When firefighters arrived on scene the trailer was fully engulfed in flames and a second nearby structure, being used as a residence, was also burned. Crews were able to save the second structure but the trailer is a complete loss. The occupant of the cabin suffered smoke inhalation and was transported to the hospital by BC Ambulance. The cause of the fire is undetermined at this time.
Blueprint for a Healthy Community
The Local Government Act authorizes the development of Official Community Plans (OCPs) in BC (Sections 875-879). An official community plan is a local government bylaw that provides objectives and policies to guide decisions on planning and land use management within the area covered by the plan. OCPs are significant because, after their adoption, all bylaws and works undertaken by a Council or Board must be consistent with the plan. Every OCP will be slightly different but each will address core aspects of a community such as
• Proposed land use and density;
• Transportation, water and wastewater infrastructure;
• Environmentally sensitive areas, parks and open space;
• Housing needs and policies;
• Public facilities, including schools, health care, etc.
• Neighbourhood character;
• Social policies;
• Economic development;
• Targets, policies and actions for the reduction of GHG emissions.
• The regulation of development
• Building and landscape design guidelines
……..but not a fatal one for Osoyoos Independent School
By ROY WOOD
The delays caused by going to a referendum on financial help for an independent high school in Osoyoos would be an obstacle for the school’s proponents, but not necessarily a fatal one.
Osoyoos Independent School (OIS) committee chair and spokesperson Brenda Dorosz said in an interview Wednesday, “As far as our committee is concerned … we’re just moving ahead assuming everything will fall into place.”
The earliest a referendum on funding could be held is mid-to-late August, just days or weeks before scheduled school opening on September 6.
Osoyoos chief administrative officer Barry Romanko said in an interview Wednesday that doing the preparations necessary for such a referendum – advertising, buying supplies, and setting the voting process – will necessarily take close to the 80 days allotted to the process. At best, he said, There is no minimum time, but Romanko said that at best it might be possible to “shave a few days” off the time.
Council’s discussion and decision about a possible referendum question must be done at an open council meeting. The next one is scheduled for June 6, although it is possible that council could schedule a special meeting sometime next week.
Even if council held a special meeting and approved a referendum question on Monday, 80 days takes the timing into the week of August 22.
“It’s pretty obvious,” Romanko said, “that holding a referendum will really handcuff the (OIS) from going forward with municipal support.”
The OIS committee has asked the town for $176,000 a year for three years along with use of the upstairs at the Sonora Community Centre as a campus for the independent high school. Dorosz said taking the funding issue to referendum would make things harder for her group.
“Yes, it would be a lot harder if we had, for example, only two weeks to get going. … (But) can we do it? I think if our entire community came together, I think we can, provided the answer is ‘yes,’” she said.
The idea of a referendum emerged last week when council passed a motion saying: “The Osoyoos Independent School committee be advised that staff have been requested to prepare a report on a possible referendum for funding and use of the Sonora Community Centre and that a decision will be made at a special closed meeting.”
Romanko pointed out that it remains possible for council to decide to go ahead with financial and other support to the independent school committee without seeking taxpayer approval through a referendum.
Council is meeting in-camera on Thursday to discuss Romanko’s report.
Dorosz indicated there have been some communication gaps with the town: “We asked for a decision by May 20. We didn’t get it. Then we’ve sent another letter asking for an urgent meeting with them … but so far we haven’t been asked to come in for a meeting.”
As well, the committee asked for help in collecting donations. “We asked the town to take money on our behalf and administer receipts and so far we haven’t been given a yes or a no. That was (at least two weeks) ago.”
One of the key issues involving the town is the Sonora Centre, which operated by the town, and its potential use as a campus.
Prospective partners require that the OIS group secure a facility. As well, she said, prospective donors, including possibly Vancouver’s Jim Pattison, need to know the school as a home before committing.
The committee has been working with the Good Shepherd Christian School about a possible partnership that would see the kindergarten-to-grade-7 school expand to include a second campus for high school students.
The committee indicated that agreement is close. However, Pastor Darren Siegle of Grace Lutheran Church told a meeting Tuesday that the Voters Assembly has only agreed to continue talking with the committee and there remain serious issues around who would hire teachers for the high school and whether they would have to be Christian.
