1 bottle of VQA wine donated by Margaret Green is the prize. Best answers considered for a win.
1 bottle of VQA wine donated by Margaret Green is the prize. Best answers considered for a win.
Celebrations are included in the 2019 Corporate Plan, which includes recognition of the 100th Anniversary of the irrigation canal – “The Ditch”.
Expenses for the plaque and base will be allocated to the Water System Miscellaneous Budget $5,000 • Plaque – $3,495 • Base – TBD Expenses for the Reception will be allocated to Council’s Reception Budget Reception – $100-$200 (estimate)
To help build on Oliver’s community pride the annual Spirit of Oliver event takes place, and during Canada’s 150th party the Canada 150 Mural was painted by many members of this community.
Preliminary hype for the 100th Anniversary to date include:
• A publication titled “The Ditch” was brought to the Local Government Management Association 100th Anniversary Convention to be included in the history displays. The LGMA has also produced decade videos as part of their celebration, the 1919-1929 video comments on the first improvement district formed in the Province located in the
south Okanagan – which became SOLID.
• In the next edition of LGMA’s Exchange Magazine, Oliver will also be featured; the article highlights that both the LGMA and Oliver are celebrating centennial anniversaries in 2019.
Like the LGMA, the Town of Oliver is celebrating its centennial anniversary this year – dating its beginnings from the time the digging started on “The Ditch” that led to a community. While the official town began with digging a ditch, things really got started in 1918, when the provincial government purchased 22,000 acres of land in the south Okanagan and proceeded to develop an irrigation system designed to convert some 8,000 acres of desert land on each side of the Okanagan River into viable agriculture land. This land was made available, at a reasonable cost, to the returning soldiers from World War I. This project was brought to life by B.C. Premier “Honest John Oliver” – hence the origin of the name of the Town of Oliver.
• To formally recognize the irrigation canal’s 100th Anniversary, a 16″ x 20″ bronze commemorative plaque is currently being produced which will be installed on a base built by Public Works. The plaque installation will be in the linear park located on Fairview Road near the High School. A formal unveiling by Mayor and Council, Water Councillors, former SOLID trustees, MLA, local dignitaries, and members of the public will take place when the plaque and base are installed. As the weather may be cooler, a small reception could occur in Council Chambers after the unveiling. The Oliver and District Heritage Society assisted staff with the facts and wording for the commemorative bronze plaque.
• Social media posts will highlight the 100th Anniversary of “The Ditch” over the next month.
Target date for completion?
How does a person go about remembering something he/she has not experienced? How can anyone identify with an event he/she was not part of? It requires ingenuity and reflection.
I was born just before WW2 began. At our place in Northern Ontario the effects of that war were remote. I have only one memory associated with WW2. I remember drawing airplane fights in the sky and pretending to shoot them down. It seemed exciting, but I had no concept of the ugliness of that battle. With siblings I probably transferred that to imaginary gun battles using wooden sticks, totally unaware of the implications.
Shortly after the war was over our family moved to the Fraser Valley in B.C. Over the years; economic growth, technological advantages, increased opportunities to pursue fulfilling careers and many other benefits of life in a peaceful society made thinking of sacrifices in war a remote consideration. You don’t feel the pain if you haven’t been hurt. The memories aren’t there.
But that is a problem. I benefitted because others sacrificed. Therefore I had better remember.
Director Karla Kozakevich, Electoral Area “E,” has been acclaimed as chair and director Doug Holmes, District of Summerland, has been elected as vice-chair. Manfred Bauer of Keremeos was defeated in a run off election for that position.
Director Petra Veintimilla, Town of Oliver, has been acclaimed as chair to the Okanagan-Similkameen Regional Hospital District, and director Toni Boot, District of Summerland was acclaimed as vice-chair.
To say that something is the fashion is to declare it to be the currently accepted way. The manner in which things are expected to be is the fashion, the norm these days. Some people wear jeans that are all torn and call it ‘the fashion’. Getting tattoos that cover an entire arm is fashion for some and not so for others. So fashion is not a firm rule to be insisted upon by all. It is a preference held by some, not all
Fashion exists in time, things go in and out of fashion over time. Some will tell us that certain things are never out of fashion. Things like kindness, generosity, patience and such, timeless, enduring and ever welcomed. Thus we can date something by labelling it as olde fashioned, no longer the way or no longer produced or used. And there is a cocktail called an olde fashioned that includes Angostura bitters
To fashion something is to make it, create and build. A century or two ago, to fashion a table was almost a feat. Imagine fashioning a board out of a piece of a tree. No electric sander to finish a smooth and straight tabletop. Thus the idea of a craftsman and a craft guild (group of people who fashioned things) A grandfather might fashion a toy and it would take weeks to do so. Fashioning is a feat
Fashioning fashion is what fashion leaders do. Does not the world watch the Oscars to see the latest fashions as the Stars walk down the red carpet? Sometimes the rest of us just let ‘the few’ tell us what is in fashion and what is not. Watch the movie ‘The Devil Wears Prada’ with Meryl Streep. And, back in Grade 8, who was the fashion leader in your class? We so want to be in fashion. With our houses, cars, almost everything
To be fashionably late can be all the fashion among some groups. The idea is to ‘make an entrance’ by being late enough that the other guests are there to witness it and hopefully be oh and ah and wow about you. I’m more of a five minutes early kind of guy. I suppose that is a fashion too. See, fashion is what you make it. Gangs have their fashion. Valley dolls have theirs. What is yours?
but councils go after them at its peril
Local mayors and councillors would do well to think twice before opening the Pandora’s box that is the foregone tax revenue on the list of permissive property tax exemptions.
