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Have Your Say about Regional Air Quality

There’s something fresh in the wind today as regional partners make plans to develop a 2014 Clean Air Strategy with residents’ input.

While the vision statement is clear – have clean and healthy air for current and future generations – implementing that vision is hard work.

From April 23 to May 6, Regional Services is looking for input on how residents want to see the government take action to protect air quality. Residents are being asked to share their ideas, comments and interact online.

“This work builds on the existing regional air quality program and will help protect and improve our region’s air through policy and actions, community awareness initiatives and pollution prevention programs,” said Jerry Dombowsky, Regional Programs Manager for Regional Services.

The idea is to build on existing active transportation efforts to encourage walking, biking and using transit to reduce vehicle use and solo car trips. That encouragement extends to support for green buildings and green industry initiatives – all toward the project’s focus on the big picture: what can we do to reduce air pollutants and greenhouse gases to improve air quality for everyone?

Overall, the Clean Air Strategy has three goals: protect the health of citizens and the environment, keep our views clear of smog, and minimize our impact on climate change.

Local governments working toward a plan include the Regional District of Central Okanagan, District of Peachland, City of Kelowna, District of Lake Country, Westbank First Nation and the District of West Kelowna.

Visit kelowna.ca/airquality to find out more about our region’s air quality, comment on our plans to keep our air clean, make suggestions, do your part, and WIN PRIZES!

A final plan will be shared with the public in the fall.

(April 22, 2014)

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Apply Now for Central Okanagan Spots in Get Outside BC Program

Central Okanagan high school students with an interest and passion for the outdoors are invited to apply for the Get Outside BC outdoor leadership program.

The deadline for getting your application in is Friday, May 2nd and you can apply online at www.getoutsidebc.ca.

Successful applicants from the Central Okanagan will take part in the Youth Leadership Summit, July 6th to 11th in Squamish.  As a natural leader you’ll build outdoor leadership skills, event planning skills and learn about cool green jobs while networking with 30 other young people from across the province.  Then you’ll take the experiences learned from the summit and host an outdoor event or community project here in the Central Okanagan.

If you have a passion for the outdoors and a desire to get more youth participating in outdoor activities and events, this program is for you!

For more information about the program visit the BC Chapter of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society website:  http://cpawsbc.org/campaigns/get-outside-bc or contact the Central Okanagan Regional Coordinator Leslie Finley with Regional Parks Services at 250-469-6263.

(April 22, 2014)

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Come out and Move for Health!

You’re invited to join the Regional District of Central Okanagan with an event to celebrate Move for Health Week.

On Wednesday, May 7th, Parks Services is holding a special ‘Move for Health Tracks Walk’ in Mission Creek Regional Park and along the scenic Mission Creek Greenway.   This event is in conjunction with our ongoing ‘Tracks’ beginner walking program.

Participants should meet near the Environmental Education Centre for the Okanagan at 10:00am.  Please dress for the weather and wear comfortable shoes, as you’ll set out for a 40 minute walk looping along the popular greenway recreational trail.

There are prizes and following the walk participants will gather for healthy snacks, warm beverages and special cupcakes to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Regional Parks service.

Please remember to use the Leckie Road and Springfield entrance to Mission Creek Regional Park and please obey any flag-people involved with the Springfield Road reconstruction project.

Move for Health Week is a program of the BC Recreation and Parks Association which has provided funds to help coordinate this event.

For more information about this or other Regional Parks programs visit the Regional District website regionaldistrict.com/parks or contact the EECO at 250-469-6139, email eeco@cord.bc.ca or drop into the centre at 2363A Springfield Road in Mission Creek Regional Park.

(April 22, 2014)

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Water Quality Advisory for Star Place Water Customers

The Regional District of Central Okanagan has issued a precautionary Water Quality Advisory for residents served by the small Star Place Water System in the Central Okanagan West Electoral Area.

The advisory affects eight properties connected to the community water system on Star Place off Trepanier Road near the Okanagan Connector (Hwy 97-C).   Increased turbidity in the water system source has resulted in water quality that might impact children, the elderly or those with weakened immune systems.  Roadside sign notices are in place to advise residents of the precautionary Water Quality Advisory.

