Archives for April 2015
I congratulate Oiver Town councillors on what I hope will be their determination to discuss the Towns official position on establishing a National Park in the South Okanagan.
But my congratulations are contingent on you acting in support of the greater interests of not just the citizens of Oliver, but on behalf of citizens throughout the region and province. If you are able to do that, you shall rise to the lofty plateau of acting in the widespread greater interests of all Canadians, including me, and I would welcome that.
There are always questions about who is entitled to what when the overriding decision of “do the best for the most” is at issue. This should be relatively easy to sort out, given that what’s at stake here is Public land owned by the people of British Columbia.
And it is important to stress that what’s at stake here is PUBLIC LAND, not private land. If it becomes important that private land would demonstrably enhance the ecological and social value of a National Park, then that can be negotiated on a “willing parties” basis
Of course, the first person through the door (onto the land) thinks he/she is entitled to preferential treatment, but times have changed; society has evolved in its expectations that “we the people” should have the leading role to play, and are entitled to have their overall interests be placed first. Special interests that have exploited privileged access to public lands and public resources, and in many cases public financial subsidies and regulatory lenience, have had preferential use of public lands for the past century. I, and many Canadians, and according to polls, many residents of the South Okanagan, think it’s time that “we the people” have our century.
National Parks have evolved to be, and in most cases are today, primarily about protecting ecological integrity , including the protection of landscapes, wildlife, water, air sheds, view-scapes, and secondarily, about the privilege of Canadians being able to interact with and enjoy these natural gems without impairing their long term viability. That is where the emphasis must be. And you can help make it that way with your endorsement.
Because small areas do not have adequate “interior” habitat / land, the designation of a “functional” landscape as a National Park is essential. This Park must be at least 2000 km2 in size, but would greatly benefit if it were up to 4000 km2, in order that the ecological values that comprise intact ecosystems – all the native biological “components”, functional ecological and evolutionary processes, the size and range of populations of living organisms (plant and animal) that provide a high probability of long term viability – are encompassed and included in the boundaries.
While protected landscape size is a major issues, there are other concerns and problems that relate directly to ecological well being. For example, many of the long entrenched human activities consuming public resources in the area have impaired biological resources and ecological resilience. It would be an embarrassment to Canadians, and frankly it would be fraudulent, to permit these activities to continue in a National Park.
In todays climate stressed world, you also have the chance to make a statement endorsing a National Park that would in fact contribute positively to reducing green house gas emissions, something the province and Canada have committed, but are struggling, to do. Such a credit would be valued in todays world.
Its not often that you have a chance to do the right thing for so many people, nor is it common to have the opportunity to do something that will be of lasting benefit for todays residents, and for generations to come. Endorsing, promoting, and working toward designating a functional National Park in the Okanagan is such an opportunity.
I urge you to step us and do what good government should do; move aggressively to protect the public trust. You have not only an opportunity, but I believe a responsibility, to be an important force in providing a national endowment to support all future generations of citizens in this country.
Dr. Brian L. Horejsi
The B.C. Court of Appeal has sided with the B.C. government, overturning two previous decisions that had given teachers the right to bargain on class size and composition.
In a 4-1 decision, the court sided with the provincial government and declared its move to strip out clauses related to class size and composition was constitutional.
The decision is a major blow to the B.C. Teachers’ Federation, which won two lower court rulings upholding its bargaining rights.
The majority decision written by Chief Justice Robert Bauman and Justice David Harris finds the government acted in good faith when it consulted with teachers leading up to the introduction of Bill 22 — which took away the B.C. Teachers Federation’s ability to bargain limits on class size, teacher librarian numbers, special needs student ratios, and other elements.
As actors and stagehands tiptoe behind the shadowy set of The Melville Boys, a discreet portrait on the back of a stage flat keeps watchful eye over the South Okanagan Amateur Players’ upcoming production. The portrait of a small woman with big eyes and a gentle smile hangs in tribute to the show’s set dresser, Jennifer Mapplebeck, who passed away suddenly on April 8. Cast and crew cannot help but think she would be proud of her last show on earth. The two-week production run has been dedicated to her memory.
First-time director Nathan Linders counted Mapplebeck as one of “the devoted backstage crew and talented cast I have been blessed with”, and as an invaluable mentor who dedicated close to forty years to SOAP first as an actor and singer, then as a stage manager and producer.
The Melville Boys by Canadian playwright Norm Foster provides plenty of opportunities for crew and cast to shine. Set painter Brian Mapplebeck (Jennifer’s husband of 46 years) has outdone himself with a Muskoka lake backdrop. Set designer Tom Szalay built and scrounged many cottage furnishings, right down to the woodstove and squeaky screen door, and provides some realistic lighting effects. Jennifer’s deft touch and eye for colour is evidenced in the set dressing.
