Archives for September 25, 2018
Osoyoos Indian Band, the Mountain Resorts Branch, Forest Enhancement Society of BC (FESBC), Mt. Baldy Resort and wildfire management specialists at Davies Wildfire Management have started work on a landscape level fire management project. The project is a fuel break entailing a 350 to 400-metre-wide horseshoe shaped band surrounding Baldy Mountain Resort, the community, and the resort’s future sub-divisions. The main objective of the project is to decrease the opportunity for wildfire behaviour in the fuel break by increasing spacing between tree crowns and decreasing surface fuel loading on the forest floor so if/when a fire enters the fuel break, it is lower in intensity allowing firefighters to have a better chance at battling it successfully. The project is not a clear cutting of the stands, but rather a thinning of trees in a patch format i.e. leaving islands of trees.
It was in the 1930s when a fire last moved through the area. The subsequent stand that has grown back is dense and is now prone to a large scale, catastrophic wildfire. A landscape level fuel break would serve to reduce the severity of a wildfire. FESBC grant was applied for a few years prior, which was accepted and has led to the decision to move ahead to develop the fire break.
The FESBC funded project will include these preventative measures:
•Increasing spacing of tree crowns
•Clearing of fuels along the forest floor
•6-8 weeks of removing trees followed by reducing fuels on the forest floor by hand
“FESBC is delighted to participate with Baldy Mountain Resort in reducing wildfire risk to their citizens, homes, and infrastructure such as emergency escape routes, water availability, and communication,” says FESBC Operations Manager Dave Conly. “FESBC applauds Mount Baldy for recognizing the risk of wildfire and taking action to reduce that risk.”
Ultimately, the fuel break will help protect the community of 100+ cabins as well as Baldy Mountain Resort for years to come, which is the overall goal.
Photos by Sandra Smith
Words of Sandra Smith
There has been good collaboration from all parties involved. I witnessed conversations with mill representatives and machine operators. This is an opportunity for the mills to get wood to augment their supply, and of course work for the logging contractors. (about 20 pieces of equipment on site now.) One operator estimated that his productivity is about 30% less than it would be on a conventional logging project.
It took a little time to adjust and adapt the approach of the harvest, but all parties including the loggers have had input. In the first test area, they left extra trees standing, expecting that the skidders may take a few out on their way by. That hasn’t happened, so a few more trees will be taken out of the original test block.
Roads and landings within the prescription have been added to keep the logging trucks off the village roads. The main road in from the transfer station follows an existing snow shoe trail – some of the existing corners were straightened a bit for trucking purposes, but the trail will have rehab after the logging. Yet to be determined is whether all roads will be decommissioned, or if some may be left for easier access in the event of fire.
All the larch , deciduous – and trees greater than 50cm dbh are being left standing. The main focus of removal is the pine, as it is at or near the end of it’s life span. There is good pine decked, but also some “denim” pine – from pine beetles. There are clumps being left of smaller trees where there are no trees of the desired species and size to be left.
Tree tops will go to Midway for chipping, which reduces the amount of slash.
Mr. Speaker, two years ago, a huge rock fall destroyed the South Okanagan irrigation canal, which is essential to the orchards and vineyards that are the backbone of the local economy. The B.C. government has stepped up with a pledge of $5 million to help fix this, but we need the federal government to match that amount. Unfortunately, it does not fit in with the domestic waterworks that are funded by infrastructure or the innovations that are funded by agriculture. Therefore, will the Minister of Infrastructure and the Minister of Agriculture pledge today to meet with me to find a way to get this project out of the bureaucratic crack that it has fallen into?
Mr. Speaker, I have a lot of respect for the member for South Okanagan—West Kootenay. Absolutely, I will meet with him in my office. It allows me the chance to talk about our historic investment in infrastructure in the country, more than $187 billion over 12 years, which will see our government invest across our country in green infrastructure, in public transit and social infrastructure in rural and northern communities. We are going to be the cities of tomorrow and improve the lives of Canadians from coast to coast to coast.
Source: Hansard – Friday September 21, 2018
Petition presentation above
Michael Guthrie and partner Shirley Zelinski spoke to council and presented petitions from a recent Crime Forum calling for the installation of CCTV cameras at various spots in Oliver to limit the amount of criminal activity in the area…. Mayor Hovanes thanked the Oliver couple for making the public more aware of the problem but mentioned that he had been told at the recent UBCM convention that the opoid/drug dependency/crime problem was 20 years in the making and no ‘silver bullet’ had been found to solve the underlying problems quickly. Hovanes says council has some ideas/changes that are being discussed and needs a bit more time and discussion before an action plan is announced.