Communications Officer Bruce Smith says, “Interior Health has been contacted and while the health risk is modest and no bacteria have been found in any of the water from the system tested, Regional District staff recommends that as a precaution that Falcon Ridge water customers follow Interior Health guidelines, especially for those with weakened immune systems, the elderly, children and those wishing additional precautions.   All water intended for drinking, washing fruit and vegetables, making beverages, ice or brushing teeth should be boiled for at least one minute or customers should use a safe alternative to water from the tap such as bottled or distilled water.”

This precautionary water quality advisory affecting the Star Place Water System will continue until further notice. 

 For information visit the Regional District website water system webpage (regionaldistrict.com/water) or contact RDCO Environmental Services at engineer@cord.bc.ca or 250-469-6241.  To subscribe online for Regional District water quality advisories or alerts by email visit regionaldistrict.com/water.

Links to Interior Health Information:

(April 17, 2014)

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Clean Up for Earth Day

Looking for a great way to celebrate Earth Day this year?  Why not tackle a Community Cleanup project?

Tuesday is officially Earth Day, and April is Community Cleanup month.  The Regional Waste Reduction Office reminds you they have all the gear and supplies you’ll need to tackle a spring cleanup in your neighborhood. Pick up litter, sweep a sidewalk, or tackle an illegal dumpsite.  Whatever you choose, they’ll even arrange to pick up the litter filled bags when you’re done!

Waste Reduction Facilitator Rae Stewart says volunteers are the backbone of Community Cleanup Month, and every year thousands of families, service clubs, students and businesses lend their support to cleanup initiatives in their neighborhoods. “Many groups have done clean ups on or close to Earth Day over the years. But whether it’s for Earth Day, or any time in April, it’s always inspiring to see so many people committed to making a difference! The impact we can make in a short amount of time when we pull together with a little elbow grease and determination is really encouraging.”

Stewart adds some groups faithfully dedicate their time every year, including the North Westside Community Association, who for over 15 consecutive years has cleaned up a 30-kilometer stretch of Westside Road out to La Casa. Other groups that have already participated in clean ups this spring include over 200 students at Kelowna Senior Secondary, Best Western Hotel Kelowna, the Lakes Community Association in Oyama, Tallus Ridge residents, the Oyama Community Club, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Willowstone Academy Preschool, Pelmewash Parkway residents group, and countless individual families.

If you would like to do a cleanup in your area, the Regional Waste Reduction Office will provide bags, gloves and pick up of litter filled bags after you’re done. For more information, visit regionaldistrict.com/recycle, or call the Regional Waste Reduction Office at 250.469.6250.

(April 17, 2014)

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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 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 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 7:15 at regionaldistrict.com/airquality.

On days when open burning is allowed, it’s recommended that no debris piles be ignited until 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 and 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 4:00 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 16, 2014)

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Springfield-Durnin Access Closed to Mission Creek Regional Park

Starting Monday, April 14th for approximately three weeks, there won't be any access to Mission Creek Regional Park from the Springfield and Durnin Road intersection.   Park visitors are asked to enter and exit the park via the Leckie and Springfield Road access.

The City of Kelowna advises that the Springfield Road intersection at Durnin Road will be undergoing safety and operational improvements which include:

  • new concrete islands to prohibit unsafe left turn exit and through movements from the park access directly opposite Durnin Road
  • New sidewalk, curb/gutter and corner ramps on both sides of the park access opposite Durnin Rd.
  • Median work on Springfield Rd near Benvoulin Road to increase the storage capacity of westbound left turn lane.
  • Three catch basins will be installed along Springfield, this work will be performed at night to minimize traffic impacts

Lane closures will be in effect for east and westbound traffic with pattern changes throughout construction. Detour routes will be posted.

Motorists can expect delays and are encouraged to plan their commute.  For the purpose of public safety and quality control, traffic control personnel will be directing motorists and pedestrians through the construction site. The public’s cooperation and patience will be appreciated.

For more information about road closures and work, visit kelowna.ca/roadreport.

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Tallus Ridge Residents Challenge for Community Clean Up

For the third year in a row, a group of dedicated friends and neighbors in the Tallus Ridge area of West Kelowna plan to take on Community Clean Up Month with a vengeance as they head out this weekend to spruce up their surroundings. And they’re challenging you to do the same in your neighborhood.

