Archives for September 29, 2014
Report to Council on UBCM at Whistler
Group from Town of Oliver
CAO Heidi Frank, Mayor Ron Hovanes and Councillor Jack Bennest
Meeting with Ministers (Town only)
MLA Coralee Oakes – Minister of Community, Sports and Cultural Development
1. Town thank you for water twinning funds in 8 year project – now complete
2. Roads and Infrastructure decline – funding assistance required
3. Government response: Please submit applications for grant money as new program will encompass the need for municipal roads in addition to water and sewer infrastructure.
MLA Suzanne Anton – Minister of Justice (Town and RDOS)
1. Correctional Facility and increased policing costs
2. Government response: Regional RCMP Budget should cover any additional cost not a burden on municipal police forces
Training and Educational Seminars:
Impact on Municipalities by recent court decisions on Native Land and rights
Voter Turnout – how to engage the electorate
Deer Problems in rural communities
AlC – changes to the ACT and impacts in Zone 1 (Okangan and Lower Mainland)
Doctor recruitment and holding on to your rural Hospital
Resolution on National Park sponsored by Osoyoos – endorsed by UBCM
Written by Jack Bennest
One seminar of Note:
Panelists at the Mid-Sized Communities Forum highlighted the reality of BC’s future skill shortage, resulting from an aging and retiring population.
The panel on Economic Development: Attracting and Retaining Foreign Investment consisted of presentations from Christian Saint Cyr, Publisher and Editor of BC Labour Market Report, and John McDonald, Executive Director with Ministry of International Trade.
Mr. Saint Cyr emphasized that 50-60 thousand BC workers will reach retirement age each year for the next 15-20 years. As a result, over one million job openings will occur over the next ten years. Many of these jobs will require special trades or technical training.
Although it is difficult to speculate whether this decrease in the labour force will occur gradually or en masse, Mr. Saint Cyr’s emphasized that the exit of baby from the labour market may mean that BC will not have an adequately skilled workforce to fill this gap.
Among Mr. Saint Cyr’s conclusions to address this future skills shortage, communities should work with educators and businesses to ensure that skills training programs reflect the emerging labour market needs in sectors to be impacted by the retiring workforce. This is a critical next step as a sufficiently trained workforce is key to attracting foreign investment.
Mr. McDonald with the Ministry of International Trade highlighted the province’s efforts and services in connecting foreign capital to communities.
I believe that it is very important to have municipal representation at our provincial conference. It allows Council and staff to attend information programs, participate in the resolution process, meet with Provincial Ministers and staff, share concerns and approaches with other municipal leaders and to return home with hopefully a few more tools and approaches that can benefit our community.
This year’s conference was attended by Our Mayor, Councilor Bennest and buys our new CAO Heidi Frank. It was great having three attendees as it is hard to take in multiple workshops, meetings and to take part in the convention if you are buy yourself. You can only attend so many things.
Some highlights for me:
Minister meetings. Attorney General. It is important to note that Ministers are expecting you. This is your opportunity for a one on one conversation. This year we met with two ministers. Minister Suzanne Anton was told of our concerns that with the opening of the new Corrections facility there will be some added policing pressure to our community. The facility itself will generate police files that will have to be managed as well as an expected increase in our community’s population. 250 new jobs plus their families moving into our area. The other concern is that if the new resources needed in our area are housed within the town of Oliver then we need to look at our detachment space. (Potential new officers and support staff). As a local government if we know that we will need capitol improvements to our Police Station then we would like that to happen now not after the opening. Especially if the new construction has our population going over five thousand and the responsibility of our police station will become the responsibility of the Town of Oliver. We had a fifteen minute meeting with the minister* and we met with the Deputy Minister outside of the meeting room for further discussion. The Deputy Minister suggested that the normal process for requesting addition resources comes from: a proven increase in a work load and the request normally goes up through the detachment ranks. We stated that we do not want to wait until a larger caseload is documented. We said that we believe there are a number of certainties that need to be addressed now. Those being an acknowledged future work lord and a rise in the population that will certainly happen. We will follow this meeting up with a letter and we will do our best to make it an agenda item at future Correction Facility Liaison meetings.