Canada Geese Cull – as it has for 8 years – council will allow 6 hunting permits for the eradication of non-migratory geese at Tuc-el-nuit Lake and the Oliver Airport.
Letter received from local Rotary Club offering to assist with funding for a new park near the bridge in Oliver. The local service organization would want it named ‘Rotary Peace Park’ – discussion on the matter indicated that only part of the former Centennial Park would need to be designated with that name. Council decided to review the offer and make it part of the public discussion scheduled for later this fall. Councillor Dave Mattes told council should be careful about granting naming rights especially before the public has had a chance to weigh-in on the discussion.
Grant in Aid – Penticton and Area Access Centre requested a grant for $6250 to help increase administrative assistance for their programs so an out-reach counsellor could access the community more frequently. Town Council has agreed to a one time conditional grant of $4500. All councillors agreed it was a good service for the community but that a permanent funding grant was not possible. According to a report the Access Centre operates out of the Park Drive Church three days a week, in Osoyoos 1 day a week and visits the Similkameen on a very limited basis. Some of its funding comes from the Regional District which represents funding from Oliver as well.
Irrigation Water Use – Growers will shut off use of irrigation water October 9th. The water from the river will cease to be diverted into the canal October 30, 2018 for the season.
At the November 27, 2017 meeting Council adopted Business License Bylaw 1368. The bylaw included provisions regarding Short Term Residential Rental Licence Terms and Conditions.
Staff searched online Airbnb, VRBO, etc. sites to determine the number of short term type of businesses that are operating in Oliver and whether they currently hold a business licence. A total of 25 businesses were found online, 14 had no business licence, 6 had a business licence for a Bed & Breakfast however provide a full suite, and the remaining 5 are in compliance with Bed & Breakfast licence.
Correspondence was sent to all businesses advising that the Town of Oliver is aware of the short-term rental being operated at the noted property. Additionally to make them aware of the new terms and conditions that are now in place in order to operate a rental business in Oliver. A copy of the terms and conditions were included for their information.
Property owners were also advised that sewer and recycling fees may be applicable to the short term rental business. Property owners were encouraged to contact the Town of Oliver to obtain assistance in the process to obtain a licence or to assess what type of business was actually being offered by the home owner.
The Town of Oliver heard from 13 business owners with various outcomes;
they never followed through with the operation,
they are disputing the request, or
live in the residence and will send in a dispute letter.
Two operators have come into compliance with a business licence and paying the $750.00 deposit, and one applying for a business licence and is in process.
Two short-term rental operators met with Town staff and provided written correspondence suggesting that the Town may want to consider an additional bylaw provision where the short term rental exists and is an Owner Occupied dwelling. The operator suggests that the inclusion of such a provision would be fair, equitable, and recognize the work of reputable hosts that supports the tourism industry in Oliver. This provision would exclude the $750.00 deposit that is required of short term rental units that are not owner occupied.
Synopsis of these two short-term rental businesses:
1. Owner-occupied business offers a self-contained suite with no meals provided. There has been a comment made to the Town of Oliver of traffic noise from this business.
2. Owner-occupied business with a self-contained suite and provides breakfast supplies for guest use. Have a Bread and Breakfast licence. The advertisement notes that guests can check themselves into the suite. No bylaw concerns relating to this business.
The City of Vancouver recently implemented their short-term rental regulations and are encouraging local governments to follow their provisions if it works for their community. In Vancouver, operators must have a business licence and must include their licence number on all online listings and advertising, or they may be subject to fines up to $1,000 per offence.
Report submitted to Oliver council for consideration and direction.
Update: Council has asked staff for more information and a further report on how other municipalities control the growth of short term rentals (both owner occupied and those that are not really supervised well/owned by absentee landlord).
Council Monday indicated that both B and B’s and short term rental accommodation with an owner on site are preferable tourist businesses in Oliver.
Report to Council for a decision:
• To add five (5) additional lamp standards with lights and electrical for an additional $10,000 for completion in 2018, or for
• Staff to include the extra works into the General Capital budget for construction in 2019.
Staff recommend spending $10,000 to provide lighting for neighbourhood and schools for the winter. If Council does decide to find the extra money to finish the lighting off, this will put the original budget of the project over budget because of other necessary extra’s the Town followed through with and were time sensitive.
Council originally approved the project costs of $231,000 (inc. contingency of $10k, Engineering, site supervising & materials testing) over the original anticipated budget of $200,000.
Extra costs on project to date:
• Fence improvements (go to chain link) – additional $1,925,
• Street Light bases (5) – additional $6,400,
• Electrical conduit installation – $5,115,
• FortisBC Power modifications for project – $5,807.
This is a total of $19,247 in extras, adding $9,247 to the overall project costs which makes the total cost of the project approximately $240,000.
