Archives for November 3, 2017
Cautiously optimistic is how general manager Dave Schwartzenberger the HNZ Topflight helicopter training centre is describing his outlook after meeting with provincial and federal government officials the day before Friday’s national park announcement.
“I was happy to hear (Federal Environment) Minister McKenna’s acknowledgement of the helicopter in her speech, I think the interest is there and they know its important but it’s just the process that we’re still concerned about,” said Schwartzenberger, who also attended Friday’s announcement at the Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre in Osoyoos. “The meeting (Thursday) was good we talked and they want to have us at the table which is encouraging but I think the biggest thing is that it allowed us the opportunity to bring all our points across.”
Both McKenna and B.C. Environment Minister George Heyman specifically made reference to helicopter use in the park area as being important.
GRASSLANDS PARK REVIEW COALITION
Response to National Park – October announcement
Prior to last week’s announcement, members of the Coalition were invited to meet with ministerial assistants of Federal and Provincial Environment Ministers.
As a result of those talks, members look forward to meaningful, unbiased and factual analysis of the true impact a National Park Reserve will have on the South Okanagan and Lower Similkameen Valleys, its businesses and its residents.
The Coalition remains fundamentally opposed to a National Park Reserve in this area – The National Park Act is too blunt. While the Act does allow for special provision for non-traditional uses in a National Park, it also empowers Parks Canada to withdraw those provisions at any time.
Coalition members understand we live in a special area which requires special management. Members participated in the Land and Resource Management Planning Process (LRMP) initiated by Federal and Provincial ministries – it is a good plan addressing all stakeholders and protecting fragile areas with Provincial Parks.
Increased risk of wildfires, potential negative impact on agriculture (ranching, predation by wildlife on crops and smoke contamination of wine grapes), loss of outdoor recreation from hunting to hang gliding and the future of the Penticton Airport – some of the challenges the Coalition feel need further consideration.
HMZ Helicopters accounts for 65% of activity at the Penticton Airport, helicopter training isn’t allowed in National Parks, they will move.
The Grassland Park Review Coalition is a group of stakeholders and local citizens with a mandate “To balance the hype and identify the true impacts of establishing a National Park Reserve in the South Okanagan-Lower Similkameen Valleys”. For 15 years the Coalition has remained steadfast in its unity to bring fact, reason and reality into this process.
For further information call Greg Norton 250-498-4669 or cell 250-498-7820.
VICTORIA – The Province has established a task force of experts to advise the government on eliminating Medical Services Plan (MSP) premiums within four years, Finance Minister Carole James announced today.
“People know that MSP premiums are unfair and place significant burden on British Columbian families. Today, we are initiating a process that will eliminate these regressive fees,” James said. “By engaging a panel of respected experts in economics, law and public policy, we will ensure the path we take is fiscally responsible, fair and evidence-based.”
The MSP Task Force will examine the best approach to replacing the revenue from eliminating MSP premiums. Its final report is due to government by March 31, 2018. The task force’s work will include an opportunity for British Columbians, businesses, academics and other stakeholders to express their views.
Citizens encouraged to bring their ideas to this consultation process at: engage.gov.bc.ca/msptaskforce/
The Budget 2017 Update announced the government’s plans to cut MSP premiums by 50%, effective Jan. 1, 2018. This reduction will save individuals up to $450 per year, and families up to $900 per year. The budget update also raised the income threshold below which households are fully exempt from MSP premiums by $2,000.
This means senior couples with a net income up to $35,000 will pay no premiums in 2018. Single parents with two children and a net income up to $32,000 will pay no premiums.
Director Karla Kozakevich, Electoral Area “E”, Naramata was re-elected by acclamation as Chair for a second year, and Director, Manfred Bauer, Village of Keremeos was re-elected as Vice-Chair.
The Regional Board consists of elected representatives from each of the eight electoral areas and appointed representatives from six member municipalities within the Regional District.
Director Michael Brydon, Electoral Area “F”, Okanagan Lake West/West Bench was re-elected by acclamation as Chair to the Okanagan Similkameen Regional Hospital District for a fourth year and Director Judy Sentes, City of Penticton was elected Vice-Chair for a fifth year.