Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Whirlwind...


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.

So...here 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 patio...is 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:

https://petitions.ourcommons.ca/en/Petition/Details?Petition=e-1194
https://www.taxpayer.com/resource-centre/petitions/petition?tpContentId=162


Thanks again for being in touch!
Sincerely, 

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 belongs...in 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"?

UPDATE POSTED JUNE 25/17:
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 it...it 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 transport...at 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?
Duh!

"...water prices are rising astronomically.
  The average quarterly bill was about $1,500
 when the business opened five years ago
...now 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."

Huh?
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?"


Equipment?

Jeez...
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 there...you 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 trees...in 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 happy...it 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.


Sunday, May 7, 2017

Birthday Girls, and a Daredevil


Dara, Holly, Alicia and Melissa...a great bunch of ladies!

They're not giving up their dayjobs...

And a weekend treat in this valley, our "daredevil" is back...a sure sign of spring!








What an accomplished pilot this individual is!

Love to see ... and hear it.
So do golfers on the course.


Recycling Survey Disappoints


In today's Morning Star, regional district segment, there's an appeal for the public to take part in a "general recycling survey", as they call it.


Residents have been angry for years since the "new" MMBC recycling program was pushed down their throats, so it was with anticipation I entered the URL into my browser.

There is a "grey box on the right" at this URL.
After clicking on RECYCLING on the engineering page disappointment was soon felt.

After completing several questions, I was disappointed that the survey was merely another way to "educate" the public, rather than truly obtaining their opinions on recycling changes' failures.
And asking for household income--as though to gauge whether rich--or poor--people tend to recycle more...is frankly, none of their business.
So I "x'd" out of it.

See for yourself here.

By the way, Multi Material BC is now renamed Recycle B.C.
We called it Mini Material BC.




"Because nothing beats the system we used to have...the blue bags at the curb, which were easy to haul down an icy driveway or stairs or an apartment elevator," Kia would've said.

Unlike some communities, we didn't even get the bins with the lids and wheels.
But the blue bags were the best.


Saturday, May 6, 2017

Really, GVW?


Imagine residents' utter surprise--after what seems like three days of torrential downpours (monsoons, according to some folks)--when they saw this sign at the base of Coldstream Estates:


There's even an evacuation alert for two homes along Duteau Creek's spillway.

And there's more.  Flooding in Vernon,  Armstrong, plus naturally, Lumby is very concerned.
Basically, anyone living in low-lying areas.

"Three days?" questioned a golfer this morning, adding "it's been raining on and off for 6 weeks."

Yup, it has.

Here are photos of Coldstream Ranch's "lake" taken this morning just south of the golf course...note the flooded creek (along the cottonwood/willow trees, and the field beyond that...toward Highway 6.




The latest round of thunderstorms arrived last night, looking very ominous indeed:




"Strange to hear the quacking of ducks in this dry valley," Kia would've said.

Even more strange to see the GVW sign.



Saturday, April 22, 2017

Disgusting Excess


It's not new during silly season.
But you'd think that the wasters would realize people may be offended by this duplication, and that it is no way to run a campaign.

Are you more likely to gain a resident's vote May 9th if they see the abject waste that you appear to support?




"Maybe that's how he ran his term as Member of the Legislative Assembly," Kia would've offered.

That's telling.


Dirk Minces Words


That's what I'd say.

Doug Dirk, GVAC Advisory Committee member was quoted in Gyula Kiss' blog on Thursday as saying "The (failed water plan) referendum is coming up on three years and we're marginally coming along on how to finance it..."

Gyula called his blog entry "Doug Dirk is too kind".
So it's kinda true.
The part about marginally coming along anyway.

But Councillor Dirk--a veteran (like Gyula) in Coldstream's political scene--is mincing words.
Side-stepping, actually.

Instead of admitting he hasn't a clue (same as his boss, Coldstream Mayor Garlick) in how to rein in the costly bureaucratic bush-beating, inefficiencies and bungling that today see chlorinated water irrigating farms, it basically underscores everything at Greater Vernon Water.
Doug Dirk wants residents to believe that the plan is still proceeding, albeit slowly.
He should've stated "frankly, folks, we're heading in a direction of no return.  We're totally screwed."

  

Let's see what Gyula posted under his heading of Doug Dirk is too kind:

Director Dirk is too kind!

