Mayor’s Report November 14th 2017
As you know under 9.1 of tonight’s agenda I am bringing forward the matter of the compost proposal again. It is my prerogative to do so. I do not take this lightly, and regard the idea of doing so as particularly serious. I have not taken this action so far in the first three years of my term as Mayor. Before council renders a decision on any topic or issue I feel strongly that the topic should come with a full staff report plus other relevant information and full discussion by council.
In this case, the original motion for site investigation by the RDOS and public consultation was tabled. When the topic came back to the table at our meeting on the 23rd of October the issue was rejected, with no reports and no discussion by council on the pros and cons of the issue. I am simply wanting to discuss the matter and have a decision rendered after careful consideration.
Mayor Peter Waterman
Mayor’s Report October 3rd, 2017
As we have gone through our first three years there are a few things that come to mind about underlying rational for council’s purpose in the overall management of the District.
There were a number of areas of major concern when this council took office. The general economy, including closed storefronts, job losses, business loss, and general low status of various reserves in our finance picture. Summerland like most cities and municipalities struggled through the recession of 2007- 2008 and subsequent years. In addition, there were a number of areas, such as arts and culture, and tourism activities such as cycling and hiking which are provincially recognized as drivers of economic activity and community resiliency that needed committed support.
Summerland is not particularly unique when it comes to these challenges. We have a predominantly residential tax base (approximately 83 to 85%). Please note that business tax rates are approximately 2.6 times the residential tax rate.
Over the past few years we have had residential property tax rates of two to four percent to meet inflationary costs including labor and operational cost increases, and to put aside funds for reserves. Say for example tax rates increases were zero for several years, choices would have to be made to reduce service levels which is not palatable, or let infrastructure deteriorate. Generally, that is precisely what has happened across the country, roads, pipes in the ground, have not been maintained, well past a life span due date. In addition, increases in services like enhanced bus service, renewal of recreational capacity etc., are unlikely to be achievable without outside funding.
Council and staff have been very aggressive in seeking grant opportunities to facilitate maintenance of major infrastructure. We have been successful with the funding for the Garnett Valley water separation and road project. After a failed application, we were successful in seeking funding to move ahead with the grit removal project at our wastewater treatment plant.
We have applied for funding from the Strategic Priorities Fund (a component of Federal Gas Tax program) for the reworking of Giants Head Road and for Summerland’s Integrated Solar Array and storage projects. It remains to be seen how successful we will be with one or both of these projects.
We have been very successful with our applications to the Rural Dividend Fund. The most recent is our success of our partnership with the Rotary Club of Summerland under the Destination Trails project stream for $435,000 for the Giants Head Mountain Trail project. These funds supplement the $100,000 from the Rotary Club, and $190,000 budgeted from the District of Summerland. Over the past three years we have been successful in applying for five other grants totalling $320,000. There is detail regarding these grants later in the agenda.
Unfortunately, we are not always successful. For example, we did not get the Canada 150 grant from for the proposed skatepark for our youth. The committee is working hard to fill this funding gap. Another example is the need to rebuild our flume that delivers water to our water treatment plant to the tune of $3.2 million dollars. This flume is in rough shape, we will keep trying.
Pretty much all funding requests require participation by the District and sometimes by other community organizations. In the past major infrastructure projects have had a formula of one third federal, one third provincial, one third municipal. Recently the formula has changed, our share has been 17%. In the case of the Garnett Valley water separation and road project our share was approximately two million dollars or one third. These are not insignificant dollars.
Growth in both business and commercial has until recently been stagnant. That situation means we have difficulty without significant outside funding even maintaining services and infrastructure for the existing population.
Opportunities have to be examined carefully. I always looked at things from the standpoint of how can they be done successfully. The first option should not be why things can’t be done. If there are difficulties, how can those problems be mitigated.
Mayor Peter Waterman
Mayor’s Report October 10th, 2017
This year’s Union of B.C. Municipalities convention in Vancouver September 25th to 29th was very successful. We had nine meetings, six with Cabinet Ministers and three with senior ministry staff.
We discussed our plans for a South Okanagan Agricultural Innovation Center with Minister of Agriculture Lana Popham, and thanked her for the contribution of $25,000 towards a business plan development. The Minister expressed high interest, as this fits well with the Ministry plans for such hubs throughout the Province, and further the Ministry plans for an increase in the use of B.C. grown foods.
We indicated in our meeting with the Minister of Tourism and Arts and Culture, Lisa Beare of the value to the District of Summerland and the provinces of the Kettle Valley Railway, and the need for significant infrastructure funding. In addition, we urged the Minister to increase funding to arts and culture infrastructure.
In our meeting with Minister Selena Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Affordable Housing, we stressed the critical nature of basic infrastructure funding and indicated the progress we have made on our Garnet Valley Water Separation project, the Wastewater Grit Removal project as well as an asset management plan. We also stressed the need for a new Gas Tax Agreement to allow communities to move forward on infrastructure needs. We also addressed our Giant’s Head Road project.
Our meeting with Michelle Mungall, Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources stressed our Solar and Battery Storage project. The fact that the District of Summerland has committed significant resources assisted our discussions. We pointed out that this project is strategic for Summerland as we are one of only five communities that own our own utility. We also have more than 2000 hours of sunshine per year which again makes us unique for such a project.
In our meeting with the Minister of Forest, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development Doug Donaldson, we stressed the need for the continuation of the Rural Dividend Fund for communities of less than 25,000. This fund has been responsible for allowing the District to move forward on our Economic Development program which includes the hiring of our Economic Development Program Manager. This program is critical to our Solar project, our way-finding project, and our affordable housing framework which the manager will over-see. We also discussed our partnership with Rotary on our Giant’s Head Trails project. We stressed the importance of these projects to our economic resiliency and economic development and tourism.
Our meeting with the Minister of Education Rob Fleming emphasized the need for continuation of funding for rural schools, again stressing the ability to attract families. The Minister indicated his government’s desire to bring stability to the school system. We also indicated our support for the school districts request for a new gym for Summerland Senior Secondary.
Personally, I have now attended nine UBCM conventions. I was pleased with council’s participation at this convention and with the opportunity to start developing good working relationships with the new government.
Mayor’s Report September 11th, 2017
We have had another extraordinarily active time in the last eight to ten days with the Finlay Creek Fire threatening parts of Summerland, Peachland and adjacent areas of the RDOS, and CORD. Our CAO Linda Tynan and her staff have been very busy with all aspects of coordinating with the B.C. Wildfire Service, the RDOS, and maintaining updates for the public. An area of concern was the maintaining of access for Garnett Valley residents. Work was temporarily stopped on the Garnett Valley roadwork project to ensure access and egress for residents.
I would like to thank CAO Tynan, and her staff and our volunteer firefighters for another excellent response to a community emergency. I would like to also thank John Topham and the ESS team for doing their job so well. In addition, I would like to thank all the neighbours in affected areas for their cooperation and the help they gave to each other.
The rain we had this last weekend was helpful, but by no means made a significant difference in how dry conditions are in the Okanagan. Unfortunately, a large percentage of the fires are man made, so I urge everybody to be especially careful as we have another few weeks to go before this fire season is over.
Mayor's Report August 28, 2017
This evening we are dealing with a request from the RDOS to access an area west of and behind our current landfill to do site testing to determine if the site is suitable for the location of the proposed composting facility. We are not considering any kind of lease or pre-lease agreement at this time.
I would like to explain why as I wished to have an area adjacent to our current landfill considered.
Currently the District of Summerland has a recycling program that diverts paper, paper packaging, cartons, and various types of containers to our recycling program. These items do not go into our landfill and are recycled. Not only does this reuse materials, but our landfill will last years longer without the bulk of these materials.
Currently kitchen waste is part of our garbage collection and is deposited in our landfill. The newer section of our landfill has a liner and leachate collection system. Removing kitchen waste which is a very significant component of our current landfill would be removed again extending landfill life.
Bio solids are dewatered in a centrifuge at the sewage treatment plant and are brought up to our landfill and deposited and mixed with yard waste, and green wood in an area approximately 330 meters from our balancing reservoir and composted. Some of this compost material is currently stored in a gravel pit area approximately 120 meters from the balancing reservoir that supplies our water treatment plant. This bio solid organic mix is windrowed and is available for sale. This mix is not ideal for gardens, or commercial agricultural use.
The next phase of recycling as we move into the future is to produce a full organic mix without bio solids in the mix, but does include kitchen waste as well as yard waste and greenwood. Many communities now collect kitchen waste as part of the recycling program.
Over five years ago, the RDOS started looking for a site to set up a full recycling facility that would compost bio solids and separately compost kitchen waste, yard waste and green wood.
I saw an opportunity for the District of Summerland to vastly improve our landfill operation and move towards a full recycle program.
I have already stated the proximity of our landfill to our balancing reservoir, the proposed site of a new facility would be approximately 1 kilometer from the balancing reservoir. The facility has to be a full in-vessel facility, preventing any leachate from entering the soil. It would be a two-part facility, one for the bio solids mix and one for the totally organic mix. It would also be fully covered with full odour control. The bio solids mix is the preferred mix to provide a very effective cover for landfills when they are sealed up.
I made it clear to the RDOS Board that Summerland could only consider a full and complete state of the art facility. There are a number of facilities that are built to this standard and I would consider nothing less.
The organic compost would service gardens, orchards and vineyards in Summerland and the Okanagan Valley. High quality organic compost is in demand for food crops. In addition, orchards and vineyards have been needing a high-quality compost that not only creates better soil conditions and weed control but a mulch that enables excellent water conservation.
Trucking is a concern and there are safety issues. I indicated to the RDOS board that all of Prairie Valley road requires upgrading and safety issues must be addressed. Sidewalks must be considered from Cartwright to the school zone as well as significant traffic calming conditions and signage.
The subject is coming to council for the first time tonight so everybody could have a better understanding of the proposal.
Mayor's Report August 14, 2017
My experience in past councils has been that the lack of opportunity for freedom of expression led to a lot of frustration, poor communication and inadequate information. As you know this council has changed the procedural bylaw to allow the public more opportunity to voice their concerns, beyond the normal opportunities that exist in regular process.
The District has made great strides to increase communication and inform the public on specific issues. The communication prior to the PRV valve replacement and staff’s engagement with property owners for the Garnett Valley Separation and Road work are great examples. The same format has been used on other projects.
In the past differences of opinion, has occurred on major projects. This is not a bad thing at all. All sectors of the community are welcome to express themselves in whatever medium they choose. During the terms of past councils, I have witnessed the same level of passions as now. The first two iterations of the Wharton street proposals come to mind.
Where things jump off the rails is when hard positions are taken either for or against proposals prior to substantive information being available. Thus, harsh comments can sometimes on social media, and passions and opinions overtake fact. The result is intimidation, and the fear to speak out for or against a position. Careful consideration should be taken before hitting the send button.
We will continue to bring forward projects and topics that may be controversial and everybody needs to be respectful as council goes through the steps of the process.
Mayor’s Report, July 10th, 2017
Well its been that time of year again when we are all more aware of property taxes. Council tries hard to minimize the impact, but there are inflationary increases in many areas of our operation, plus we are trying hard to increase our reserves.
The Municipality raises approximately $75,000 for every one percent tax increase. To put this in perspective our RCMP contract alone required $105,000 increase this year.
We are now coming to the last phases of the Garnet Valley Water Separation and road work. This is a $6.9 million-dollar project. The District of Summerland’s share is 1/3 of this, so it is easy to see how far tax money goes when the municipality is faced with major projects.
