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Forestry Students Improve Park Safety

They’ve done it before and starting April 28 they’ll be doing it again!

Starting Tuesday, April 28th, students from the Rutland Senior Secondary School Forestry program will help improve safety and security in a section of Mission Creek Regional Park.

Weekdays between 8:00 am and 4:00 pm, they’ll be clearing shrubs and ground plants from a densely vegetated 1.8-hectare section of the park between the Irrigation Channel to the Leckie Road parking lot and Springfield Road.  (View Map)  While the work is underway, half of the parking lot will be closed for debris disposal.  Please stay out of this area while the supervised students are at work.   The project is expected to wrap up by Friday May 1st.

Communications Officer Bruce Smith says, “The RSS Forestry students worked in this area of the park in the fall of 2013.  We’re pleased that they’re able to return, cleaning up the vegetation that’s grown back over the past two years.  They’ve done excellent work on several other Regional Parks projects over the years including the initial ground vegetation clean up in this area in 2009.   This particular project provides them with some in-field experience while helping improve the overall safety and experience for visitors to Mission Creek Regional Park.”

He adds, “This work uses one of the important principles of Crime Prevention through Environmental Design:  increasing visibility and natural surveillance by removing cover vegetation.  In the past, this area of the park off the Leckie Road parking lot has had occasional instances of inappropriate and illegal activities.  The vegetation clean-up will help to improve the safety and security for everyone using this section of the regional park.”

Some of the many trails that run though the area may be decommissioned as a result of this work.  Vegetation in the area will be allowed to naturally regenerate and will be maintained by Parks Services staff.

(April 23, 2015)

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Go Fish in a Regional Park

The ‘Go Fish’ program returns this spring at two easy to access regional park locations! 

On Saturday, May 2nd, ‘Go Fish’ kicks off at the Hall Road pond in Mission Creek Regional Park and then Sunday, May 3rd the action moves to the special fishing area in Shannon Lake Regional Park.  The program then runs each weekend until June 14th, between 10:00 am and 3:00 pm at the two locations. 

The program offers youth age 15 and under, a chance to catch one rainbow trout each day without a fishing license.  A limited number of rods, reels and bait will be available each weekend for youngsters to use and try their luck!

Participants are reminded to please respect our park neighbours by parking only in the designated areas and not to block any driveways.

‘Go Fish’ is being offered once again with the generous support of the Peachland Sportsmen’s Association, Kelowna and District Fish and Game Club along with the Ministry of Environment, Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC and the Summerland Trout Hatchery.

For more information about this or other Regional Park programs please visit the Regional District website regionaldistrict.com/parks or contact the EECO at 250-469-6140.

(April 23, 2015)

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Volunteers in Parks Information Meeting

If you’re a people person and a regular visitor to our Regional Parks, you may want to consider becoming a VIP Trail Patroller.

Find out how you can become involved in the Volunteers in Parks program at an Information meeting Tuesday, May 19th starting at 7:00 pm in the Woodhaven Board Room at the Regional District of Central Okanagan office, 1450 KLO Road in Kelowna.

This program is starting its second year and is perfect for people who like being outdoors and like to learn and share interesting information about our regional parks as a park ambassador. Our VIP Trail Patrollers are additional eyes and ears in our parks and provide Parks staff with information to help them maintain trails and facilities so that everyone has the best experience possible every time they visit a Regional Park.

Training, identification and other materials will be provided for successful applicants who must be at least 19 years of age and willing to commit to visit a regional park at least once a week.

For more information on the May 19th meeting or the VIP Trail Patroller program visit regionaldistrict.com/parksVIP or drop-in or call the EECO at 250-469-6140.

(April 23, 2015)

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Open Burning Season Ends April 30th

Eligible property owners with permits have until April 30th to wrap up any open burning in the Central Okanagan.

Under Regional District and local fire bylaws, permitted open burning may start October 1st and must be complete by April 30th.  Fire chiefs may however change the dates depending on the fire hazard in their specific area. 