Actually, the Master Water Plan has been going on since 2001, for over 15 years. It was supposed to be completed by 2007 (see MWP 2002 page 11-1). Then politics came in. Over $70 million later, amazingly,  we are irrigating agricultural crops with treated water, a huge waste of ratepayers money. Treatment cost runs about $1.5 million a year. Unfortunately, this water has chlorination only for disinfection while it serves about 20% of the domestic customers. It needs more treatment.
Now GVWU is planning to spend additional $8+ million so they can irrigate crops with even more expensive ultraviolet treated water. That is an extra treatment cost on top of the $1.5 million for a total of likely over $2 million annually. As the Chair person remarked, with UV we hope to be able to defer (but not eliminate) filtration for a bit longer. If filtration also has to be installed that will make the $8 million UV treatment redundant. It will also make the treatment costs significantly higher.

Kelowna and the South East Irrigation District (SEKID) were facing the same problem as Greater Vernon and VID did. Kelowna chose to take the gradual improvement plan by improving the water quality for the greater population of Kelowna first by installing UV treatment on the Okanagan Lake water supply. They have deferred filtration as the lake water quality was good without filtration.

When the problem with SEKID finally came to a crunch Kelowna went to the Government with the problem. They succeeded in obtaining a $44 million grant that will be used for total separation of the irrigation and the domestic water supply.

Greater Vernon Utility officials believed that government grants could only be used for treatment plant construction. Kelowna proved it not to be so! GVU wasted our money (and government grants as well) for constructing an ill-advised, money sucking treatment plant at Duteau because "...grants were available for treatment plant construction".

Kelowna is getting to work on a totally separated system that will provide highly treated Okanagan Lake water for both SEKID and Kelowna customers.

There is still time to reverse the current MWP direction. Projected additional cost to complete the MWP as it currently planned is roughly $150 million. About $110 million of that is proposed for Duteau Plant projects. In addition there will remain the annual treatment cost of about $2 million or more. These moneys would be more than adequate to cover the total separation costs.
The current masters of the MWP have been at it for nearly 17 years with little to show for their efforts. They are now bogged down in protecting the current direction. Since the construction of the Duteau Creek WTP there was a desperate effort to maintain the plant in the system even if it costs more to the taxpayers. They would not admit that there were mistakes made. New information has not been incorporated into the plans. For instance, the initial projections for water demand were hugely overestimated. We are still using those estimates in our plans to create larger than necessary infrastructure. 

It is obvious that a second opinion is needed to evaluate the MWP. When a potential expenditure for the plan is  over $215 million we should not rely on the opinion of a single group that ruled for over 15 years with questionable success. We must insist on getting a second opinion.

Staff and politicians try to eliminate further input from the ratepayers by using inflated water rates to collect funding for the financing of the water plan. This way they would not have to go for another referendum. It's kind of an "end run" to avoid the repeat of the 2014 defeat of the referendum. 
 However, this action is totally inappropriate as the current ratepayers will not get the benefit of what they are paying for. The benefits will only come after the moneys are collected and the projects are completed. For many that might be too late! Talk to your elected politicians and express your opinion to them!

My earlier activities: In 1991 I wrote a report with supportive evidence that total separation of the domestic and agriculture systems is the most cost effective option to follow.  MWP 2002 affirmed the same principle.

In 2006 I appeared in front of the RDNO Board of Directors requesting a Judicial Review (click for news report) of the direction of the MWP. It was refused. Instead, staff wrote a report stating that the Plan, which is incomplete even today,  was heading in the right direction. It seems that was not true.

This might be my last effort to appeal to my colleagues and to the Greater Vernon Water customers to demand an independent review of the plans. I have no more voice on GVAC. Neither staff nor politicians wish to hear opposing opinion.


Perhaps they will have to start listening to you, the customers!"
 
 

The unwelcome opposing views at Greater Vernon Advisory Committee meetings are the educated and analytical work of Gyula Kiss, who knows all aspects of numerous master water plans better than the GVW engineers and consultants combined.

So is Doug Dirk too kind with his politically-minced words?
Yup, suppose so.

Just another useless political comment from Doug Dirk, almost matching his political attributes.
Must be something going around.

"Maybe there's something in the water," Kia would've said.

Totally screwed up.

"Marginally coming along."
Maybe Doug Dirk is referring to how irrigated trees will fare under the soon-to-be UV-treated irrigation water!





Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Water Meter Readings page Updated


The blogger gremlins are still active, but here's the link to the data for January 1st through March 31st, 2017:



So, technically, it cost $356.12 for 28 cubic metres of water (including the residence).

