Archives for October 16, 2018
A few facts – many naturalists, cyclists, tourists, walkers would just love to utilize a trail well away from Highway 97 – on the safe side of the lake.
But the Land there is mainly controlled by the Canadian Wildlife Service (Federal) with the former rail bed of the CPR Kettle Valley spur owned by the Province of BC.
Apparently both government not persuaded that it is safe to open the area to the public fearing degradation of the habitat.
Many would disagree and trail groups says they have many plans to make it useful and safe for nature.
ODN is in the process of obtaining a study commissioned by FLNRO – (Ministry of Forest, Lands and Natural Resource Operations). The EBB Environmental Consulting study is revealing in its conclusions. The study backs up the position of senior governments.
Politicians on the ground, the RDOS and trail groups would like to see it opened up. More later.
Photos – special
by Julie Martineau
By ROY WOOD
Late last week ODN sent an email to all the candidates for Osoyoos council asking the following question:
In August 2016 the mayor and council voted themselves pay raises : 15 per cent for the mayor and five per cent for councillors. These were in addition to the annual cost-of-living increases already in place.
All debate and discussion of the stipend increases took place at closed, in-camera council meetings.
On the other hand, in 2011 the council appointed a committee of three Osoyoos residents to examine the issue. After looking at council remuneration levels in comparable communities and interviewing all five members of council, the committee recommended an increase limited to the increase in the cost of living. The recommendation was adopted.
( Editor’s note: Roy Wood was a member of the remuneration committee)
Do you think it is appropriate for the mayor and council to make decisions about their own compensation in private and with no public input?
Why or why not?
All the candidates responded.
Almost without exception, the challengers said they believe the in-camera process is flawed and that a more public way of dealing with council remuneration would be appropriate.
The three incumbents – Mayor Sue McKortoff and Councillors Jim King and CJ Rhodes – preferred not to address the process question but rather focused on the outcome.
Below, in alphabetical order, are the responses. Some have been edited for length, clarity and style:
Myers Bennett – councillor candidate
I cannot change the past and did not vote for the increase. But in the future, when I am on council, I will make sure those decisions are more transparent.
Brian Harvey – councillor candidate
I do not have any direct knowledge of the circumstances surrounding the 2011 and 2016 remuneration processes. However, I am of the opinion that there should always be an independent compensation committee appointed to review and recommend on remuneration increases for council members.
The mechanics of setting up such committee should be developed by staff and council after fulsome research and consideration of best practices on the subject.
Jim King – incumbent councillor
My comments are the same as the mayor’s.
Jane Long – councillor candidate
Should these be taken to the public for consultation? Yes, I believe the public should know before it happens. And I think a consultation should take place if the raise is higher than the CPI.
If it is within the increase of CPI, I am still in favour of providing the information to the public. Either way, open meetings should be used. That way the public understands why something is being done and their input can be sought.
The following are reasons I would support a raise: Change in taxation making the take home pay lower; significant increases in cost of living; taking into account hours council members work, the rate of pay should be above minimum wage; and the town is growing and, therefore, so are the responsibilities of the council members and their remuneration should reflect that.
Except for cost of living increases, all of these would still require a public consultation.
Shelley McIntyre – councillor candidate
I am not in favour of voting for your own raise. I find this a bit concerning. I believe that the public should be informed and either an open meeting or a discussion with the public, who is paying for that raise, should be involved.
I have not looked into all the details of this meeting on why the raise was felt necessary at this time. But if increases are built into the agreement with the town for cost of living, I feel that should stand as is, unless the public has requested or that it is brought to the public’s knowledge well before that meeting.
I also feel that there is some concern for voting for your own raise. Of course you would want that raise and that recognition. I do think there needs to be a better way of doing this. There are solutions to this, but I do not think this was the right course of action in this case.
Sue McKortoff — incumbent mayor
Council asked director Jim Zakall to look at compensation for mayor and councillors from other, similar-sized communities. There had not been a raise in the stipend for many years, other than COLA.
You (Roy Wood) were on the committee that council appointed in 2011, so you know there had not been a raise for some time before 2011, and there was not a raise until January 2017.
What was unanimously voted on was a 5% raise for councillors and a 15% raise for the mayor. This was not only based on the amount of time and work each did, but also to make the compensation comparable to our closest neighbour — Oliver.
I am confident that we made the right decision.
Si Murseli (This councillor candidate does not have access to email and was interviewed by phone.)
It was not proper. It was a complete conflict of interest because they benefit without any public input.
Kenny Music – councillor candidate
I am vehemently opposed to the elected mayor and council having in-camera meetings to discuss and/or approve remuneration for themselves.
Having a strong human resources background, I believe the principles of job evaluation demand close cooperation between compensation professionals and the industry at large, in this case, comparable municipalities; typically reserved for those who specialize in total compensation.
So, not to put too fine a point on it, the appointment of three Osoyoos residents does not, in my opinion, satisfy the evaluative efforts of a compensation professional.