We are now in the middle of our asset management project which will tell us the cost and priority for replacement of our various physical assets: water, sewer, roads, and building infrastructure including facilities such as our recreation center. Most grant funding opportunities require that we match other sources, the formulas change but the community still needs to supply a significant share, usually in the range of hundreds of thousands of dollars to millions.
Infrastructure ages and deteriorates over time. If insufficient dollars go into replacement over the life of the asset it is difficult to replace it in time.
Municipalities like Summerland have, to varying degrees, a significant proportion of the tax base as residential. Ours is about 83%.
When this council was elected, a major concern was the closed downtown stores, inadequate business activity and job losses. For example, when the packinghouse closed we lost over 70 jobs, and there are other examples.
My own platform stressed four major areas of concern: to preserve and protect the Agricultural Land Reserve, and three serious economic areas: general economic health of the community, growth to increase business activity and growing our financial reserves.
We struck an economic task force, a major recommendation was to hire an economic consultant. I’m pleased to report that Andreas Boehm started in this position today.
To further enhance our abilities to meet our obligations, we continue to look for opportunities that will grow our capacity to fix roads, replace sewer and water infrastructure and replace aging facilities such as our arena and recreation complex. These opportunities and needs are inextricably welded together. Each opportunity must be examined comprehensively. We will continue to look for opportunities to minimize the tax burden and at the same time move ahead.
Mayor's Report, June 26th, 2017
At last the lake level is trending down, but levels are still too high and any substantial wave action can still cause substantial property damage. Over the last number of weeks, I have surveyed the progression of flooding from the Aeneas Creek area in Garnett Valley area to the lakeshore from Crescent Beach to Lower Town and Trout Creek. More recently, as the lake level has receded somewhat, I have had a more detailed look at the damage with CAO Linda Tynan - it is extensive both on public property and private. Unfortunately, it is going to be a while before regular summer activities are back to normal.
Looking at tonight’s agenda, in development services it is easy to see the level of activity occurring. It appears the pace of activity is not going to slow down in the medium term.
In tonight’s CAO report, Linda Tynan gives a comprehensive examination of projects, funding requests, and a flood update. Forty items in total, so it is easy to see how many active files there are, to say the least it is intense. All these items need attention even when we have an ongoing emergency like the flooding event. Dealing with the results of the flooding will continue to place heavy demands on staff.
I might mention that all developments take considerable time to go through the necessary process. All proposals require detailed attention, larger ones like the Banks Crescent Proposal are particularly complex requiring in-depth reports, which do go back and forth as more detail is required. This is quite normal but does take time. A major concern over the last ten to fifteen years is the local economy including general building activity as well as declining activity on Main Street with closed businesses. Council must look closely at opportunities that may have a positive impact on the general economic health of the community.
Mayor’s Report May 23rd 2017
As we speak staff are very busy managing localized flooding in Summerland, particularly Aeneas Creek in Garnett Valley and the lakeshore areas. I would like to thank all our staff for their planning efforts, work on the ground and of course the communication efforts to deal with resident’s concerns. In addition, I would like to thank the volunteers who are assisting in filling sandbags and helping-out home owners.
Also, there is a safety issue that I would like to mention. At 7:50 this morning I was crossing the oval-about crosswalk on Prairie Valley road, I hesitated in the center safety zone, as a vehicle approached, it did not slow down, it did not stop and later turned into the Giant’s Head school parking lot. After the vehicle passed I stood there for a few seconds in the lane looking after the car. I was sure I detected the universal finger salute. I was not impressed, by this young women’s actions. There are far too many speeders in this area, far too many ignore pedestrians.
Mayor's Report May 8th, 2017
I would like to comment on the process regarding a potential organic composting site for the Regional District of the Okanagan Similkameen. This is an RDOS project and RDOS staff have examined several potential sites. The choices have come down to two sites. A site in the Marron Valley on the way to Apex is being considered along with a site beside the landfill in Summerland. The Summerland public open house will be held May 17th at the IOOF Hall. After the open houses are concluded, the Regional District Board will consider the full information and the results of the open houses. Based on all the information, the Board will recommend one of the two sites. If the Summerland site is chosen by the Board, the matter will receive consideration of Summerland Council.
In addition, you will note from tonight’s agenda there is a lot of activity in the municipality. For example, building permits for single family homes are up dramatically over 2016 – five in the first four months in 2016 compared to 24 in 2017. Our CAO may have more details in her report.
Mayor's Report April 24th, 2017
This past Saturday I had the pleasure of participating in the opening of the Alternative Energy Symposium put on by First Things First-Okanagan.
Summerland will be a B.C. leader in the development of solar for wide community use. As many of you know, part of this Council’s strategic plan was to initiate a solar energy project. We have successfully applied for and received initial funding of $100,000 from the Rural Dividend Fund to complete studies, upgrade infrastructure, and provide training for staff and the community that will lead us to the development of an integrated solar project. Our project includes a large-scale array for our community and provisions for businesses and homeowners to benefit from solar energy.
We are very fortunate in owning our own utility which puts Summerland in the unique position of being able to reduce our demands on the provincial grid. In particular, it will mean we will have the ability to reduce our peak demand requirements from Fortis B.C. Peak, as the word implies is the highest load demand the community requires, if this requirement can be reduced there will be considerable savings.
Mayor’s Report April 10th 2017
The budget is an expression of Council’s Strategic Plan, but it must satisfy operational cost increases, both inflationary and contractual as well as move the community forward.
Council’s Strategic Plan from a high level has a number of buckets that we stress programs, projects etc. should follow. There are six areas of emphasis. They include:
- That the District of Summerland supports a vibrant and liveable community- for example we will nurture our arts, culture and knowledge community. To that end our budget expresses the need to move forward for support for the Arts Council.
- The second is that the District engages and empowers the community. Clear communication is essential and needs to be part of the fabric of any project. An example would be the public process followed on our recent water shutdown.
- A third area of concern is good governance. We must ensure that we have financial systems and supports in place, as well as bylaws that make for consistent business decisions.
- Infrastructure stewardship is key to a healthy economy. Our budget sets aside 1.8% towards infrastructure renewal. Grants are key, and we are being aggressive in applying for appropriate funding. Our asset management project will assist us in setting precise goals.
- Sustainability and community resiliency involves managing foreseeable risks. Emergency preparedness is a key component. We are addressing areas of high risk, for example a new aerial fire truck is on our budget list.
- Economic stability for the community is another major concern, to that end we are hiring an Economic Development Project Manager, through the Rural Dividend Fund to undertake several projects that will foster economic strength. Our initiation of the solar project is key to reducing our dependency and effecting the costs of doing business in Summerland.
These key areas assist council in making decisions as we review the difficult choices necessary in the budget process.
March 27, 2017
Last week the date suggested that it was spring. I am not convinced. Despite that cynical view we should soon be into a flurry of activities and events that will see many visitors and locals enjoying what will be served up between now and late fall. Everything from the Sunday Rotary Market, Action Festival, slo-pitch tournaments, triathlons, The Giant’s Head Grind, Ride the Giant longboard competition, golf tournaments, tennis tournaments, pickle ball events, the seasons KVR schedule and train robberies, Wednesdays on the Water, triathlons, the huge multi-sport event, the Granfondo, and the Ryga festival. Mix in wine tours, the Skaha Lake Kennel Club Show, the test of Humanity Mountain Bike race, and recreational hiking, biking, and walking, and many that I have missed and there is no end of pursuits for residents, and visitors.
Staff and council are moving through the budget cycle. Under item 12.5 in the agenda there is an excellent explanation which will be addressed by our CFO. But I urge the public to read the report carefully. It is one of the best explanations and most thorough that I have had the opportunity to examine since I came on council in 2005. April 3rd there will be presentation by our Chief Financial Officer David Svetlichny and our CAO Linda Tynan. Please come prepared with your questions and comments.
March 13th, 2017
From personal experience, and quite a few responses from the public, the PVR 10 Water Project was seamless. I would like to thank all the staff, but particularly the Works and Utilities Department under the guidance of Director Kris Johnson, and managers Devon van der Meulen, and Maarten Stam. All staff were heavily involved in assisting the public. Our CAO Linda Tynan did a wonderful job of co-ordinating and directing the whole operation.
I would like to thank Summerland Steam and Ogopogo Valley Tours for being the “Water Angels” to assist the elderly and other housebound individuals with water deliveries. Also, I would like to thank the public for their patience during the project.
I can’t forget the generosity of Nesters Market for providing bottled water for the community over the weekend as well. Thank you Nesters.
The Garnet Valley Water Separation and road work is back in full gear. The Jones Flat and Washington Street areas are completed and the crews are headed up Garnet Valley Road. The same intensive effort of logistics that was obvious in the PRV 10 project and is being applied to the Garnet Valley project. As in the PRV 10 project, communication is key.
This past Saturday evening I and a number of councillors attended the Chamber of Commerce 79th Annual Business and Community Excellence Awards. The Chamber did an excellent job. The Board’s choice of venue and format was wonderful – the music was cued beautifully. And what can I say about chamber President Erick Thompson, another superlative performance. I would like to congratulate all the nominees and special kudos to the winners. The Mayor’s Award of Excellence went to a very deserving group, the Kettle Valley Railway Society. Also I would like to congratulate the Business of the Year “True Grain Bread” and the Citizen or Volunteer of the Year “Grant Stone”.
Mayor Peter Waterman
February 27th, 2017
Last week I had the opportunity to attend the B.C. Mayor’s Caucus in Victoria. We were able to discuss issues that need focus for this fall’s UBCM convention. Essentially five areas of advocacy were the primary focus of the group. The highest on the list was the need for investment in infrastructure and the maintenance of the present formula of 50% federal, 30% provincial and 17% municipal.
This was followed by the inability of municipalities to finance projects due to the limited sources of funding. Many communities are in Summerland’s position with a very high proportion of taxes coming from residential and limited industrial taxation. In other jurisdictions there are other income sources for towns and cities and BC municipalities need creative thinking to go beyond property tax. The downloading that has occurred over the years makes this a necessity.
The funding of protective services was also high on the list. It is difficult for many smaller communities to maintain the required level of response at a reasonable cost.
Affordable housing cuts across the province it must be incentivised, and supported. Rental housing needs to be retained and expanded. This subject is critical and needs a strong voice at UBCM. In municipalities like Summerland it is particularly acute, particularly when the lack of appropriate housing is linked to inadequate transit options.
Climate change mitigation efforts need continued support. Fifty percent of British Columbia municipalities have hit reduction targets. It was stressed that municipalities must maintain their independence of setting local goals and local decision making at the local level.
The Mayor’s Caucus is seen as an important lobby route for a select number of critical issues that will be pressed at UBCM.
Council’s upcoming task over the next few weeks will be detailed budget discussions.
February 14th, 2017
Of course the subject on everybody’s mind is our water shutoff for PVR 10 coming March 3rd to 6th. Council and staff have been working hard on this project for months and we are in the final preparation stages now.
The good news is that we will have an alternate source of water for all but approximately 50 properties, in those cases a water supply will be located nearby. The alternate source water will not be drinkable, so you must supply your own drinking water.
A boil water advisory will be in place starting February 27th and will remain in effect until the Interior Health Authority gives its approval to remove the advisory which could be mid March.
Please remember that this is a complex project and although every effort is being made to prepare for the work, unexpected situations can occur. Have a back-up plan in place and store up some additional water, for flushing toilets etc.
The District is hosting a Q & A tomorrow for the public, Wednesday February 15, 2017 at 6:30 pm at the Arena banquet room.
In addition, The Chamber of Commerce is also hosting two sessions tomorrow for their business members at the Visitor Information center at 8:00am to 9:00am, and again 4:30pm to 5:30 pm. An RSVP is required for the Chamber of Commerce sessions.
