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Good Time to Review Annual Flood Preparations - April 7, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic is front and centre for every Central Okanagan resident these days.  We’re all learning to adapt as the virus continues to unfold and affect our lives.

Recognizing that, there’s also another seasonal reality that some residents may need to consider.

Those property owners that have had issues in the past with flooding are encouraged to take a look at their flood preparation plans.  It’s a good time to review and update the steps they take each year to protect and prepare their property from potential flood damage.

The snowpack at the upper and mid valley elevations will soon be melting.  This means that as spring moves along, area creeks and streams will start to see more water with higher levels and flows.

While it’s too early to say whether there will be any potential problems with flooding and high water, the Central Okanagan Emergency Program encourages property owners in flood prone and low-lying areas near creeks and streams, to consider how they’ll protect their properties.

Property owners are reminded 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 BC Ministry of Environment are watching water levels and weather conditions throughout the annual spring runoff.  If needed, advisories, watches and warnings will be issued. 

Links to information and pamphlets on flood preparedness including a recommended method for sandbag diking are available on the Be Prepared page of the Central Okanagan Emergency Program website cordemergency.ca and on the Prepared BC website.  There is also information available for areas that might be susceptible to land slippage or movement.

Later in the spring, stockpiles of sandbags will be available at local fire halls throughout the Central Okanagan for those making preparations.  Local governments will provide information on their sandbag locations and availability.  For public safety during the COVID-19 pandemic, those filling sandbags are asked to maintain a safe physical distance from others. 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 cordemergency.ca and via Facebook (facebook.com/CORDEmergency) and Twitter (twitter.com/CO_Emerg).   Central Okanagan residents are encouraged to subscribe on the website to receive email notifications from the Emergency Program.

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Campfire Ban across the Central Okanagan - April 3, 2020

Effective immediately, all campfires are prohibited throughout all Central Okanagan municipalities and electoral area Fire Service Areas. 

The ban will remain in effect until further notice to support COVID-19 health efforts by reducing potential air pollution.

This follows last week’s decision from BC Environment and health officials to suspend open burning until at least April 15 in High Sensitivity Areas including the Central Okanagan. 

The campfire ban affects all local government fire jurisdictions in the Regional District of Central Okanagan including the City of West Kelowna, District of Lake Country, District of Peachland, Westbank First Nation and the Central Okanagan East and Central Okanagan West electoral areas.  Campfires are not permitted at any time within the City of Kelowna. 

Fire departments throughout the Central Okanagan remind everyone that all smoking materials should be fully extinguished and properly disposed of.  Motorists are reminded not to throw cigarettes or other smoking materials from their vehicle.

Please remember that smoking is not allowed in any RDCO regional or community park or municipal park in Kelowna, West Kelowna and Lake Country.  Smoking is also prohibited in children’s play areas, sports fields, undeveloped parks and wilderness trails in the District of Peachland.

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Connect with Nature @regionalparks Instagram Live - updated April 6, 2020

The Regional District of Central Okanagan parks interpretive programs are adapting so that you and your family can connect with nature online with a mobile device.

During April, RDCO Parks Visitor Services staff is taking to Instagram Live to share their knowledge of our parks and natural surroundings.

Tuesday through Friday mornings, join them with your mobile device at 10:30 on the @regionalparks Instagram channel as they hold a variety of programs for all ages.  On Saturdays the Instagram Live programming hits the channel at 1:00 pm for those with mobile devices.

While we’re unable to hold our normal public in-person programs, this is a great way to use technology to keep in touch and help keep families involved in our fantastic RDCO regional park system.

Here’s the schedule of programs through April 11:

  • Thursday, April 2 – Okanagan Owls – join us as we discover the world of owls in the Okanagan.
  • Friday, April 3 – Spring Wildflower Walk – learn what to look for this spring while keeping yourself and others at a safe social distance (at least two metres) when visiting in Central Okanagan regional parks.
  • Saturday, April 4 – A Dip in the Pond – we’ll share an amazing pond ecosystem with you, catch some invertebrates and tell your family about some incredible adaptations of wild water critters.
  • Tuesday, April 7 – Story Time – the youngsters in your family will love our stories and neat facts about Ducks.
  • Wednesday, April 8 – we’ll share some spring-time information about our Kokanee salmon
  • Thursday, April 9 – learn about our various Birds of Prey in the Okanagan.
  • Friday, April 10 – Good Friday holiday, no program today.  (previously scheduled program moved to Friday, April 17).
  • Saturday, April 11 – Walking Natures Way – we’ll take you on a seasonal trail walk to sharpen your natural senses.
  • Friday, April 17 - join our virtual walk and learn to identify the characteristics of Evergreens.

