course suffered wind consequences too.

The 55-foot poles on which the safety net is suspended at #8 tee-box and fairway took a wind-hit at the middle pole.  This is the second time that fastener has let go of the aircraft cable on which the net hangs.  One can only imagine the weight of that net, especially when wet with rain, on the eyebolt drilled through the top of the pole. 

Sean of Advanced Powerline was phoned, and they'll be here as soon as the second problem (next photo) is removed...because that's their big truck's only exit route after reattaching the net!  Seems to me the last time this occurred the invoice was $600.  Oh well.

The neighbour on the west's 50-foot fir tree gave out halfway up in the storm. 

Fortunately, the golf course was already closed and no-one was on #8 green when it crashed down.
The fallen branch was a lot larger than this photo appears to show...

Anyway, I've been "unwinding" from my six-months-with-no-days-off duties.
It's frankly very relaxing to be able to go into town and not have to race back to the course.

But I still haven't finished inside the house.  Pictures need to be re-hung and not all the furniture is back into the room(s).  

I'll soon be ready to look after the grandson again.
He is so very mature--for a 3 year old--that I'm amazed at his willingness to help set the table; indeed to watch "the machine" as we cook his favourite (grilled cheese sandwiches).

I'll close with a photo of grandson doing a great job vacuuming Mom's house to prepare it for sale this summer.

My daughter is clever to "train-em young"...

Here's hoping the nice Fall weather holds for at least a few more weeks.

"I would've licked the floor clean," Kia would've said.

September 23, 2017 was hard on regular golfers--and husband and myself--as that was the one year anniversary of Kia's passing.

Run with the clouds and Rest in peace, dear Kia. 
I still miss her.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Tale of Two Cities?

Okay, Coldstream is a municipality and not a city.
But it's right smack dab adjacent to the City of Vernon.
And that is the problem.

I give Coldstream credit for their recent effort in notifying the homeowner whose property abuts Howe and Mackie Drives.  Tall ugly--and ready to bloom, and spread throughout the valley on westerly winds--thistles lined the homeowner's fence.  Coldstream's Keri-Ann Austin not only immediately replied to my email reporting the thistles, but copied their Roads Supervisor, Mike Pethick.

One thistle...the beginning of thousands and thousands whose seeds spread on the winds.

City of Vernon?
Nope, not so much....turns out from their website, that they don't eradicate noxious weeds "for cosmetic reasons".

Interesting, though, that the City of Vernon is quick to have their residents comply, even asking residents to water boulevards...with that very expensive GVW water!

"Obligations of City residents 

City of Vernon Good Neighbour Bylaw # 4980, requires property owners and residents to maintain the boulevard(s) and lane adjacent to their property. The City does not provide this service and does not include any funds in the budget for such work. Most of this work involves landscape cutting, trimming, and watering of grass on the boulevards and lanes. The City encourages property owners and residents to maintain the boulevards for the beautification of our city and the enjoyment of all."

Excerpt from City of Vernon Weed Control page on their website.

While some folks may agree spraying noxious weeds for "cosmetic reasons" isn't a good idea, some weeds are so insidious that they shouldn't be in the same category.
Frankly, I think it's a cop-out by the City of Vernon.
Because the City of Vernon Good Neighbour Bylaw #4980 doesn't take into account its adjacent community.  I mean Coldstream's residents, who work hard to keep properties and acreages presentable and free of noxious weeds.

So let's see what happened in Coldstream on Howe/Mackie Drive...this photo shows the neighbour obviously responded to Coldstream's request to not only spray the thistles, but REMOVE them and bag the seeds into the garbage:

thistles were not only sprayed, but their stems/seeds were bagged.  Thank you, Coldstream and Homeowner!
In Vernon?
Not so much, as the saying goes.

Look at these photos of the steep bank above Highway 6 (photo taken from Sarsons Road, just east of Middleton Way, looking north and northeast toward the condos west of Hillview Golf Course).  

Thousands and thousands of noxious thistles ready to blow a new population of thistles east...directly into Coldstream!

Maybe someone should tell the City of Vernon that their new and very expensive signage that welcomes visitors (from the east on Highway 6) needs some work already!