As we have said before we realize this situation is a major inconvenience, but it is critical that this work be done under controlled conditions with the appropriate preparation and communication to the public and businesses.
The Chamber of Commerce Nominee’s reception for the 79th Annual Business and Community Excellence Awards sponsored by Nester’s Market last Friday at the Arena Banquet room was a resounding success. We are all looking forward to the Chamber Awards Gala March 11th.
I would also like to mention the Snow Angel program. The Snow Angels are most appreciated and I and Council would like to thank them very much for their assistance to their neighbours. I am busy signing appreciation certificates and they are still coming in. I would like to thank the community again for their wonderful help.
January 23rd, 2017
Through the next several months, staff will be compiling information for our 2017 Financial Plan for Council’s consideration. This is always a difficult task as Council needs to meet all the District’s operational costs, capital requests, debt servicing as well as put aside dollars for certain reserves.
Our Asset Management study is underway. The results of this study will assist us to determine the status of pipes in the ground, roads, electrical and buildings. It is also a prerequisite for grant funding requests. We will be able to plan replacement and renovation over the next number of years. Receiving grants are not a given, as many communities are in line with just as much justification of need as the District of Summerland. We are currently waiting to hear the results of our funding request for the 3.2million dollar flume project supplying water to our Water Treatment Plant.
We apply for grants wherever the criteria can be met. Communities must have the necessary funds set aside in appropriate reserves or have the ability to borrow if necessary in order to take advantage of funding options.
As our industrial/business base taxes are small compared to the residential, we raise approximately $80,000 with a one percent property tax increase. This figure starts to put things in perspective when you realize the magnitude of the costs of infrastructure renewal.
Communities with such a high proportion of residential taxes look for outside streams of income not necessarily from taxes. For example, our gravel extraction contract or a potential reduction in costs such as moving to solar energy.
January 9th, 2017
First I would like to welcome everybody back to the council table, and I would like to wish the public, the press, staff and council a Happy New Year.
We had a busy and successful past year. All facets of the council work over the past year, as well as each department, Development Services, Works and Utilities, Finance, Corporate Services, Recreation and Administration, have had full plates.
The district has been successful in application for grants for a number of major projects. The preparation required to move from concept to funding to letting of contracts and on site work is considerable and is now bearing fruit.
We are moving forward in 2017. The 6.9million dollar Garnet Valley Water Separation and Road Improvement Project, started this past fall, the 3.2million dollar Grit Removal project, which will ensure longevity of the Waste Water Treatment Plant, the critical maintenance of PRV 10, which will require a district wide water shutdown in March will all be completed in 2017.
We continue to work on streamlining many of our services, particularly in finance, development services and recreation. The Recreation Department will be introducing online registration in early spring 2017 making it easier to sign up for our many recreation programs.
Summerland is taking a progressive role in efforts to improve our carbon footprint and ensure that sustainability is considered in each District initiative. Currently it is a council priority to examine opportunities that exist to maximize the economic benefit of owning our own electrical utility in Summerland by investing in alternative energy projects such as solar.
As we move into 2017, I would like to welcome two new senior managers to the District. David Svetlichny has taken on the role as Director of Finance, replacing Lorrie Coates who retired late last fall, and Dean Strachan is the Director of Development Services who replaces Ian McIntosh who will retire at the end of January 2017.
I believe that this sets the stage for the community and the District to move forward for a successful 2017.
This is our last council meeting of 2016. It has been a busy year for both council and staff. I would like to thank our CAO Linda Tynan and her staff for their dedication over the last year.
I would like to thank council for their diligence, hard work and good respectful discussions. I am looking forward to working with everyone in 2017.
I would like to take this opportunity to wish Linda, her staff and Council a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
On behalf of all of council I would like to wish the press and our residents of Summerland a very safe and happy holiday season.
Mayor's Report November 14th, 2016
The District’s major responsibility is to ensure that basic utilities such as water, sewer, electrical and roads are maintained and upgraded to both health and safety requirements. Residents expect the taps to turn on and provide safe drinking water. Interior Health has put in place regulations that mandate a higher drinking level standard. With the Garnet Valley water separation and road project we will be able to deliver the same fully treated drinking water that the rest of the town enjoys, while upgrading a road that was in dire need of redoing.
Significant roadwork was done on Solly and Rosedale a few years ago, but we have many more kilometers that need serious work. Our tree fruit and grape industry needs road improvements to ensure products maintain their high quality all the way to market.
In addition, toilets must flush. Our sewer system is now approximately twenty years old and parts of the sewer plant now need replacing and upgrading, hence the 3.2-million-dollar project for grit removal and filtration beds.
Our electrical utility also requires ongoing maintenance and upgrades.
We are tackling additional projects such as the flume project that brings water to our balancing reservoir and water treatment plant, and the PRV 10 project at the oval about.
The need and scheduling of a twenty-year plan for utility projects will be outlined in the asset management study that will commence soon.
The key will be balancing grants, borrowing and taxation. All the maintenance and improvements in basic infrastructure and amenities will improve our ability to attract new businesses and residents which will in turn enhance our tax base.
Mayor's Report October 24th, 2016
We are now entering a new budget cycle. In early November Council will meet for a strategic planning meeting. We will review our 2015- 2019 Strategic Plan to determine if focus and priorities need to be adjusted. The public will have an opportunity to review the plan to determine if they feel there should be redirection or a change in emphasis for 2017 and on into the future.
The budget will be driven by the strategic plan. Operationally, we have to examine service levels to decide if they satisfactory or if there are areas needing enhancement.
Infrastructure or assets required to meet service requirements will receive much more detailed examination moving forward with the funding of $270,000 from the Gas Tax Strategic Priorities Fund to do an integrated asset management and infrastructure investment plan. A request for proposals has just closed. The firm to carry out the plan will be chosen soon and the work will proceed.
This work will initiate a change in the District’s approach to investments in infrastructure and resource assets. An integrated approach is needed to replace the isolated decision making on a case by case or year by year situation. It will provide a twenty-year infrastructure plan.
For example, to give an idea of the complexity, we have 145 km of paved roads, 11 dams, 220 km of water mains, 6000 water services, 80 km of sanitary sewer, 2400 sanitary sewer services, 185 km of electrical conductor, and much more.
Strategic plans need to be considered carefully in order to build budgets that will ensure service levels the community needs, plus a strong base on which to grow and prosper.
Mayor's Report, October 11th, 2016
Council recently attended the Union of British Columbia Municipalities convention in Victoria. It was very successful in a number of areas.
One of the most critical was a meeting with Premier Clark and Minister Fassbender to once again emphasize the importance of infrastructure funding to the community and to enquire about the status of a request for funding of the much needed grit removal and filtration bed system in our sewage plant at a cost of 3.2 million from the New Canada Building Canada Fund- Small Communities Fund. The application emphasized the importance of the work to allow for community growth capacity, plus meet all our environmental responsibilities with regard to discharge of treated effluent into Okanagan Lake.
At the meeting, the Premier informed council that the Provincial Government was about to launch a new infrastructure funding program and that we were one of the first communities approved for funding under the new Clean Water and Waste Water Fund. This new program will be 50% funded by the Federal Government, 33% by the Province and 17% by the Municipality. The breakdown used to be 1/3, 1/3, 1/3. The Province provides $ 1,045,004, the District of Summerland’s share is $538,366. Council has brought the importance of this project to the attention of the province – and this has paid off with the announcement of the success of the application for funding.
In the meeting with the Premier, we also received very good news that we were successful in our application for $100,000 for the economic development initiative for Summerland under the province’s Rural Dividend Fund Program. The District will engage an economic Development Project Coordinator for a one-year period. This individual will work with the Mayor’s Task Force on economic development. There are four specific activities to be addressed:
1) developing clear communication material regarding municipal services and processes
2) development of wayfinding strategy within the community
3) Research into the development of the Agri-tech sector in Summerland and
4) development of an Economic Development Strategy Action plan
We also discussed Summerland’s proposal for a pilot project for integrated administrative services with a local school board with Premier Clark and Education Minister Bernier. They showed very positive interest, appreciated our initiative and urged the District to discuss the proposal with MLA Linda Larsen who is leading a task force on rural education strategy. The District of Summerland is very serious about the possibility of a pilot project. If successful, it will be a useful model for other rural communities.
We also met with Minister Bond’s Staff, the Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills and Training, regarding the economic health of the Kettle Valley Railway Steam Train. They agreed that the KVR is a Provincial and Federal Treasure, and important aspect of B.C.’s history. We stressed that the KVR is an integral part of the District’s tourism industry, and costs of infrastructure etc., and repairs are beyond the KVR society. The Ministry staff will follow up with the District to discuss opportunities that may be available for KVR.
Council met with Minister Stone, the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, regarding the Lakeshore trail to Penticton. The Minister recognizes that cycling tourism is growing in importance to the region and to B.C. The province funded 2/3 of the current planning study which is underway. Once the study is completed we asked that the Provincial Government fund the construction. Minister Stone urged his staff to accelerate the planning study process.
I would like to thank my fellow councillors and staff for their efforts in preparation for our discussions with the Premier and other government Ministers and staff. In addition, I would like to thank MLA Ashton for his hard work on our behalf.
Overall, council’s attendance at UBCM was valuable. Having the opportunity to meet with the premier, cabinet ministers and senior staff of various ministries to discuss opportunities and challenges facing Summerland, and to attend educational sessions learning more about creative solutions other municipalities have found in dealing with common current issues such as affordable housing, marijuana grow-ops, etc. brings perspective by council to the municipality as many of this items are discussed at the council table and throughout the community.
Mayor's Report September 12th,2016
In the spring of 2016, many communities in British Columbia faced the possibility of school closures. The District of Summerland faced the possibility of losing Trout Creek school. The provincial government recognized that these closures would have tremendous negative impact on the economic development of these communities and implemented the Rural Education Enhancement Fund to support the schools while assigning a MLA Linda Larson to head a task force to develop a rural education strategy. The provincial government recognized that the local school is the centre of the community and the local economy.
Summerland’s Mayor and Council were keenly aware of the significant impact to the community should schools close, and they recognize that schools in smaller communities play a much larger role than simply providing education for children. They are frequently a community hub and integral for attracting families to ensure community growth and development.
Recognizing that further steps are required throughout the province to reduce the administrative costs of school delivery, Summerland’s mayor and council has approached the provincial government with an idea for a pilot project. The proposed project would merge administrative services of the municipality with the administrative services of a new, local School Board. The concept is currently in a preliminary, introductory stage and council expects to discuss it further at the upcoming UBCM conference in Victoria.
The proposed pilot project would entail the re-creation of a local school board in Summerland – a model similar to that prior to 1996 when Summerland and Penticton school boards were amalgamated. The difference would be that the municipal council and the Summerland School Board would integrate services such as finance, administrative and works staff, equipment, facilities, etc. rather than operating two separate facilities. Council is excited about the opportunity to discuss the idea with the community, political leaders, teachers and other stakeholders to determine whether moving forward with the project would be a benefit to Summerland. This idea has not been discussed with the Minister of Education yet and extensive consultation is required as there are many unanswered questions that would require resolution before determining if the project was feasible and desirable – such as investigation into any potential impact on labour force, teachers, school support staff and other factors that would be identified as the idea of the project was developed.
Summerland believes they have an opportunity to pilot this project to determine whether integration of administrative services of municipal hall and the school board office would be a model that other communities could follow potentially decreasing administrative costs and channelling school funding into the schools.
