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Mosquito Perfect Storm

Wet spring conditions + standing water + warmer temperatures = Mosquitoes.  That’s an equation we can do without!

Since early April, crews have been out monitoring and treating mosquito larvae in about 200 known breeding locations across the Central Okanagan as part of the Regional District Mosquito Control Program.   With the cooler temperatures during April, mosquito larva generation is a little behind.   But with more recent seasonal temperatures, they’re expecting to see more mosquito larva and potentially more mosquitoes hatching.

Communications Officer Bruce Smith says “Residents can help join the fight against the bite by removing potential places for mosquitoes to hang out around their properties.  Remove any standing water sources and unused items that collect water such as old tires.  Just a few millimetres of water is all that’s needed for mosquito larva to survive and hatch into biting mosquitoes.”   As well he says, “Rain barrels should be covered with a screen to prevent mosquitoes from laying their eggs in the water.  At least twice a week, drain standing water from containers under plant pots or in garbage cans and change the water in birdbaths, wading pools and pet bowls.  And remove any water that sits in unused swimming pools and on swimming pool covers and aerate water in ponds or add fish that will feed on mosquito larvae.”

Duka Environmental Ltd. provides all larval mosquito control within the participating funding areas under contract with the Regional District.  President Curtis Fediuk says, “With all the spring rain and flooding in the Central Okanagan, there’s a lot of water sitting around in fields and low-lying areas, which boosts the chances of developing mosquitoes.”

He adds ”The program doesn’t eliminate the insect rather it helps control nuisance mosquitoes.  The season traditionally doesn’t peak until mid-June through the end of July.  Residents can contribute to their control program by reducing or eliminating standing water on their properties, installing bird or bat houses and they can protect themselves from annoyance by using approved repellants, window screens, wearing loose fitting light coloured clothing and by minimizing activities near treed and bush areas at dusk and dawn where adult mosquitos prefer to rest.” 

In addition to the monitoring and treatment in almost 200 known surface water habitats, in the coming weeks over 10,000 roadside catch basins will be checked and treated if necessary.

Residents in the participating areas of the program (City of Kelowna, District of Lake Country, District of Peachland, Central Okanagan East and a small section of West Kelowna Estates in the City of West Kelowna) can report mosquito concerns by calling Duka Environmental Ltd. at 1-800-681-3472 or go to regionaldistrict.com/mosquitoes and fill out an online form.

Learn how you and your family can fight back and protect against mosquitoes by checking out the resources available on the Mosquito Control page on the Regional District website regionaldistrict.com/mosquitoes.

(May 23, 2017)

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Regional Board Meeting Cancelled

The Regional Board meeting previously scheduled for 7:00 pm on Monday, May 29th has been cancelled due to the ongoing flooding emergency response in the Central Okanagan.   We apologize for any inconvenience.

The next regular meeting is planned for Thursday, June 8th, following the 8:30 am Governance and Services Committee meeting.  When available, the agenda and reports for this Regular meeting of the Regional Board can be found on the Board Agenda page.

(May 23, 2017)

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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 publically shares the accompanying CARIP Progress Reports each year.

The reports detail actions taken during 2016 and proposed actions related to the Regional District's effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

(May 23, 2017)

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Water Quality Advisory for Killiney Beach and Westshore Water Systems

In consultation with Interior Health, the Regional District of Central Okanagan has downgraded a previously issued Boil Water Notice to a Water Quality Advisory for customers of the Killiney Beach and Westshore Estates water systems. 

The advisory affects more than 280 properties serviced in the Killiney Beach subdivision and 265 properties in the Westshore Estates subdivision, both located off Westside Road.  

Increased turbidity in each of the water system sources from high runoff has resulted in water quality that might impact children, the elderly or those with weakened immune systems.  Roadside sign notices will be in place in each area advising of the water advisories.

