$1,500 to send students of We Day Vancouver
Council agreed this afternoon to kick in $1,500 and the use of the town bus for 21 kids and three chaperones to attend the We Day extravaganza in Vancouver later this month.
The commitment is the same as council provided last year in response to what has become an annual request from students at Osoyoos Elementary.
We Days are a series of huge so-called “youth empowerment events” that take place across North America and in Great Britain.
They are an outgrowth of the Free the Children charity started by Marc and Craig Kielburger, Canadian brothers who gained broad attention for their efforts to combat the exploitation of children around the world.
We Day Vancouver is November 19 at Rogers Arena. The one-day event will feature inspirational speakers, celebrities and youth-oriented entertainers. This year’s lineup still isn’t available on the group’s website, but last year’s list included singer Canadian Sarah McLauchlan and former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan.
We Day’s driving force is Craig Kielburger, described on Wikipedia as “a social rights activist and social entrepreneur.” He came to prominence in 1994 with the formation of Free the Children.
He continues, through the We Day events and other means, to encourage youth to get involved in social and environmental issues.
We Days have been criticized for being overly focused on the events’ corporate sponsors and for treating the thousands of enthusiastic teens in attendance more as television props than active participants.
Sonora Pond critters protected from new subdivision
The controversial single-family development on Lobelia Drive received final reading approval following agreement on protections for the environmentally sensitive Sonora Pond.
The 15-small-lot subdivision sits on mostly-vacant agricultural land just north of the pond and between Highway 97 and Lobelia. One house currently on the land will remain, occupying two lots. Planning director Gina MacKay told council it may be demolished in the future and replaced by two homes.
At a public hearing in February, residents of the Sonora Gardens subdivision, at the south end of Sonora Pond, expressed concerns about the safety of the plant and animal life associated with the pond.
As part of the agreement with the town, the developer will create a 12-to-27-metre buffer zone around the north end of the pond and a concrete and chain-link fence to keep people out and critters in.
The pond has been designated an “environmentally sensitive area” (ESA), a new term that MacKay said will be discussed more broadly during the current Official Community Plan review being conducted by the town. ‘No, thanks,’ says council to RDOS strata proposal
The regional district asked the town for input on a new residential development off Highway 3 east of the town and got a resounding “No” from council as it sees the proposal inappropriate.
The proposed strata subdivision, part-way up the hill past the first switchback, would see five building lots and one “conservation lot” on the parcel, which is just outside the town limits.
The town of Osoyoos was invited to respond as an interested party. Members of council, with the exception of Councillor Brian Harvey, voted against providing consent for several reasons:
- The Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen (RDOS) is undergoing an Official Community Plan review and the proposal would better addressed in that forum;
- The potential visual impact of the roads and buildings is unclear; and
- The proposal is not consistent with the policies of the Regional Growth Strategy.
Harvey cast a negative vote because the issue isn’t the town’s business. He urged council “stay in our lane” and not give “a poke in the eye to the RDOS.”
New water councillor to take seat soon
After tomorrow’s official count of ballots, Osoyoos council will have a new water councillor. Not that many voters seemed to care much.
Bob Appleby garnered 59 votes to defeat the only other candidate, Jacob De Raadt, who received 35. With about 1,100 eligible voters serviced by rural water systems 8 and 9, that represents a turnout of about 8.5 per cent.
Part of the reason for the lack of enthusiasm may be that the town is seeking to change the more-than-two-decades-old order-in-council that created the water councillor position. The result may well be that in the next civic election in 2022, there won’t be any water councillors on council.
There are currently two of them. Their limited role is to discuss and vote only on matters related to water in the Osoyoos Rural Water District system.
Craft brewery set to move into Watermark spot
The rezoning necessary for a craft brewery in the old Juice Box location in the Watermark complex passed its final hurdle this afternoon.
The rezoning amendment essentially added “craft brewery” as an allowed use in the zoning that already includes “craft distillery.”
According to a report to council from planning director Gina MacKay, “(B)rewing and distillation are similar activities, and the revisions will facilitate the creation of a new business and potential new employer in the community.”