"Doesn't that amount to almost $13 bucks per cubic metre water?" Kia would've said.

Yuppers.


Those Hardy Calgarians


A warm welcome back to members of the Centennials, here in Vernon for a weekend recreational hockey tourney.

Mark, Mike, Paul and Rich were a little rusty in their 18-hole round...but apparently hockey went well.



They did grumble a bit that the cold prevented them from wearing shorts, as they did last year.




Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Our Own Fake News


The United States isn't alone in the fake news phenomenon.

In fact, the North Okanagan area was likely the first to achieve that distinction with its consultant- and bureaucrat-biased "data" on the master water plan(s).

the Water Authority's ally...


Add to that the contrived biases of the Okanagan Basin Water Board and you've got a pack of liars that'll curl your hair.

So it's refreshing to get back to basics...something we residents can get our teeth into:

"Civil Servants must understand:
services required by their employers, the public,
must be provided cost effectively
and to the demand the public requires..."
G.Kiss                         

I recall years ago the OBWB stating in a national publication that residents of the Okanagan used "x times" more water than the average Canadian household.  Twice the Canadian average, they said, as my blog post of October 24th, 2015, indicated.

Shaming Okanagan residents nationally.
How nice!
All fake news to suit their purposes!


But Gyula Kiss has a handle on the numbers, thankfully, and presented them in his April 7th post here.
Here's his post on the fake news of the water authority and the OBWB:

Response to Anonymous comments on: Some real data on Greater Vernon water use

Anonymous said...

   “Let's not assume anything!

    Actual residential water usage in Greater Vernon is closer to 222 litres per person per day, not 675.  (open a new browser window, copy and paste the following URL into your browser to access the 20-page report from J.Miles in 2009).

 http://obwb.ca/obwrid/docs/337_2009_Residential%20ICI%20actual%20use%20(Miles).pdf    As Coldstreamer has calculated, we are already "doing the right thing" and conserving water (... probably because our rates are so high!).

    Same story with BC Hydro - customers do the right thing and conserve energy, and then the utility hikes the rates. We can't win.”





The above comment was in response to my blog post entitled: 

Some real data on Greater Vernon water use.
The quoted reference by Anonymous was published by Jennifer Miles in 2009. She is currently employed by the North Okanagan Regional District.  The report shows even lower per capita water use than was calculated by me. That calculation was based on water use data provided by Greater Vernon Water in their Annual Reports between 2011-2015 (reported average annual per capita consumption at 307 liters per day per capita).

There are some questions that must be asked:

The 2012 Master Water Plan was designed for a domestic capacity of 9,670 ML in 2011, increasing in steps to 13,360 ML in 2052. At the estimated consumption of 222 l/d/p the 9,670 ML would have supported a population of 119,339. Why would the planners design such a huge oversized infrastructure for a population of ~55,000? They must have been aware of the report Jennifer Miles.
 

The 2052 consumption estimate of 13,360 ML would provide domestic water for a population of 164, 877 using the 222  per capita estimates. Would we anticipate that kind of growth in 40 years?
 
Even at the per capita consumption of 307 l/d/p, calculated by me based on actual data, the projected 2011 consumption of 9,670 ML would have supplied  over 86,000 people. That’s an oversize of 57%.
 One set of data that made a huge influence on the per capita consumption was the high ICI water consumption. Without the ICI consumption the current per capita consumption could be in the low to middle 200's.
Obviously, if the 222 l/d/p consumption figure was used to estimate future water demands the plant would have been undersized. However, the currently available empirical evidence should be considered prior to establishing future water demand figures. Should we not incorporate actual data collected over 5 (or now 6 years)?

As for “Let's not assume anything!”: scientific reports must always state the assumptions the author of the report made in collecting the data for the study and for the conclusions.

Civil Servants must understand: services required by their employers, the public, must be provided cost effectively and to the demand the public requires within the available resources. If we require the public to finance an infrastructure that exceeds their needs and/or the capacity of the resource, then the customers pay more than they need to pay."


Refreshing.
Yup, that's what calling out fake news leads to.
That we're not crazy;
that we're doing a good job at conserving water.

"But just think of all the folks that believe fake news," Kia would've said.

The Okanagan Basin Water Board's meme...

And it ain't over, based on this comment from staff, printed in the newspaper April 9th under the heading "Pressure grows for water plan."

"...However, staff insist that reviewing the master water plan has been proceeding, including public engagement."

Public engagement?
Total bullshit.
As usual.