Although the plot calls for laugh-out-loud comedy with sight gags and clever zingers. the characters are far more complex. Actors go through huge emotional arcs: sibling rivalry, awkward romance, latent grief and anger, and some dramatic, emotional scenes, before leaving the audience with a satisfying and light-hearted resolution.
Newcomer Brohm Dason, a film school student who has done background work on TV shows and films, was happy to land the role of irresponsible Owen Melville: “It’s a role that speaks to me. It requires me to dig deep to lend my character compassion, show strong emotion and comedic range. The script is very strong in its rhythm and romance and its themes of coming of age, and overcoming societal and family pressures.” Craig Bjornson, playing older brother Lee Melville echoes Dason’s fondness for the script, with “its careful character studies wrapped in comedic mayhem”.
The two ladies in this comic four-hander appreciate the camaraderie at rehearsals and backstage. Robin Stille, playing the tender-hearted romantic Mary, says “I’ve enjoyed the supportive atmosphere, the professionalism and commitment of everyone involved in this production.” Blossoming in her role as Mary’s flirtatious younger sister, Sarah Williams (Loretta) agrees. “Everyone is kind and welcoming, especially those who have been a part of SOAP for a long time towards those of us who are newbies.”
Stage manager Penelope Johnson adds, ”Jennifer would be so pleased. This show is a fitting testament to her belief in the importance of respect and mutual support between members of cast and crew. Having her photo watching over us backstage reminds us of that.” SOAP is directing $2 from every ticket towards a memorial for Jennifer Mapplebeck, to be announced at a later date. Its SOSS bursary for graduates with an interest in community theatre and / or professional threatre studies will be renamed the “Jennifer Mapplebeck Memorial Bursary” in her honour.
The Melville Boys runs Friday May 1 and Saturday May 2 at the Frank Venables Theatre in Oliver. 8 p.m. Tickets are $18 advance and $20 at the door. Available at Sundance Video (Oliver), Your Dollar Store with More (Osoyoos) and Dragon’s Den (Penticton). Info: www.soplayers.ca/melville-boys or 250-498-0183.
The 7.8 Richter earthquake and aftershocks that have devastated parts of rural Nepal since last Saturday has also affected an area with close ties to a group in Oliver. World Neighbours Canada Society (WNC), based in Oliver, has been working in the district of Ramechhap, about 120 miles east of Kathmandu, since 1989. Working with a Nepalese partner (TSS), WNC has raised funds over the years to enable villagers to install 133 gravity fed water systems and over 20,000 hygienic, sealed toilets.
The villages that TSS works with are all very poor and the vast majority of people live in mud brick houses with slate roofs. The walls of the houses don’t have re-bar or any reinforcement at all, and the houses are often 2 stories tall. The slate roofs are great for rain and wind, but they are very heavy, and as soon as the walls weaken, the roofs become a danger. This is exactly what happened during the earthquake in over 80% of the houses in Ramechhap. The tremors weakened the walls, and the weight of the roof caused part or all of the structure to collapse.
The gravity fed water systems that WNC funded all have holding tanks, collecting tanks and reservoirs built of cement and reinforced with rebar, so none of them has so far been reported damaged at all. And luckily, only 9 people in Ramechhap were killed.
WNC is coordinating an emergency collection of money that will be used by TSS to help earthquake victims in the Ramechhap area. Because the death toll was low, and because it is quite far from the capital, the area will probably not get much emergency relief. If you would like to help out, you can donate via the WNC website at www.worldneighbours.ca. All funds donated will be matched by the federal government, thus doubling the value of your donation.
The large winery (formerly Brights, Vincor and Jackson-Triggs) has some unplanted land at one of our vineyard sites that we have decided to turn into a community garden. All the produce will be donated to the Oliver and Penticton Food banks. We are having a big planting day May 8th where employees can volunteer to come down and help plant all the crops.
“We have partnerships from other local businesses, Growers Supply and Tru Value Hardware agreeing to either donate the supplies or give them to us at their cost which was awesome says company spokesperson Nikki Campbell.
There will be a member from the Salvation Army food bank from Penticton attending.
– The program is called Nourishing Neighbours and it’s put on by our company Constellation Brands Canada.
– We will be planting a 3 acre area at our McIntyre vineyard site which is located at 1408 McKinney Road Oliver, BC (its just on the left as you’re heading up the OIB reservation towards Mt. Baldy, on the bench up above Cherry Grove Estates)
– We will be donating all produce to the Oliver food bank and the Salvation Army food bank in Penticton.