How much did these signs cost?  Already lost the letter "r".  Shoddy! 
The above photo of "Ve non" was taken from Sarsons Road, looking northwest to the new welcome sign on Highway 6 at the edge of Hillview Golf Course.

"Good neighbour is a misnomer," Kia would've said, suggesting Vernon's bylaw should be called entirely something else.

Thanks, City of Vernon, for not giving a damn about the Coldstream valley.

And don't count on RDNO to care either, even though they have weed ID on their website.
Despite the regional district having an email address (at the bottom here) on their website for "weed control", no emails to them ever receive a reply!  So they might as well cancel that website page, despite it looking good!

Let's end the doublespeak!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017


I seldom do blog posts about personal emotional stuff but make an exception today.

Instead of whirlwind, the last 10 months resemble a tornado going through my life.

It began last October when my almost 94 year old Mom--who lived alone in a 3-storey townhouse in town--went into serious decline, but nothing that could be named.  Right up to September, she had been driving her own car, cooking all her own meals and doing housework and laundry.  And then it was as if a leaf turned and she just got a lot older in October.

She was unsteady on her feet, so I got her a cane.
She was having difficulty getting in and out of the tub so I got her a grip support that clasped onto the tub, as well as a bath chair.
I got her a gorgeous blue walker and spent 2 hours trying to put it together...ha ha.

I didn't want to accept what was happening.
I visited more frequently, taking precooked meals in baggies and storing them in her fridge for microwaved dinners.
Losing her balance and falling in the garage, followed by what may have been 4 or 5 hours on the floor unable to get up until I arrived to visit her.  I couldn't find her anywhere in the house, knew she hadn't gone out because the car was in the garage.  Looked in the garage again...and then I heard a tiny voice from the other side of the car..."help".
That day ended with paramedics getting her up off the floor...I couldn't lift her to her feet.
She spent eight hours in Emergency and I took her home as doctors assured me no bones were broken.
I convinced Mom to stop driving, and turned in her vehicle plates to ICBC, and I put her driver's license in my purse.  She was OK with that, and I was glad.

The winter months of January, February and part of March were more of the same.
Some days I visited her twice, and each night as I went to bed I worried whether she was okay.
I got her a Lifeline pendant for $40 a month, but she didn't want to "bother anyone" so she never pressed the button.
Several more falls, each resulting in ambulance trips to Emergency. 
One visit led to diagnosis of a uterine infection (which had the scariest side effect of Mom hallucinating!) and she then spent 4 or 5 days on the fourth floor of the new wing...fabulous nurses and a gorgeous private room with amenities comparable to a new motel.  Excellent care led to Mom getting better and she soon returned to her townhouse, promising to be careful.

My husband and I brought her bed downstairs into her kitchen, which had ample space for a night table, and small wardrobe for her daily needs.  She could get to the bathroom easily and seemed to do better without having to concern herself about getting up and down stairs.
I felt relieved knowing she wouldn't be trying the stairs anymore...I helped her get to the shower every week without incident.

But I knew she was growing weaker, and her doctor confirmed heart failure.
The "whammy" was the diagnosis of early dementia which I hadn't even considered.
My late Father--who passed away 12 years ago--had Alzheimer's disease, that cruel crippling disease where the patient doesn't even recognize loved ones at the end.
But Mom seemed okay in many ways.

And then Interior Health folks showed up.
Visiting her townhouse they wanted to schedule leg exercises, they wanted me to erect poles into the ceiling trusses so Mom could pull herself up from her bed...they demanded a lot of physical changes to the townhouse.  And that they could come every morning to get her up and make a cup of tea.
Mom looked at all these demands, and told me we were NOT--under any circumstances--building anything into the house, and that it should be sold.  Then she started complaining about the care aides, saying "there's a different person every day...I look up and there's a stranger standing there!"
I understood her concern.  She also said to hell with the leg exercises.  Okay, Mom.

During March--before the golf course was scheduled to open--I drove around and visited a number of care homes.  Long waiting lists--confirmed by Interior Health--were depressing.  Interior Health rep said, at one point, the wait list was just over a year.  Two weeks later the same rep told me wait lists were approaching two years.

So I convinced Mom to move into our spare bedroom...upstairs (unfortunately!)
Turns out in our 4-level split house we have more stairs than my Mom's townhouse, but at least I could go to bed at night knowing she was safe in the next room.  I gave her a little toy Christmas bell that she could ring to summon me...and it rang frequently.