Osoyoos is the most recent jurisdiction to eye the big shiny pile of uncollected tax revenue, with Councillor CJ Rhodes casting himself as the champion of at least looking at the potential income source for the town.
The almost quarter-million-dollar total must be tempting sight for a town constantly looking for ways to pay for the things demanded by a citizenry that, at the same time, gets grumpy if taxes go up by more than the cost of living.
Experience elsewhere suggests that attempting to squeeze revenue out of things like churches, charities and not-for-profits leads to angry pushbacks, political peril and ultimate failure.
Said Rhodes recently: “For 11 years I’ve been on council we have never reviewed the permissive tax exemptions and those who benefit from it. I’m pretty keen on councillors doing due diligence and I’ve always thought we should review those things to make sure there are no other … opportunities for taxation.
“At UBCM I asked about a half a dozen councillors from around, and they said they didn’t want to touch it. Maybe it would time for a municipality like Osoyoos step up to the plate and maybe review the whole process.”
According to the Statement of Property Tax Exemptions, which is part of the current Osoyoos annual report, there were $242,496.84 in permissive and legislated tax exemptions for 2018.
About $38,000 of that is for churches and is mostly untouchable under the Community Charter, the provincial legislation that governs municipalities. There may be some peripheral aspects – like church halls that are rented out or land held for future development – but the amounts involved would be comparatively trivial.
The bulk of the exemptions are for community organizations and not-for-profits like the Senior Centre, the museum, golf club, curling club, sailing club, nursery school, Desert Park, Portuguese Canadian Society, and others.
In other words, they are the backbone of life that provide the cohesion, the context and the experiences that make the town a community. They are the places where citizens gather and interact to get to know, to engage with and to help each other.
In a recent interview, Osoyoos chief administrative officer Allan Chabot pointed out the danger of imposing property taxes on these organizations and possibly threatening their ability to exist at all.
“If you stop these not-for-profit, philanthropic, charitable organizations from doing good works in your community, the cost to off-set the loss of those services may be greater than the taxes you would collect,” he said.
Chabot mentioned the experience of Penticton, which may be instructive.
Twice in 10 years that city has approached the idea of going after some of the exempted tax revenue and both times it has retreated after loud outcry from churches and other organizations.
The first attempt was in 2009, when angry congregations confronted council, making it clear the move simply wasn’t worth the political trouble.
Then earlier this year, Penticton proposed going after a small portion of the foregone property taxes. Again, the idea was abandoned.
Said Councillor Campbell Watt: “(The feedback) was all negative, which is not a shock. … They’ve become accustomed to the exemptions. To all of a sudden just that little bit of an increase, it was pretty overwhelming.”
Watt pointed out that the city was seeking a mere five per cent or so of the value of the property taxes. But a discerning not-for-profit director might reasonably assume that once a cash-strapped city budget office got its fingers into that cookie jar, the appetite would be more likely to increase than to wane.
In Osoyoos, even this brief mention of wanting to look at the issue in more detail has already led to “a lot of people approaching me about it,” said Rhodes.
The councillor insists that even though he specified churches in his remarks, he is interested in the entirety of the permissive tax exemptions list.
“There have been a lot of people who have challenged me on that. This is not a religious thing at all. Never was intended,” he said. “I even had the International Association of Atheists wanting to interview me so they could put the interview on their website in New York.”
At Rhodes’ urging, Osoyoos council will get an early chance to examine and review the proposed exemptions next year, likely in early summer, so they won’t need to simply rubber stamp the list just ahead of the Oct. 31 provincial deadline.
But Chabot has a caution: “(A review) needs to be gone about very thoughtfully. … If you want to explore that, great. But engage the people who would be affected. Give them the opportunity to know the potential outcome and participate in the process.
“We’re more and more challenged with having enough money to do all the things that people want us to do. So, I don’t think it’s a bad thing for someone to say, ‘I think we should take a look at this.’”
At the end of the day, it may make sense for any council to examine the regulations and criteria around the permissive property tax exemptions to develop, as CAO Chabot suggests, “a policy framework.”
But, to look at the total of such exemptions as a potential honey pot of easy revenue would be short-sighted, politically fraught and ultimately harmful to the essential fabric of the town.
(In the interest of full disclosure: the writer is a member of the board of the Osoyoos Golf Club.)