Until April 30th, those people with properties greater than one hectare in the Central Okanagan will be allowed to burn outdoors, but only after receiving a valid permit from their local fire authority and only after confirming that burning is allowed on a particular day.  Farmers and large lot owners must also follow any regulations before lighting wood debris piles. 

Prior to igniting any fire, eligible property owners with a valid permit must call the toll-free Outdoor Burning Hotline:  1-855-262-2876 (BURN). It will tell them if open burning is allowed on a particular day.  Both the Venting and Air Quality must be good in order for burning to occur within Central Okanagan fire jurisdictions.  This information is also available each morning after 8:00 am at regionaldistrict.com/airquality.

On days when open burning is allowed, it’s recommended that debris piles be ignited after 10:00 am, when proper venting conditions are more likely to exist.

Under the Regional District Smoke Control Bylaw, creating nuisance smoke from open burning is not allowed in the City of Kelowna, the District of Lake Country, District of West Kelowna and the Central Okanagan East and West Electoral Areas or under the bylaws of the District of Peachland. 

Violators could receive a fine or be charged with the cost of putting out the fire.  Residents are encouraged to report anyone illegally burning on a non-burning day by calling the Regional Fire Dispatch Center at 250-469-8577.

Eligible property owners within the Central Okanagan East or the Central Okanagan West electoral areas may obtain a permit by calling the Regional District at 250-469-6223 (Long Distance Collect Calls are accepted) weekdays only between 8:00 am and 4:00 pm, excluding holidays. All other eligible property owners must obtain a permit from their municipal fire department. *

All Central Okanagan property owners regardless of property size are encouraged to take advantage of other options to dispose of their yard waste.  

  • The bi-weekly curbside yard waste collection program is underway through the end of November.  Residents are reminded to only place leaves, grass, pine needles and small prunings inside their wheeled yard waste cart with the green lid closed. 
  • Residents may also choose to use the year-round free yard waste program at either the Glenmore landfill (Open seven days a week 7:30 am to 4:45 pm) or at the Westside Residential Waste Disposal Centre (Open 7:30 am to 3:50 pm Friday through Monday).  Yard waste and pruning’s weighing up to 250 kilograms (550 pounds) and 20 centimeters or less in diameter may be dropped off for free at either location.  When transporting loads for disposal, please make sure they are covered.  As long as yard waste is separated from regular garbage, loads exceeding the maximum weight up to 20 centimeters in diameter will be charged $40.00 per tonne while those with a larger diameter will be charged $65 a tonne. 
  • As well, a number of private companies offer wood chipping and grinding services or rent portable chippers.  Some may also pick up yard waste for disposal.

Most of the burning permits that are issued in the Central Okanagan are for agricultural burning, which is allowed under Provincial Right to Farm legislation.   However, before starting any fire farmers must also call 1-855-262-2876 (BURN) or visit regionaldistrict.com/airquality to ensure burning is allowed.  The Regional Air Quality Program is working with farmers to encourage the use of the Agricultural Chipping Program as an alternate disposal method.

(April 15, 2015)

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Families in Parks

Get the whole family active and celebrating the outdoors!

Join Regional Parks staff as they provide some free activities for the entire family at our ‘Families in Parks’ events.  Activities take place between 10:00 am and 11:30 am and require pre-registration.

To register your family for these free events, or other ‘Families in Parks’ events, please drop in to the Environmental Education Centre for the Okanagan, email eeco@cord.bc.ca or phone 250-469-6139.

(April 2, 2015)

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License, Leash and Pickup Please!

With the earlier than normal end to winter conditions, more dog owners in the Central Okanagan are out and about exercising their pets.

The Regional District of Central Okanagan encourages them to be good neighbours when they’re out in public places together.

Communications Officer Bruce Smith says, “Responsible dog ownership involves having a current license on your pet, keeping it leashed, unless you’re in a designated off-leash park and in control at all times.  Dog owners are responsible for picking up after their pet and properly disposing of any poop, which can be a public health concern.”

