Archives for October 2015
By ROY WOOD
Opposing views have emerged among conservation groups on which level of government is better equipped to be stewards of the land and species of the South Okanagan. And those views are playing into the national park debate.
The B.C. Wildlife Federation (BCWF) believes that Parks Canada’s recent record on endangered species disqualifies it as the best choice for protecting the delicate ecosystems of the South Okanagan and therefore is opposed to the proposed national park in the region.
On the other hand, the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS), takes the position that the relatively vast amounts of money available to support national parks make Parks Canada a more viable and reliable protector of the area’s biologically diverse ecosystems.
In a recent interview, BCWF director Jesse Zeman said Parks Canada’s record in protecting endangered species and its emphasis on commercialization and privatization in national parks makes it a poor choice for looking out for the local flora and fauna.
“In the South Okanagan we have an extremely sensitive ecosystem. It’s one of a kind in Canada. … We’ve got this biodiversity hot spot here and the question is, ‘Who can do the best job of managing it?’” he said. “We believe the province can do a better job of managing that ecosystem.”
Zeman is skeptical of Parks Canada’s commitment to preserving wildlife habitat and protecting threatened species. He says that, starting in the 1990s, the department has been moving from its original core function of “promoting biodiversity and maintaining ecological integrity.”
The case Zeman makes against Parks Canada is based primarily on its record in Jasper and Banff National Parks. Specifically, he pointed to:
- Long-range plans for Marmot Basin ski area will expand snow-making, additional parking and tree thinning, all within the winter range of an already threatened caribou herd;
- The Glacier Skywalk in Jasper is a substantial man-made structure that allows tourists to walk to a glass-floored platform to view Rocky Mountain peaks and the valley below. It used to be a free lookout; admission is now $30 plus tax for adults and $15 for kids;
- An independent study, commissioned by a Parks Canada resource conservation manager, showed that all Jasper caribou herds are in decline and some are unviable. The manager was fired and the report buried;
- At Mount Norquay near Banff, new summer operations will intrude on grizzly bear habitat; and
- Proposed expansion of the Lake Louise ski hill will further encroach on wilderness area, including caribou range.
The provincial government, said Zeman, has a considerable toolbox at its disposal to protect the ecosystem.
“We have conservancies and provincial parks. We have different classifications of parks. And we have areas in the north that we basically set aside exclusively for wildlife and not so much for people, … like ecological reserves,” he said.
As well, the provincial control of the lands would have the “opportunity to engage locally and have local control, as opposed to long-distance controls that come from the other end of the county.”
Taking the other point of view is Doreen Olson of Okanagan Falls. She emphasized that she does not speak for CPAWS, but when the organization was contacted, it provided her name as someone local who could speak on the national park issue. She is a coordinator of the South Okanagan-Similkameen National Park Network, which advocates for the park proposal.
“Parks Canada has more funding to look after the land … huge dollars comes in with Parks Canada,” she said.
“B.C. Parks has very little money to operate. Parks Canada will come with people to monitor the area – park rangers, park supervisors, that sort of thing. The minimum they would have would be about 12 people in the area,” she said.
For the provincial government, she said, lack of funding is the key issue. “The problem with them is that they put the land aside, but it comes with no extra monitoring. Nothing is really different from other crown land except that it can’t be sold,” she said.
As for the differences between the two organizations on the national park, Olson pointed to the fact that the BCWF is well known as an advocate for hunters. Non-first-nations hunting is forbidden in national parks.
“Obviously the wildlife federation has done some wonderful work. But they are also hunters and hunters wanting access to crown land,” she said, “Our point is to have a little bit (of land) for wildlife, where they can just be and not have people shooting at them.”
Zeman conceded that wildlife organization does advocate for hunters. “(But) we are dealing with the big picture issues of biodiversity. Hunting is secondary.
“We do support constitutionally protected rights. We support local hunters being able to go out and enjoy the outdoors,” he said.
Tips from RCMP
- Keep decorations such as dried flowers, paper and other highly flammable items well away from all heat sources, such as flame, lightbulbs and heaters. Never leave a candle unattended. If you use a real candle, use caution. Make sure children are watched at all times when candles are lit.
- Use a flashlight or battery-operated candle in jack-o’lanterns. Lights and other decorations should be certified by a recognized organization such as the Canadian Standards Association. Keep exits clear of decorations so nothing blocks escape routes.
- If attending Halloween parties, have a plan to get out, look for ways out in the event of an emergency. Make sure all smoke alarms in the home are working.