Mayor's Report August 22nd, 2016
Council is concerned about the level of economic activity generally across the community but of course are specifically concerned about the obvious problems indicated by closed storefronts. We are seeing a considerable increase in building permits over the previous few years which is very positive. In addition, the general economy is improving. But the situation is much more complex than it might seem on the surface.
As soon as this council took office we quickly established a new urban growth area. This tells residents and developers where infrastructure and development should go and provides certainty for developers.
In order to have growth you must have healthy well maintained infrastructure. The taps must provide clean water, and the toilets must flush successfully. The lights must go on dependably and the condition of roads must be good. Maintenance and upgrades are critical for tourism and commerce.
Towards this end we will be conducting an asset management plan- for which we have received funding. This plan will tell us the condition of pipes in the ground, (both sewer and water) and the status of electrical infrastructure. In addition, these assessments will be co-ordinated with road condition. There is no point fixing a road and then finding out later that you have to dig it up again to address sewer and water issues.
We have addressed road and water quality issues for Garnett Valley and a six and half million-dollar project starts in September.
We have applied several times for funding for sewer plant upgrades in the form of grit removal upgrade and redundancy capacity to ensure no sewer plant disruption and to allow for growth. We have reason to believe that we will be successful this fall and will be addressing this with ministers at the UBCM meetings next month.
With regard to trails, the new lakeside trail along the highway between Trout Creek and lower Town is completed and is heavily used. We are working with the Trans Canada Trails Society, the city of Penticton, MLA Ashton, and Minister Stone for a similar connection all the way to Penticton. Trail and cycling tourism is growing and we need to be part of this growth.
We have applied for a Canada 150 grant to assist in financing a new Skate Park, this will be coupled with considerable funding from Penny Lane and community fundraising. Our youth have been involved in design concepts and will assist in fundraising. The skate-park will be a great attraction for youth and families.
Our Cultural Plan Task Force has just completed its year long activities and council will be examining its recommendations. This project was a result of council’s recognition that the arts are a strong economic driver. A well rounded healthy society requires a strong cultural component in the visual and performing arts.
Our Economic Task Force is ongoing and requires more depth to achieve results. We have applied for a provincial rural dividend grant to assist us in increasing its scope.
It is not a quick one solution fix for a healthy downtown retail. All of the proceeding comments need to be taken into account to foster the environment that will have positive results in growth to assist in filling storefronts. There are certainly other issues, such as downtown building condition, lease and rental rates that are very difficult to address successfully. We have supported the Rotary downtown market which really has been a wonderful addition to the downtown business activity.
All of the above and more are areas that will enhance business activity and make the community attractive to businesses and families.
One last note –we lost a wonderful member of our community, Mary Leardo passed away Saturday morning. Mary was a dear friend to me and to her farming family. She will be greatly missed. Our sincere condolences go out to her husband Enio and to the rest of the Leardo family.
Mayor’s Report August 8th 2016
Activity is picking up, building permits are up dramatically, in particular the value of building permits.
Major projects are also coming off the drawing boards, in particular the Garnet Valley water separation and road project where construction will commence in September. A list of outstanding tasks is listed in the agenda as it is in every agenda package. These tasks bring with them the need for adherence to process both regulatory or required and optional.
As an example, a project comes to us – staff interact, the developer may make an application which could include an OCP amendment which has to come to council and may receive first and second reading. They then will likely apply for a rezoning. A public hearing is held before third reading and they then will likely apply for a development permit. The project will be held at third reading until they meet or satisfy all conditions. At the initial point of contact, the developer may want to, or it may be suggested, that a public open house be held by the developer. Anywhere along the process council may ask for another public meeting. It is our intention to go beyond the required process where we think additional information may be required.
We are trying to be pro-active in consultation, but if we are not entirely proactive, we are trying to be sensitive to reasonable concerns. An example was the protective barriers on Prairie Valley Road. The barriers were not well received to say the least. Staff arranged meetings with residents and examined their ideas. As a result, the large unsightly concrete barriers were removed and a new curbing was installed trying to provide more aesthetically pleasing barriers, providing the residents with better access and parking while at the same time protecting children as they headed to school.
When this council came into office, one of our objectives was to do a good job of public consultation. We moved in that direction by providing fifteen minutes at the beginning of our agendas giving people the opportunity to bring information forward regarding high-lighted items prior to a vote taking place as well as bringing concerns forward on any item at the end of the meeting. We are currently looking at ways to enhance these opportunities.
Mayor’s Report July 25th, 2016
It seems that Summerland has become the focal point for hectic activity. Of course the change in the weather doesn’t hurt. My wife Claire and I toured virtually all of Summerland this past Sunday. Downtown, the wineries, the KVR and all the beaches were full with visitors and residents. After that tour we spent the afternoon at Powell Beach- it was incredibly busy with families having picnics, loungers like Claire and I, and tons of kids ripping in and out of the water. The lake was dotted with power boats, sailboats, kayaks and paddle boards. We later stopped at Summerland Sweets. It was busy with ice cream sales plus people enjoying all that Summerland Sweets and Sleeping Giant Winery had to offer. The one winery we visited was also busy and had a full parking area.
On Saturday, I happened to be at the golf course, it was also busy, not only with regular players but yet another tournament was on for the afternoon, all the carts were lined up and it was busy with locals and visitors.
All this activity combined with our Sunday market, really makes it obvious how much Summerland has to offer.
Other economic activity is substantiated with the activity in our Development Services Department. For the month of June there were 17 building permits issued with a value of 4.75 million dollars, versus 24 for last year with a value of 2.6 million. The increase in value is worthy of noting as it indicates more single-family residences verses decks, renovations etc. Year to date we have 101 building permits in 2016 compared to 95 in 2015, but for an increase in value of 1.3 million.
Other projects such as the Jones Flat and Garnet Valley Water System Separation Project are getting close to construction phase. The necessary pre-construction work is almost complete and things will be moving ahead in September. An informative open house will be held on Thursday, August 4 from 6 – 9pm at the Arena Banquet Room.
Mayor's Report July 12th, 2016
At the time of the last council meeting the potential of keeping Trout Creek Elementary open had not been officially resolved. As I stated two weeks ago the opening or closing of a school is critical. Schools are essential to the municipality’s community fabric and of tremendous importance to families and children. I and council would like to thank the families and parents that worked so hard over a long period for their incredible effort. In addition I would like to thank MLA Dan Ashton for his tireless efforts behind the scenes to encourage a positive government response. Also special thanks to Premier Clarke for her funding announcement and her government’s recognition of the importance of schools to the community’s economy. In addition I would like to thank the School Board for their reconsideration and final decision to apply for the funding to keep Trout Creek Elementary open for Summerland families.
Keeping with celebrating schools and students, I had the good fortune to attend the 2016 Summerland Senior Secondary Graduation ceremonies. In addition I had the distinct pleasure to award the District’s Scholarship to Allison Mott. I would like to congratulate all the grads for their hard work and wish them well with their all endeavours in the future.
Another major event of course was Canada Day. Thanks to John Dorn and the Legion for making this event special for the community.
This past Saturday I attended and brought greetings from the District to the Yacht Club’s Annual Commodore’s Ball. This is a special event, Commodores from throughout the valley attend.
Mayor's Report June 27th, 2016
The key issue that appears to be headed to resolution is whether Trout Creek School will remain open. The Board of Trustees of School District 67 has unanimously voted to send in the application for funding for Trout Creek School to remain open. We certainly appreciate the government’s offer of funding and MLA Ashton’s hard work to assist in bringing the offer to fruition. The Board of Trustees has had a difficult job and we appreciate this turn of events.
For Summerland families this is huge, there will be a collective sigh of relief when the issue is formalized. I do appreciate that a considerable amount of work has already been undertaken in reconfiguration by teachers and staff in the face of the impending loss of Trout Creek Elementary, but at the end of the day this is very good news.
As well, the community will now be able to move ahead confidently, the potential for growing families that already reside in Summerland will mean no disruption and the option for new families to move here and enjoy all that Summerland has to offer will not be constricted by lack of elementary school space.
Another topic that links to youth is the effort that our CAO has made in applying for a Canada 150 Grant to assist in funding the much anticipated Skatepark. MP Dan Albas provided a letter of support to accompany our application and we appreciate his efforts on our behalf. In recent discussions with MP Albas, he felt our chances were good for a positive result.
On a final note I had the distinct pleasure of attending an award ceremony for Mr. Charles Bernhardt at Angus Lodge last Saturday. Lance Corporal Bernhardt received the French Legion of Honour, France’s highest military honour for his service in the “D” day landing to liberate Europe. He is a member of the British Columbia Regiment “Duke of Connaught’s Own”. Mr. Bernhardt a long time fruit grower and past president of the B.C.F.G.A. has lived in Summerland since 1934, when he came here as a thirteen year old with his family. Council and I and all of Summerland would like to congratulate Mr. Bernhardt on this wonderful recognition.
Mayor's Report June 13th, 2016
It seems summer got a great start with Action Fest Weekend from the Parade, the Man of Steel Triathlon, Giant’s Head Run, to a large and successful ball tournament. The parade route was well jammed with families and the music in the park was well attended. I would like to thank the Action Fest Committee under Chair Pat Bell for a wonderfully choreographed event, as well as Brenda Ingram and the Recreation Department staff, and Kris Johnson and the Public Works staff for their hard work.
I participated in two events – the Kick Off tourism week in British Columbia by manning the desk at our Visitor information Center with Chamber staff and participating in Camp-day at Tim Hortons. It was great meeting and greeting people. It was a good thing that I know the town and farming areas of Summerland like the back of my hand as I had a lot of fun telling visitors about Summerland and the sites and activities available.
I can’t forget our first Sunday Market June 12th. The vendors were many and varied with Summerland businesses and farms well represented. The music provided atmosphere and sudden appearance of the Summerland School of dance flash mob dance routines was a real hit.
Councillors in their reports will mention the other events and activities.
The School closing issue is still of major concern. MLA Ashton made an offer of dollars and the option of an advisor to assist the board. I and council are extremely disappointed that the board refused to seek a way to re-examine the closing of Trout Creek School. The reality of the impact on students, and all Summerland families and the attractiveness of Summerland as a place to come and live should urge the School Board to examine any and all options.
I find it difficult to believe that a community of almost 12,000 residents can manage to meet the community’s educational needs and growth expectations with only one elementary school.
Mayor's Report May 24th, 2016
The activity list has been incredible. I had the great opportunity to talk to two of Mr. Stather’s civics classes. It was an open forum with lots of discussion and questions by the students about municipal politics and the impact people can have on their community by being involved.
The Meadow Lark Festival was again a major event and is the flagship activity of the Okanagan Similkameen Conservation Alliance. There were 79 tours including a session on the birds of the Okanagan with Dick Cannings, to a voyager canoe tour to Rattlesnake Island.
I am sure councillors will elaborate on this event as well as a very successful Giant’s Head Grind this past weekend.
Action Festival is just around the corner. Action Fest brings a great number of visitors to the community as ball teams and competitors for many other events home in on Summerland from June 3rd- 5th.
On another note, the President of the Chamber Erick Thompson and I will be doing weekly business visits throughout the community. We hope to make this an ongoing effort to seek concerns and ideas from the business community. We will be starting in mid-June.
Later on in this meeting, we will be having a discussion concerning road surface widths and bike lanes as part of the Garnet Valley Water Twinning project. This is an exciting major project for the municipality. Garnet Valley residents will be pleased that the project is continuing to move forward.
Mayor's Report May 9th, 2016
First I would like to say our hearts go out to the residents of Fort McMurray, the devastation of their city and anxiety over tremendous loss and change in their lives is hard to imagine.