An updated Instagram Live program schedule is available at rdco.com/parksevents.

All Regional Parks remain open during the current health challenge for visitors using social distancing practices.  There are 63 kilometers of formal trails in 30 regional parks.  Visit rdco.com/pickapark for more information.  If you are not ill and visit our regional parks, please practice healthy hygiene and physical distancing by keeping at least two metres between you and other visitors.

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Open Burning not permitted in Central Okanagan - March 26, 2020

Effective today (March 26) and until April 15, open burning is no longer permitted in the Central Okanagan. The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy in collaboration with provincial public health partners has issued an open burning restriction for all High Sensitivity Zones across the province, which includes the Central Okanagan.

The restriction applies to all areas within the City of West Kelowna, City of Kelowna, Westbank First Nation, District of Peachland, District of Lake Country and Regional District of Central Okanagan. During this time, no new fires may be started. A map of all affected areas is available on the provincial Interactive Venting Index webpage.

The decision comes as cases of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in British Columbia continue to increase. The BC Centre for Disease Control recommends implementing measures that help to reduce excess air pollution in populated areas.  Evidence has shown that exposure to air pollution can increase susceptibility to respiratory viral infections by decreasing immune function.

While the focus remains on physical distancing to prevent the spread of infection, keeping our air as clean as possible will further support Central Okanagan residents during this difficult time. The restrictions will be evaluated daily, and changes will be made accordingly.

In the interest of the health of all residents, those Central Okanagan property owners that qualify for open burning are thanked for their support by adhering to the new restrictions and not igniting any burn piles.

For more information about alternatives to open burning in the Central Okanagan, visit rdco.com/airquality.

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Highlights from the Regional Board meeting - March 23, 2020

Here is a link to the Board Reports highlights from the Regional Board meeting Monday, March 23.  And here's where you can listen to Audio from the meeting.

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Regional Board Approves Financial Plan - March 25, 2020

The 2020 – 2024 Financial Plan has been approved by the Regional District of Central Okanagan Board. 

The 2020 RDCO budget totals just over $55.99-million compared with $58.92-million in 2019.

Board Chair Gail Given says, “This is the first time that our Board has passed a budget in such uncertain times.  The budget was drafted before the currently evolving COVID-19 pandemic and by proceeding we can ensure that we are able to continue delivering all our services and especially the essential ones that residents require during these dynamic times.”

“Considering the changing and unusual public health emergency that we find ourselves in,” she says “there may be times in the coming year when we need to revisit and adapt the Financial Plan in order to best respond to the needs of our communities.  This might require adjustments to reflect the financial changes and grants that are available from the federal and provincial governments, supporting the COVID-19 response.”

In this budget an estimated $12.5-million in important Capital and infrastructure improvements are proposed. Since 2009 the Regional District has spent more than $95.6-million on Capital projects by using reserves and leveraging grants to complete those projects.  At the end of 2019 there was only $4.5-million in outstanding capital debt compared with $6.9-million in 2018.

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. The RDCO is conscious of the financial impacts COVID-19 is having on all governments.

The tax impacts for general services on the average home that was assessed at $741,000 in 2019 are shown below.  Market value increases varied by area from 2019 to 2020.  The actual tax rate varies from neighbourhood to neighbourhood and municipality, depending on the local services provided by the Regional District. 

Member

 

2020
House Value

 

Total Tax per House

 

Net Incr / (Decr) on the home from 2019

Kelowna

$730,000

$182.22

($1.63)

Peachland

$736,500

$214.08

$2.28

Lake Country

$749,500

$214.98

$6.29

West Kelowna

$735,000

$203.57

$0.88

C.O. West

$748,000

$677.36

 $39.65

C.O. East

$752,000

$547.25

 $33.67

If a home went up or down by more than the average market value, the owner will pay more or less than the numbers estimated.

Regional Districts differ from municipalities because they don’t have just one tax rate. The Central Okanagan regional district has more than 80 individual services provided and paid for by different combinations of taxpayers. 

The member municipalities of Kelowna, Lake Country, Peachland and West Kelowna receive a basket of 18 – 20 general regional services such as Economic Development, Regional Parks, Dog Control, 9-1-1 and Regional Rescue/Emergency Planning.  These services account for a relatively small share of the total average tax bill for property owners ranging from just over $182 in Kelowna to almost $215 in Lake Country.