- Choose Halloween costumes, wigs and accessories that are flame-resistant or flame-retardent. Avoid costumes with long trailing pieces that may easily ignite or cause accidental falls. Decorate costumes and bags with reflective tape, stickers or glow sticks. Masks can often obstruct a child’s vision; if your child is wearing a mask, make sure the eye holes are large enough so they can see or try using makeup or nontoxic face paint.
- On Halloween night, four times more children are injured in pedestrian/automobile accidents than any other night of the year. Provide your child with a flashlight and review road safety. Drivers should be especially alert for children between 5:30 and 9:30 p.m.
- Remind children to stick to familiar areas that are well lit and to trick or treat in groups. Educate children to stay clear of open flames and other heat sources.
Since 1921, the legion has used the poppy as a symbol of remembrance of the 117,000 Canadians who’ve died in war and military operations.
The money collected from donations is held in trust and used to assist veterans in need.
More than $16.5 million was spent last year to help vets across the country.
That assistance includes housing accommodations, medical training and research, support for drop-in centres and Meals on Wheels, and accessibility modifications such as wheelchairs or prosthetics.
TIPS on poppy use:
* The poppy should be worn as close to the heart as possible or on the left lapel of the outermost garment.
* The poppy should only be worn during the Remembrance period, starting on the last Friday of October and ending at midnight on November 11th, or at other veteran-related special events.
* The poppy should never be defaced in any way — including replacing its pin.
* An old poppy should never be reused.
Sears Hometown Store
1400 – 5955 Main Street
250 498 3448
The new board is comprised of:
Glen Harris (Chair)
Tom McHale (Vice-chair)
After the last presentation to Council and subsequently Destination Osoyoos – a steering committee was struck. Their first order of business is to select either InterVISTAS or MMM Group two consultants who responded to a request for proposal to do a business case proposal for the airport (OADS cannot do this as we would appear biased). The steering committee is also tasked with sourcing the funding for this.
Members of the Steering committee are:
Councillor Mike Campol – Town of Osoyoos
Chairman Mark Pendergraft – RDOS
Chris Bower – Nk’Mip Resort Association
Gail Scott – Destination Osoyoos
Glen Harris – Osoyoos Airport Development Society/Watermark Beach Resort
Rob Rausch – Osoyoos Airport Development Society/Sunavia/D.O.
After a previous iteration of Destination Osoyoos under the purview of Glenn Mandziuk secured funding for airport improvements in 2005, the following work was completed:
Phase I – Completed in 2006 $199,000.00 -Tech and prep
Phase II – Completed in 2006 $160,500.00 -Paving
Phase III – Completed in 2008 $159,000.00 -New interaction and Empire Way
Total Invested on the Project to Date $518,500.00
We hope to pick up where others left off provided the Steering Committee produces a favourable report from the chosen consulting firm. Securing the airport would come before any expansion. Growth would be measured and phased. The first step would likely be making the airport secure and usable:
Phase IV – A $408,350.00
Remove and Dispose Existing Concrete Pad
Runway Pavement Marking
Parking Lot – Gravel Surface
Airside Security Fence
Airside Security Gate
Airport Terminal Building
75% of funding would come from the 10-Year Transportation Plan ‘BC on the Move’ three year funding. $24 million is available over three years. We have missed the first year, but the next two years have the following amounts earmarked:
2016 – $10 million
2017 – $08 million
The consultant’s report will hopefully identify the most likely sources for the remaining 25% of required capital. There are several viable options that have worked elsewhere and interest in the remaining lots for aviation related actives has been expressed conditional on the full support of the Town preserving the airport for it’s intended purpose. Much of the funds would likely come from the OADS initially.
Previously on ODN
By ROY WOOD
Proponents of the Osoyoos airport were back before town council on Monday looking for about $15,000 to help pay for a business plan for the facility that council had been considering closing altogether.
Glen Harris, president of the Osoyoos Airport Development Society, told council that since it last appeared before council in January, the society has struggled with creating a business plan. The group came to the conclusion that such a task is best left to professionals and have winnowed the field to two contending consultants.
InterVISTAS and MMM Group have made bids ranging from $25,000 to $30,000 to create the business plan, which will look at land use and feasibility.
The society is asking the town to pay for half the fee and to appoint a councillor and/or a staff member to the society’s steering committee.
Harris said, “(The society) “would like to see the town be a bit more on board” with the airport re-development.
Looking at the broader picture, Councillor CJ Rhodes mentioned an earlier report that suggested that upgrading the airport would involve “staggering costs.” He wondered how it would be possible to convince members of the public that such an expense would be worth paying.