I would urge Summerland residents to be careful and vigilant. We have the second largest watershed in the Okanagan Basin and we must take care to avoid putting this large forested area at risk of wild fire. In addition we have a number of interface areas where housing developments and other structures mix with natural treed vegetation. A considerable amount of risk reduction work has been carried out by our fire department in these areas.
This subject was addressed from the OBWB perspective with a report by CEO Anna Warwick Sears where she indicated that the British Columbia River forecast center reported a rapid loss in snow pack from above average to below average due to the unusually hot and dry conditions over the last month. The Brenda mines snow pillow data at 1453 meters showed a rapid loss of snow at lower elevations so levels are well below average.
On May 1st I was honoured to be asked by our Royal Canadian Legion to participate in V-E celebrations at the Canyon view cemetery. My wife and I attended the celebration dinner at the Legion, we appreciated the opportunity to participate and represent the District of Summerland.
I have had a number of residents over the last several weeks mention their concern over the condition of many of the District’s roads. As many of you know we are redoing a major section of Garnett Valley Road as we twin the water system in the area. Major works of this nature are very costly and we have been fortunate to partner with funding from the federal and provincial government in a 1/3, 1/3, 1/3 share of this 6 million dollar project. Work will start this fall. In addition we have received funding assistance for several asset management studies. This work will assist us in determining the priority of need in renewing our infrastructure – that is our pipes in the ground, water, sewer, electrical, and roads over the next number of years.
My wife and I attended the Saturday night of the Blossom Pageant. The candidates were amazing and impressive. I would like to congratulate our new Blossom Queen Sarah Gottwald, Princesses Khush Saran and Chloe Collins and Miss Congeniality Sidnee Chick.
Mayor's Report April 25th, 2016
The second set of business walks with the Chamber and members of council occurred on April 14th. I was paired up with the new Chamber President Erick Thompson. It was very successful, notes and comments will be on the Chamber website. This collaborative effort by the chamber and council will result in a renewed capacity for council and the chamber to respond to business needs, and enable us to work together more effectively.
Over the last several months council and staff have had a number of budget meetings and discussions. As you will see tonight, we are now getting close to the end of the process as we present the grant in aid requests and bring the financial plan bylaw forward for first, second and third reading.
As I and several members of council were at the SILGA meetings in Kelowna, I was only able to attend one of 13 different Earth Week events. If the Philosophers Café presentation of Syilx Water Perspectives by Dr. Jeannette Armstrong and Dr. Marlowe Sam was any indication, the whole week was a resounding success. Their presentation illustrated how water weaves through every aspect of our existence, through us, the plants, soil, and animals, and respect for its role in our lives needs to be fully understood. I would like to congratulate all the organizers and volunteers who put so much work into this rewarding week.
Several of council attended the SILGA (Southern Interior Local Government Association) meetings in Kelowna. The theme this year was “Water Connecting Us All. It was an opportunity to advance a number of resolutions to the Union of British Columbia Municipalities this fall, as well as to establish connections with other councillors and mayors. I had the good fortune to spend some quality time with Minister Fassbender who is Minister of Communities, Sport and Culture to advance our thoughts on aspects of concern to Summerland. One of these in particular was regarding our application for a Building Canada Fund grant to assist in our need to do a 3 million dollar upgrade to our sewage plant for the filtration beds and grit removal equipment. This will give us much needed redundancy for our plant for maintenance purposes and to always be able to meet Interior Health requirements.
And finally, I would like to remind everyone that Thursday, April 28th is National Day of Mourning. A day set aside to remember those who have been injured, lost their lives, or suffered illness due to work-related incidents or hazards.
Mayor's Report April 11th, 2016
The last few weeks have been exhausting for the community, at this point Trout Creek Elementary is destined for closure at the end of this school year. We will be pursuing avenues through upcoming SILGA (the Southern Interior Local Government Association) and the UBCM (Union of British Columbia Municipalities) meetings this fall where we will press for a meeting with the Minister of Education. Closure of Trout Creek Elementary and lack of appropriate provincial funding are working at cross purposes to Chamber of Commerce goals and the business community as well as dramatically affecting lives of children and families.
The week of April 16th to 24th is Earth Week. The theme for this year is “A Drop in The Bucket”. There will be an opportunity to tour our Water Treatment Plant and Don Gayton will be presenting a discussion on the Daylighting project for Prairie Creek behind Giant’s Head School- this will help restore wetland habitat and be a tremendous educational experience for the community. A conversation Café evening will take place where First Nations water perspectives will be presented –this should be fascinating as this will in part be verbal history passed through generations. There will be many other interesting events during the week– please check our website for details.
My wife Claire and I had the pleasure of attending the SADI fundraising event – a great dinner contributed by Zia’s and live auction with caller Roch Fortin doing a great job. I was auctioned off as part of a golfing foursome and dinner courtesy of the Summerland Golf and Country Club- believe it or not that donation topped the list at $375.00 for SADI.
Mayor's Report March 29th, 2016
There have been a few key engagements that I had the privilege of being involved in over the last two weeks.
I attended the Chamber AGM and carried out the swearing in of the new Chamber executive. Congratulations to the new President Eric Thompson, Vice President Robert Hacking and Treasurer Micheal Hughes. Council looks forward to a productive ongoing relationship with the chamber board and executive.
I had the privilege of speaking to the KVR AGM where I addressed the critical nature of the KVR in community tourism and the fabric of the community. I feel strongly that businesses, and in no small measure the KVR, the chamber and the District need to work together to create synergies that will enhance everybody’s bottom line.
I would like to thank the community for their participation in our recent open house on the 2016 budget. In addition, council owes tremendous thanks to CAO Linda Tynan and her staff for a great presentation. It is a tough but critical subject, and staff made it interesting and interactive. Council will now be addressing the budget again in light of the public session and finalizing our 2016 financial program and tax rates.
The issue of school closures continues to dominate our resident’s minds. Council and residents have made multiple comprehensive representations to the school board. We realize that government has placed the school board in a very difficult position. Our offer to sit down and collaborate with the school district on ways of maintaining our schools is sincerely meant and still open. A decision to close Trout Creek elementary negatively affects all families and students in all schools in Summerland.
Mayor's Report February 22nd, 2016
The last two weeks have kept me very active with critical meetings as we deal with issues and projects in the District.
The initial steering group meeting for the skatepark was held. Eric Thompson was selected chair, the first steps were taken towards a schedule and planning for fundraising. The grant Summerland Charity Shop Society of $135,000 gives the effort a large jump in the total dollar requirements. The hope is to link skate demos with other events to promote fundraising. The area will likely have public art, outdoor fitness equipment in addition to a youth led design for the skatepark itself. Hopefully looking to a sod turning late spring or early summer 2017.
At the regular RDOS board meeting, a key discussion was held on the status of the Southern Interior Beetle Coalition group. This organization was initiated to deal with the effect on economies of small interior communities by the Mountain Pine Beetle. It will likely morph into a rural development group.
MP Richard Cannings gave a report on his new role and activities in Ottawa. He noted that there is no new news on the status of the Penticton airport, or on the issue around legalizing Marijuana.
The District has been successful in their application for a $372,000 grant from Gas Tax Strategic Priorities Fund for integrated asset management and infrastructure planning. This asset management planning is essential to be able to move forward to determine priorities for action on infrastructure.
Council met with the Chamber of Commerce to discuss joint cooperative opportunities. We had a very good discussion which will lead to synergistic efforts to benefit the community.
Council strategic planning continued on the 15th and will now be blended with budget discussions over the next several weeks.
Council recently met with the school board to address mutual concerns. We hope to be able to have further discussions to advance Summerland’s concerns on school closures.
An excellent Philosopher’s Café was held last week. This event is an excellent way to engage the community in discussions relevant to Summerland residents.
The third meeting of the Mayor’s Task Force on our local economy was held. We are discussing and prioritizing brainstorming ideas, we hope to soon have more focussed opportunities to move forward with.
Mr. Joe Smuin gave a factual and amusing presentation on the history of the development of the KVR last Saturday afternoon. Approximately 100 people filled the basement of the old library. His talk was excellent as it was laced with personal and family anecdotal stories that brought the history alive. Thanks to the Heritage Commission for their work in arranging this speaker for Heritage Week.
Mayor's Report February 9th, 2016
I had the pleasure of attending the Chamber of Commerce nominee’s reception January 28th at the arena banquet room. This is a great opportunity to recognize all 57 nominees across eleven categories for their efforts and contributions to the community. Nester’s again did a wonderful job of appetizer plates and Bottleneck Drive provided wine and cider for the event. This will culminate in the Awards Gala at the Waterfront Resort February 27th. Please take time to vote for your preference in the categories. At that time I will also be awarding the Mayor’s Award of Excellence to honour a community organization.
At the end of January the District received notice that our project of Okanagan Fur Brigade Linear Trail Park which was nominated for a Heritage B.C. Award in the Heritage Conservation category won at the Recognition Level. It is likely that Councillor Peake as one of the liaisons to the Cultural and Heritage Commission will attend the Annual Heritage Awards Gala February 18th at the Imperial Hotel in Vancouver. This award speaks to the dedicated effort of community members and to the Heritage Commission.
Trail development has been a topic of discussion at several meetings recently.
Since the completion of the Lakeside Trail between lower town and Trout Creek, discussion has centered on continuation of that project with excellent advocacy from the Trails of the Okanagan’s group as well as development of the KVR rail bed from the Research Station to Penticton. There will be more discussions and meetings with decisions coming forward in the near future.
Other than the regular RDOS board meeting, I also attended the Okanagan Basin Water Board (OBWB) Board meeting February 2nd in Kelowna. Several topics were covered that are interesting for us. There were comments on our winter and El Nino. The extremely low snowpack that we experienced in 2015 are not commonly associated with El Nino events. Some of the snow pillow data is trending about average. The more pronounced effects of El Nino occur from February to April. This appears to be the case as we will experience above normal temperatures and decreased precipitation.
The other information referred to environmental flow needs of streams (this is primarily a determination of water requirements for fish flows being carried out by the Water Stewardship Council. The First phase of a study on methodology will be complete by April. The second phase will implement those methods to establish EFN’s for streams where there is a limited understanding and will build on modelling developed from the 2010 Water Supply and Demand Study. In Summerland we are one of the few communities where an EFN has been established for Trout Creek in 2004.
Mayor’s Report January 25th, 2016
I had the pleasure of attending the Business after Business event at beyond Wrapture at the Waterfront Hotel, on Tuesday the 19th. Summergate Winery provided wonderful wine and Zia’s provided tasty appetizers. The Business after Business event shows off unique Summerland businesses, and they are a great way to meet the entrepreneurs of the Summerland business community.
On Thursday the 21st I attended the RDOS and Regional Hospital Board meetings. There was a discussion and resolution on issues around trails, some of which will be referred to later in our agenda.
Thursday evening we held the inaugural meeting of the Mayor’s Task Force on Summerland’s economy. This was a brainstorming session with each member offering up ideas and concerns. We will be continuing the process to ultimately prioritize ideas to bring forward. The members were unanimous in the desire to come up with actionable results to bring forward to the council and the community.
Mayor’s Report January 11th, 2016
It has certainly been a long stretch since our last council meeting. It was great to get together with friends and family, I hope everybody had a wonderful holiday and a good rest. I would like to thank our public works staff for the good job over the holidays with the several blasts of snow.
Speaking of Works and Utilities – I would like to welcome our new Director of Works and Utilities, Kris Johnson. I am sure our CAO Linda Tynan will have more to say.
We are now just into our traditional January melt which should help out. Snow packs in the water shed are reasonable for this stage of the season.