The Regional District is also the local government for residents in the two electoral areas providing them with 28 general services such as Fire Prevention, Planning, Community Parks, Building Inspection and Bylaw Enforcement.  These services account for average taxes of $547.25 for property owners in the Central Okanagan East Electoral Area and $677.36 for those in the Central Okanagan West Electoral area.  A decrease in requisitions for Transportation Demand Management has partially offset increases for Electoral Area Planning, Electoral Area Governance and Regional and Community Parks.

Specific communities within the electoral areas also fund additional services received from four paid-on-call fire departments, three community halls 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 in accordance with a service agreement.

The Central Okanagan Regional Hospital District (CORHD) Five Year Financial Plan was also adopted.  Each year, ratepayers within the Hospital District contribute up to 40% of the funds for approved capital and equipment services.  The 2020 budget includes $10.5-million in capital project funding.  Hospital Board Chair Given says, “Our priorities and those identified by Interior Health were based on pre-COVID-19 conditions.  These priorities may require some flexibility and adjustments to reflect the realities of the response to the virus.  Now, more than ever, we recognize the critical importance of health services in our community.”

Interior Health has advised it anticipates between $55 and $65-million in large capital projects over the next ten years.  Given says, “In order to build financial reserves and reduce the potential need for debt financing, the hospital board has agreed to annual three per cent increases over the next five years.  That means in 2020 the average household will contribute $188.86 (up $5.51 from 2019) towards capital improvements and new health equipment in the Central Okanagan.  With this additional investment, we will be able to fund the proposed capital projects in 2021 from reserves and without any additional borrowing.  This includes a new parkade for Kelowna General Hospital.”

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

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Keeping Garbage Collection running smoothly during COVID-19 - March 24, 2020

As COVID-19 continues to disrupt services across the community it’s important to keep garbage collection and waste management running smoothly. Garbage collection is considered an essential service and the RDCO Waste Reduction Office and its member municipalities are working to ensure the least amount of disruption to service over the coming weeks and months.

In order to reduce the strain on all waste management services residents are asked to note the following important reminders and changes:

Visiting the Landfill or Transfer Stations:

With more people at home, there is a noticeable increase in traffic at the landfill, transfer stations and recycling depots including:

  • The Glenmore Landfill
  • Westside Residential Waste Disposal and Recycling Centre on Asquith Road in West Kelowna
  • Traders Cove Transfer Station
  • North Westside Transfer Station
  • Local recycling depots. 

If possible, limit the number of trips you take to these facilities so they do not become overwhelmed and create a situation of crowding.  It is important when visiting these facilities to ensure you are practicing proper physical distancing from those around you.

The Glenmore Landfill and the Westside Residential Waste Disposal and Recycling Centre on Asquith Road in West Kelowna will no longer be accepting cash payments.  In the interest of public health please use interact or credit card tap payment services only to reduce keypad contact.

Tag a Bags:

Curbside tag-a-bag service for extra garbage is being suspended at this time to cut down on the amount of waste that collection personnel have to manually handle. 

Only those currently waiting for delivery of new or replacement carts will be allowed to continue placing additional tag-a-bag garbage or bagged recycling curbside.

Cart Upgrades:

The RDCO and member municipalities will be suspending all cart upgrades until further notice.  This includes upgrading the size of garbage and recycling carts, as well as the addition of yard waste carts.  Home cart delivery and replacements for broken carts may also be delayed.

Cart Placement and Access:

Help make sure curbside carts are accessible and that vehicles or other objects are not obstructing them as this slows collection.  Keep cul-de sacs clear so trucks have adequate space to turn around during collection. Throughout the Central Okanagan on-street parking in residential areas has increased and this makes curbside collection substantially more difficult.

Return It Depots and Hazardous Waste Depot:

Phone ahead to see if your regular retail outlet or drop off location is open. Some locations for household refundables or other depot-only items such as electronics, small appliances have reduced hours and are unable to take back your materials at this time. Please store your materials safely at your home until such time as facilities return to normal service levels. Do not place depot-only items such as refundable, electronics, household hazardous wastes or other depot only items into garbage or recycling carts. 

Donation Material

Several charities and non-profit organizations have suspended accepting donations at community drop-off boxes.  Please call ahead to determine if they are accepting material. If not, please store any donations in your home until further notice.   Do not drop material beside community drop-boxes or outside regular donation collection locations, this is considered a form of illegal dumping. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

For further information, please visit rdco.com/recycleor contact the Regional Waste Reduction Office at recycle@rdco.com or call 250.469.6250.