Another $10 thousand on lighting brings the project to $250,00 (19 thousand dollars over budget or because the contingency was used $29 thousand).
Staff are looking for direction whether to finish the lighting along the project parking area that would also light up portions of Spartan Street. During the project design, we neglected to think of the replacement of the existing lighting on FortisBC poles which were removed during the project. The Contractor/Engineers put in Light Standard bases, conduit and proper connections to FortisBC infrastructure otherwise it would have been extremely difficult to put in lighting at a later date. Staff originally thought that we could get part of this infrastructure in place and could budget and finish the remainder of the lighting infrastructure in 2019 for the remainder of the work; lamp standards, LED light heads, electrical wiring and FortisBC power service.
There have been concerns about some crime in the area – extra lighting along this street would make some of the residents in the neighbourhood feel safer. The Town is also creating several parking spaces and having these areas lit up in the Fall and Winter months, when it gets darker earlier, may also be a positive aspect of putting the lights in now.
Council Monday suggested that some savings could be made if existing poles could be used rather than expensive new ones. PW Manager Shawn Goodsell indicated he could present further info on that idea, LED lighting and even Solar options. Oliver Town council may convene a special meeting within a week to decide on the issue.
Last Sunday, September 23 was the 9th time around for the Wine Country Racing Association (WCRA) to play host with their annual Car Club Challenge. This Okanagan Valley-wide rumble drags the racers and fans in for a day packed full of drag racing in British Columbia’s pocket desert.
This year a newly entered gang of gear heads, called the Detonators, rumbled and roared their way to the trophy presentation.
Mason McCune (1989 Ford Mustang) was the Detonator’s champion, and proudly hauled the trophy back to Enderby. It was no easy task. Rick Hill didn’t come from Summerland, BC in his 1958 Ford pick-up to mess around. He took the Okanagan Rodtiques right up to the final round. McCune may have looked fresh-faced to the fans, and it was for good reason. This young man isn’t yet 21 years old, and is a new-comer to the sport. This marked his second drag racing day. McCune is yet to lose a race. I can only imagine the fierce competition that the 10th Challenge holds in store. McCune races with his Dad, James, and his uncle, Jason, who are also part of the Detonators Car Club.
Drag racing is definitely a family affair down at Richter Pass Motorplex.
A 2nd trophy is awarded to the Club winner in the “Fast 8” competition. The name pretty much tells you how this competition works. Fastest 8 cars, battling it out to find the one speedy champion. This year the Rodtiques’ own Tom Groot (Summerland, BC) flew past the competition in his 1967 Firebird. No doubt Kelowna Kustom’s Rand LePage will be back next year with his 1956 GMC pick-up, determined and ready to upset the story.
Don’t be mistaken into thinking that the Car Club Challenge was the only thing shaking up the track last weekend. A group of racers from Kelowna, known as the Kelowna Outlaws, made an appearance. This club rolls up in their cars…no trailers here. These super fast street legal vehicles are required to make passes at drag tracks throughout the province and had a minimum number of passes they had to make. Their vehicles then had to get them all the way back to the BBQ in Kelowna, in order for them to get credit in their club’s standings and remain in the competition. It’s not too much to say that these were some impressive rides.
Let us not forget all the “regular ol’” drag racing that went down. WCRA can now boast that this last weekend was a record breaker in car count. 123 registered drivers signed their names and pushed their cars to the limit, all in the name of a good time.
The results of standard brackets follow:
Stuart Eckley (Osoyoos, BC), riding his 2002 Kawasaki 2X9 beat out Sonny Plamondon (Grand Forks, BC) and his 1986 Suzuki GS550.
Jim Behnke (Mission, BC) brought his 1973 Plymouth Scamp a long way to beat out hometown guy Blake Ogilvy (Osoyoos, BC). Ogilvy raced the track in his 1981 Chevy pick-up this weekend.
Chris Kroening (West Kelowna, BC) took his 1969 Chevy Beaumont to trophy lane by beating Robin Redding (Merrit, BC) and his 1927 model T.
Kayle Shaw (Penticton, BC) was ripping it up in the Boult Automotive propane powered, 1973 Vega. Shaw outdid Brad Baxendale (Osoyoos, BC) and his 1969 Chevy Beaumont.
Riley Ward (Kelowna, BC) moved his 2000 Dodge Dakota off the line for the best reaction time this weekend with a super fast .502 starting light. Remember .500 is perfection.
WCRA has one event left this season. 2018 winds up on Thanksgiving weekend, October 7. Nothing pairs with turkey quite like drag racing.
Gates will open in two weeks at 9 a.m. $10 gate fee applies to all over 12 (kids must be accompanied by an adult.). Concessions are available on site.