There have been a number of activities to note. I and council members attended the Chamber of Commerce Business after Business Christmas get together on December 16th. Also my wife and I had the pleasure of attending the Air Cadet Christmas Potluck. It is a wonderful organization, the youth were especially excited about the fact that the top brass from Edmonton attended and flew to Kelowna in an F-18. They all got a great tour of the fighter jet.
Mary Trainer from our Heritage Advisory Commission has indicated that the commission is submitting a form to Heritage B.C. that nominates the Fur Brigade Linear Trail Park for a Heritage Conservation award and would like to name the Mayor representing the District as one of the individuals who were helpful in completing the project. So of course I will let my name stand on behalf of Council for our part in approving the 30 year lease with the Province of BC.
Several times over the last few months I have mentioned the formation of a Mayor’s Task Force on the local economy. We have a great committee and we are all anxious to get going. So I will read out the names of the committee members:
Jai Zachary Technology
Kelly Marshall Banking
Karen Bowyer Arts
Steve Brown Agri-Tech
Todd Laidlaw Downtown Business
Bob Campbell Development/Business
Sandy Berry Construction
Mike Stohler Real Estate
Roch Fortin Business
Linda Holman Seniors
Haley Laktin Youth
Sunveer Dhaliwal Youth (alternate)
Erin Trainer Council rep
Peter Waterman Chair
Linda Tynan CAO – Staff rep
Council had their first strategic planning meeting last week. This week we will be meeting jointly with staff to get into more detail to set realistic goals for 2016 prior to detailed budget meeting.
Mayor’s Report December 14, 2015
The last three weeks have been active with Regional District budget and strategic planning meetings, council strategic planning, and an Okanagan Water Basin Water Board meeting.
I and several council members attended the two local school district information meetings regarding the issue of potential school closures in the district. The school board has a difficult task facing declining enrollment and escalating costs. But the suggestion of closing Giants Head elementary and creating two K-7 schools will leave the district with virtually no growth options for the K-7 demographic and hence little option for growth including families. This is of particular concern as we have seen a dramatic surge in building permits over the last year. Council has set a number of actions in motion that may very well see this upward trend continue.
On November 26th the reality of a skatepark became one step closer. New Line Skateparks, participated in an information session. A great contingent of youth was present to give voice to their preferences. Everybody is excited to see the project moving forward.
December 2nd a Syrian refugee workshop was held. The issue is a massive human tragedy and I am very pleased that Councillor Holmes is assisting the sponsorship group. Our assistance and support will be dealt with a resolution coming to Council a little later on our agenda. I will leave the topic to Councillor Holmes for further detail in his Councillor report.
Tuesday the 8th I had the pleasure of addressing the Rotary breakfast meeting to present an update of Council activities over the past year. The presentation was well received and I intend to address more community groups in the near future as the opportunities arise.
Mayors Report, November 23rd, 2015
My schedule has been active since the last council meeting.
I would like to extend a thank you to our local Royal Canadian Legion for a very special community Remembrance Day. It was cool but sunny and only a slight breeze at times. The attendance was the largest we have had, although attendance seems to have been building the last several years. A lot of young people turned out, it is good to see the importance of remembering those that fought and died or suffered to preserve our freedoms will be passed on to successive generations.
My wife and I, attended the Diwali event in Trout Creek Saturday the 14th at the Hindu Temple. It was a wonderful community celebration.
Tuesday the 17th the new library hosted its first business after business. Sue Kline and her staff gave a tour of the new library which has seen visits for October more than double the previous October.
A great Philosophers Café was held last Wednesday with Councillor Holmes presenting and moderating the discussion. We discussed the size of nations and the drawing of borders. In light of the world’s situation of conflict and migration of large numbers of people, it was a very interesting topic.
The regular RDOS board meeting was held last Thursday. One of the key reports was the progress and results of a service review initiated in 2012 of the Emergency Radio upgrade project to establish effectiveness, user acceptability and to recognize any deficiencies. For Naramata/Summerland the improved repeater site will provide similar coverage but included 14 technical upgrades to the service. The whole system has better redundancy.
This Friday is Summerland’s Festival of Lights and I hope to see everyone there!
Mayor’s Report, October 26, 2015
It has been a busy last two weeks as council prepares for strategic planning sessions and the 2016 budget. It is important to recognize that council’s concerns for the community for 2016 are expressed in council’s strategic plan which will drive the budget process. Priorities will then be set within the constraints of our fiscal capacity.
I have had individual meetings with councillors prior to strategic planning to set the stage for our upcoming planning sessions.
More specifically over the last two weeks I have attended the Okanagan Water Forum. The theme of this forum was “From Knowledge to Thinking Forward” it brought Okanagan Nation Alliance representatives and regional water stakeholders in an effort to build partnerships and create actionable solutions in regards to water management in the Okanagan Basin. The drought of this past summer here in British Columbia and from California through to Washington State is prompting a greater intensity of discussion around water issues.
A noted keynote speaker was Dr. David Suzuki whose presentation spoke of the “Biosphere in Crisis”. Dr. Suzuki was a professor of mine at UBC in the late 70’s and I have a great deal of respect for his views on the environment.
Last Thursday the chamber members and councillors participated in a business walk where of councillors, our CAO and chamber executive and manager Christine Petkau paired up and visited local businesses to hear concerns that affect their business success in the community. It was an excellent co-operative effort and will be repeated on an annual or semi-annual basis to assist in guiding the chamber’s and council’s efforts in enhancing business success in Summerland.
In addition last Thursday my wife and I attended the 7th annual Southern Interior Construction Association Commercial Building Awards banquet in Kelowna. The reason that I mention it in particular is that the Okanagan Nation Alliance received an award of excellence for the Penticton Indian Band fish hatchery facility. Pauline Terbasket plus other ONA officials were there to receive the award. Council recently had a tour of PIB facilities and saw this facility.
On Friday the 23rd I participated with Herlinda Burt and Kelly Marshall of the Summerland Credit Union and Recreation Manager Brenda Ingram in a tree planting initiative where the Credit Union gifted $5000.00 to the District’s Tree Planting program. This will supply a number of fairly good sized trees for the Living Memorial Ball Diamond area and Peach Orchard Park.
This last Sunday my granddaughter Hannah, myself and Councillor Trainer attended the unveiling of the new signage for our Lakeshore Trail. It’s a great addition to explain our trail network to residents and visitors. Hats off to our Public Works crew who assembled the sign structure.
Mayor’s Report October 13th 2015
Council has had an active and productive last two weeks.
I was pleased to be able to participate in the United Way drive through charity. The lineup to participate at the Lakeside was full and I’m sure it was a successful event.
We had a successful council to council meeting with Chief Johnathan Kruger and his council. This followed a few days later with a special tour of P.I.B. facilities. There will be ongoing regular meetings to enhance our relationship with our First Nation neighbours to build a framework for consultation.
The week of September 21st, council participated in the annual Union of British Columbia Municipalities Conference in Vancouver. We met with the Premier, the Honourable John Rustad, Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation, the Honourable Naomi Yamamoto, Minister of State for Emergency Preparedness, the Honourable Norm Letnick, Minister of Agriculture, the Minister of Finance, the Honourable Mike DeJong, and the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, the Honourable Todd Stone. We discussed the issue of the perpetual slide near the golf course, highway speed zones and safety issues through Summerland, opportunities in the Ag-Tech sector, and advice and assistance in relationship building with our First Nations Neighbours.
Although the meetings are brief, they are a significant opportunity to establish critical contacts to advance important issues for the residents of Summerland.
October 3rd I had the pleasure of participating in the grand opening of the new Summerland branch of the Okanagan Regional Library. The staff and the Friends of the Library have been waiting close to 15 years for a much needed expansion and finally we have a facility that will meet our needs. A special thanks to the ORL staff for their hard work.
Two conferences on water quality and conservation are in process; one just finished in Osoyoos and the other takes place in Kelowna tomorrow. Ongoing droughts, climate change, wildfire impacts and mitigation are aspects that are very important for Summerland. I believe in the “one basin one water” concept. What we do and what our neighbours do with respect to water impact us all.
Mayor’s Report, September 14th, 2015
The end of August and early September seem rushed and busy as lots of events are squeezed in before school starts for families, and it seems to signal the end of summer.
For myself and councillors we have all attended a number of community events. Thursday evening of August 31st a critical meeting was held to discuss the potential to retain the Presbyterian Church in Lower town as a heritage building. A good crowd filled the IOOF Hall. Dr. Gregory gave an interesting historical account which opened the discussion. All kinds of options were presented. In the end, interested parties left their names to spearhead an effort to retain the church.
The grand opening of the new Lakeshore Trail project took place at the south end of the trail (near Illahie). Our MLA Dan Ashton did the honours of cutting the ribbon, along with myself, Don Gemmel, who represented Henry Sielman of Trail of the Okanagans committee, Connie Dennesiuk past chair of the trails committee and Mayor Jackubeit of Penticton. The new link is a great safe addition for the Summerland Trails network. MLA Ashton was very hopeful that a similar link is not too far off in the future to Penticton. There is considerable energy valley wide to have a complete valley-wide trail system.
On the evening of September the 9th my wife and I attended the showing of the Amazing Race Canada at the Waterfront Resort. Hellen Walker-Matthews of TOTA and the Summerland Chamber of Commerce introduced the showing. It was a great showpiece for the South Okanagan and particularly Summerland. It gave viewers across Canada a tremendous window on us and the region.
Friday the 11th I had the pleasure of welcoming the 25 RCMP riders of Cops For Kids at our local RCMP detachment. It was the first leg of a 10 day ride. They anticipated raising in excess of $300,000 for kids in need in the South-East RCMP region. Over the last 15 years they have received donations of 3.2 million dollars. Last year they were able to help 190 children in our region.
This past weekend I welcomed participants of the Happy Valley Cruisers Show-n-Shine car show. The park was packed with 220 entries and hundreds of visitors and locals to take it all in. I picked the Mayor’s choice award. It was a pale yellow 1930 Model A Ford with a rumble seat, owned by Butch and Bev Choinard of Osoyoos. It was a real gem.
Yesterday I attended the massive Dragon boat festival at Skaha Beach in Penticton. There were 82 teams with 2100 team members plus families. A very colourful event. There are lots of Summerland paddlers. The Survivorship Team won back the Dale Charles Trophy after six years.
Mayor’s Report August 24, 2015
Over the last two weeks the key areas of concern have been the ongoing drought discussion and responses by municipalities and regional districts, as well as the wildfire situation.
August 13th Councillor Boot, myself, and our Manager of Utilities, Devon van de Meulen, attended a Drought Management Workshop held by the Okanagan Water Basin Board in Kelowna. The South Coast and the Southern Interior have moved from Level 2 (dry) , Level 3 (very dry), and into Level 4 (the highest rating). We are now in an unprecedented drought. Creeks and rivers are at low levels not usually seen until September and fish stocks returning to spawn have been decimated by low flows and high killing water temperatures.
The District of Summerland’s Water Use Plan developed in 2004- 2005 required consensus by all water user groups and is a plan where there was give and take by all stakeholders. It is being used as a model throughout the province. In response to the provincial Level 4 declaration, all water purveyors were encouraged to move to the next level of water restrictions. As a result, Summerland is at Stage 2. Staff are carefully monitoring the water levels in our storage dams as well as following our trigger graph developed in our Water Use Plan. The plan determines when we move into various stages of water restrictions as well as supplying mandated fish flows. The raising of Thirsk Dam put Summerland in a good position as far as managing our water use for all purposes. Currently with the request to users to reduce water use voluntarily and the move to Stage 2, our daily flows from our system have been reduced from approximately 70 to 80 megaliters per day to 47 megaliters per day. Our storages stand at 67 percent full. The water plan is built to anticipate three years of consecutive drought.