After about a week at our home, she said "thank you" but that she wanted to go home again.
I knew a care home was the solution so I kept looking.
I was concerned that once the golf course opened--and Mom was spending her days alone in my house, with me in the clubhouse for 12 to 14 hours every day--it was as though she would be living alone again.  And I was worried, as the "dementia" appeared to be rearing its ugly head several days a week.

Then hallelejuha! Coldstream Meadows had a studio opening in their Lodge assisted living home!
After a brief viewing of the room and a meeting with the rental coordinator--who was very accommodating--I quickly wrote a check for a half-month deposit to hold the studio for Mom.

The next event--moving Mom to Coldstream Meadows from her townhouse--won't be detailed too much.  Suffice to say she had said "no" to leaving her townhouse.  Suffice to say I arranged for husband and an employee to rent a moving truck with the furniture I had listed on a piece of paper, during which time I had picked Mom up "for a drive"...thank goodness for cellphone texting, as I was texted when the furniture had been delivered to her new room at Coldstream Meadows, which was the "all clear" for me to take her there.  I was later told by staff that no resident had ever arrived in such a clandestine (unknowing) fashion.  I felt bad to deceive Mom, but it was for the best I convinced myself.  She walked into her new room, recognized the furniture and said she was going home that night "with my furniture".

But the guarantee of nursing and care aide staff made the move of paramount importance.

Within days, the golf course opened and I was grateful Mom wasn't sitting in my house--or her townhome--all alone.
On visiting Mom, she brightened and said the staff were "wonderful"...wasn't overly keen on the "Canadian food" but that it would do.  Three meals a day plus snacks.  And exercise to walk to the dining room (with assistance) using her walker.  Daily housekeeping included.  And Mom's monthly pension covered it, thankfully.

At this point, I'll simply say that I've never before been so exhausted on the first day of the golf season.  But Mom was being cared for and that was a huge relief.

I visit weekly, early mornings when I can get away, as well as pick up prescription renewals and personal care items.  As I drive away, I worry less and less knowing she's in good hands.

From April 21st--when we moved Mom to Coldstream Meadows--until YESTERDAY, July 18th when the townhouse was sold and new owners took over, I picked up Mom's mail and regularly checked/cleaned the house.

But it's over finally...3 months of checking/cleaning an empty house, and then having to get rid of all the rest of the furniture and pots and pans and dishes!  What a chore that was!

The last stage of the townhouse...the sale...was made so easy for me with the professional and extremely diligent service of Maria Besso, of Vernon's Remax.  I was always unable to get away from the golf course to meet Maria, so she volunteered to meet me here at my convenience.  She even came to Coldstream Meadows twice re Mom signing paperwork and was always on time...something very important to me in my rush-rush life.

I knew of Maria's integrity because of her time as a Coldstream councillor, and I certainly chose the best realtor for the sale!  Within five days of listing Mom's townhouse, there was a full price offer which was accepted.  Closing was midnight on July 17th, 2017.

The next outstanding professional I dealt with was Rhoda Chapman, notary here in Vernon.  She volunteered to come to Coldstream Meadows on a Saturday (when she normally did not work) to have Mom sign papers and, again, was such a diligent professional that she arrived on time (yay!) and had all the critical paperwork ready for Mom to sign, with the preliminary stuff having been P-o-A'd (Power of Attorney) by me in the lobby at Coldstream Meadows (just to reduce any confusion Mom might experience).

Without these two women--Maria Besso and Rhoda Chapman--involved at this stage, I'm sure I would've been tearing my hair out.  

And all this time, there's the golf course and clubhouse with tournaments and BBQs, replete with groceries, liquor purchases, cleaning and organizing.  Thank goodness we do not have a restaurant here!  Regulars at the golf course have been wonderful, asking about my Mom's health and well-being at Coldstream Meadows. I am about four months into the golf season.
And all that has happened since the golf course finished the 2016 season at the end of September.

A whirlwind?
Yup...I'm still reeling..

But the main thing is that Mom is OK, and will celebrate her 94th birthday August 19th at Coldstream Meadows.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Gettin' Angrier By The Day

I wasn't going to do a blog post on this.

I won't even use the son-of-a-b's name...but here's the story.