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Passing of former RDCO chair Jim Stuart - March 23, 2020

Condolences to the family and friends of former RDCO chair and Kelowna mayor Jim Stuart.

His distinguished record of public service to our region began in 1964 with an appointment as a trustee of Hospital Improvement District No. 36. He was the third RDCO Board chair serving from 1975 to 1990.

Jim Stuart was one of the inaugural Board Directors serving from August 1967 until 1996. Our flag is at half mast in his honour.

 

RDCO Suspends Play Structure Access - March 20, 2020

In order to help ‘flatten the curve’ and reduce the potential spread of the COVID-19 virus, the RDCO is suspending access to all play structures in its regional and community parks. 

Closure signs are being posted and as available and appropriate, fencing will be installed around play equipment.

The action is not taken lightly, especially since many parents are looking for opportunities to have their children outside and active.

The Province’s Chief Medical Health Officer issued clear directives that playgrounds are not suitable environments for social distancing and make it difficult to curb the spread of the virus.  In addition, play structures and equipment are very hard to sanitize and keep clean.

The Regional District and health officials do encourage people to get outside, exercise and get some fresh air using social distancing practices: keeping two metres of space between themselves and others.

The RDCO continues to provide regular maintenance and operations for its 30 regional and 20 community parks.  Information is available anytime online at rdco.com/pickapark.

For updates on the RDCO Response to COVID-19 visit rdco.com/covid-19.

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RDCO Office Closed, Essential Services Continue - March 19, 2020

The Regional District of Central Okanagan is suspending in person services from its KLO Road office in Kelowna in support of health authorities to reduce the spread of COVID-19. The office will be closed to the public at 1:00 pm today.

Residents can access information about RDCO programs and services by visiting rdco.com.   Staff will also be available by phone at 250-763-4918 or by email. Responses will be provided as quickly as possible during regular business hours, weekdays 8:00 am to 4:00 pm.  Residents and businesses may also keep their accounts current and make payments online at rdco.com/payments.

The public Regional Board meeting scheduled for Monday evening at 7:00 pm is going ahead with social distancing measures in place.  The Regional Board Procedures Bylaw allows for electronic participation of Directors.  Regional Directors will consider adopting the 2020-2024 Financial Plan.  The Agenda and reports for consideration at this meeting will be available online Friday afternoon.

During this emergency, the RDCO will continue to provide essential services:

  • Curbside garbage and recycling
  • Solid waste transfer stations (North Westside, Traders Cove, Westside Residential Waste Disposal and Recycling Centre)
  • Water systems (Falcon Ridge, Killiney Beach, Upper Fintry-Shalal Rd.-Valley of the Sun, Sunset Ranch, Trepanier/Star Place, Westshore Estates)
  • Fire Services (Ellison, Joe Rich, North Westside, Wilson's Landing)
  • Dog Control and Regional Dog Pound 
  • Westside Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant and RDCO sewer collection system

At the direction of the Province to suspend events over 50 people, the RDCO is cancelling the following Regional Waste Reduction Office events:

  • April’s Community Clean Up Month
  • Spring Trunk Sale

Information for the following agencies located in the RDCO office can be made by:

  • Regional District of Central Okanagan
    Phone: 250-763-4918 email: info@rdco.com   website: rdco.com
  • City of Kelowna KLO Community Policing Office
    Phone:  250-470-0600
  • Okanagan Basin Water Board
    Phone: 250-469-6270 website: obwb.ca/contact/
  • Okanagan Collaborative Conservation Program
    Phone: 250-718-4096 email:  occp123@gmail.com   website: okcp.ca
  • Okanagan Film Commission   
    Phone: 250-717-0087 email: info@okanaganfilm.com   website:  okanaganfilm.com
  • Sterile Insect Release Program
    Phone: 800-363-6684 email: sirinfo@oksir.org   website: oksir.org

The Regional District continues to follow the direction of public health experts for the safety of its staff and residents to reduce the impact on our community and our health system.  For updates on the RDCO Response to COVID-19 visit rdco.com/covid-19.

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RDCO Makes Changes to Reduce Spread of COVID-19 - March 17, 2020

The Regional District is supporting the effort to reduce spread of COVID19 by closing some public facilities and suspending some programs and events.