Communications Officer Bruce Smith says “while the health risk is modest and no bacteria have been found in any of the water tested from the systems, Regional District staff recommends that as a precaution that Killiney Beach and Westshore Estates 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 will continue until turbidity returns to normal operating levels within acceptable Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality.  Flooding concerns and extreme weather conditions may result in changes to the water quality of Okanagan Lake and may require an upgrade to a Boil Water Notice.

Sandbags are in place to protect the intake pumphouses for each system from rising lake water levels.  Residents are asked not to remove any of these flood protection works.

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.

(May 18, 2017)

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Updated Regional Park Closures

As Central Okanagan lakes continue rising, Regional District parks crews are busy stacking sandbags to proactively protect many waterfront parks.

Among those Regional Parks now armed with sandbags:  Kalamoir (Lakefront trail); Okanagan Centre Safe Harbour; Bertram Creek (pumphouse, east beach); Kaloya (pumphouse) and the Gellatly Nut Farm (buildings, waterfront).

Communications Officer Bruce Smith says, “Staff identified areas and amenities within these and other regional parks that need to be protected from potential flood damage.  They’ll continue installing protective works in high risk areas.  While these parks remain open, we ask that visitors not touch any sandbags and other flood protection.”

The small boat launch located at Fintry Community Park Access #1 at the end of Fintry Delta Road and the main launch at Okanagan Centre Safe Harbour Regional Park on Okanagan Centre Road West are still open but may be subject to closure on short notice for safety reasons due to changing lake levels and weather conditions.

Smith adds, “The threat of flooding continues and there could be unexpected increases in water levels along area creeks and streams.  Visitors and leashed pets should stay back from creek banks, which can be slippery and subject to erosion.”

The following Regional Parks remain closed:

While these parks are closed, the Regional District encourages residents to visit many other regional parks that are not affected by flooding and rising waters.   You can view them at www.regionaldistrict.com/pickapark

Regional Parks staff is monitoring creek levels in all these areas and when safe will be assessing the condition of bridges, trails and other amenities in these parks.  Parks may be closed on short notice should conditions change.

(May 18, 2017)

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Westside Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant Treated Effluent Bypass

Rising water levels in Okanagan Lake are having an impact on the Westside Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant.

The plant, which treats approximately 10,000,000 litres of wastewater every day from West Kelowna, Peachland and the Westbank First Nation reserves #9 and #10 has seen an increase in its flows during the recent period of flooding and heavy rainfall.

The Regional District has installed and is operating an additional pump, boosting the pumping capacity of the plant’s treated effluent.  There’s no health risk associated with this as this treated effluent is the same material that is flowing out of the plant into Okanagan Lake following the complete treatment process

The additional pump is required because higher than normal lake levels have caused a decreased flow of treated effluent from the plant’s outfall in Okanagan Lake. 

Both the Ministry of Environment and Interior Health have been consulted with the addition of a supplemental pump from the Westside Regional Wastewater Treatment facility.

(May 16, 2017)

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Falcon Ridge Water Quality Advisory

The Regional District of Central Okanagan has issued a precautionary Water Quality Advisory for residents served by the Falcon Ridge water system.

The advisory affect approximately 55 properties connected to the Falcon Ridge system off Highway 33. 

Increased turbidity in the water system source from high runoff has resulted in water quality that might impact children, the elderly or those with weakened immune systems.  Roadside sign notices will be in place in each area advising of the water advisories.

“Interior Health has been contacted,” says Communications Officer Bruce Smith “and while the health risk is modest and no bacteria has been found in any of the water tested from the system, 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 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.

(updated May 9, 2017)

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'Go Fish' Underway

Here’s your chance to introduce the young members of your family to the sport of fishing!  The ‘Go Fish’ program runs each weekend through Father's Day, June 18th from 10:00 am until 3:00 pm at the Hall Road pond in Mission Creek Regional Park in Kelowna and the special netting fishing area in Shannon Lake Regional Park in West Kelowna. 