He adds, “Now that the snow is long gone, piles of dog poop left behind from the winter are more noticeable, and complaints are starting to come in, especially in some well-used park areas across the Central Okanagan.  We applaud dog owners who pick up and dispose of their dog’s poo whether it’s in a park, along a boulevard or the side of the road or a neighbouring property.  Picking up after your dog is your responsibility and helps keep our region a dog friendly community.”

Some parks and walkways offer ‘take a bag, leave a bag’ dispensers for dog owners.  “We encourage dog owners to look for them, contribute bags to them and to take bags from them, then toss the filled bag into the garbage.”   Smith adds, “Part of the ritual for many dog owners as they get ready to go out with their pet involves tying a bag or two on their leash before attaching it to their dog’s collar and heading out the door.”

Dog owners caught failing to pick up after their pet could face a fine of $150.  All dog owners in the Central Okanagan are reminded that they must have a current license or they’ll be subject to a fine of $300 under the Responsible Dog Ownership Bylaw.  There is Zero Tolerance for unlicensed dogs in the Central Okanagan.

A license costs $20 for a dog that’s spayed or neutered, $60 if it isn’t.  They can be purchased online at regionaldistrict.com or at the Regional District office (1450 KLO Road), at the Dog Pound (860 Weddell Place), each municipal government office and at the Kelowna branch of the SPCA (3785 Casorso Road).

One of the benefits of licensing a dog is the My Dog Matter rewards program.  The card can be used for discounts and special services at more than 50 businesses listed on the mydogmatters.ca program website.  Another incentive is that dogs with a current license get a one-time, free ticket home, should they end up at the Dog Pound.

Dog owners are reminded that if their pet gets away they should contact the Dog Pound as quickly as possible as the Regional District is only required to hold a dog for up to 72 hours.

There’s plenty of information available about dog licensing and Responsible Dog Ownership in the Central Okanagan.  Check out regionaldistrict.com/dogs for information about the Regional Dog service and what to do if you lose or find a dog.

(April 2, 2015)

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Don't be an April fool - Prepare Your Family Now

Tomorrow may be the first of April but this is no April fool’s joke.   Your family could be inconvenienced by the next large scale emergency to hit the Central Okanagan.

Will you be ready?

It may not be a flood that puts you out of your home, but it could be an evacuation due to a landslide or interface wildfire.  Last summer several thousand West Kelowna residents were forced from their homes while crews battled the Smith Creek wildfire.

Central Okanagan Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) Information Officer Bruce Smith says with National Emergency Preparedness week running May 3rd to 9th this year, it’s a good opportunity for you and your family to sit down and get prepared for any number of emergencies that could affect you.

“Know the Risks, Make a Plan and Get a Kit are the simple messages to start your family preparing to deal with possible emergencies” Smith says.  “It’s a good time for all Central Okanagan residents to review and revise their family emergency plans or if you don’t have a plan, get your family together to make one.”

He says, “You should be prepared to cope on your own for at least the first 72 hours of an emergency, while first responders and rescue workers fight the immediate threats and help those in urgent need.  By taking a few simple steps, you can become better prepared to face a range of emergencies, anytime, anywhere.”

A good place to start is by visiting the Central Okanagan Regional Emergency Program website www.cordemergency.ca.  You can subscribe to receive email information updates whenever the EOC is activated.  Subscribers receive real time notices whenever any new information is released from the Emergency Operation Centre including detailed maps showing areas under evacuation alerts and orders.

Smith says, “The cordemergency.ca website and social media channels have been valuable direct information sources during past emergency events in the region.”   He adds, “You’ll also find links on the website to a wide variety of information for your family to use as you make your own emergency plan. It’s better to prepare and take stock of your family’s needs now, in a calm, stress-free and rational way, then panicking when you’re told you have to leave your home.”

The cordemergency.ca website also has links to the wealth of emergency planning information available through the provincial Emergency Management BC and federal GetPrepared.ca programs.  A selection of emergency preparedness pamphlets is available at the Regional District of Central Okanagan office (1450 KLO Road in Kelowna) and the main Kelowna Fire Hall (2255 Enterprise Way).