OIS is an ad hoc committee of residents aiming to open an independent high school in September to partially replace Osoyoos Secondary School (OSS), which the school board voted last month close at the end of June.
The grade 8-12 students are to be transferred to Southern Okanagan Secondary School in Oliver
A proposal for a 430-seat neighborhood pub on a vacant piece of prime downtown Oliver real estate had council struggling Tuesday to figure out how best to avoid doing anything to discourage the plan.
The proposal would see the John Oliver Pub rise on the former site of the Mesa Hotel, which burned down in 2010.
The owners have made an application to the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch (LCLB) to transfer a liquor licence from the former Desert Country Resort and Spa on Main Street at the south end of town to the new location.
The application also seeks approval for an increase in capacity from 155 to 430, including outdoor patios.
Members of council were generally enthusiastic about the prospect of a business coming into the downtown core and filling one of its empty spaces.
Town planner Chris Garrish told council that the proposed use of property for a pub fits well within the parameters of the Official Community Plan (OCP) and current zoning. As well, he said, there is limited potential impact on residents and parking requirements can be easily handled.
According the provincial regulations, the town has two choices when responding to such a proposal:
•It can go through a public input process, gathering feedback from residents in a variety of way, including meetings, written submissions or even a referendum. The public responses then would have to be turned over to the LCBC for its perusal.
•Or, the town can opt to do nothing, in which case the LCBC would conduct its own gathering of public opinion.
Town staff recommended the second option, suggesting that the town pass a resolution telling the LCBC that it is opting out and leaving public engagement to the province.
Councillor Larry Schwartzenberger raised the hypothetical specter of the town holding a public hearing at which residents turned out to be against the proposal. In that case, he said, council would be obliged to pass the public view along to the LCBC.
Councillor Petra Veintimilla said she is uncomfortable with stepping out of the process and she voted against the resolution to do so.
Garrish told members that if council submitted just its own views to the LCBC, without the benefit of public discussion, those views would simply be ignored.
Mayor Ron Hovanes endorsed the opt-out notion, saying, “We are comfortable with not doing anything because the OCP and zoning are in line.”
In the end, council followed staff advice to leave the public hearings to the LCBC.
The reason for the name of the pub was not made clear in the documents shown to council. But John Oliver was premier of BC from 1918 through 1927 and is the namesake of the town.
Picture above and on the banner – a group of Christ the King Catholic Church parish members trekking (12 km) to the top of McIntrye Bluff on Monday for a sacred rite.
Church calendar says 9am start with Rev. Fr. Neil Lustado, parish priest (with Chase Alaric)
Pictures submitted by Rose and Stan Marshall
The Oliver Tourism Association is looking for a special student to fill a new position for Oliver funding in part by the Canada Summer Jobs program. The position was created to address the increased demand for staff during the busy tourist season at the Oliver Visitor Centre as well as the need identified by the Lion’s Park Action Committee to have someone assisting to direct appropriate usage of Lion’s Park during the influx of visiting youth during the fruit picking season as well as provide information about services and activities within Oliver.
The role of the Park & Visitor Centre Ambassador is to act as an ambassador to Oliver for agricultural workers and visitors during the summer months and to assist with promotion and delivery of cultural, sport and tourism events and services to generate increased tourism to the area. Some of the duties that will be part of this new position include acting as a host to the general public visiting Lion’s Park, and helping to ensure a safe park environment free of violence, bullying and vandalism. The student will be focusing on building relationships with Lion’s Park users to create a sense of mutual trust and respect
and reporting issues and requesting support from appropriate governing bodies and local authorities such as Bylaw Enforcement, RCMP and Parks and Recreation staff when necessary.
In addition to multiple daily visits to Lion’s Park, the Ambassador will be a part of the dynamic Tourism team at the Oliver Visitor Centre by providing customer service to visitors and promoting year round festival/events in Oliver as well as local tourism products and services. The student will also assist with the major special events supported by the Oliver Tourism Association such as Uncork the Sun and the Festival of the Grape.
