Mayor votes no, but says she’ll accept the money
By ROY WOOD
Osoyoos council took the first steps today toward giving itself a raise to make up for the reduction in take-home pay precipitated by the tax changes in the 2017 federal budget.
The federal budget eliminated a tax exemption on one-third of municipal elected officials’ income. The tax break reflected the view that such politicians incurred expenses in the course of their duties.
Mayor Sue McKortoff was the only council member to speak and vote against the bylaw to increase council stipends. She said later, however, that she will accept the raise if council passes it and she is re-elected in October.
The increase is $2,327 for the mayor, $1,418 for each of the four councillors and $395 each for the two water councillors.
All four councillors voted in favour of accepting the increase. CJ Rhodes said the raise “may be controversial and it may seem like a selfish thing” to taxpayers.
However, he said there will be no increase in take-home pay for members of council. The raise will ensure they don’t face a net reduction because of the action of the federal government.
In expressing her position against the increase, McKortoff cited a substantial raise council gave itself in August 2016. “I’m not sure (now’s) the right time,” she said.
At that time, the mayor received a 15-per-cent pay bump and councillors got five per cent, bringing their annual compensation to $27,142 and $16,543 respectively.
Council faced some criticism after the 2016 pay hike because of the secretive nature of the process.
In contrast to today’s open discussion of the raise, the 2016 staff report and council discussion took place behind closed doors at an in-camera council meeting.
Neither the report on which the raise was based nor minutes of the council’s considerations were made public. The increases were approved at an open meeting, but with the briefest possible notice on the council agenda and a cryptic report from finance director Jim Zakall.
At the time, McKortoff was asked why council opted for a secret process rather than a public one. “I don’t know why,” she said. “It was just brought up at one of our meetings (and) could we have a look at what other communities were paying their councillors and their mayor because we seem to be doing a whole ton of work.”
The new stipends — $30,149 for the mayor, $18,375 for councillors and $5,120 for water councillors – go into effect in 2019. Members of council also receive automatic annual cost-of-living pay increases.
On the question of whether she would accept the raise, McKortoff said in an interview early this evening that she doesn’t even know if she’ll be re-elected in October.
But, if she does retain the mayor’s chair, she will accept the raise in pay. “It goes with the position. And yes, if that is what council has voted to accept, then absolutely.”
2 air support units on the way to McKinney Rd fire
Start location 1305 McKinney Rd (Bell) – fires at structures put out – wild fire spreading east by north. What was first estimated at 4 hectares grew to 20 plus hectares.
EMS called – all units of Oliver Fire Department on the scene
Started just prior to 5pm and into mop up stage at 6:15 – Great job.
Forestry crews came in from Penticton along with two tankers and a bird dog.
Purpose: To vary the parcel coverage for buildings and structures in an agricultural zone.
Owners: David & Wanda Casorso Agent: Dean Casorso 164 Secrest Hill Rd
OCP: Agriculture (AG) Zone: Agriculture Two (AG2)
Variance Request: To vary the maximum parcel coverage from 3% to 17%.
That the APC recommends to the RDOS Board of Directors that the subject development variance permit application be approved.
This application seeks to vary the maximum parcel coverage for building and structures in the Agriculture Two (AG2) Zone from 3% to 17% in order to allow for the development of a medical cannabis production facility.
The applicant has noted in their application submission that if the proposed variance is not successful, the owners will proceed with a greenhouse option, which would not require a parcel coverage variance. In support of the requested variance, the applicant has stated that requested “variance does not defeat the intended bylaw, due to the fact the building will be used directly for agriculture production. In addition, the alternative to this building, would be a larger coverage of greenhouses.”
The subject property is approximately 6.72 ha in area and is located on the east side of Secrest Hill Road, north of Highway 97, and approximately 4.5 kilometres north of the Town of Oliver. The surrounding pattern of development is predominantly agricultural with a low density residential subdivision immediately to the south of the subject property.
The subject property was created by a plan of subdivision deposited with the Land Titles Office in Victoria on May 25, 1921, while available Regional District records do not indicate the issuance of any building permits for this property.
Under the Electoral Area “C” Official Community Plan (OCP) Bylaw No. 2497, 2012, the property is designated Agriculture (AG) and comprises Important Ecosystem Areas under Schedule ‘C’ of the bylaw.