Society member Tom McHale told Rhodes that the eventual cost of upgrading the airport would likely be in the area of $5 million, but it would be “down the road five or 10 years.”
Included in the longer-term improvements would be: extending and widening the runway; lighting systems; perimeter fencing; buildings; and miscellaneous costs.
To bring the facility up to “useful” standards in the short term would likely cost between $1 million and $2 million, McHale said.
Ford flat deck outside office building did the heavy lifting – police and staff believe more than one person involved. Took less than 15 minutes for security and police to respond to alarms.
Manager John Gibbs of Summerland says this is twice this year which means more security and cameras needed to act as preventative measures.
October 28 at 9:00 pm. If you know who this is call Oliver Readi Mix @ 250-498-2231
Thieves made off with about $20,000 worth of tools from an Oliver business this week.
RCMP received a report of the break, enter and theft at Oliver Readi-Mix at 10 p.m. Wednesday, according to Sgt. Blaine Gervais.
Between $10,000 and $20,000 of tools, equipment, oil, and grease were stolen.
What appears to be an older white 1980’s Ford flatdeck pickup with roof lights and board sidewalls was captured by surveillance during the theft.
Manager John Gibbs said he’s “just sick about the theft,” with this being the second break in this year at the business.
The first was this summer, when thieves made off with $2,000 worth of tools.
“There is a degree of rage,” he said. “It’s not going to put us out of business, but it’s a big loss.”
BADDECK — Parks Canada is expected to issue a request for proposals within days for a long-term lease to operate the Highlands Links Golf Course and the Keltic Lodge Resort and Spa in the Cape Breton Highlands National Park.
The Keltic Lodge Resort and Spa and the Highlands Links Golf Course will be available for lease when Parks Canada moves toward privatization and issues a request for proposals for the two properties in the Cape Breton Highlands National Park.
At the request of Sydney-Victoria MP Mark Eyking, Chip Bird, Parks Canada’s field unit superintendent for Cape Breton, met with officials from the three levels of government in Baddeck this week to discuss the request for proposals.
Eyking said he is concerned that there is no guarantee Parks Canada employees will be getting jobs, or will be able to continue with their medical coverage and pension plans.
“They are cutting back at Fortress Louisbourg and the Bell museum so there isn’t going to be any place for these people if they privatize,” Eyking said. “The government has an obligation to these employees. We are going to be losing government jobs in northern Cape Breton and there aren’t any to replace them.”
Eyking plans to bring the matter up when the House resumes next week.
A bidding process to lease the hot springs is expected to start within the next three months. Thiessen would not say whether one company would be responsible for the three hot springs or how long the leases would be.
The privatization move comes a year after the federal government approved Brewster Travel Canada’s bid to develop a glass-floored observation deck in Jasper National Park. The plan was attacked in an online petition eventually signed by 180,000 people.
The move also follows a $29-million budget cut to Parks Canada announced by the federal government and the planned elimination of more than 600 jobs. Thiessen said plans for the hot springs were developed before the 2012 budget announcement and that any jobs lost wouldn’t be counted in the government employment target.
But the union representing employees at Miette Hot Springs said privatization of the pools goes beyond potential job losses, with the possibility of rising admission rates and concerns about whether a private operator would maintain the integrity of the pools.
“This isn’t just about employees losing their jobs, this is about changing the face of a community that’s built around something that belongs to all Canadians,” said Marianne Hladu, regional executive vice-president of the prairie region for the Public Service Alliance of Canada.
Source: Edmonton Journal
Over 20 of our “Class of 1960” from Oliver’s SOHS, met in Oliver, some with spouses, to make up the group attending our 55th Anniversary of our High School graduation.
We came from BC, Alberta, New Brunswick and Florida. George Hahn and Charlie Howard arranged the weekend for us.
After a tour of the brand new high school (SOSS) we enjoyed good and expensive Australian wine, courtesy of our former Classmate Penny (Reid) Bosward – who could not attend as Australia is a bit far from Oliver! – and her vintner son, Reid! – all that enjoyment in the new school parking lot.
A very pleasant evening followed in Terrafina Restaurant at Hester Creek Winery . The next day, after breakfast at Convivia Restaurant in Osoyoos, a group of us enjoyed the beautiful weather by a walk to Haynes Point where 14 of us ‘Classmates’ posed for a group picture, here taken by my wife, Bev Muendel-Atherstone. Gathering October 3-4.
Hans-Henning Mündel, near Lethbridge.
Oct. 29, 2015
Sears Hometown Store
1400 – 5955 Main Street
250 498 3448