Robbi Martens of Tallus Ridge is organizing the 3rd annual clean up in her neighborhood, and says it’s really building in momentum. “We have 16 families taking part this year, our largest Clean Up crew to date. This event really helps set a great example for the kids to get out there and take care of our amazing community, and they’re looking forward to it. It’s going to be fun sprucing up our neighborhood with that many hands helping out, all while getting some fresh air and exercise. Best of all, we’ll be doing something collectively for Tallus Ridge, a place we’re all proud to live.”

Rae Stewart with the Regional Waste Reduction Office says it’s dedicated groups such as the one’s in Tallus Ridge that make Community Clean Up Month such an inspiring event.  “What a wonderful way for neighbors, friends and families to gather together for a worthwhile weekend project.  A big hats off to all of them for their spirit and dedication to our environment!”

Stewart says over the past two decades literally thousands of dedicated volunteers have participated in Community Clean Up events throughout our region. Groups that have already taken on a Clean Up project so far this year include countless individual families, plus the Westbank Lions, Sunridge Church, Interior Savings Credit Union in Rutland, Greenstep, Aurora Heights resident group, Kal Tire in Rutland, Sage Glen Development group, North Westside Road Community Association, Willowstone Academy Preschool, and Okanagan Adventist Academy.

As part of Community Cleanup Month which runs the whole month of April, Stewart says the Regional Waste Reduction Office provides gear and supplies to any group interested in tackling a cleanup project. They’ll even arrange to pick up your litter filled bags when you’re done.

If you’d like to do a Cleanup in April, or any other time of year, please visit regionaldistrict.com/recycle for more info, or call the Regional Waste Reduction Office at 250-469-6250.

(April 10, 2014)

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Goose Management Plan Controls Underway

In the continued effort to control the Canada Goose population in the Okanagan, the Okanagan Valley Goose Management Program is initiating its annual egg addling program. Now in its eighth year, this program has prevented the exponential increase of the non-migratory resident goose population that inhabits the valley year round.

Most communities in the valley struggle with management of these non-migratory Canada Geese. They are largely the descendants of non-native species of geese that were brought here from different areas of Canada in the 1960s and 1970s to encourage the creation of an Okanagan goose population.

What was not foreseen was their ability to adapt to and thrive in the mild Okanagan climate and their inability to migrate because they had no natural parents to teach them how. As a result, the number of geese has grown with few natural controls, creating a need to manage this population.

The Okanagan Valley Goose Management program works to control the reproductive output of Canada geese, particularly in public spaces. Trained contractors identify mating pairs and nesting sites and will complete the addling program by the end of May.

Key to the success of the program is finding the new nests. The public is asked to assist by reporting lone geese, pairs of geese, or nest locations on private or public land by emailing coordinator@okanagangooseplan.com or calling 1-877-943-3209. The public is also asked to keep away from goose nests and to avoid touching the eggs.

The Okanagan Valley Goose Management Program is a partnership between the City of Kelowna, Central Okanagan Regional District, Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen, District of West Kelowna, City of Vernon, City of Penticton, Town of Lake Country, Town of Osoyoos, Town of Oliver, District of Peachland, District of Summerland and Glenmore Ellison Irrigation District.

Information about the program is available at okanagangooseplan.com.

(April 10, 2014)

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2014 - 2018 Financial Plan Adopted

The morning of March 28th the Regional Board adopted the Five-Year Financial Plan for 2014 – 2018.  The 2014 operating budget which includes Municipal Finance Authority financing totals more than $59.9-million compared with $58.7-million during 2013. 

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 (4-6%) 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 to more than 860 properties.

The Financial Plan welcomes the participation of the Westbank First Nation (WFN) for three additional services from the Regional District:  Air Quality, Crime Prevention and Economic Development.  Cost sharing for Regional District services is based on the assessed value of properties.

The Financial Plan provides $19.6-million in Capital project spending this year including $16.3-million to fund property acquisition and development within the Regional Parks system, $1.9-million for upgrades to the Regional Septage Treatment facility (funded by Regionally Significant Project Gax Tax funds) and more than $500,000 from reserves for Capital and equipment upgrades at the Westside Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant.