So is the terrorist criminal the s-o-b?  or Justin Trudeau?
I won't answer that.

Sure...sure, the Supreme Court has interpreted the Charter of Rights and that led to the ruling.
But the Supreme Court sure as hell didn't make Trudeau give the terrorist criminal $10.5 million.

Everyone I've talked to...and the topic is often discussed at the bar and on the outraged.
I actually hope that outrage isn't going away.
It should increase!

A write-in campaign to Federal MP Mel Arnold (C) led to Mr. Arnold's reply, received today and reprinted here in its entirety.

"Dear constituent,

Thank you for your email regarding compensation paid to Omar Khadr.

On Wednesday, July 5th, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government confirmed that it paid millions in compensation to Omar Khadr. The Liberal Government has also apologized to Khadr. 

Conservatives believe that it is one thing to acknowledge alleged mistreatments. It is another to secretly award a convicted terrorist who murdered a U.S. soldier. This was Justin Trudeau’s choice and he is responsible for the decision. 

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer said he believes the Harper government's decision to repatriate Khadr in 2012 was a sufficient response to the Supreme Court's ruling that Khadr's rights were violated.

Scheer said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is trying to shirk responsibility for the actions of previous Liberal governments by placing the blame on Mr. Harper. This whole ordeal started under the Liberal governments of Prime Ministers Chretien and Martin. Canadian officials from Foreign Affairs and CSIS questioned Khadr at Guantanamo Bay in 2003 and 2004, when former Prime Minister Paul Martin was in power.

Canadians know Prime Minister Trudeau’s decision is wrong. The Supreme Court of Canada did not instruct Justin Trudeau to give one cent to Omar Khadr. Repatriation was the proper remedy to the Supreme Court’s 2010 ruling and that’s why Conservatives brought Mr. Khadr back to Canada.

It is also troubling that this payout was announced during the summer recess of Parliament when there is limited opportunity to question the Prime Minister and his government on the decision.  Regardless, our Conservative Party will continue to press for debate on and explanations of this affair.
Former Prime Minister Stephen Harper said the Liberal government's decision to strike a deal with Khadr is theirs, and theirs alone, and the decision is simply wrong.  The Trudeau  government was wrong to make a “secret deal” with Omar Khadr and then  try to blame the previous Harper government for it.

What is most upsetting to Canadians is that when a Canadian soldier is killed or injured in battle the government provides a lump sum payment up to a maximum of $360,000. Despite this, the current government is willing to provide millions to a convicted terrorist who actively sought to kill Canadian and allied soldiers.

Our thoughts continue to be with Christopher Speer’s widow and family, who must relive their ordeal every time this issue comes up in the media.

Given Mr. Khadr’s admission of guilt, Conservatives are calling on him to give any settlement money to Sergeant Speer`s family.

Thank you for sharing your input with me and I hope you are able to share your input with others who may not be aware of the Liberal government’s perilous and unprecedented decision to award Khadr.

Please take a moment to review and sign these petitions if you feel they reflect your concerns:

Thanks again for being in touch!

Mel Arnold MP
North Okanagan - Shuswap"

Personally, I'm convinced that Justin Trudeau's actions in paying the terrorist criminal should bring down his Liberal government.
Right after throwing the Charter of Rights where it a lake.

So who's the s-o-b?
Take your pick...they're both the same in my eyes!
Now that's anger!

Saturday, June 24, 2017

The "Person Interviewed"?

Before reading this blog story...get a load of the Mayor's comment taken from the 2016 District of Coldstream Annual Report:  "...Coldstream representatives at the Regional District of North Okanagan (RDNO) have been reassessing the Greater Vernon Master Water Plan and water rates..." (underline by blog author).  page 7 of 66 here.

Okay, read on...

The "person interviewed?"
...why not say who it was?
We'll say was Coldstream Mayor Jim Garlick.

The mayor just happens to also be a years-long member of the Greater Vernon Advisory Committee--the group of elected officials who routinely accede to Greater Vernon Water bureaucrats' demands for water rate increases.

"...the board of directors
 are not held accountable,
 could care less
 and seem oblivious
                 to the world around them."  Bob Johnston

So it wasn't like the Mayor didn't know!
Know what?