In the event of an emergency and activation of the Central Okanagan Emergency Operation Centre (EOC), the latest information will be available online at the EOC Public Information website www.cordemergency.ca and via Facebook (www.facebook.com/CORDEmergency) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/CO_Emerg).

(March 31, 2015)

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2015 - 2019 Financial Plan Approved

The Regional Board has adopted the Five-Year Financial Plan for 2015 – 2019.  The 2015 operating budget which includes Municipal Finance Authority financing totals just over $59.4-million compared with $61.1-million during 2014.  The decrease is due in large part to the cost savings provided through the new 9-1-1 service contract and a reduction in costs through the participation in the Multi-Materials BC recycling program.

The Regional District does not collect taxes directly.  It requisitions funds from each local government on behalf of their residents and the Province which collects property taxes for Electoral Area residents. 

The Regional District provides more than 80 different services across the entire Central Okanagan.  The actual tax rate varies from neighbourhood to neighbourhood and municipality, depending on the local services provided by the Regional District.

The member municipalities of Kelowna, Lake Country, Peachland and West Kelowna receive services such as Economic Development, Regional Parks, Dog Control, 9-1-1 and Regional Rescue.  These services account for a relatively small share (5-6%) of the total tax bill for property owners in those municipalities. (see table below – Total Tax per House)

The Regional District is also the local government for residents in the two electoral areas providing them with services such as Planning, four Paid-on-call fire departments and six water systems that connect almost 900 properties.

The Westbank First Nation (WFN) also receives several services from the Regional District such as Regional Parks, Regional Rescue, Economic Development and the Okanagan Basin Water Board.  Cost sharing for Regional District services is based on the assessed value of properties.

The Financial Plan provides $4.4-million in various Capital project spending this year.

The tax impacts on the average home are:

Member

2015
Assessment

2014
Assessment

 

Total Tax per House

 

Net Incr / (Decr) on the home from 2014

Kelowna

$489,000

$474,000

$160.17

$3.83

Peachland

$495,000

$474,000

$192.11

$5.54

Lake Country

$490,000

$474,000

$185.71

$3.70

West Kelowna

$487,000

$474,000

$176.04

$3.57

C.O. West

$457,000

$474,000

$466.71

 ($117.90)

C.O. East

$482,000

$474,000

$432.65

 ($101.43)

The increases in the Regional District portion of taxes for the average property owner in Kelowna, Lake Country, Peachland and West Kelowna is based on the decision of each municipality to fully fund and participate in the Electoral Area Planning function.  As a result, there is a substantial reduction in costs for this service for the average property owner in each of the electoral areas as the municipalities are picking up more of the costs of providing this service.  Until this year their previous partial contributions to Electoral Area Planning provided the municipalities with the ability to vote on some defined land use applications within a determined Fringe Planning Area adjacent to each municipality.  With full funding participation, municipal Board members will have full voting rights on all land use planning applications in the electoral areas.

In the two electoral areas during 2015, rather than taxation or rate increases, needed Capital upgrades and equipment purchases will be completed thanks to more than $1.1-million from the Federal Community Works Gas Tax program.  Just over $499,000 will be spent on facilities and equipment for the four paid-on-call fire departments (Ellison, Joe Rich, North Westside, Wilsons Landing) and almost $385,000 worth of improvements are planned for four water systems (Falcon Ridge, Killiney Beach, Westshore Estates, Trepanier).

With this year’s budget of slightly more than $59-million, the Regional District is also setting aside funds for future infrastructure by transferring more than 7.2 per cent of our budget for reserves and capital projects.