 Each Saturday staff from the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC and volunteer organizations will be on site while RDCO Parks Services staff and volunteers will be on hand each Sunday.

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!

‘Go Fish’ is possible thanks to 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.

(May 8, 2017)

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'Wild Walks'

Join in on ‘Wild Walks’ and learn some secrets and natural features of various Regional Parks.   Our Park interpreter will turn an ordinary walk in the park into something extraordinary! 

Each ‘Wild Walks’ lasts approximately 90 minutes, is suitable for all ages and range from easy to moderate.  Participants should dress for the conditions and wear appropriate sturdy footwear.   There’s no cost to take part but please pre-register for ‘Wild Walks’ on the following dates and locations:

To save a spot for your family on these free ‘Wild Walks’ outings, please drop in to the Environmental Education Centre for the Okanagan, email eeco@cord.bc.ca or phone 250-469-6139.

These free events are held in conjunction with the Community Recreational Initiatives Society (CRIS) to provide barrier free access to our regional parks.  To request the services of CRIS volunteers visit www.adaptiveadventures.ca

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.

(updated May 8, 2017)

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Open Burning Season Ends April 30th

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

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

Until April 30th, those Central Okanagan residents with properties greater than one hectare will be allowed to burn outdoors, if they have 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 these 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 advise whether 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, City 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 (up to 250 kilograms/550 pounds and 20 centimeters or less in diameter – fees apply for loads exceeding the maximum weight and diameter) at the Glenmore landfill (Open seven days a week 7:30 am to 4:45 pm).   Nominal fees apply for yard waste disposal at the Westside Residential Waste Disposal Centre (Open 7:30 am to 3:50 pm Friday through Monday) on Asquith Road in West Kelowna.  Please make sure all loads are covered. 
  • 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 21, 2017)

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Spring Runoff Safety and Flood Precautions

Spring rain showers and seasonal daytime temperatures are starting to fuel rising levels of creeks and streams throughout the Central Okanagan.   Adding to the spring freshet is the melting snowpack from low and mid-elevations.

At the present time there are no specific areas of concern.  However, in recent weeks low level snowmelt and rainfall have caused a few instances of localized groundwater and flooding that affected isolated areas not usually prone to flooding. 

Staff from local governments in the Central Okanagan and the BC Ministry of Environment is monitoring water levels and weather conditions during the annual spring runoff. If needed the BC River Forecast Centre will issue advisories, watches and warnings. 

Central Okanagan property owners who’ve had flooding issues in the past 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.

Stockpiles of sandbags are available at many local fire halls in the Central Okanagan for residents experiencing a flood on their property.  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 through links on the Be Prepared page of the Regional District Emergency Program website www.cordemergency.ca.

At this time of year area creeks are rising and water is flowing faster and residents should use caution around all local water bodies.  Be aware that water levels may rise unexpectedly so people and their pets should stay safely back from creek banks, which may be slippery or subject to erosion from the spring runoff.  Boaters are also advised to be on the look-out for floating debris carried into area lakes from rising and faster flowing tributaries.

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

(April 20, 2017)

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EECO Hosts Alien Travelers in Royal BC Museum Exhibit

The Environmental Education Centre for the Okanagan  welcomes the Royal BC Museum’s travelling exhibition ‘Aliens Among Us’.

The EECO located in Mission Creek Regional Park (Springfield and Durnin Roads) features the exhibition which highlights BC’s invasive species and runs until July 22nd.

“There are more than 4,000 alien species in the province and that number grows each year” says Dr. Gavin Hanke, Curator of Vertebrate Zoology at the Royal BC Museum.  “Some of these aliens are invasive – they spread quickly, threaten native wildlife and are hard to control.”

American Bullfrogs, Burdock, Smallmouth Bass and Purple Loosestrife are just a few of the species featured in ‘Aliens Among Us’.  The exhibition tells the stories of how the invasive species arrived in the province, what individuals can do to protect their communities and how these aliens fit in – or don't fit in – with their environments.