Under the Electoral Area “C” Zoning Bylaw No. 2453, 2008, the property is zoned Agriculture Two Zone (AG2) Zone, and the bylaw establishes the maximum parcel coverage for parcel greater than 0.8 ha but less than 12.0 ha in area as 3%.
The owners of the property propose to grow medical cannabis on the subject property. As per Health Canada regulations cannabis must be grown indoors as outdoor growing is not permitted. There are two options for growing medical cannabis indoors:
1. Indoor growing (a closed building that uses using lights/lamps to grow plants)
2. Greenhouses (a transparent structure that uses sunlight to grow plants)
In the AG2 Zone the maximum parcel coverage for buildings and structures is 3% and the maximum parcel coverage for greenhouse uses is 75%. Based on the owners’ desired yield of 30,000 kg/year of cannabis a large greenhouse is needed.
When assessing a variance request a number of factors are taken into account. These include the intent of the regulation; the presence of any potential limiting physical features on the subject property; established streetscape characteristics; and whether the proposed development would have a detrimental impact upon the amenity of the area and/or adjoining uses.
The purpose of establishing maximum parcel coverage regulations is to restrict the size of building footprints on a parcel, and the maximum parcel coverage for the AG1 Zone was reduced from 15% to 3% with the implementation of the Electoral Area “C” Agricultural Area Plan (AAP) in 2011.
The intent of these changes was to “reduce the on-farm footprint, limit site coverage by non-farm structures while not limiting productive farm structures; allow more flexibility in the use of buildings. Encourage clustering of development on farms, encourage ‘stacking’ of farm use buildings.”
Administration recognizes that indoor growing facilities such as the proposed buildings are an anomaly amongst farm use buildings and warrant site specific consideration. In support of this proposal, the applicant is seen to meet the intent of the AAP recommendations through the siting of the buildings, the ability to ‘stack’ cannabis plants, and the use of the buildings for a farm use.
Administration recognizes that if the applicant were to pursue the alternative option of growing medical cannabis in a greenhouse the building footprint would be larger than an indoor growing building. This is because plants can be stacked vertically in an indoor growing building as the plants do not need to access sunlight.
Administration does not anticipate the requested variance will have negative impacts on the use of other adjoining properties. The subject property is located in an agricultural and rural residential neighbourhood and the proposed buildings (used for an agricultural use) would not inhibit current or future agricultural uses on adjoining parcels. The buildings could also be used for other soil-less medium agricultural uses such as hydroponics or aquaponics in the future. In considering visual impacts, there are no houses directly west of the subject property, fronting the other side of Secrest Hill Road.
Conversely, in recognition that the intent behind establishing a 3% parcel coverage for buildings and structures in agricultural zones is to restrict the size of buildings that are not greenhouses, the applicant could proceed with the alternative option of a greenhouse with approximately 67% coverage. In this case, a variance would not be required as the maximum parcel coverage for greenhouses is 75% and the applicant would be permitted to construct a cannabis production greenhouse of this size with the only permit approval being a building permit to satisfy RDOS Building Bylaw requirements.
This matter will be discussed at an upcoming APC meeting in Oliver. See RDOS site.
For teenagers and those graduating this summer, this will bereferred to as the golden years. How important is it. Here are a few things that will be defining moments in the lives of those who don’t yet how important it is.
The biggest instant remembrance will come with school reunions, last year I was part of a fifty year celebration.
The first ones are easy everyone touches base what each other is doing. By the time you get to the fifty year mark, you are acquainted with time and the fact many have not made it through times progression.
You will run into old friends only to find they are different people than they were a few decades ago. The connection you thought was always there isn’t.
For others you will find out the kid you all thought would never make it at anything has actually done better than the rest.
Personally I knew one kid, who I thought that way about, who became a pilot of commercial airliners. Some went on to be very successful and others ended up on the fringe of society.
There will be some you meet somewhere and they will know you, the problem is you will struggle to remember their name.
Oh at the moment no one believes that but it will happen, sure as I’m sitting at this keyboard.
There will be times you run into friends and ask whatever happened to so and so? Sometimes the answers will surprise you. They went on to do great things.
One day a couple of years ago a friend from school I had not seen since about nineteen sixty six or seven drove into my yard. Didn’t have a clue who he was until he laughed. It all came back.