The total of the 2015 RDCO Operating Budget is $59.4-million:

  • 46.46% is Operating Expenses
  • 46.34% is Debt ($27.5-million including Municipal Finance Authority payments on behalf of partner municipalities and Okanagan Regional Library)
  • 7.2% is Transfers to Capital and Reserves

The Financial Plan also outlines proposed operating budgets for the following four years: 

  • 2015 - $57.6-million
  • 2016 - $57.6-million
  • 2017 - $57.8-million
  • 2018 - $57.7- million

The Regional Board also adopted the Five-Year Financial Plan for the Central Okanagan Regional Hospital District (CORHD).   Each year, ratepayers within the Hospital District contribute 40% of the funds for approved capital and equipment services. 

The Regional Hospital District is contributing more than $7.8-million this year towards the new Interior Heart and Surgical Centre (Total CORHD contribution - $70.69-million) and $9.6-million this year ($14-million total) for 100% of the construction of the complete 4th floor Perinatal unit. In addition, the Hospital District will contribute $3.9-million for other capital projects during 2015 and $1.5-million over the next two years towards the purchase of new equipment to update and increase the testing capacity of the laboratory at Kelowna General Hospital.  The owner of an average home assessed at $474,000 in 2014 and $489,000 in 2015 will contribute $173.89 towards capital improvements and new health equipment, an increase of $3.01 from last year. 

Central Okanagan property owners may be eligible for the Provincial Homeowner Grant.  Information will be available on your Property Tax Notice or you can visit the Ministry of Finance website:  www.sbr.gov.bc.ca/individuals/Property_Taxes/Home_Owner_Grant/hog.htm

Some property owners may qualify for assistance through the BC Property Tax Deferment Program.  Information about this program and who qualifies is available on the BC Government website:  www.sbr.gov.bc.ca/individuals/Property_Taxes/Property_Tax_Deferment/ptd.htm

(March 27, 2015)

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Westside Regional Wastewater Plant Biosolids

The Regional District of Central Okanagan is aware of the ongoing peaceful protest along Highway 8 in the Merritt area. 

For the second time since the information protest began yesterday, a truck hauling biosolids from the Westside Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant has voluntarily turned back and not delivered its load to the approved BioCentral composting facility in a rural area west of Merritt. 

The Regional District is one of the suppliers to the composting facility and since October 1st last year has been sending approximately 100 wet tonnes of biosolids each week from the Westside plant to be further treated and composted under the BC Organic Matter Recycling Regulation for Class A land application. 

In light of the current situation, the Regional District will temporarily send biosolids from its wastewater treatment facility to an approved, active land application site with its previous supplier in the rural area outside of Clinton.

The Regional District is committed to working with its suppliers and partners and remains optimistic this situation can be successfully resolved.

(March 11, 2015)

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Climate Action Annual Report


Through the participation in the Climate Action Revenue Incentive Program (CARIP) the Regional District of Central Okanagan publicly shares the accompanying CARIP Progress Report each year.

The report details actions taken during 2014 and proposed actions for 2015 related to the Regional District's effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

(March 6, 2015)

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Applications Welcome for Advisory Commission Members 

If you live within the Regional District of Central Okanagan Electoral Areas and are interested in your community, the Regional District would like to hear from you.

Communications Officer Bruce Smith says “We’re currently looking for volunteer members to serve on the Environmental Advisory Commission and the Central Okanagan East and Central Okanagan West Advisory Planning Commissions.”

He adds, “These groups work with our Planning staff to advise the Regional Board by reviewing development applications for the potential environmental impacts, land use and planning issues within the Electoral Areas. They also provide input into the preparation of Official Community Plans and proposed bylaws or permits.”

Members of each Advisory Commission will be selected on the basis of their demonstrated interest and participation in community matters, academic and/or technical qualifications, availability, work experience, knowledge, professional expertise, and land use planning. 

Information about each of these Advisory Commissions is available online by visiting regionaldistrict.com/advisorycommissions or by contacting the Regional District Community Services Planning Section by email at planning@cord.bc.ca or by calling 250-469-6227. 

There’s a convenient link to an online form that can be completed and submitted on the Regional District website.   Forms may also be downloaded, completed and dropped off in person or by mail.