This exhibit fits right in with the ‘Alien Invaders - Nasty or Nice?’ theme underway at the EECO since last fall.  The Environmental Education Centre for the Okanagan is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. 

For more information visit the Regional District website regionaldistrict.com/parks or contact the EECO at 250-469-6140, email eeco@cord.bc.ca or drop into the Environmental Education Centre for the Okanagan in Mission Creek Regional Park, Springfield and Durnin Roads.

(updated April 24, 2017)

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Star Place Water Quality Advisory

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 from high runoff has resulted in water quality that might impact children, the elderly or those with weakened immune systems.  Roadside sign notices will be 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 tested from the system, Regional District staff recommends that as a precaution that Star Place 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.

(April 12, 2017)

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Egg Addling Program Controls Canada Goose Population

Geese follow their own clock, so despite the long winter weather, this week marks the beginning of the annual Canada goose egg addling program—an important part of the Okanagan Valley Goose Management Program. The addling program is in its 11th year and continues to prevent explosive growth of the non-migratory resident goose population. Although some may argue that too many geese still live in the valley, what has not happened, thanks to addling, is uncontrolled growth that would see over 10,000 geese and generations of offspring, if addling were not in place.

The nesting population, which is approximately 2500 birds, remains in the valley throughout the year. Trained contractors have already been searching for pairs and nesting sites and are hoping to complete the addling program by mid-May.

“Like so many communities in southern BC, communities along the Okanagan Valley struggle with management of non-migratory Canada Geese,” said Kate Hagmeier, Okanagan Valley Goose Management Program Coordinator. “It is important to stress that the nesting birds targeted in this program are not native to the region. These are hybrid offspring of several different subspecies of Canada Geese that were introduced in the 1960’s and ‘70’s.  Canada geese from elsewhere in Canada and the US were translocated here as part of managed introduction programs. Young geese and eggs were brought here to encourage the creation of an Okanagan goose population.”

What was not foreseen was the inability of these geese to migrate because they had no parents or natural triggers to guide them, and their ability to adapt and thrive in the mild Okanagan climate. The consequences have been a steadily growing population with few natural controls and a need to manage this population.

Egg addling involves shaking eggs or coating them with non-toxic biodegradable food-grade corn oil within 14 days of incubation to make them non-viable. The U.S. Humane Society supports this egg addling technique.

Once addled, eggs are returned to the nest. Geese continue to incubate until they realize the eggs will not hatch. By then it is generally too late in the year to produce more eggs. Adults are not harmed and will continue with their regular life cycle.

Key to the success of the program is finding new nests. The public is asked to report 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 asked to keep away from goose nests and to avoid touching the eggs. A federal permit is required to allow crews to addle goose eggs on public and private lands with owners’ permission. In the case of private lands, an authorization form is available on the program website.

In addition to egg addling and population surveys, many geese have been marked with leg-bands.  Bird-banding is the practice of applying unique markers (bands) to legs of birds. When a marked bird is observed by a birdwatcher or recovered by a hunter, data on age, survival, habitat use and migratory patterns can be retrieved and analyzed.

“The data collected from leg-bands allows us to improve our understanding of how the population is formed and where to target management strategies,” said Hagmeier.

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, District of Lake Country, Town of Osoyoos, Town of Oliver, District of Peachland, District of Summerland, Westbank First Nation, Glenmore Ellison Irrigation District and Western Canada Turfgrass Association.   Information about the program is available at okanagangooseplan.com.

(April 5, 2017)

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Spring Water System Flushing

The Regional District has started its spring water main flushing program. 

Until approximately the end of May, RDCO Environmental Services staff will be going throughout the six water systems that it maintains and operates, flushing mains Monday through Friday between the hours of 8:00 am and 3:00 pm. 

Roadside notice boards will be put up in advance of crews working in a particular system area. 

Flushing ensures continued optimum water quality and removes any sediment deposits that may accumulate over time throughout the systems.