A closely related topic was dealt with in a presentation at the RDOS last week where biologist Natasha Lukey discussed the salmon rehabilitation project for the river channel in Penticton. In the past, 85 percent of the river was channelized, 50 percent of the river was lost and 90 percent of the riparian vegetation was lost. In pre settlement times there were up to 6,000,000 spawning salmon, this number dropped to 5000 in the sixties and seventies. In 2008 the Okanagan Nation alliance and the RDOS started doing habitat restoration and the 2014 return was 150,000 salmon. Extensive additional spawning beds are being put in place this year. Unfortunately, numbers will be greatly reduced this year due to low water conditions and high water temperatures.
With regard to wildfires, up until now Summerland has been fortunate and has not had a severe wildfire situation. We have had a number of small fires that could have been serious if the fire department had not acted thoroughly and quickly.
Mayor's Report August 9th, 2015
The community has two major immediate concerns right now. The fire hazard rating is at 4 or high as the hot dry weather continues. According to the Fire Chief we had a ¾ acre fire on Saturday which was aggressive and could have been larger if it had not been fairly accessible. The weather continues to not look good with lightning in the forecast for the remainder of the week.
On recommendation from our Fire Chief Glen Noble we continue to block access to vehicular traffic (including cars, dirt bikes and quads) on Giant’s Head, Conkle and Cartwright Mountains. There is significant danger that an extremely hot exhaust could ignite grass or brush.
The second issue is the drought situation. Up until late last week the Okanagan was still in a designation of Provincial drought level three. At the end of last week the Okanagan was placed under drought level four (please note there is no level five). This has implications for water purveyors like the District of Summerland.
A provincial declaration of a drought level four is recognition of the seriousness of water shortages throughout the Province. As a community we need to continue to vigorously reduce water use wherever we can and be efficient stewards of a precious resource.
Later in the meeting, staff will be giving us a water supply update.
One other topic, I have been managing to drop in on the Rotary Sunday market. There are approximately 50 vendors plus the downtown merchants, everybody is indicating good attendance. Vendors and the public seem to appreciate the laid-back but exciting atmosphere of the market.
July 27th, 2015
The extreme hot weather over the last number of weeks has created devastating wildfires throughout British Columbia. The Fire Chief is very concerned about our local tinder dry situation. I approved his desire to close Giant’s Head Park to vehicular traffic, and the closure of trails on Cartwright Mountain and Conkle Mountain to use by any motorized vehicles such as dirt bikes and quads. The rational is that hot exhaust pipes can ignite tinder dry brush and grasses. In addition we are asking the public to be extremely careful with cigarettes. We have had a lot of lightening but human caused fires are still very high on the list of causes of wildfires. This was brought to home this morning as an old fifth wheel caught fire adjacent to the base of Giant’s Head near the industrial area with grasses and pines nearby. Our fire department was right on it and dealt with it quickly.
Throughout British Columbia the other concern is water. The province has announced a level four drought advisory for the South Coast and Nicola area. The Okanagan is at a level three, and the situation here is under review. The recent rain has certainly assisted the firefighting effort but has not substantially changed dry conditions if very hot weather returns as it is supposed to. All areas in the interior have been asked to reduce consumption by 30%.
We have a very unique situation here in Summerland. The raising of our main reservoir, Thirsk Dam, doubled our storage in Thirsk Dam. We are sitting at approximately 80% of full storage for our combined dam capacity. At this point the Director of Works and Utilities advised that we urge the residents to reduce consumption. We will be reviewing our situation on a daily basis.
Along with other Regional District directors, I had the honour of attending the second anniversary of the Regional District’s protocol agreement with the Penticton Indian Band. This was very significant as such an agreement creates an environment of consultation and partnership on topics of mutual concern.
This last Saturday I had the honour of welcoming the teams and throwing out the first ball at the Senior Ladies Provincial tournament. I actually threw a decent ball and did not embarrass myself by wildly missing or injuring anybody. Ball tournaments bring a great number of participants to our community and they had a great time.
The Sunday market is proving to be a fantastic success. This last Sunday my wife Claire and I attended and it was buzzing with residents and visitors. Booths and retail stores indicated really good activity. So Kudos to Rotary, and the market manager Laurel Burnham.
July 13th, 2015
The last three weeks have been active and exhilarating.
It started July 1st with the Royal Canadian Legion’s celebration of Canada’s 148th birthday which I attended with our MLA Dan Ashton. The legion brought pageantry to our birthday as Pastor Rick Gay led the celebration. Two more years and we hit a grand 150 years.
The big story for Summerland and Garnet Valley water users and drivers, was the announcement by the Federal and Provincial governments of our grant for the Garnet Valley water separation project. I participated with the rest of council in a golden shovel event with our MLA Dan Ashton and our MP Dan Albas on site on Garnet Valley Road. Tremendous thanks goes to Dan Ashton who worked hard with the previous council lobbying on our behalf with the rest of cabinet. A special thanks goes to MP Dan Albas who diligently worked on our behalf to secure the Federal Governments participation. In the process of delivering high quality water, the Garnet Valley residents will also see Garnet Valley road rebuilt, a boon to safety and front axels.
I would like to thank MLA Dan Ashton as we celebrated the provincial grant of $420,000 for the Lakeshore trail project. I would also like to thank Rotary, and community members as they spearheaded the project that will see an important safe link in our trail system linking lower town and the Trout Creek area for walking and biking. It will be completed in mid-August and will also contribute greatly to tourism in the community.
The other exciting news is the strong success of the Sunday Market. What an event! Special kudos again to Rotary. The market is gaining strength with approximately 50 vendors so far, with potential for 80. The retail stores, coupled with the vendors and the music, have created a buzz that I am very excited about. It’s a laid back event and fits the Chambers new tag line of “Take Your Time”.
June 24th I had the opportunity to speak and enjoy dinner with seniors at the Senior Centers’ regular Wednesday social. I was able to explain council’s direction and respond to questions.
June 26th I was able to attend the 2015 Summerland Senior Secondary graduation ceremonies and had the honour of presenting Summerland Scholarship Bursary in the amount of $1100 to Abishek Lekhi.
The weekend of June 27th we had another fantastic long board competition. Giant’s Head is the premier location in the Pacific Northwest. I could not attend this year, but there are again chances for some incredible video clips.
My wife Claire and I were invited to the Yacht Club Soiree, Saturday July 4th. It was a formal event with full dress whites for Yacht Club members and a lovely dinner. I was also invited to participate in the Sunday Sail Past with Past Commodore Brian Wilke. It was a beautiful Okanagan morning as we saluted the Yacht Club Commodore.
July 9th I was invited to say a few words at a gathering of the Specialty Car Association at the Dairy Queen. The association contributes greatly to the colour of Summerland as well as the economy as they pursue their passion.
Back to regular business, I also attended the Okanagan Basin Water Board meeting where vigilance on water use was emphasized as well as the heavy theme of the concern about monitoring for the invasive Qaugga and Zebra Mussels. We all received this new Mussel shirt.
Councillor Boot and I also attended the regular meeting of the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen.
One final note, we had the misfortune of a community-wide power outage July 8th. I realize that such an event is financially very difficult for business, but Fortis and staff got us back on line as quickly as possible. Staff will be participating in a debrief session with Fortis early this week and we will have an explanation very soon.
June 8, 2015
What a weekend! Great weather and tremendous participation by athletes. I would like to extend my appreciation to the Action Festival Committee, Chair Pat Bell, and his team for a job very well done and a special thank you to all the volunteers, and staff involved. All venues seem to be well attended, including the Kinsmen beverage garden. I would like to thank my wife and two grandchildren Hannah and Kaylah for being with me in the lead car for the Action Fest parade. On top of all that the music was fantastic, with a great set of CCR renditions which got yours truly and his wife up on their feet.
In addition there were other events that I had the pleasure of attending. The big one was the 100th anniversary of the Kettle Valley Steam Railway which included a special commemorative run and an unveiling of a special stamp of an old red caboose by Mr. Gus Boersma. This was all followed by a BBQ and cake. I’m pretty sure my grandfather was at the inaugural run 100 years ago as a representative from the Princeton Light and Coal Company.
Last week a joint meeting of the Okanagan Basin Water Board and the Water Stewardship council (this is the science advisory group to support the Water Basin Board) was held at the Summerland Lakeshore Resort.
Most importantly, this is our Corporate Officer, Maureen Fugeta’s, last council meeting as she is about to retire. Maureen started with the City of Penticton in 1989, went to the RCMP and back to the City of Penticton and on to Summerland as the Deputy Corporate Office in 2008 and has been our Corporate Officer since 2011. On behalf of council and staff, I would like to thank her for her years of dedicated service to the administration and the community. She has been kind, patient and generous to me in my new role and I thoroughly appreciate her willingness to help. She will be greatly missed.
Mayor Peter F. Waterman
May 25, 2015
First you will notice some changes to our meeting agenda presentations, they are clearer and more complete for the public. Our new CAO and the admin staff have brought these changes forward.
I attended the Okanagan Regional Library board meeting on Wednesday the 13th and introduced Erin Carlson as the new District of Summerland representative who will take my place on the board. The board continues to be excited about the progress of our new library in Summerland. Our CAO and I had a quick tour of the new building- it’s impressive.
The Thompson Okanagan Tourist Association had a PR event at the Sandman to announce new initiatives and direction of particular interest is an initiative led by Ellen Matthews focussing on trails and experience tourism.
This is a great Segway to the Giant’s Head Grind - Ellen Matthews and our Rotary Club did a wonderful job. The full day event was a great success, our own Councillor Trainer did extremely well. I couldn’t help but think what an incredible venue we have at Peach Orchard beach. Summerland has yet to realize its potential for events and tourism.
Last Thursday Councillor Boot and I attended the RDOS board meetings, of particular interest was the passing of a motion recommending a moratorium on the installation of smart meters in the South Okanagan. Also noted was the strong monitoring effort to prevent the invasion of Quagga and Zebra Mussels into our lakes and streams. There will be mobile monitoring taking place but a serious border inspection commitment is required immediately by the Provincial government. Eradication is not possible once they have invaded our streams and lakes and water infrastructure.
My wife Claire and I had the pleasure of attending the annual Rotary Gala fundraiser at the Waterfront Resort. The dinner was excellent, and the dining room was filled to capacity. Lawyer Micheal Welsh did a stellar job of the live auction; all in all it was a very successful evening.
May 11, 2015
The first part of our term has been busy, and the last three weeks have been no exception.
Councillor Boot, Peake, myself and our CAO Linda Tynan all attended the Southern Interior Government Association (SILGA) conference in Kamloops from April 29th to May 1st. This is a regional government conference where resolutions from municipalities and Regional Districts are forwarded to the Union of British Columbia Municipality conference in September. There were some excellent seminars plus opportunities for discussions, relationship building and networking. As a new Mayor I found this very valuable.
May 2nd two special events took place. First, I brought greetings for the District of Summerland to the South Okanagan Boundary Labour celebrations at Gyro Park. I stood with our MLA Dan Ashton, and Mayor Andrew Jackebuite. The event was well attended and focussed on the successes of the Labour Movement over the decades.
The second event was the selection of our new Royalty at the 45th annual Blossom Pageant. As Mayor I opened the evening’s events and presented gifts to our very successful retiring royalty, Miss Summerland Taylor Arkestyn, Princesses Julia Belmonte and Makenzie Vandertoolen and Miss Congeniality Brianna Ure.