Doug Pederson – mayoral candidate
Not appropriate at all.
Having staff or a committee is no better.
Not only should the pay of mayor and council be looked at again but the town staff as well.
I won’t attend anything that is in camera and will vote against in-camera suggestions.
CJ Rhodes – incumbent councillor
My comments echo the comments made by the mayor.
Year after year Osoyoos continues to report strong financial numbers. We practise due diligence on all financial matters and the town auditors compliment our finance department every year on the quality of their work and their ongoing success.
We enjoy a sensational lifestyle in Osoyoos and the amenities and services that are provided by our financial decisions are extraordinary.
The decision to increase the stipend for the mayor and councillors was appropriate and similar to the hundreds of other financial decisions that contribute to a great lifestyle in Osoyoos.
Sherani Theophilus – councillor candidate
Unfortunately, I didn’t get enough of the details I needed to respond properly to your question in time.
These have been long days.
I did run across an interesting CBC article regarding the disturbing trend of BC councillors and mayors resigning over the time commitment and increased complexity of the job.
I am positive nobody is in it for the money.
20 page, smallish brochure from Elections BC in your mailbox ??
Very complicated process about to start after municipal elections Saturday.
This time you get to vote (by mail in ballot) in favour of a voting system that has worked well for you and me – all of my life.
Select First past the post.
Why the referendum? Because we have an illegitimate government combo/coalition in Victoria – Green Party controlling the NDP.
Vote for First past the post – if you read the “guide” you will be confused and start to pull out your hair.
Sorry folks – word of the week. Stupid.
Select First past the post
Why would a former Premier of the NDP support first past the post – it has worked well for the NDP and the Liberals.
Why would the Green Party want something else? So that political parties, like the Green Party, would gain more seats and more power.
Select First past the post
I think there are very few families that are not dysfunctional. Most of us love our families and get on well most of the time but there is usually one member who has some sort of dispute with another relative. This can be of varying degrees depending on the source of the argument but, usually, the root of the problem is very insignificant.
My mother’s family always had one member who was out of step with the others, but it varied from month to month as to who was the problem. It was always one of my aunts, the uncles seemed to be left out of whatever was being planned and didn’t cause any disruptions however, once they married, their partners were fair game to be “it” for the month.
As a child this always used to wash over me, it was only as I got into my teens that I realized that there was always one auntie or another missing from family events. I don’t know why but all the aunts seemed to think they needed to interfere in the lives of the others, even though all had families of their own. My mother was one of the instigators it always seemed to be her stirring up ill feelings against a sibling and getting a couple of the other sisters on her side against the culprit.
All my family members congregated at grandma’s house at one time during the week, it was like a pow-wow. I grew up in grandma’s home, due to my own family’s particular problems, so I was always on hand during these get togethers. I never took any notice as a child but, as I got a bit older, I realised what was going on and wondered why my grandma let it all happen. Why did she allow them to segregate one particular member for the cold shoulder for a few weeks?
I was determined that these rifts would never be allowed when I was a mom but of course it did. Our four daughters are very close in age and mostly got on with just the occasional squabbles, however as they grew up they developed their own personalities and one particular daughter was the cause of much heartache.
It wasn’t till much later that I found out that my beloved child was bi-polar. I had never heard of the problem and just put her awkward behaviour down to attention seeking. As she grew up she had a couple of run ins with drugs but cleaned herself up again. For some reason she was always terribly jealous of her older sister. This daughter just twelve months older sailed through school and seemed to achieve all that she set out to do. She met her future husband at fourteen and they became inseparable. The both found jobs during high school and worked every weekend, putting their joint income into savings for the future. They married early, bought an old fixer upper and saved like mad while they had their family, squirreling away every spare penny.
Meanwhile the younger girl spent all her money on clothes and later, on drugs. After suffering spousal abuse at the hands of her drug dealing partner, she finally got clean and has been working at keeping herself and children well looked after, ever since. She married a couple of years ago and is very happy but for some reason, she is so angry that she is not in the same fortunate position as her older sister.
She seems to think that the older girl is so lucky to have a beautiful home, while she herself is still renting and cannot see that past habits have made both girls who they are today. After several big rifts, the girls have now given up on each other, it is so sad and their children have drifted away from their cousins. Family get-togethers are a thing of the past as the girls do not wish to be in the same room.
Several months ago I was horrified to read on ‘facebook’ that she now only has two sisters as the oldest one is dead to her. All this is just jealousy and although I know how sad they both are at the situation, there is nothing I can do except pray that at some point they will reconcile, however as they are both over fifty, it is not likely. I feel like the ties that bind are really strangling me, I will never give up on the younger girl and I could never chose which of them I love more.
Why does love cause us so much pain?
Monday October 15th 7 to 8 pm during an unusually dry meeting of rezonings, leases, plans and finally a report from water councillors….