Based on the latest recommendations of public health officials, effective 5:00 pm today and until further notice the following RDCO facilities will be closed to the public:

  • The Environmental Education Centre for the Okanagan
  • The Westside Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant
  • Joe Rich Community Hall
  • Ellison Heritage School Community Hall

All Regional Parks programs and events, as well as bookings in parks facilities are cancelled until further notice. This includes programs like the Spring Break Nature Detectives Camps, Tracks Walking Clubs, Take a Hike and Wild Walks. Programs and events with fees will have the full amount refunded.

Currently, all Regional and RDCO Community Parks remain open for visitors to enjoy our natural surroundings.  For the safety of everyone using our outdoor park areas, please practice social distancing to help reduce any potential spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Although the services provided from the RDCO office at 1450 KLO Road in Kelowna remain open to the public, we encourage people to access information by visiting our website rdco.com.   Staff may be contacted by phone or by email.  Residents and businesses may also keep their accounts current and make payments online at rdco.com/payments.

The Regional District continues to follow the direction of public health experts for the safety of its staff and residents to reduce the impact on our community and our health system.  For updates on the RDCO Response to COVID-19 visit rdco.com/covid-19.

What You Can Do

You can reduce your risk of contracting the virus or passing it on to others in the community with the following hygiene habits:

  • Frequent hand washing or the use of hand sanitizer
  • Not touching your face
  • Coughing or sneezing into your elbow or tissue, followed by hand washing
  • Social distancing and staying away from crowded areas 
  • Staying home if you feel sick or show any symptoms of the virus

Get informed on latest COVID-19 information by visiting reliable information sources like:

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Highlights from the Regional Board meeting - March 12, 2020

Here is a link to the Board Reports highlights from the Regional Board meeting Thursday March 12.  And here's where you can listen to Audio from the meeting.

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Prepare now.  Don't be caught off guard. - March 9, 2020

While last year we thankfully had a break from serious emergencies in the Central Okanagan, as Spring arrives in the region, it’s important to keep preparedness top of mind:  Being prepared to look after your family for at least 72 hours in the event of an emergency is something we all need to do each year, emergency or not.

“This is a good time to dust off your family emergency plan and ensure it’s up to date,” says the Sandra Follack, Central Okanagan’s Emergency Program Coordinator and Kelowna Fire Department Deputy Chief. “It’s also a perfect opportunity to check through your ‘grab and go’ kit to replenish and replace any outdated food, prescriptions, water or other items that you might need should you have to leave your home.”

In the first hours of an emergency, if the risk to public safety is imminent, there may not be much advance notice for an evacuation of an area. First responders may only have minutes to notify residents to gather family and belongings and leave the area as directed. That means having a prepared Emergency Plan and ‘Grab and Go’ kit is even more important because the best time to prepare for an emergency is when there isn’t one!

“For those residents that may not have a plan or kit yet, the upcoming Spring break is a great time to get the family together to create a plan and ‘grab and go kit,” adds Follack.

Residents can find a number of useful links, preparedness information, checklists and videos at cordemergency.ca/beprepared.

Every Central Okanagan resident is encouraged to visit cordemergency.ca and subscribe to receive notification about any emergency directly from the regional emergency operation centre should it be activated. 

Over the coming weeks, the Central Okanagan emergency program social media channels will be providing helpful tips and resources for residents to get prepared. For ongoing emergency information, follow us at Facebook.com/CORDEmergency and on Twitter at @CO_Emerg.

The Regional District of Central Okanagan Emergency Program is coordinated by the Kelowna Fire Department on behalf of the RDCO, the cities of Kelowna and West Kelowna, districts of Lake Country and Peachland and Westbank First Nation.

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Highlights from the Regional Board meeting - February 25, 2020

Here is a link to the Board Reports highlights from the Regional Board meeting Monday evening January 27.  And here's where you can listen to Audio from the meeting.

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Curbside Yard Waste Collection Returns - February 25, 2020

It may feel a little chilly for gardening season just yet, but yard waste collection is back on! Starting Monday, March 2nd all residents receiving curbside garbage/recycling collection will also benefit from yard waste pick up every two weeks until the end of December.

Waste Reduction Facilitator Rae Stewart says, “Now is the time to do a post winter check-up of your yard waste cart. Make sure to take out any materials that don’t belong and may have landed in there by mistake over the winter months - things like plastics, flower pots, garbage, bags of any kind, pet waste, recycling, anything at all that could damage equipment or compromise the composting process.”

Stewart adds all the yard waste collected curbside is composted and given new life as a valuable soil enhancer--so it’s important to keep it free of any plastic, garbage or other matter that could contaminate the end product or damage equipment.  Last year alone the program collected just under 15,000 tonnes of yard waste at the curb and turned it into high quality compost instead of it being buried at the landfill.