Let's let Bob Johnston's letter to the editor, published in the Morning Star on June 23rd, 2017, explain it:

"Water Woes:
Have you been contacted by one of those annoying not-for-profit organizations that promise the world, yet seems to fall flat when the time comes for action?  So, if you were dumb enough to donate to such a nefarious organization and felt duped, did you ever delve into their background and discover the donations disappeared into a giant, black hole?  Sadly, the board of directors are not held accountable, could care less and seem oblivious to the world around them.

It turns out while reading the Morning Star the other day where a certain business had to close because it was forced by a large increase to their water rates, we have our own version.  

The water board/authority is trying to emulate the not-for-profit status mentioned earlier.  Ever try to find out where the money goes?  It is virtually impossible.  Ever try to find if anyone cares?  Virtually impossible!

Ever wonder why every year the rates go up even though how much water is or isn't in the system doesn't seem to make a difference?  By the way, wasn't that a nice touch when the person interviewed was shocked the rates had doubled in five years?

I guess there's no point in beating a dead horse."
               Bob Johnston

...Giant, black hole.
Good description!

Giving money and power to  
government is like giving whiskey  
and car keys to teenage boys.  
-- P.J. O'Rourke, Civil Libertarian 

See:  Addendum to Mayor's Dumb Comment, June 10 blog story, and
         Mayor's Dumb Comment, June 4 blog story here

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Addendum to "Mayor's Dumb Comment"

As is customary--and sincerely appreciated by residents--Gyula Kiss has some comments that follow the newspaper story, entitled Mayor's Dumb Comment, on a dry cleaner's permanent closure because of the area's ridiculously-high water rates.

Here's Gyula Kiss' "take" on it:

Surprisingly, nobody seems to know the reasons for the high price of water. Those in charge are not interested in my opinion but I might be able to shed some light on the reasons for the high cost of water. Here are some of the reasons:

1.     Wasted too much money on altering the recently improved VID system. It needed no changes. Wasted infrastructure cost about $40-45 million.

2.     Overestimated water demand and sized the capacity of the MWP accordingly, significantly increasing costs.

3.     Procrastinated with the MWP. 15 years passed since the original plan was announced in 2002 and it is still not finalized.

4.     Doubled the 2004 Referendum approved borrowing by collecting cash over and above the approved $35 million during the past 12 years.

5.     Ignoring the results of the 2014 Referendum and continuing to collect direct cash from customers in order to avoid going back to ratepayers for their approval.

Those are some of the reasons for the high water rates. Keep watching: those rates will continue escalating and reaching to the stars. 

In contrast, Kelowna is going to solve their identical problem by removing domestic customers for the South East Kelowna Irrigation District (SEKID) irrigation lines and extending Kelowna's domestic water supply from Okanagan Lake to the current SEKID domestic customers. Total estimated cost: $64 million. Learn more about Kelowna's plan here.

GVWU's estimated cost: over $200 million. Wasted time over 15 years. 

More wasted money: continue treating water for agricultural irrigation estimated to be $1-2 million annually. You, the domestic customer foot the bill. The agriculture community does not need treated irrigation water.

Could it be improved? I say yes. Staff say no. An independent reviewer is needed to review the plan and possible alternatives. Kelowna will do it's plan for less than a third of the cost and no wasted water on agricultural irrigation.

Just my opinion now!"

And Gyula just did!
Thank you, sir! 

Rail Trail's "Bad Inhabitant"

Speaking to a golfer this morning, I learned that the new Rail Trail is "loaded with poison ivy, and it's creeping in from the sides now that the railway company isn't controlling it".

He didn't have any photos of it on his phone, but here are some from the internet (click on photos to enlarge):

There are apparently up to 10 natural remedies for Poison Ivy exposure/rash.

This website should be bookmarked by people who walk or bike the Rail Trail.

And how about your four-legged hiking companion?  See this website to learn of symptoms your dog may exhibit, i.e. an itchy rash.

"There's a need for some photo/sign warnings on the Rail Trail," Kia would've said.

The new-to-the Okanagan golfer added another comment..."back east, we witnessed areas that were expropriated to provide 'rail trails', and then years later, politicians realized light transit would've served the highest purpose.  Trails were converted back to commuter rail huge cost."