The tax impacts on the average home are:

Member

2014
Assessment

2013
Assessment

 

Total Tax per House

 

Net Incr / (Decr) on the home from 2013

Kelowna

$472,000

$476,000

$155.26

$13.30

Peachland

$457,000

$476,000

$179.52

$11.58

Lake Country

$463,000

$476,000

$177.50

$15.45

West Kelowna

$467,000

$476,000

$169.50

$9.28

C.O. West

$459,000

$476,000

$549.03

 ($36.78)

C.O. East

$465,000

$476,000

$506.11

 ($29.28)

In 2013, the Regional Board pre-approved a 3.5-cent increase to fund the Regional Parks Land Acquisition Strategy.  The funding for that program is responsible for the majority of the increased Regional District tax impact on the average homeowner in each of the member municipalities.

In the two electoral areas during 2014, rather than taxation or rate increases, needed Capital upgrades and equipment purchases will be completed thanks to more than $800,000 from the Federal Community Works Gas Tax program.  Just over $563,000 will be spent on facilities and equipment for the four paid-on-call fire departments (Ellison, Joe Rich, North Westside, Wilsons Landing) and more than $251,000 worth of improvements are planned for three water systems (Falcon Ridge, Westshore Estates, Trepanier). 

With this year’s budget of almost $60-million, the Regional District is also setting aside funds for future infrastructure by transferring more than nine per cent of our budget for reserves and capital projects.

The total of the 2014 RDCO Operating Budget is $59.9-million:

  •  49.04% is Operating Expenses
  •  41.95% is Debt ($25.1-million including Municipal Finance Authority payments on behalf of partner municipalities and Okanagan Regional Library)
  •  9.01% is Transfers to Capital and Reserves

The Financial Plan also outlines proposed operating budgets for the following four years with annual decreases primarily as a result of reductions in financing payments to the Municipal Finance Authority: 

  • 2015 - $58.1-million
  • 2016 - $57.8-million
  • 2017 - $57.8-million
  • 2018 - $57.6- 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.  Construction continues on the new Interior Heart and Surgical Centre to which the Regional Hospital District is contributing over $85-million. The owner of an average home assessed at $476,000 in 2013 and $478,000 in 2014 will contribute $171.45 towards capital improvements and new health equipment, an increase of ten cents 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

(April 2, 2014)

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Planning the future of a Regional Park

This is as ground floor and as grassroots as it gets.  If you’d like to help create a plan to manage one of the newest Regional Parks, then here’s your chance.

The Regional District of Central Okanagan has launched the public process that will help develop a long-term management plan for Johns Family Nature Conservancy Regional Park.

Last year the RDCO and Central Okanagan Land Trust (COLT) announced their partnership in protecting 323-hectares of land donated to COLT from the estate of Alfred and Nancy Johns, protecting it as an undeveloped park for wildlife.  These lands along the south slopes were combined with the almost 80-hectares of Cedar Mountain Regional Park just off Chute Lake Road for the new Johns Family Nature Conservancy Regional Park.

RDCO Communications Officer Bruce Smith says, “Now we’re starting the process to develop a Management Plan for this park.  In respecting the wishes of the Johns family, the plan will help set the goals and standards under which the Regional District will operate, manage and steward the habitat values of these ecologically significant lands while providing educational and recreational outdoor experiences.  The management plan will set out shorter term management and policies as well as creating a vision for the park ten years down the road.  We’re looking to create a sustainable balance between habitat and wildlife protection and access to the lands.”

Development of the Johns Family Nature Conservancy Regional Park Management Plan involves extensive input and participation from stakeholders along with opportunities for all residents and neighbours to become involved.   “Online surveys and Information Open Houses” Smith says, “are some of the ways we hope to involve residents from across the Central Okanagan.”

Throughout the development of the management plan information can be found at regionaldistrict.com/parksmanagementplans.  It’s anticipated a draft plan will be presented early this fall for consideration of the Regional Board.

(updated April 9, 2014)

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Story Time at the EECO

Here’s a weekly activity that will get three to five year old children moving, learning and playing.

Starting April 1st ‘Story Time at the EECO’ takes place each Tuesday morning at 10:00 in the Environmental Education Centre for the Okanagan located in Mission Creek Regional Park, Springfield and Durnin Roads.  The program wraps up on June 24th.

It’s a free one-hour drop-in program for children aged three to five and their caregivers and features nature-themed stories and songs followed by an art or craft project. The program is an excellent way for younger children to play while learning more about the natural world. 

For more information about this or other Regional Parks programs or events please visit regionaldistrict.com/parks, drop-in or call the EECO at 250-469-6140.