Candidates must be currently enrolled in, or returning to, a post-secondary education institution for full-time studies and due to the nature of the position have a demonstrated ability to provide excellent customer service and maintain positive working relationships with a diverse range of volunteers, customers/visitor and stakeholders. To effectively communicate with the visitors from all over the country and internationally, candidates with the ability to speak a second language (French, Spanish, Punjabi) will be given top preference.
This is a 10-week, full time seasonal student position with an anticipated start date of June 8, 2016. To view the full Park & Visitor Centre Ambassador posting please visit the Oliver Tourism Association website at
By ROY WOOD
Oliver council agreed to review its tree policy, but held out little hope for a resident frustrated by the amount of work caused by the seedlings in the spring and leaves in the fall from a majestic maple near OES.
Jennifer Morton told a council committee meeting on Tuesday that the maple tree adjacent to her property seasonally inundates her yard. She said that she and her husband are both “on disability” and cannot physically do the clean-up required nor afford to pay someone else to do it.
She added that the roots from the tree have “broken up a concrete wall along our front property line.”
In an earlier letter from town corporate officer Diane Vaykovich, Morton was told that the tree in question does not meet the criteria in the town’s policy for removal.
The letter said the town horticulturalist has examined the tree and found it to be slightly stressed and having a couple of dead branches but otherwise healthy. As well, Vaykovich said, damage to the concrete wall was apparently not caused by the tree’s roots.
Morton told council she would be happy to replace the tree with some other species, but “maple trees are just too much work.”
Several members of council came to the defence of the maple in question and the policy that protects it and the rest of the town’s inventory of decorative trees.
“Owning a home and a yard comes with some work,” said Mayor Ron Hovanes, pointing out that the trees in the Bartlett Avenue neighborhood have been there for generations. “People buy there because they like the boulevard trees.”
In the end, council voted to direct staff to review and report back on the tree policy and to visit the Morton property and assess the pruning and roots of the offending maple.
Parking lot planned for downtown jewel
The prime downtown chunk of and the town bought earlier this year will become a parking lot until a better long-term use emerges.
The town purchased the so-called Collins Department Store parcel in March for $162,000. It is fronted by a tall cedar hedge between the Edward Jones office and the Oliver Garden Chinese smorgasbord.
Council agreed that turning the land into a temporary parking lot will serve the dual purposes of attracting more people to the downtown core and getting parked cars off Main Street.
Council voted Tuesday to lower the cedar hedge and to have staff report back on the details of creating the free parking lot.
4-way stop for Fairview and Spartan
The intersection of Fairview and Spartan will likely feature a new four-way stop sometime this summer, replacing the current two-way stop signs for Spartan traffic.
Council members in committee agreed on the need for some sort of speed abatement measures in the area and concluded that a four-way stop would be inexpensive to install and easy to remove if it doesn’t work.
Councillor Jack Bennest said the signs should be installed sooner rather than later and certainly before school goes back in September.
Operations director Shawn Goodsell pointed out that more stop signs on an arterial road like Fairview are usually not recommended and that there will be extra costs for “traffic pattern change” signs and line painting.
Council instructed staff to bring back a cost estimate.
Bank corner crosswalk needed
For safety sake, council will write a letter to the provincial ministry of transport urging it to reconsider the crosswalk configuration at the Bank Street intersection with Highway 97.
When the highway was resurfaced last year, the only east-west crosswalk painted was on the north side of the corner.
Councillor Mo Doerr said Tuesday that many Oliver residents continue to cross on the south side of the intersection, from the CIBC to the Credit Union, which used to be a marked crosswalk. “People are walking out into the traffic and drivers have to slam on their brakes.”
Operations director Shawn Goodsell said ministry policy is to paint just one crosswalk per intersection. But he said he would “bring it forward in another conversation.” He added that a letter from council might add some weight to his argument.
Streets will be alive with cyclists
The streets of Oliver will be inundated with cyclists – charitable and competitive — on June 12 as the town hosts the Ride to Provide fundraising event and the Hayman Classic Stage Race youth cycling championship.
The Ride to Provide fundraiser start/finish area will be at Lions Park. The five-kilometre course confined to the hike-and-bike trail and a 30-kilometre route that will also venture onto streets in the Tucelnuit area around Black sage and Ryegrass Roads.