Rick Machial to CFO Devon Wannop “was any of the water fund used to seek a legal opinion on duties of a water councillor?”
Andre Miller to Mayor Hovanes – “why was this legal opinion sought and what did water councillors do in creating a problem that needed a legal opinion? When was the meeting held to make this decision and why were water councillors not invited?”
CAO Cathy Cowan told the public meeting that ‘the gathering’ was in February and the minutes were recorded and circulated later.
Mayor Hovanes admitted that he was the “big push” on this matter and that in the last term there was questions from every council member on why water councillors were discussing non-water matters.
Both Oliver Water Councillors indicated that for the last 28 years, they had been invited to all meetings and strategic planning sessions, council dinners and events.
Rick Machial said the decision was wrong, the legal opinion had flaws when read in the context of the Order in Council and Letters Patent dissolving SOLID and the formation of a town and country water utility.
The Mayor said staff will investigate all the statements made at Monday’s meeting and report back two weeks from now.
Hovanes stated that a municipal council has procedures that are different than at the regional district table where 18 directors discuss issues and then 910 municipal directors do NOT vote on rural issues.
Couple of questions from this intrepid reporter:
So a closed meeting was arranged in February to discuss issue not thought as “a water matter” just procedural = but once the legal opinion arrived 8 months later, council convened in a closed meeting with water councillors present and talked about a legal opinion that diminishes the role of water councillors.
Does not make much sense to me!
Another point – I served as a member of this council from 2005 to 2017 – 12 years – and never a conversation about water councillors doing too much talking or interfering in Town business that was not their purview.
I don’t want to call anyone a liar. But there were a few “misstatements” made Monday night. It was a letter from a lawyer not a judgment in court. It needs to be reviewed.
Most council members seemed in full retreat not saying a word. Only Councillor Mattes wanted to engage in debate.
Last point I asked the Mayor to bring back to council this decision. He did not. The water councilors did it by themselves. Who is leading who?
By ROY WOOD
Osoyoos council was in high dudgeon* this afternoon after getting word their decision on the use of recycling blue bags has been arbitrarily overturned by a provincial agency.
Recycle BC is an arm’s-length, not-for-profit organization with a mandate from the province to handle the recycling of packaging in BC. It recently sent the town proposed “Statement of Work” agreements, which stipulate that starting in 2020 roadside blue bags will need to be replaced with plastic bins.
The Recycle BC edict runs counter to the town’s decision a little more than a year ago to sign a five-year contract with Waste Collections Canada (WCC) for the curbside collection of garbage, yard waste and recycling. That contract deliberately did not include the use of the bulky, plastic containers, which in combination with lift-equipped trucks, automate the collection process.
Council’s decision at that time was based on feedback from local residents indicating strong opposition to the system of large plastic bins for the three types of waste.
Councillor CJ Rhodes led today’s charge against the “unfair and unreasonable” decision and the general trend toward “downloading” of responsibilities by the province onto municipalities. This is “good time for a little push back,” he said.
Under the agreement the town has with Recycle BC, the organization is responsible for curbside and depot collection of recyclable materials, which it then processes and sells. In return, the town receives a subsidy, which last year amounted to $73,806.
Chief administrative officer Barry Romanko warned council that if the town opts out of its contract with Recycle BC, the net result will be the loss of the subsidy. Under its mandate from the province, Recycle BC would take over recycling without the involvement of the town.
A report from operations manager Jim Dinwoodie told council that going along with the request from Recycle BC would require the town to renegotiate its contract with WCC to include using bins at least for recycling. “The cost of this service upgrade in unknown at this time,” he said.
After 35 minutes of spirited debate, council voted to send a sharply worded letter to the appropriate provincial ministry protesting the decision and outlining the reasons the community prefers recycle bags to any sort of plastic bins.
Council also voted to not accede to the request from Recycle BC that the documents be signed and returned quickly. Council passed a motion from Councillor Jim King to have staff come back with more information, particularly how other communities are dealing in the situation.
The upset among council members came as a bit of a surprise since the issue was discussed at a committee of the whole meeting in July. Dinwoodie laid out essentially the same scenario then and council received his report with little comment.
Romanko said at the July meeting that he has included the issue as a 2019 budget item. “Council has been putting away monies in a reserve account for the purchase of bins,” he said.
The WCC contract has been a valley-wide issue. Penticton, Oliver and Summerland use the automated curbside carts while Osoyoos, Keremeos and the regional district retain the manual system.
- a feeling of offense or deep resentment.
“the manager walked out in high dudgeon“
Both Osoyoos and Olivers had council meetings on the same day. Not normally scheduled that way – but life is about change.
So you see two reporters from ODN doing double duty in two different ways and styles.
But most importantly – almost instant news by people who know their way around a pen and in the news business it is about getting it done.
Not waiting two to 9 days to get into print.
We enjoy it – it is our game.
25 thousand visit each month – 85 percent of visitors return. Many over and over again.