Communications Officer Bruce Smith adds, “When flushing is taking place, water pressure can vary slightly and there may be some slight discoloration in the water.   Please check your water prior to use. We recommend that you avoid doing laundry when flushing is taking place on your system. If you experience discoloration, run the cold water tap until the water runs clear.”

Customers will find more information and answers to questions they might have about the Regional District Water Main Flushing Program on the Water Systems webpage www.regionaldistrict.com/water.

The Regional District provides water to just over 950 properties in the following areas: Falcon Ridge, Killiney Beach, Sunset Ranch, Star Place/Dietrich, Westshore and Upper Fintry - Shalal Road - Valley of the Sun.

For information visit 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.

(March 30, 2017)

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Roll and Stroll

Join our free weekly walking club for moms and caregivers with babies and little ones.

‘Roll and Stroll’ is a great opportunity to meet other parents and spend time casually exploring Mission Creek Regional Park (Springfield and Durnin Roads) during the winter months. 

Continuing weekly until May 25th, participants meet at 9:30 am the Environmental Education Centre for the Okanagan (EECO). Enjoy a leisurely 45 minute walk through the park, before returning to the EECO for refreshments.   Participants are encouraged to use strollers and baby carriers that are suitable for rough terrain.

The program is free, but registration is required by calling the EECO at 250-469-6139 or email eeco@cord.bc.ca. 

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

(updated April 21, 2017)

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2017 - 2021 Financial Plan Adopted

The Regional Board has adopted the Five-Year Financial Plan for 2017 – 2021.  The 2017 budget totals just over $64.7-million compared with $63.2-million during 2016.  (Link to Budget Details)

  • 45.77% is Operating Expenses ($29.7-million)
  • 46.57% is Debt ($30-million including Municipal Finance Authority payments on behalf of partner municipalities and the Okanagan Regional Library)
  • 7.66% is Transfers to Capital and Reserves ($4.95-million) for future infrastructure and capital projects

Board Chair Gail Given says, “There’s good news for most average homeowners in the region as the Financial Plan sees decreases in the Regional District portion of their tax bills. We’ve been able to accomplish this with an increase of less than 1.5% in total operating expenses over 2016 while including $15.9-million for important Capital and infrastructure improvement projects.  We’re also preparing for the future by increasing the amounts transferred to Capital and Reserves by 14.5% over last year.  It’s important that we continue building reserves to minimize debt.  Since 2008, thanks to prudent financial planning and leveraging grants from our senior levels of government and other agencies the Regional District has overseen more than $98-million in capital spending requiring just $5.2-million in long-term debt.”

The tax impacts for general services on the average home that was assessed at $539,000 in 2016 are shown below.  Market value increases varied by area from 2016 to 2017.  The actual tax rate varies from neighbourhood to neighbourhood and municipality, depending on the local services provided by the Regional District. 

Member

 

2017
Assessment

 

Total Tax per House

 

Net Incr / (Decr) on the home from 2015

Kelowna

$594,000

$176.52

($3.02)

Peachland

$587,000

$201.74

($6.35)

Lake Country

$605,000

$204.97

$1.19

West Kelowna

$591,000

$193.78

($3.09)

C.O. West

$587,000

$613.52

 ($44.28)

C.O. East

$601,000

$478.61

 ($33.21)

There’s a general decrease in the Regional District portion of taxes for the average property owner in Kelowna, Peachland, West Kelowna and the Central Okanagan East and Central Okanagan West electoral areas.  The slight increase in the Regional District portion of taxes for the average Lake Country property owner is due to increased growth.  If the home went up or down by more than the average market value, the change would be greater or lower than the average.

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 in each Electoral Area. 