What I am trying to say here, is enjoy the moment, play safe, and live this life to the fullest. Your future memories depend on it.
Figs, Fig Wasps and Figments
The symbiotic relationship between the fig wasp and certain varieties of figs is amazing. A symbiotic relationship is one in which both participants benefit from, or are even dependent on, each other for survival.
Figs are actually like an inverted flower. All the reproductive parts (stamen, pistil, pollen) are inside the growing fig. A female fig wasp that hatches inside a fig emerges carrying pollen and seeks a different fig, likely on a different tree, where she can lay her eggs. The fig (syconium) has a narrow opening at the tip (ostiole) through which she enters the fig, usually losing her wings and antenna as she squeezes through. Doesn’t matter – she won’t need them anymore because she will die after laying eggs. If she is fortunate enough to have chosen a male fig (caprifig) she’ll find just the right setup for laying her eggs, which will hatch into larvae and grow into male and female wasps. Males are blind and wingless. They will mate with the females, bore holes in the fig’s skin for the females to escape and serve no other purpose. (Guys, they are not our male role models for Father’s Day!!) They’ll die inside the fig, be digested by fig enzymes and never leave the fig or see the light of day. Most commercial varieties of figs for human consumption are self-pollinating – no digested wasps in them.
If the female wasp happens to enter a female fig it will pollinate the fig to produce seeds but its own eggs and the female wasp will starve to death and be digested by the fig. It has no escape available.
Isn’t it amazing that such a complex relationship exists? Some people believe that it took millions of years for this relationship to develop by evolution. Think of all the pieces that would have to fall into place, by accident, for this to be true.
- It would require accidently developing male and female figs to be in place, complete with pollen, stamens, pistils, ostiole openings, genetic instructions in the DNA and a myriad of support mechanisms, to produce the seeds to grow the tree before it can produce any figs. How do you do that?
- At the same time we would need accidently developed male and female wasps complete with all the abilities to produce eggs, to mate, to be programmed to find the other fig if the wasp is a female, programmed to bore holes if a male, be genetically equipped to grow from egg to larvae to adult and to reproduce. A tough sell!
- Time is not the friend of evolution. It is the enemy. Everything has to come together in exactly the right condition and in the same place and at the same time fully formed. You can’t have some parts wait millions of years for the other parts to show up.
- One evolutionist stated that both the fig wasp and the fig have the same goal, so it all comes together. Neither one has the ability to plan progress toward a goal. The theory of atheistic evolution does not allow for any goals, purpose or design features. It is all by random mutations and chance. Natural selection requires the presence of something to select from and the intelligence to select what fits, which it doesn’t have. Would I be resorting to a FIGment of the imagination to accept that?
- Last, this same challenge of having every ‘piece’ in place exists for every one of the millions of plant and animal species. The cumulative probability factor is astronomically exponential – infinitely great. Totally impossible.
The process and design was the work of the Creator, and it is amazing.
To note something is to ‘notice’ it, to remember it or to even write it down. This can be a moment and then gone or can be something remembered for days or even years. So there is a kind of level of noting. It I note something strongly I recall it with ease a long time later. If I take but passing notice, I may have forgotten minutes later. To note something is to have an aha moment about it and likely nod my head with a yes motion
We can play a note on an instrument or sing one with our voice. The note is the measure of the frequency of the sound. There is a scale of notes so we can share which note is which sound. When I was a very young lad my Dad convinced me to play the accordion. Yes, it is true. I had to learn to read music which is the written combination of notes that are to be played to produce the tune you wanted
I can say that something is of note. That means it is to be especially noticed, paid attention to and maybe even celebrated. Hoorah. I can ask your attention about something by asking you to take note. Then again, to take notes is to write down the essence of what I point your attention toward. I’m not sure how one takes note. I mean the taking part. Maybe it is like putting a post it note on something
What does it mean when I say that there has been nothing of note? I suppose I was not looking for anything of note, so did not encounter such. There is a video showing about10 people dressed in black, passing around a white ball. The instruction is to count how many times the ball is passed from one to another. A bear joins in, dances around, and is not seen at all. I note what I seek
We can refer to a small amount of emotion by saying, ‘there was a sad note to his speech’. Or ‘his speech struck a sad note or a happy note or was missing a note of empathy. I’m thinking the best note is a bank note. Those notes are great, make a welcome gift and for the most part are happy notes. Some are people of note, worth our time to notice and remember, sometimes for good reasons. Take note
Last week’s column recalled the pleasure of chips eaten outdoors. Chips, French Fries or whatever you know them by are a really tasty, guilty pleasure but so much better when eaten out of a newspaper, English style.