He said that politicians here will learn that too.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Mayor's Dumb Comment

"It seems like a considerable change -- a doubling (of the cost of water)," said Coldstream mayor and GVAC member Jim Garlick.

A considerable change?
Ya think?

"...water prices are rising astronomically.
  The average quarterly bill was about $1,500
 when the business opened five years ago it's about $3,000."
Michael Parent, Sunshine Laundry Express owner

Maybe as a GVAC member, Garlick's been asleep during GVAC's annual water rate setting meetings.
Whatever it is, like a typical politician with tunnel vision, he's simply blind to the political inefficiencies that exist in the North Okanagan...and the problems they themselves create.

At issue is the Morning Star's story today, headed "Laundromat Drowns" which indicated Sunshine Laundry Express closed its doors Thursday...permanently.  The owner stated "...water prices are rising astronomically.  The average quarterly bill was about $1,500 when the business opened five years ago and it's now about $3,000."

Think back to the KPMG-recommended governance review from years ago...which was summarily rejected by all the local politicians.  It recommended consolidating the various governments into one--or two.  That in itself would've provided a ton less of administrative and bureaucratic costs.  Why?  Well, just think of the proximity and administration of Vernon City Hall, five minutes drive there's the Regional District of North Okanagan, five minutes from there is the new Municipal Hall at Coldstream.  And don't forget the MLA's office somewhere in the middle of all that government.  They--and their bevy of bureaucrats--cost a whack of money.  Year after year.

Today's editorial states, in part, "...increased water rates can't be avoided as Greater Vernon's utility needs to replacing(sic) aging infrastructure as well as meeting evolving water quality standards enacted by government agencies.  GVAC officials weren't aware of Parent's (laundromat owner) challenges but they insist they will investigate."

What the hell is there to investigate?
We have among the highest water rates in the Okanagan...and there's no indication those increases will stop.

The editorial concludes:  "...GVAC needs to always consider how utility rates impact all businesses and particularly high-use users of water, whether it's a laundry, car wash, brewery or golf course."

Ah...the voice of reason.
Unless, of course, those types of businesses are no longer welcome in the North Okanagan.
Many owners of those businesses suspect that's not far from being true!

Sleepy Garlick concludes:  "are there efficiencies we could help them out with?  Is there (efficient) equipment that could be used?"


Maybe there's a robot mayor available...

How about the sheer numbers of high-priced engineers running into one another at all these bureaucratic levels?
And all the consultants they hire to do their jobs...also high-priced engineers.

"Yeah, Garlick could help load the moving truck," Kia would've said, "as it heads south to a more business-friendly community."

Sorry to see you close, Sunshine Laundry!

Monday, May 29, 2017

Polson Park No Longer Family Friendly

Unintended consequences!

We heard yesterday of a young mother who took her 3-year old son to Polson so that he could ride his new bike and learn about traffic safety from his Mom.

"...Can you imagine how bad it'll be
when they legalize (pot).
  Holy cow, I'll never want to be
in public again with my young son."

Mom reported:  "He did so well...learned all about traffic.  And trafficking!  God, the 'low-lifes' down could smell pot wafting across the playground.  Can you imagine how bad it'll be when they legalize (it).  Holy cow, I'll never want to be in public again with my young son."

What she was referring to, of course, is that homeless camps can take up residence in public parks.  If other options don't exist, that is.

Vernon Council voted 6-1 Tuesday to suspend the parks and public places bylaw, according to the Morning Star on May 26th, "when shelter space is not available and homeless individuals turn to parks temporarily."

But Councillor Juliette Cunningham said "I go to the park and it's a big park.  There's lots of places where you can go and feel safe."

Yeah, sure, Juliette!

"The Park will be family friendly during winter," Kia would've said.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Lavington May Day Committee

...honoured Highlands Golf today with a visit to have their group photos taken.

Cute kids, cute costumes.
Nice adults.

The group went up to the irrigation pond...which is nearly overflowing from recent rains.

Thank you, Nicole with the Lavington May Day Committee for selecting Highlands for your photo shoot!

Give Bureaucrats a Window

...and maybe a thermometer too.

Received this letter, dated May 1st, 2017 from RDNO.
The letter was written 17 days ago, during one of the coldest--and wettest--six weeks of "Spring" in recent memory.