You’re reminded to put your yard waste out for collection by 7 am on the morning of your regular garbage day. The following items are accepted in your yard waste cart:

  • Leaves, tree needles
  • Branches, prunings - up to 5 centimetres (2 inches) in diameter & less than one metre (3 feet) in length
  • Wood chips, bark
  • Garden plants
  • Fruit droppings
  • Grass clippings
  • No rocks, sod or soil

Additional 360 litre yard waste carts can be purchased from your municipality. For additional yard waste carts and collection options, contact your municipality or follow the yard waste link at rdco.com/yardwaste .

To determine your yard waste collection week, please refer to the Living Greener Calendar  at rdco.com/recycle or download the Recycle Coach app at rdco.com/recyclecoach. This free app gives you collection schedule info and a “What goes where” search feature in the palm of your hand!

If you are interested in purchasing the finished compost GlenGrow from the Glenmore landfill please visit Okanagancompost.ca or call 250.469.8868.     

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Leap Year Deadline for Saving on Dog Licenses - February 24, 2020

The countdown is on for Central Okanagan dog owners to save on dog license fees for 2020.

This Saturday, February 29th is the last day they can renew or purchase a new license for the rate of $20 for a dog that’s spayed or neutered or $60 if it isn’t.  Starting March 1st, regular annual fees of $40 and $80 apply.

Thousands of dog owners have already saved money by using the convenient and secure online options (rdco.com/dogs) or renewed their pet license using the My Dog Matters App (mydogmatters.ca/MDMApp). 

Renewing online allows dog owners to log in using their account number and access code that’s on the renewal notice mailed to them in early January.  Or they can register for an account by following the instructions to complete the payment transaction. With online access, they can update their contact information and check the status of their license account at any time.  And those who haven’t already can also purchase a new license for their pet online.

The Regional District reminds all dog owners to keep their license up to date as there is zero tolerance and a hefty fine for unlicensed dogs.   Having a valid dog license on your pet’s collar or harness is the quickest way to ensure it gets safely home again should it get away.  Licensing fees also fund 24-7-365 food, care and shelter for dogs in the Regional pound.

Dog owners may also renew their license in person by taking the renewal notice to the Regional District office (1450 KLO Road), the Regional Dog Pound (890 Weddell Place), any local government office or the Kelowna branch of the SPCA.  Please be aware local government office locations will not be open on Saturday.

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

The Regional District of Central Okanagan Dog Control Service supports and encourages dog owners through the Responsible Dog Ownership Bylaw, supports public safety and operates the regional dog pound which provides food, shelter and veterinary care for lost and homeless dogs.

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Join our March 'Take a Hikes'

Our Regional Parks are home to a wide range of animals and plants.  Learn more about these natural neighbours during our Take a Hike events.

Each month, we focus on a new natural theme during these free, guided, two to three hour outings in different regional parks. 

  • Birds: Thursday, March 5 at 10:00 am and Saturday, March 14 at 1:00 pm count the variety of different flying species as we explore the habitat in Kalamoir Regional Park starting from the Collens Hill Road waterfront parking lot.

To save a spot or for more information, please email eeco@rdco.com or phone 250-469-6140.

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Economic Indicators Out for 2019 - February 19, 2020

In an effort to keep the public and business community informed on the economy of the region, The Regional District of Central Okanagan’s Economic Development Commission (COEDC) - the Region’s primary business resource - releases a publically available quarterly Economic Indicators Report highlighting key economic data for the Central Okanagan.

The Q4 Economic Indicators Report includes cumulative statistics for 9 key economic indicators for January to December 2019. The report is publically available in the Resources page in the COEDC website.

The Kelowna CMA saw the second highest population increase in BC at 1.9% as per the latest BC Stats population estimates release, coming only after Chilliwack’s 2.5% population increase.

2019 saw the lowest unemployment rate for the Central Okanagan in the last 20+ years, with a 4.0% unemployment rate for the year, along with an increase of 2.5% in labour force participants. The Central Okanagan experienced a 7.0% increase in job postings from last year with a total of 24,508 jobs posted in 2019. The Central Okanagan’s employers with most job postings included Interior Health, UBC Okanagan, Walmart, Okanagan College and KF Aerospace.

On the business side, the region saw an increase of 5.5% in business licenses (13,882 in total) for 2019, with West Kelowna (21.6%) and Lake Country (20.7%) leading the way in business license growth in the Central Okanagan.