(March 24, 2014)

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Prepare Now for Spring Runoff

Now that spring has officially arrived, some Central Okanagan property owners should consider protecting their property and reducing the risk of damage from potential flooding.

Those living near creeks, streams and low-lying flood-prone areas and with lakefront properties are responsible for having a plan as well as the tools and equipment necessary to protect their properties from possible flood damage.

While there are no areas of concern at the present time, a sudden prolonged warm spell combined with heavy rains could increase the risk of above average creek levels and potential flooding.  

Local governments and the BC Ministry of Environment are monitoring water levels and weather conditions connected to the annual spring runoff and if needed will issue further notices. 

Stockpiles of sandbags are available at all local fire halls throughout the Central Okanagan.  At this time, property owners are responsible for providing their own sand to fill the bags.  Information and pamphlets on flood preparedness including a recommended method for sandbag diking are available from the Regional District of Central Okanagan office (1450 KLO Road) and the main City of Kelowna fire hall on Enterprise Way as well as on the Be Prepared page of the Regional District Emergency Program website www.cordemergency.ca and on the Emergency Management BC website:  http://embc.gov.bc.ca/em/floods/preparedness.html

With anticipated seasonally warmer temperatures and the melting of the snowpack, the level of Mission and other area creeks will be rising and water will flow faster.  At this time of year, please use caution around all local water bodies.  People are reminded that water levels may rise unexpectedly and they and their pets should stay safely back from creek banks, which may be slippery or subject to erosion from the spring runoff. 

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.   Central Okanagan residents are encouraged to subscribe on the website to receive email notifications from the Emergency Program.

(March 20, 2014)

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'Tracks' Walking Club Registration Open

It’s time to sign up for the free ‘Tracks Walking Club’ that gets you outside and active this spring. View Poster

The beginner walking program starts April 7th and runs Monday and Wednesday mornings at 9:00 (no walk Victoria Day May 19th).  Club members and our walking leader will start with a 15-minute walk along the Mission Creek Greenway and in Mission Creek Regional Park gradually increasing the duration of their walks to 90 minutes by the end of the 12 week program.

Members also receive a walking journal, walking tips, seminars and motivational tips to keep them moving.

‘Tracks’ is a registered Hearts in Motion Walking Club with the BC Heart and Stroke Foundation

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.

(March 10, 2014)

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Climate Action Annual Report


Through its 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 2013 and proposed actions for 2014, related to the Regional District's effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

(March 7, 2014)

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Breakwater Construction at Regional Park in Lake Country

Demolition and construction of a large portion of the north breakwater is expected to begin next week in Okanagan Centre Safe Harbour Regional Park.  View Project Map

To prepare, the contractor (Burton Marine Pile Driving Inc.) will begin moving a barge and other equipment into place early next week.

It’s anticipated the breakwater construction will be substantially complete by April 20th and some minor clean-up of the park will take place during the following week.  The park and its main boat launch are located on Okanagan Centre Road West in Lake Country.

Communications Officer Bruce Smith says, “We don’t anticipate any lengthy closure of the park and its main boat launch during the construction.  However, a portion of the parking area south of the main launch will be cordoned off during construction for storage of equipment and materials and staging.”

He adds, “At this time of year there isn’t a huge demand for the facility’s boat launch.  However, there are boaters that still do use the launch and may find some temporary, intermittent closures during construction while equipment is being repositioned or adjusted and while construction materials are being delivered or off-loaded.  We expect any closures will be minimal and we ask for the patience and cooperation of park users, boaters and other visitors to ensure their safety and that of construction workers.  Boaters should also be aware there may be floating materials stored temporarily inside the harbour area during construction.”

The new steel pile supported concrete waffle panel breakwater will replace about 40-meters (131 feet or 70 per cent) of the aging 56-meter un-treated wood pile structure that has been in place since it was replaced in the mid-90’s by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans before transferring the assets to the Regional District.  The Federal Government Community Infrastructure Improvement Fund is providing $150,000 toward this project.  In addition, last fall the Regional Board approved reallocating slightly more than $123,000 for the north breakwater demolition and reconstruction as another previously approved project was not able to be completed during 2013 due to circumstances beyond the Regional District’s control.  The Regional Board will be asked to consider approving funds to complete the remaining 16-meters of the breakwater in this year’s Financial Plan.