(click to enlarge)

Yes, our last backflow test was conducted on April 28th of 2016.
But this year?  Holy moly, it was probably snowing that day...

We still haven't turned our irrigation water on.

I phoned the Cross Connection Control Officer and left a message on voicemail (to which--by the way--there was no confirmation of receiving it) to state that our irrigation water isn't turned on yet and that we would attempt to make their "completion by May 31, 2017" deadline, there is no assurance that date will be met.

We haven't even heard from the tester fellow yet...

"He's probably still placing sandbags at his foundation," Kia would've said, "to prevent floodwaters due to heavy rains from entering his house."

Bureaucrats might be bailing water from their homes too...

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The Truth Eventually Surfaces

...if you wait long enough.

Anyone in the public gallery during the Stakeholders' Advisory Committee Meetings, as well as SAC-appointed members and elected officials, have heard ad nauseum consultants and Greater Vernon Water bureaucrats state that "agricultural water use isn't expected to increase appreciably" (or something to that effect).

"...shows a six per cent increase in tree fruit acreage..."
Fred Steele

The denial that ag water use will increase is even contained within the technical memoranda (TMs 1 through 9) for those meetings, as well as hearing consultants state it during their summaries to the SAC committee.

Yet today on page A21 of the Morning Star, here's an interesting short article that quotes B.C. Tree Fruit Association President, Fred Steele:

"Tree fruits growing:
The latest statistics are fuelling optimism within the tree fruit sector.
The 2016 agriculture census shows a six per cent increase in tree fruit acreage in the past five years and a 51 per cent increase in revenue.

'The census shows why we are optimistic about the tree fruit sector's future,' said Steele...who believes there are a number of reasons for the industry's growth.

'We have benefitted from a strong Buy Local campaign, and our introduction of new varieties of cherries and applies is attracting premium prices and expanding export markets for our product,' he said.

'In terms of production, new horticultural practices that are more productive and environmentally friendly, as well as the introduction of the seasonal agricultural worker program (Mexico and Caribbean workers), have removed barriers to growth.'

The B.C. Fruit Growers' Association represents 520 family operated farms."

What's the big deal about ag water increases?
Why do people care?

Well, for one thing, residents are fed up with paying for agricultural water use (as the segment only contributes slightly over 4 per cent toward Greater Vernon Water's annual budget).  Especially since chlorinated water is being applied to crops at huge cost.

And secondly because of bureaucrats' lies.
Lying that the ag sector's water use isn't expected to increase in the next few years.

Residents aren't blind...they've noticed previously-fallow acreages planted to fruit incredible numbers.  Certainly some acreages did already have water allocations...but the pages of "new requests" found in RDNO agendas proves an upswell of ag water requests.
Because not every parcel had allocations to sell.

Proof is the thousand-plus pages of GVAC agendas (generally about 140 pages for each monthly meeting) in which requests for agricultural water allocation are made.
"Expensive chlorinated--and maybe soon filtered--water will continue to be applied to farmland," Kia would've said "despite our neighbouring community to the south focusing on separating water lines."

If I had no life at all, I'd research those pages and total all the new (requested) water acreage allocations.
But my life doesn't allow for that!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Water, Water

The Boil Water Advisory that encompassed the entire North Okanagan's GVW water base has now been rescinded.

The following clubhouse sign will now be removed.

One complaint was that the alternative didn't taste good for brushing one's teeth during the advisory...G R I N !

Wonder what the water "depth" indicators would look like today (versus this March 1st reading).

Turn Off the Taps, Mildred!

Wow...and they say el Nino brings a lot of rain!

It seems la Nina packs a big bucket of it too!
Cold and wet since early April...unusual for the Okanagan.
We can count on one hand the number of sunny and warm days.

Flooding in low-lying areas, streams overflowing, fish 'n ducks on the road beside London Drugs.
Even Highlands Golf has water coming out of the ground in the strangest places...luckily no damage other than wet golf shoes.

Some pics:

48th and Hwy 97 (at the Toyota dealership), with a similar amount of water on the other side at the Fairfield Inn.

Boots for the grandson to do some putting...
No wonder this golfing family was wasn't raining!  And they were celebrating a birthday...

And this photo from the internet aptly explains the Okanagan's water woes...

So, turn off the taps, Mildred!

It's golf season...we hope.