Of course at our opening this evening I had the opportunity to swear in our new Summerland Royalty. Congratulations again ladies and we wish you every success in your activities over the next year as you represent Summerland.
I also attended the Okanagan Basin Water Board monthly meeting on the 5th. Discussions revolved around our snow pack, which for our area runs about 76% of normal, but some areas such as the Island is running at 15% of normal. In addition we discussed the need for border inspection at all border crossings to keep on the watch for the very destructive and invasive Quagga and Zebra Mussels. These invasive species will cause millions of dollars’ worth of damage to water based infrastructure. I would urge the provincial government to protect British Columbia with a much more serious commitment.
Other events that I and Councillors attended were the annual Health and Safety Breakfast at Public Works. All I can say to staff is please continue to work safely.
In addition, I attended the regular RDOS board meeting with Councillor Boot, and on Saturday the 9th I attended the final event for NeighbourLink at Summerland Senior’s Village. Kudos to this tremendous organization and their work at making life better for Summerland citizens.
And lastly, I looked in on our Emergencies Services Saturday morning workshop. Watching the effort, I came away feeling pleased with our abilities and capacity to deal with emergency situations. Congratulations are due to our Fire Chief, our ESS Coordinator John Topham, his volunteers, and all the residents that gave of their time to make this event a success.
Mayor Peter F. Waterman
April 27, 2015
The last two weeks seemed to have whipped by with a large number of key community events.
It started with a highly successful Sadie Fundraiser at Zia’s –it was packed, the food was excellent as usual. I don’t know the exact amount but considerable funds were raised for Sadie through the silent and live auction, and the contribution of the meal cost by ZIA’s. The live auction was led by our talented and exuberant Marty Van Alphen, a fun and excellent event for Sadie.
On Monday the 20th, I along with several councillors, attended the excellent anti-bullying presentation at the Lakeside in Penticton given by Barbara Coloroso. It is a terribly difficult problem and not easily solved.
As most of you know, last week was Earth Week. Busy probably does not cover the number of events adequately. I believe there at least 11 events. My wife Claire and I attended the taking out the Olives event- at PARC – an invasive species that has run rampant.
In addition I attended the Philosopher’s café – Henry Micheals, a First Nations knowledge keeper presented, as did our own Don Gayton – biologist and writer.
In addition Trails BC held their AGM at the IOOF hall – reps from around the province were there. I was pleased to be able to make the introductory remarks welcoming the conference to Summerland.
On a more somber note- Our long time employee at public works, Gary Williams passed away recently. The celebration of life will take place tomorrow at the Providence funeral home at 10:00am.
Also April 28th has been designated a National Day of Mourning for workers, families, employers, and others to come together to remember those who have lost their lives on the job.
April 13, 2015
First I am delighted to introduce our new Chief Administrative Officer Linda Tynan, who joined us at the end of March. Linda comes to us with an impressive list of credentials. She was recently the CAO for Nakusp, prior to that the Chief Financial Officer for Nelson and is also a certified general accountant. In addition she has been the Chief Executive Officer for the Kootenay School of the Arts. It has been a whirlwind of introductions to staff at a special BBQ organized by Karen Jones and chief cook Rick Leardo. Also, I gave her a tour of Summerland from one end to the other, including a special roadside seminar of tree fruit horticulture.
During the past three weeks since our last council meeting we have had an excellent council team building session led by facilitator Dan Dinsmore on Saturday March 28th.
In addition, two select committees have been active. One a select committee on the OCP composed of Councillor Boot, Councillor Trainer and myself, with recommendations coming forward to council soon. The second select committee concerned with restructuring our committees, composed of Councillor Peake, Councillor Holmes and myself. The first set of recommendations will come forward tonight with the recommended list of Cultural Task Force members and the terms of reference. This task force will formulate a cultural plan in collaboration with arts and culture groups in the community. The cultural plan is critical, as arts and culture are a key pillar in Council’s four pillar strategic plan.
Council also had a special meeting with our new school district board led by Board Chair Linda Van Alphen. This was an introductory meeting to be followed by more strategic meetings in the future.
April is Daffodil month and is the Canadian Cancer Society’s national fundraising campaign. There are not too many people that have not been affected by cancer either directly or indirectly. Wear your daffodil to show your support.
April is also National Organ and Tissue Donor Awareness month. Right now there are 465 British Columbians waiting for a transplant. 326 transplants were performed in 2014. If you would like to be an organ donor, please go online to www.transplant.bc.ca.
Mayor Peter F. Waterman
March 23, 2015
The last two weeks have been active to say the least. One of the main focuses for council has been the development of our strategic plan, which consumes a large part of tonight’s agenda. This is council’s focus for this year and beyond. We have added a forth pillar “cultural vibrancy”. Council feels strongly that our drive to the future needs to reflect the depth and breadth of the cultural identity of Summerland. To that end a Cultural Task Force will be struck to formulate a cultural master plan for the community.
Another major effort of the last two weeks has been the review of amendments and proposed amendments to the OCP over the last six years. Council struck a select committee which has met a number of times for a considerable number of hours. This effort reflects the desire of the community to preserve our rural urban mix. The electorate provided this direction in the last election. Council will be bringing the results of these deliberations to the public in the near future.
Both of these major efforts are meant to spur economic activity, and to provide certainty and focus to the development community in Summerland.
All our efforts in these areas, with extensive budget deliberations over the last three months, plus an on ongoing examination of the advisory committees have been led very successfully by the stellar leadership of our interim CAO Tim Wood. Tim’s depth of experience has provided a seamless transition for a brand new council as we start our term. For me personally his kind, personable and thoughtful advice during his three month term has been invaluable.
Mayor Peter F. Waterman
March 9th, 2015
The main event during the past two weeks was the Chambers 77th Annual Business and Community Awards Gala. The dinner was excellent, Thor Clausen did a great job of auctioneering- and I had the pleasure of awarding the Mayor’s Award of Excellence to the Sister City Committee. Many community businesses received awards, but accolades go out to all those who participated. I would like to thank Christine Petkau and her staff for a wonderful and fun event.
On the 7th I attended the AGM of the Friends of the Summerland Research Gardens- excellent attendance – The gardens have always been a special place for tourists, Summerland residents, and indeed the whole Okanagan. It is kept beautiful, largely due to the host of hardworking volunteers.
I have also attended regular meetings of the RDOS and the OBWB as Summerland Council’s representative.
As a council we are finalizing our strategic plan for this year. Also a select committee of council is reviewing our Official Community Plan and will soon bring a report to council.
Mayor Peter F. Waterman
February 23rd, 2015
This particular council meeting is somewhat of milestone. Each new council has aspirations for meeting public need, for accountability, and for transparency. This council is making some significant changes for open dialogue.
We decided to meld the Monday morning Committee of the Whole with our evening meeting to bring full discussion and questions for better public understanding. In addition we have provided for public input in our 15 minute period early in the meeting prior to votes on specific topics. As well the new procedural changes allow for public comment at the close of our meetings prior to adjournment. These opportunities for public participation are in addition to regular public comment where that is already a matter of regular procedure.
Existing and new committees are in the process of being set up with the terms of reference being largely driven by those tasked to participate.
We hope that these changes will help us reach our goals.
A phrase I heard recently covers our approach- “if you want to go fast, go alone,” “If you want to go far, go together”
As well over the past two weeks, I have been involved with council in strategic planning, district budget plans for 2015, as well as Regional District budget, planning and regular meetings. I also met with our RCMP detachment commander Sergeant Stephane Lacroix- we will be meeting monthly so we can maintain a good dialogue.
Lastly as most of you know there was a flooding emergency at SADI, it has been resolved for the short term and we will be looking for long term solutions to meet the needs of SADI and Summerland’s youth.
Mayor, Peter F. Waterman
January 26th, 2015
Since the last council meeting my schedule has been very active. Things started with an interesting business after business evening at the latest opening of a new business Rock Star Clothing, on the corner of Main Street and South Victoria. Its a great location and we wish them every success. This event was followed by yet another fascinating evening of the Conversation Caf. (by the way I do sincerely mean this), Barbara Thorburn and her committee do an incredible job of finding very interesting speakers. The speaker was Danielle Krysa. She is a returned Summerlander a challenging writer and artist.
The balance of the period was a series of meetings, including interviews for a new CAO for the District of Summerland, where we are getting very close to finding a successor to Mr. Day. In addition, Council has been busy in our own budget deliberations, and Councillor Boot and myself, have attended a series of Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen regular meetings, budgets meetings and planning sessions.
And last, but certainly not least, I was extended an invitation to attend the Legion, Robbie Burns dinner, I had my first serving of Haggis with all the pageantry of bagpipes, and drums plus very entertaining renditions of Robbie Burn poetry, and blessing the Haggis. I had a generous serving of Haggis and will go back for more next year. It was a full house, and the food was outstanding.
One final, rather sad note, was the passing of Ollie Olaf Norman Norum on December 31st. I attended a celebration of life at the Legion on January 22nd. Lots of good stories, many of us remember Ollie as a fixture of downtown he added colour to our town. A bench will be funded in his memory at gofundme.com/Ollie Bench or donations may be made at the Credit Union, his friend Steve Haaf took care of all the arrangements.
Mayor Peter F. Waterman
January 12, 2015
It has been a busy start to our term. One of our biggest snowfalls occurred January 4th and 5th. Crews were kept very busy, there were some complaints but by and large residents realized that crews did their utmost with some equipment breakdowns. Anybody who has run a farm or heavy equipment business realizes that despite constant maintenance equipment still goes down with heavy use. In addition Trout Creek residents had difficulties, in future as snowfalls reach approximately 4-6 inches, collectors and bus routes will be done as quickly as possible just like the other areas in town.
The electrical surge that happened in late November, hit homeowners in the Front Bench and Trout Creek areas very hard. A public open house was held January 6th. Public concerns were aired and staff explained the issue with the available information, a further Special Council Meeting will be held January 27th. Our Corporate Officer Maureen Fugeta will have more to say a little later.
I attended a special workshop of the Local Immigration Partnership Council January 7th- it was very informative, focussing on efforts to integrate new immigrants into the work place and generally to our society.
Chief Financial Officer Lorrie Coates will be leading our budget discussions starting January 21st, January 26th, January 28th, and February 2nd.
Councillor Boot and I have had several meetings of the RDOS board where we have just started budget discussions.
As you know Tom Day, our CAO, has just retired after doing a stellar job for Summerland.
Now I would like to introduce Tim Wood, a retired CAO who comes to us as our Interim CAO. Tim comes highly recommended. He will be leading us through a seamless transition as we move to hire a new full time CAO.
Mayor Peter Waterman
December 8, 2014
Our first week started December 1st with our inauguration. Official photos were taken where we were flanked by the RCMP in their Red Serge, and a swearing in with his honour Judge Koturbash. The pageantry with our families attending, made the whole ceremony a great honour. We were also happy to see our MLA Dan Ashton come forward and shake the new Councillors hands and wish us well as we started our new term.
The new Councils orientation started November 26th, with an all-day session with governance expert George Cuff, followed by an excellent session on legal responsibilities with the law firm of Fulton and Company of Kamloops, who specialize in municipal law Monday December 1st.
The calamitous snowstorm of November 25th /26th wreaked havoc for many home owners and had a major impact on many peoples electrical service with disastrous effects on appliances, furnaces, etc.
Staff will have a more thorough explanation in tonight's agenda.
Crews were busy twenty four hours straight plowing and cleaning up.
It was a very difficult time for Summerland residents, but I sincerely applaud our municipal staff for an exceptional response in a severe situation.
Mayor Peter Waterman