The Hayman Classic will be run over a 20.7-kilometre course mainly in the town, starting and finishing at the high school. The race will see some morning road closures on Hillside, Haven, Okanagan and Gala Streets.
Both organizations promise to have volunteers scattered about to alert drivers of the events and warn of conflicts.
by Roy Wood
By ROY WOOD
MLA Linda Larson dropped by town council on Tuesday to provide an “update.” The invitation came from Mayor Ron Hovanes, apparently on short notice, since her appearance wasn’t added to the committee of the whole agenda until Friday.
Larson, a former Oliver councillor and mayor, was greeted warmly by members of council. She conceded she wasn’t really sure what council was expecting, so she fell back on some of the talking points that will likely make their way into next spring’s provincial election campaign.
The Boundary-Similkameen Liberal member mentioned:
- The BC Skills for Jobs Blueprint, designed to streamline the process of getting students from high school into non-academic job training and apprenticeships. She said some 58,000 people have gone through the Find Your Fit program, which aims to get students started in a suitable trade with less trial and error;
- The Single Parent Employment Initiative, which funds training and work experience for single mothers and fathers who are receiving income or disability assistance. Some 2,500 people have managed to get off assistance programs as a result, she said;
- Aboriginal youth has been the recipient of about $11 million as part of a program aimed at getting them into trades training and apprenticeships; and
- Locally, she said, the province has provided more than $400,000 over the past two years in grants to community organizations over the past two years, she said.
Larson said the process of assessing the public input on the proposed national park for the South Okanagan continues apace.
Referring to the process begun last fall by Environment Minister Mary Polak, Larson said it was intended for “individuals who live here” to comment on the province’s proposal for a park. But, she said, people “from all over the world” made submissions.
Larson said the input from outside the area have been “put aside and acknowledged.” The next step is or the ministry to go back and talk to the locals. “First and foremost (is) to listen to the people who live here,” she said.
Larson has said she will seek re-election in the provincial scheduled for May 9, 2017.
Saturday Night Shopping
I bet a lot of you from Oliver will remember the little ritual of your Dad parking the car on Main Street on late Saturday afternoon so we could people watch and do all our shopping too. This was a regular thing during the summer months.
Oliver used to have late night shopping on Saturday night and it seemed like everyone came to town to do their shopping and to visit up and down the main street. I remember old Chief Manuel Louie and his wife would also come to town and stop at the Orchard Café for their meal and then just walk up and down the street saying hello to all they met. Chief Louie’s wife always wore a bandana in her hair and ALWAYS walked a few steps behind her husband! They too did their grocery shopping.
We were fairly young but were allowed to go to Collen’s to see what new clothes they had and also to the Five and Dime to look at the records and the trinkets. Gwen Boult worked there and could be pretty grumpy unless you knew her. She told Mom one day that she liked Sandy and me because we could be trusted not to shoplift anything!!
When Mom would be ready to go to the Overwaitea for groceries we tagged along and of course we waited with anticipation to go to Coy’s Meats as it was always fun with Don talking in his Donald Duck voice. We always got a slice of cooked ham to eat or a hot dog. I used to kneel on the metal rail in front so I could watch Don slice the bacon!
After our shopping was done Mom would buy us an ice cream cone and we would either sit on the car or in the car and just watch people going by. It was like a grand parade….everyone would stop and say hello and chat for a bit and then walk to the next car or group of people.
Dad worked until 9pm so we hung out until he was finished work. Sometimes we would go into Fairweather’s but Mom didn’t like us to bother Dad. Usually we would go in and say hello to Helen Barillaro who was the cashier. She always had a candy for us! At Christmas time though we were all over that store admiring all the new things. Mr. Fairweather was a very nice man who always treated us kindly.
Sometimes Dixie would come out and sit with us for a bit. She always brought a huge plate of French fries with lots of vinegar and ketchup and a small milkshake for each of us. I think we were very spoiled!!
I have often wondered if other small towns had some kind of the same tradition. We waited all week in eager anticipation for Saturday night so we could walk up and down Main Street, visit with our friends and look in all the stores. When I was older, Saturday night was changed to Wednesday night and then Friday night and now there is no night shopping….at least not in the same way. Too bad…it was a lot fun and we got to see our friends!