– They have requested that we focus on staple foods so we will be planting potatoes, carrots, onions, beets, squash, cucumbers, and melons. (We have had to adapt the spacing of many of these planting to work with the machinery that we have so our spacing is more spread out then a regular ground crop planting)
I have read many comments regarding the National Park over the years, both here and other places. I keep wondering why each side continues to say the other is wrong and attack each others opinions and polls. Both sides (and the media) seem to be missing the answer to a key question. Think about this.
Why would the provincial government enter discussions to create a national park and then abandon them without clear explanation? Why?
The provincial gov’t didn’t walk away because our MLA Linda Larson said she was against it and didn’t trust the polls. The gov’t doesn’t make decisions based on the opinion of one MLA. Decisions of this type are made in caucus with all MLA’s. The gov’t doesn’t ignore polls or public opinion. If they do, they risk not being re-elected. That is not a risk any gov’t of any party would take. So we can safely say it was not Linda who made the decision for the gov’t to walk away from the discussion and say they would try other solutions.
So what else could have been the cause? What happened two years ago to make the province walk away?
The Supreme Court happened.
In Haida vs. British Columbia and Taku River Tlingit vs. British Columbia it was determined that Aboriginal title to B.C. has never been extinguished. Google “ B.C. aboriginal title “ and become informed.
Basically, the province would be obligated to transfer title of much of the park area to the Osoyoos Indian Band and the Upper and Lower Similkameen Bands instead of the Federal gov’t. Federal title is required for a national park. As a result the province has chosen not to transfer the land and title to anyone else and abandoned the discussion over a national park. They are opting for provincial protection which does not require a transfer of title.
The Provincial and Federal gov’ts don’t talk about this “elephant in the room” for fear of harming treaty negotiations or relationships with native bands throughout B.C. and Canada.
So if the “Yes” side wants to get a park, do the following: Convince the Chiefs, Councilors and members of the three bands to abandon any land claims over the park area. Then the province can transfer title to the federal gov’t and a park can be created.
If the “No” side wants to keep things as they are, do the following: Convince the Chiefs, Councilors and members of the three bands to stick to their principles and demand the transfer of traditional territories located in the proposed park area.
But either way, stop attacking each other and arguing about who is telling the truth. Recognize that there are bigger issues involved here that cannot be resolved by referendums.
I am a Senior Citizen.
I am a supporter of our current Health Care system.
Recently, (last week) I suffered a fall and numerous limb fractures.
I received immediate, excellent Emergency care in both Oliver at SOGH and in Penticton at the Penticton Regional Hospital. The Emergency care was quickly followed by same-day consultation and same-day surgery from/by Dr. Bell, an othopedic surgeon.
I would hope that you’ll include my positive story so that we do all we can to sustain our current,universal health care system. It doesn’t need to/have to be privatized; it is working. It could be better with reduced wait lists, more doctors, improved facilities and services, etc.
Reduced funding from the Provincial and Federal governments won’t make it better. I am worried that the end of the Canada Health Accord and the resulting loss of major funding, could destroy what we have.
Firefighters say the morning blaze was set off accidentally. Cause still unclear.
Rob Graham of the Oliver Fire Department, says the blaze started at the back of the home and most of the damage was contained to the kitchen area.
“Damage was in the ceiling and roof area of the home,” says Graham. “It did burn through the insulation and some of the ceiling did fall into the kitchen area because of all the water.”
Graham says the residents escaped unharmed.
The blaze started around 10:30 a.m. Wednesday
This is from my recent trip to the Lake District National Park in Northern England. This national park was formed after WWll and you would be hard pressed to find one person who dislikes a national park in that location.
With all the discussion over the national park in the Okanagan, I wanted to show how other countries love their national parks, I have been to national parks on 5 continents and hope to knock off number six continent soon.
By the way, I never saw signs against a park anywhere else, Maybe a sign protesting mining or fracking, but see lots of people enjoying the great outdoors.
Editor’s Note – Dave is a world traveler and we have no idea where he is. Does look like Oroville.
Check your calendars folks – today is the 28th.
Grass fire got going in the 6000 block of Harmony Crescent east of town about 8:30 tonight but knocked down quickly by local residents.
Oliver Fire Department attended to apply water but no flames just smoke when ODN arrived.
In recent weeks, the local fire department has attended on a similar situation in the same area where wind and a small fire expands into something that has the potential of a more serious result.
No open burning after April 15th.
Minister Polak was asked today to make the rounds calling media in the South Okanagan about accusations that one MLA – Linda Larson is dictating the terms of provincial policy.
Polak repeated her comments to ODN – provincial tools are being utilized to deal with environmental issues in this region and that the Liberal government led by Christy Clark is not interested in renewing discussions with Ottawa on a proposed National Park.
The minister made it clear that MLA Linda Larson has been instrumental in bringing groups together to make change happen in this region and that she has the full confidence of the government at the highest levels.