During the early summer of 2012, Burton Marine successfully replaced the south breakwater with steel pilings and concrete waffle panels.

(February 14, 2014)

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Setting the Record Straight:  The Responsible Dog Ownership Bylaw

The Regional District would like to set the record straight about the new Responsible Dog Ownership Bylaw, as some people are making assumptions without having the facts or an understanding the current bylaw.  

All the information is available for you to view at www.regionaldistrict.com/dogs.  We encourage you to read both bylaws (the current Bylaw No. 366 and the new Responsible Dog Ownership Bylaw) along with the Information Open House panels to truly understand what’s being done.   Anyone with questions should speak with our staff directly, rather than rely on possibly erroneous interpretations and hearsay.

We continue to maintain that any dog owner that licenses their pet; leashes it and keeps it under their care and control at all times and picks up after their dog and doesn’t let their dog become a threat or nuisance should not have any problem with the bylaw.   This is the case with the existing bylaw and the new one. 

To clarify the points made on various Facebook pages and others:

1)      No more retractable leashes or any leash exceeding 2 meters regardless of the size of your dog

Retractable leashes can still be sold and probably will and most varieties allow you to lock the length.  The new bylaw restricts the maximum length to two meters in order to ensure your dog is under your control in all circumstances.   This is about education.

2)      RDCO has the right to enter your home without notice or warrant

RDCO doesn’t have the right to enter your home without a warrant.   In fact, that’s not even a part of the bylaw.  Under the Local Government Act as a peace officer, any bylaw enforcement officer can enter your property at a reasonable time to ensure compliance with the bylaw.   This authority already exists and by writing it into the bylaw we are making it publically clear that this is the case so everyone knows.

3)      RDCO can charge you with all their impoundment and prosecution costs even if you’re found innocent

This is not true.  This part of the bylaw (Section 60) only deals with applications under Section 49 of the Community Charter regarding dangerous dogs.

4)      You can be fined for not reporting your friend’s unlicensed dog or any Bylaw infraction

There’s nothing in the bylaw that would indicate anyone could be fined for not reporting an unlicensed dog or bylaw infraction. 

5)      You can be fined for not telling RDCO your dog has died or been given away to a new owner

This is untrue.  You cannot be fined for not telling the RDCO that your dog has died or been transferred to a new owner.   We encourage dog owners to let us know if their licensed dog has passed on in order to update our licensing information so as not to send them a renewal notice.  Dog owners who transfer their licensed dog to a new owner should also let us know so that we have the correct information for future licensing and in the event that we need to return their dog to them should it be turned into the pound.  Again, you can’t be fined for these.

6)      Your dog can be deemed aggressive or dangerous if someone says your dog caused them “emotional trauma” without any medical evidence of same

Your dog cannot be deemed aggressive or dangerous simply because someone says your dog causes them emotional trauma.   An animal control officer may deem a dog aggressive or dangerous after an incident and investigation.

7)      Your dog can be deemed aggressive or dangerous if your dog defended itself in an attack from another dog

As in the current bylaw, each incident requires investigation and each circumstance is different.

8)      An aggressive or dangerous dog is now deemed so for life

Both the existing and new bylaws are made to ensure public safety.  At the present time, a dangerous dog is so deemed for its life and must be leashed and muzzled in public off its property.  The new bylaw doesn’t change this.  An aggressive dog designation under the new bylaw would also remain with the dog for its life.  The only difference with an aggressive dog is that outside of its owners home on its property, it must be kept in an enclosure.   Just as with any other dog, in public it must be leashed.   The owners of aggressive and dangerous dogs have a higher level of responsibility to ensure public safety. 

9)      You are now considered the owner of any dog(s), simply by holding its leash and can be fined for any infraction of the Bylaw as its owner

As with the current bylaw, when you are in custody and care of the dog, you are responsible at all times for that dog.  Again, nothing has changed.

The Regional District again encourages all citizens, dog owners and those that don't own dogs, to review current Dog Impounding and Regulation Bylaw No. 366 and the Responsible Dog Ownership Bylaw for their own information.

(February 12, 2014)

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2014 Celebrations for Regional Parks

There will be plenty of special events and activities this year as 2014 marks two milestones for Regional Parks in the Central Okanagan.

This is the 40th anniversary of the Regional Parks service and 20 years since the Environmental Education Centre for the Okanagan opened its doors.