Highlights reported by the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation saw housing starts in the region experience a decrease of 12.9% with focus remaining on multi-family units. A total of 381 row homes (town homes) were built in 2019, which is the highest number of row homes started in any year in the Central Okanagan.

Note the Commission collects the third party statistical data for the indicators from BC Stats, Statistics Canada, CMHC, and local governments in the Central Okanagan. Caution should be used in the interpretation of month-to-month statistics, in particular the Labour Force Survey, a monthly sample survey which provides unemployment rates of the Canadian labour market.

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Register for Spring 'Tracks' - February 18, 2020

Registration is now underway, for our free spring ‘Tracks Walking Clubs’.  This beginner graduated walking program offers a choice of location on either side of Okanagan Lake: 

  • Each Tuesday morning at 9:00 from April 7 through June 9, we travel in and around the Gellatly Nut Farm Regional Park off Whitworth Road in West Kelowna.

People at a beginner fitness level are encouraged to take part and with each outing, gradually increase their health, stamina and walking duration.  There’s no cost to sign up and members receive support and motivation to keep them moving in nature! 

To register, please drop in to the Environmental Education Centre for the Okanagan in Mission Creek Regional Park  at Springfield and Durnin Roads or email eeco@rdco.com or phone 250-469-6140.

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Comments Invited on RDCO 2020-2024 Financial Plan - February 14, 2020

The Regional District of Central Okanagan is preparing its 2020 – 2024 Financial Plan and there are several opportunities for residents to share their comments on the fiscal priorities outlined in the budget.

Unlike municipalities, the regional district does not have one tax rate.  The RDCO has more than 80 individual services provided and paid for by different combinations of taxpayers across the Central Okanagan.  Each service budget is separate and all assets, revenues, expenses, reserves, surpluses or deficits remain within the service.   Backgrounder about the RDCO

The Regional Board determines how local services will be financed and has outlined its Strategic Priorities, providing staff direction on implementing this vision. Focus areas for the Board include:

  • Transportation and Mobility
  • Sustainable Communities
  • Economic Development
  • Environment

Residents are invited to attend these public budget meetings at 8:30 am on Thursday, February 20 and Thursday, March 12 in the Woodhaven Boardroom at the RDCO office, 1450 KLO Road in Kelowna. Staff presentations will be made and there will be opportunities during each meeting for residents to comment. 

For those unable to attend, Financial Plan information will be available and feedback may be provided online at rdco.com/budgets.

The Regional Board will give final consideration and adopt the 2020 – 2024 Financial Plan at its public meeting Monday, March 23 at 7:00 pm. 

For more information please visit rdco.com/budgets or contact the RDCO Finance Services staff by phone at 250-763-4918 or email at finance@rdco.com.

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Highlights from the Regional Board meeting - February 13, 2020

Here is a link to the Board Reports highlights from the Regional Board meeting Monday evening January 27.  And here's where you can listen to Audio from the meeting.

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Climate Projections Report Completed for the Okanagan - February 11, 2020

Climate change is challenging our ecosystems, communities, and our economy. Wildfires, flooding, and drought have already tested local infrastructure, caused economic losses, and posed health risks to communities. This is why the Regional Districts of the North, Central and Okanagan-Similkameen have partnered with the Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium and Pinna Sustainability and developed a Climate Projections report for the region. 

This report is intended to support a local understanding of how our climate is projected to change and inform regional planning on how to prepare for future climate events. In particular, climate projections for both the 2050s and the 2080s have been identified. Findings indicate that the Okanagan can expect significant changes to climate in the coming decades, including:

  • Warmer temperatures year-round;
  • Summers will be considerably hotter;
  • Increased duration of growing season;
  • Warmer winter temperatures;
  • Increased precipitation across all seasons except summer;
  • Summer is expected to remain the driest season, and become drier; and
  • We can expect shifting seasons.

RDCO Chair Gail Given adds, “We’ve all seen the impact climate change is having on our environment and economy. The Climate Projections Report lays the groundwork for everyone to respond and act in a meaningful way to help mitigate the potential challenges in the years ahead.”

The Climate Projections report can be accessed on the RDCO website

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Register for Spring Break Nature Camps - February 10, 2020

Registration is underway for this year’s Nature Detectives Spring Break Camps at the Environmental Education Centre for the Okanagan in Mission Creek Regional Park (Springfield and Durnin Roads). 