Minister Community, sports and Cultural development. Coralee Oakes. We met with the minister and outlined future, sewer, road and water projects that we will be seeking grant dollars to complete this work down the road. We explained our track record of getting things done when we have received grants. We also said we are a community of best practices. Our main goal was to express our sincere thanks for her ministry and her staff for all of their support on the completion of our twinning project. A ten year, three phase project that would not have been completed without their assistance. Minister Oakes announce later in the convention of new grant dollars now being made available for just these requests. Oliver can apply as early as this October for these opportunities. It was a great meeting that ran overtime as the minister wanted to know more about Oliver and our future needs.
I also attended some of the resolution debate. It is interesting to hear the different needs of the many areas of our province.
I also attended the Mayor’s caucus. A long discussion took place on the mental health needs of every area of the province. Every region of the province has been affected by the closure of Provincial care facilities. Vancouver’s Mayor made comment to his “outdoor Asylum”. Every community small or large had concerns and the Mayors passed a resolution asking the province to address shortfalls in this area.
I also attended a workshop on community engagement and voter turn out. It was suggested that there is a lack of motivation to get out and vote. If you were born in the 1960’s about 70% of this group will vote when given the opportunity. If you were born in 1990’s it drops to 4 or 5% . It was also suggested that getting younger people involved in the election process will create future interest in voting. Vancouver now has forty percent of its election workers between the age of eighteen and twenty-five.
I also attended a forum with a head table of six top ministers taking questions from every area of the province. Less than one hundred delegates given the opportunity to hear from the ministers and field questions.
The convention is a commitment. Five nights away from your community and your own work. I believe it is very important to have council representation. If you do not ask for support, the Provincial government will think that you do not need their support.
BC Tree Fruits Cooperative (BCTFC) requires an outstanding individual for the role of Assistant Plant Manager at our southern facilities to assist the Plant Manager in all aspects of plant operations for the main packinghouse and supporting satellite receiving, shipping and storage facilities.
We offer a competitive salary and benefits package. We would like to thank all applicants in advance. Only those selected for interviews will be contacted.
Please submit your resume and cover letter, quoting competition: APM, with your salary expectations by October 3, 2014 to:
In the early 1960’s, Carleton MacNaughton (did I spell that right?), started a local wild life zoo. I know he did not call it a zoo but I don’t recall the terminology he used to describe the business.
The only critters he had that were not from the Okanagan were a pair of raccoons. They were so cute with their masked eyes and little feet.
Eventually Carleton sold the business to a man not quite as discerning as himself. After a period of time, the fellow set free all the animals and they all dispersed into their natural habitat.
There had never been raccoons in the Okanagan Valley before so most of the competition for food was with skunks. Raccoons don’t catch mice very easily but they are deadly with the nests of shore birds and quails nests. For ground dwelling critters raccoons are a blight.
There are a number of invasive species of birds that have become pests such as the English House sparrow. Where ever there is a building you’ll have English House sparrows.
When Wally had chickens, Wally had House sparrows too. They ate the grain as well as the mash pellets. As their numbers grew so did their appetites. Then they moved into the chicken pen to roost for the night. That was the last straw. One night Wally took a flashlight and a club and cleaned the House sparrows out of the chicken pen.
Of course there are the starlings too. Their numbers were not very huge when Wally had cherries. At the time we did not know that starlings are cavity nesters. We also didn’t know how aggressive they are when it comes to nesting sites and that they will drive out other birds and put their own nest right on top of the previous nest.
The last time I was in Oliver I noticed a new dove in town. It is called Eurasian Collared dove. This bird is one that has been released by someone who had them as a pet.
I know a lady who feeds the quail.Three years ago she saw one or two Eurasians feeding. Recently their numbers are upwards around 30 at a feeding at her place.
They are bullies and compete for food with the local Mourning doves. Isn’t it is time to cull the Eurasians in order to preserve the local Mourning doves? The Eurasians have a brown band on their neck and are bigger than the Mourning doves.
Culling is something I don’t take lightly, but when we allow invasive species to drive out the local species, shouldn’t we be prepared to take action?