(March 5, 2015)

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Regional District Receives Federal Trail Building Funds

The Honourable Ron Cannan, Member of Parliament for Kelowna-Lake Country, on behalf of the Honourable Denis Lebel, Minister of Infrastructure, Communities, and Intergovernmental Affairs is happy to announce that the Kelowna Snowmobile Club and the Regional District of Central Okanagan are  receiving federal funding to improve and develop recreational trails in the region.

The Kelowna Snowmobile Club will receive $27,500 for trail improvements through its Okanagan Highlands Snowmobile Project, while the Regional District of Central Okanagan will receive $61,000 for trail development connecting the Lebanon Creek Greenway Regional Park and the Johns Family Nature Conservancy Regional Park.

“By building on the vast network of recreational trails that run throughout the Okanagan, we are offering residents and visitors alike the opportunity to experience yet another great outdoor experience.  This will have a positive impact on the local economy and encourage people to enjoy what the Okanagan has to offer,” said MP Ron Cannan.

“We’re extremely grateful for this federal funding to help build a new five kilometer trail, along with funding signage, fencing and footbridges over Lebanon Creek,” said Regional District of Central Okanagan Chair Gail Given.  “Design work on the $142,000 recreational corridor will be completed this spring with construction planned through the summer. We expect that the new trail will be officially open for the public this fall,” she said

Thanks to a partnership between the Government of Canada and the National Trails Coalition, $10 million has been made available between 2014 and 2016 to help expand and rehabilitate Canada’s snowmobile, all-terrain vehicle and non-motorized trail system.

(February 17, 2015)

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Eco-Art at the EECO 

Bring your imagination and join in the fun Saturday mornings for ‘Eco-Art at the EECO’.  

Each Saturday morning at 11, you’ll create works of art with recycled and natural materials.

There’s no need to pre-register for this free program, just drop into the EECO a few minutes early.   All ages are welcome to take part!

The Environmental Education Centre for the Okanagan is located in Mission Creek Regional Park, Springfield and Durnin Roads.

For more information please visit www.regionaldistrict.com/parksevents, drop-in or call the EECO at 250-469-6140.

(February 11, 2015)

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Make Sure Your Address Is Easily Seen from the Street

Seconds count when responding to emergency calls.  But something that’s sometimes taken for granted may result in unnecessary delays for emergency crews heading to a call for help. 

Property owners in the Central Okanagan East and Central Okanagan West Electoral Areas are reminded that it’s their responsibility to post visible address numbers that can easily be seen from the street.   “Reflective address signs are even better” says the Manager of Fire and Inspection Services for the Regional District of Central Okanagan.

Dan Wildeman adds, “Having your street address number posted so it’s visible from the street makes it much easier for police, fire or ambulance crews to correctly identify your property.  It helps to reduce any possible confusion and delays in trying to find your property in an emergency.  And it’s especially important for rural property owners to make sure that their address is clearly visible because sometimes a house is located a distance from the road.   So an address sign located off the street at a driveway or access road is very important.”

The Regional District of Central Okanagan Building Numbering Bylaw No. 1185 requires the owner of every building assigned a building number to permanently display the number on the front of the building or at the front of the premises on which the building stands.  It’s recommended that address numbers be in a contrasting colour to the background to which they’re attached and they should be at least three inches in height.

(January 27, 2015)

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Document Download Problems? 

Recently the Regional District has become aware of periodic problems regarding the inability of some users of our website to open Adobe PDF documents that had been previously accessible.  They've received an error notice saying that the document they were trying to open is not available. 

We understand that the problem has been caused by a recent Microsoft Internet Explorer Security update.  This update on the user's computer has broken the ability of the Adobe Acrobat Reader program to open and access previously downloadable PDF documents in Internet Explorer. 

Should this problem occur on your computer system, please download and install the latest free version of Adobe Acrobat Reader.  You can find this by following this link:  http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep2.html or by clicking on the Adobe Reader icon on the bottom right corner on each page of our website. 

We thank you for your patience and appreciate your continued support of the Regional District of Central Okanagan website. 

For information or queries about our website please contact:  webmaster@cord.bc.ca

 

 

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