Chair Given adds, “Preparing the Regional District budget is quite different from that of local municipalities. Regional District’s don’t have just one tax rate. There are more than 80 individual services provided and paid for by different combinations of taxpayers.  Some services are region-wide, some are provided sub-regionally while others are only provided to property owners in the electoral areas.  Each program budget’s revenue, expenses, reserves, surpluses or deficits must be kept separate.  It’s a complex process that once again our Financial Services team has been able to easily explain.  The Board is pleased that a number of people seized the opportunity to come forward and make their comments known during the three open, budget meetings held this year.”

The member municipalities of Kelowna, Lake Country, Peachland and West Kelowna receive regional services such as Economic Development, Regional Parks, Dog Control, 9-1-1 and Regional Rescue.  These services account for a relatively small share (5.5-6%) of the total average tax bill for property owners ranging from just over $176 in Kelowna to almost $205 in Lake Country. (See table above – 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 1,000 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 also outlines proposed operating budgets for the following four years: 

  • 2018 - $62.9-million
  • 2019 - $55.9-million
  • 2020 - $52-million
  • 2021 - $51.3- million

The Five-Year Financial Plan for the Central Okanagan Regional Hospital District (CORHD) was also adopted.  Each year, ratepayers within the Hospital District contribute 40% of the funds for approved capital and equipment services.  Chair Given says, “The good news is there’s no increase for the average homeowner in the Central Okanagan Regional Hospital District budget this year.  They’ll contribute $180.29 towards capital improvements and new health equipment in order to ensure continued quality healthcare.”

She adds, “By leaving the tax rate at zero and increasing the requisition to account for growth, we’re able to position the Hospital Board to respond to future needs that might arise and leave a legacy by reducing the future debt load.  That makes a difference to the health of our community and benefits the economy by helping to attract people to live and work in the Central Okanagan.”

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 28, 2017)

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Spring's Sprung - Time to Get 'Active Okanagan'

With the arrival of the spring season, everyone in the Central Okanagan is encouraged to get outside and explore our fantastic Regional Park system.

Communications Officer Bruce Smith says, “We’ve got trails suitable for people of any age, fitness and mobility.   And in support of our region’s aging demographic, we’ve created a new booklet:  ‘Active Okanagan – Be outside; be involved; be engaged’.”

The 40-page, full colour publication fits easily into a backpack and highlights outdoor parks and trails for people of any age.

Smith says, “The user-friendly ‘Active Okanagan’ booklet showcases 15 regional parks in every area of the Central Okanagan.  Each offers easily accessible amenities, activities and opportunities for seniors and people with reduced mobility to get out and enjoy the outdoors.  It also has information about our Visitor Services program and the non-profit Community Recreational Initiatives Society or CRIS, whose volunteers provide inclusive, accessible recreational opportunities for many of our Regional Park programs.”

He adds, “This newly created age-friendly program compliments efforts undertaken in many Regional Parks over the past few years to improve accessibility and trail conditions; the addition of wayfinding trail signage and clearly marked trail elevation and difficulty ratings.”

The ‘Active Okanagan’ guide is available online at www.regionaldistrict.com/parks or you can pick up a copy at the Environmental Education Centre for the Okanagan (EECO) in Mission Creek Regional Park (Springfield and Durnin Roads), the RDCO office (1450 KLO Road) and visitor information centres.

The publication was made possible by a $20,000 grant from the Union of BC Municipalities for an Age-friendly Community Planning and Projects program through the Seniors Housing and Supportive Initiative.  This assists local governments to prepare for an aging population and create age-friendly communities.

For more information about Regional Parks programs including our new park tour maps, visit regionaldistrict.com/parks or call the EECO at 250-469-6140.

(March 20, 2017)

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A Good Time To Prepare

The best time to create or revisit your family emergency plan is when there’s no emergency.   It’s too late when there’s a knock at the door and you’re asked to leave your home.

This is the perfect opportunity to involve every family member in talking about how you’ll handle a potential evacuation.  Where are important documents?  What special medication will you need?  What will you do with your pets?  How will you communicate or meet should family members be separated?  What basic supplies will you require to be self-sustaining for at least 72 hours? 