Regional District Chair Robert Hobson says, “Our Regional Parks system began back in the fall of 1974 and the following January we acquired Kaloya Regional Park in Lake Country.  This 3.7-hectare waterfront property with beaches and swim areas, playground and covered picnic shelter was our first official Regional Park.  In the years since, we’ve grown and protected over 13 hundred hectares of significant lands, encompassing 29 Regional Parks.   Last year alone, we acquired four additional properties, including the 700 plus hectare donation and creation of the Johns Family Nature Conservancy Regional Park.”

Hobson adds, “Our Regional Board had the foresight to create our Parks Legacy and Acquisition funds several years ago.  As a result, we’ve been able to proactively save significant tracts of land as Regional Parks for the benefit and enjoyment of present and future residents.   These more natural, protected environments are significant features in providing a good quality of life right across the Central Okanagan.   With the ongoing support of the Board, we hope to continue the growth of our regional parks system in the years ahead.” 

2014 also marks the 20th anniversary of the EECO or Environmental Education Centre for the Okanagan, a log building located at the entrance to Mission Creek Regional Park, just off Springfield and Durnin Roads.  The facility has hosted dozens of exhibits designed to raise awareness of and appreciation for our Regional Parks and natural environment.  It remains an extremely popular destination.   Last year more than 25,000 people passed through the EECO, taking in its exhibits and participating in numerous parks programs.

Throughout 2014, special anniversary programs and activities will be held to celebrate our Regional Parks and the EECO.   Information will be available by visiting regionaldistrict.com/parks or in the 2014 Summer-Fall edition of ‘Your Guide to Regional Parks’. 

For more information visit the Regional District Parks Services webpage regionaldistrict.com/parks, email parks@cord.bc.ca or call 250-469-6232.

(January 14, 2014)

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'My Dog Matters' - Licensing Your Dog Brings Rewards

There are rewards in store for dog owners in the Central Okanagan that have licensed their pet.

Each owner of a dog with a valid Regional District dog license will be automatically enrolled in the new ‘My Dog Matters’ Responsible Dog Owner Rewards program.

Once you receive your special ‘My Dog Matters’ rewards card in the mail, you can start using it to receive various discounts and benefits offered by participating businesses.

The variety of businesses and links to their rewards can be found on the MyDogMatters.ca website.  That`s also where you`ll find a link to licence information for dog owners have haven`t yet purchased a dog tag.  And we`ll continue to add new businesses that wish to take part in the program.

Communications Officer Bruce Smith says “The first principle of being a responsible dog owner in the Central Okanagan is licensing your pet.  We believe that most dog owners in our region are responsible and don`t require much interaction with our Dog Service staff.   Since these dog owners are doing the right thing and following our bylaw requirement for purchasing a licence and renewing it each year, they will have an opportunity to receive rewards and get something back from the businesses participating in the program.”

Over the course of a year, these benefits can add up to savings for a dog owner, compared with the $20 fee to licence a spayed or neutered dog and $60 if the dog hasn`t been fixed. 

Smith adds, “Besides the benefits of `My Dog Matters', licensing your dog can be your dog`s ticket home in the event that it gets away.  If your licensed dog is found or reported to Dog Service staff at the Weddell Place pound, they may be able to facilitate a reunion without you having to make a trip to the facility.”

As well as providing funds for the Dog Service and operation of the pound, license fees contribute to the $60,000 in funding provided by the Regional District to the Kelowna branch of the BC SPCA for its spay/neuter and public education programs. 

Smith reminds Central Okanagan dog owners that starting in January 2014, the Regional District will follow a zero tolerance for any dog found without a licence.  “We’re currently reviewing and revising our Dog bylaw and one of the changes that will be recommended to the Regional Board will be increased fines for unlicensed dogs.  That will make the annual cost of a licence and the ‘My Dog Matters’ rewards card that much more of a benefit.”

This is one step in a multi-faceted program underway by the Regional District to encourage and support responsible dog ownership and licensing in the Central Okanagan. 

Dog licenses may be purchased in person at any local government office in the Central Okanagan and the SPCA branch in Kelowna.    Locations are available in the Dog section of the Regional District website regionaldistrict.com/dogs.  That’s where you’ll find other information about the Regional Dog service and what to do if you lose or find a dog.

(August 1, 2013)

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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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