As a kid growing up in England people eating chips out of newspaper, on the street was a common sight. Every village had at least one “chippy”, towns had numerous ones and they were all kept busy. The British chippy opened around 11.15 am and did a roaring trade until around 1.00pm, when the closed for the afternoon. Occasionally one would open over supper hour but mainly they didn’t open for evening business until 8.00 till around 11.00pm.
Very rarely during opening hours would there not be a line up of customers. At lunch time many people would take their purchase home and have their meal served on plates, round the dining table. The main offering was fish and chips but most chip shops also sold steamed meat puddings or meat pies and many people took a bowl so they could get their chips “wet”. This disgusting term referred to the juice from the pot full of mushy peas which many people wanted poured over their chips. To me this was gross as I liked my chips with their crispy edges. Many people also had scraps which was the floating excess batter from oil the fish was fried in. The resulting mess in the bowl would probably feed the whole family.
Chips in the evening were almost exclusively eaten out of newspaper as people walked home from various events. Something about the cold night air and fresh, hot chips smelling of malt vinegar is almost magical.
Invariable in small towns chip shops would be family owned. The man was usually in charge of the automatic potato peeler and the potato cutter. This used to be a steel contraption where the potato was inserted between the top and bottom of two bladed surfaces, a handle was then swiftly bought down and pushed the raw potato through the blades, into a waiting pail. I am sure that many of these men lost a finger end during their working life as this action was repeated with every single potato, probably hundreds each day. This was carried out near to the deep fryers and I used to watch in fascination as this operation was performed repeatedly.
The man would also mix the fish batter, keep the huge black pot of mushy peas simmering, and see to the steaming of meat puddings. The wife would nearly always do the cooking and serving. She took your order then served it up either wrapped or left open for immediate consumption. You would then get to put your own salt and vinegar on and off you went. Quite often hardly a word would be spoken between the two workers as they were constantly busy. The high counter would have the salt and vinegars placed along the surface and every few minutes a wet rag would be passed along to clean the surface.
From the age of fifteen onwards I was allowed to go to the evening pictures, as we called the movies, with girlfriends. No matter how far it was we always walked home with our chips, reliving the film and swooning over the male star. Most films in our small town were for general release and were very harmless with never a bad word.
A little later, when I was getting into my twenties, chip shops started offering curry sauce. This was a green concoction that was poured over your chips. I never had it, mainly because I was now married and we could not afford either the films or the chips. If it wasn’t home made we didn’t eat it.
Returning to holiday in Britain after seven years in Canada I noticed that any chip shops we visited now used pre-cut chips. Gone was the newspaper wrapping and a moulded cardboard dish was used to put the food in, probably much more hygienic than newsprint but it lacked the correct “feel”.
On subsequent trips to Britain I noticed that much has changed in the chip shop business. They are still as prolific but now they are mostly ran by immigrant families, usually East Indians and the food offered has much more variety. We passed a chip shop in what used to be our home town with the name of “The Bombay Chippery”, the mind boggles. Fish and chips are still on the menu but sausages are now battered and deep fried as is haggis, Scotch eggs and all sorts of other foods. Meat pies are dropped into the hot oil instead of the oven, I never had one as the thought makes me feel ill but they are popular. So many different things are now submerged into the same oil that I honestly do not fancy the chips any more.
As we age it is natural that things change but sometimes not always for the better.
Mrs. Basso’s and Mrs. Ancheta’s Grade 6 classes at OES have been learning about entrepreneurship and how to run your own business. We organized a Wellness Market on Tues June 12 to sell some of the products we made. The products were designed to help you to feel better about yourself and/or help you focus on your learning at school. Students created a business plan, developed marketing strategies, and promoted their products to their consumers.
Chad Teigan, Ministry of Health counsellor came to talk to the students about stress, ways to handle it, as well as various services that youth can access for help.