These are a few of the things that will help your family respond to and cope with an emergency.

The good news is it doesn’t take long to prepare or update your family emergency plan.  There are plenty of resources available to get you started.  You’ll find links through the new look Central Okanagan Emergency Operations website www.cordemergency.ca.  Just click on the Be Prepared image and you’ll be on your way with links to the federal or provincial emergency programs.

There you’ll find information on how to assess potential emergency risks; how to make a plan and prepare a family emergency kit that’s ready to ‘grab and go’ if needed.

For those people who’ve prepared emergency kits, this is a good time of year to make a check of everything inside.  Remember to replace any water, food or special medications that may have expired.  And ensure everything you’ll need for your family is in place.

While you’re on the www.cordemergency.ca website, sign up to receive email updates directly from the Emergency Operation Centre, whenever it’s activated. 

March is also an opportunity for property owners who might have had issues with flooding in the past, (next to creeks and streams or with lakefront properties) to review and update their plan to prepare and protect their property from potential damage should water levels rise.

The Central Okanagan Emergency Program reminds property owners in flood prone and low-lying areas that they are responsible for having a plan as well as the tools and equipment necessary to protect their properties from possible flood damage.

Local governments and the Province are monitoring water levels and weather conditions in advance of the annual spring runoff.  If needed, the BC River Forecast Centre will issue advisories, watches and warnings. 

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 Prepared BC website.

Later in the spring, stockpiles of sandbags will be available at local fire halls throughout the Central Okanagan.  Property owners are responsible for providing their own sand to fill the bags.

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

(March 10, 2017) 

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4th Quarter Video Highlights

The final three months of 2016 saw the Regional District of Central Okanagan saw many programs and activities underway.

This short video provides highlights of various services including the start of construction on a multi-million dollar water improvement project, completion of two projects to increase safety in two regional parks and crime prevention efforts to reduce rising bicycle thefts across the region.  View on the RDCO Youtube Channel

The video was presented to the Regional Board at its meeting February 23rd, 2017.

(February 27, 2017)

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Form a Block Watch and Help Fight Crime

A simple concept with a little organization can help reduce crime and criminal activity in your neighbourhood.

The Regional Crime Prevention Coordinator says it’s called Block Watch and has for almost a decade helped residents in over two dozen neighbourhoods reduce crime throughout West Kelowna, Peachland, Lake Country, the two electoral areas and on Westbank First Nation reserves.

Roy Morgan adds the most recent addition to the program involves dozens of neighbours throughout Joe Rich, who came together to form a Block Watch area last year.

He says the success of the Block Watch is in its simplicity.  “It’s designed so that neighbours watch out for each other and get involved in discouraging and preventing crime at the street and neighbourhood level.”  He adds, “Neighbours are aware of the normal comings and goings in their area.  As a result they may be the first to know when someone or something suspicious and unusual is going on and then report it to the RCMP.  By working together, neighbours can actively prevent crime in the most effective way – before it happens.”

Block Watch participants not only learn how to be more aware of their neighbourhood surroundings, but also how to make their homes less inviting to thieves, how to prevent auto theft and how to recognize and report suspicious activity.  Morgan adds, “It’s easy to organize a Block Watch area and helps bring neighbours together for a common goal.”

Anyone living in the Central Okanagan East and Central Okanagan West Electoral Areas or the municipalities of Lake Country, Peachland and West Kelowna that might be interested in receiving more information or a presentation on the Block Watch program are welcome to call 250-707-8021 or email crime.prevention@cord.bc.ca.

For more information on the Block Watch program visit the Crime Prevention pages in the Police Services section of Regional District website.

(January 11, 2017)

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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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Regional District of Central Okanagan | 1450 KLO Road | Kelowna, BC V1W 3Z4
Ph: 250-763-4918 | Fax: 250-763-0606 | Email: info@cord.bc.ca
Hours: Monday – Friday 8:00 am – 4:00 pm (Closed Holidays)