Indoor and outdoor activities for children age five to seven will run from 9:00 am to 12 noon, March 16 to 20 and again March 23 through 27.    

Each morning our camp friends will explore nature through play, crafts, games and stories and will discover park trails and ponds that will bring out their inner naturalist.

The cost is $125 per youngster for each five morning camp session. 

Learn more about the spring break camps at rdco.com/parksevents or register by contacting the EECO at 250-469-6140, email eeco@rdco.com or drop in at 2363A Springfield Road in Mission Creek Regional Park.

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Your Regional Parks Await - February 3, 2020

The invitation’s always open:  dress for the weather, get outside and experience your Central Okanagan regional parks.

Regional Parks staff has a great line up of activities, events and programs for every member of the family to enjoy.  See what’s planned in the new Winter-Spring edition of Your Guide to Regional Parks.

A new digital version is already available for downloading and printing online. If you’d rather a printed copy, pick one up at the EECO in Mission Creek Regional Park and at the Regional District office (1450 KLO Road) in Kelowna.  Copies are also on hand at other local government offices and visitor information centres. 

Join in our free Take a Hike sessions as we explore a new nature theme each month in a different regional park.  Or save a space for your family in our guided Wild Walks program and with the help of an interpreter see our regional parks through a new set of eyes!

Everything you need to know including our handy calendar of events and Pick a Park map can be found in the guide. While most of our programs are offered at no cost, people are encouraged to pre-register at 250-469-6140 or email eeco@rdco.com.

And it’s not too early for parents to start thinking about spring break for children age five to seven.  Registration is underway for this year’s five day, morning Nature Detectives Camps. Indoor and outdoor activities will run from 9:00 am to 12 noon, March 16 to 20 and March 23 through 27. 

During the winter months, please make sure you’re properly prepared for the conditions with appropriate clothing (layers), sturdy shoes, poles and traction or anti-slip devices.    So don a toque, gloves and boots and celebrate the winter season in our regional parks!

Learn more about the Regional District’s 30 regional and 20 community parks protecting over 2,100 hectares for the enjoyment of all Central Okanagan residents by visiting rdco.com/pickapark.

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Burn Cleaner - Save and Make Your Woodpile Last Longer - February 3, 2020

If you’re using an old wood burning appliance, consider recycling it with a new, cleaner burning one.

And if you make the switch, the Regional District of Central Okanagan Air Quality Program and Provincial Government will put some money back in your pocket!

You can receive a $400 rebate for replacing an uncertified wood stove with a cleaner appliance such as a new pellet stove, an electric heat pump or a gas or propane stove. There’s also a $250 rebate available for those replacing and recycling their old wood burning appliance with a new EPA/CSA B415.1 certified wood replacement.   

There are six participating Central Okanagan retailers that will recycle your old stove and handle all the necessary paperwork for the applicable rebate.

“Last year in the Central Okanagan, 15 old burners were replaced and recycled, with $4,800 in total rebates provided,” says Nancy Mora Castro, Regional Air Quality Coordinator. “However, there are still many old wood burners out there, with an estimated 11,000 uncertified appliances still used in the region and negatively impacting our air quality.”

Newer, cleaner burning technology appliances reduce smoke polluting emissions by up to 90% and use less wood, as they burn much more efficiently.

Additional incentives may be available, so be sure to check with your local retailer or Fortis BC for more information. To take part in the program, visit one of the participating Central Okanagan retailers or contact the Regional Air Quality Program for more information at airquality@kelowna.ca or 250-469-8408

Useful information and videos on how to burn smarter and get the most from your wood heating appliance can be found at rdco.com/airquality.  The RDCO Air Quality Program helps protect and improve the region’s air through education, awareness, and pollution prevention programs.

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Highlights from the Regional Board Meeting - January 29, 2019

Here is a link to the Board Reports highlights from the Regional Board meeting Monday evening January 27.  And here's where you can listen to Audio from the meeting.

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Highlights from the Regional Board Meeting - January 16, 2019

Here is a link to the Board Reports highlights from the Regional Board meeting Thursday morning January 16.  And here's where you can listen to Audio from the meeting.

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Open Burning Changes with new Provincial Regulations - September 23, 2019

Starting October, 1st, open burning will be allowed for those eligible property owners with permits from their local fire department.

As in the past, fire departments in the Central Okanagan will issue permits to those who qualify and meet the requirements of local fire protection bylaws.  If necessary each department enforces its own bylaw regulations.

However, as of September 15th, with the introduction of the Provincial Open Burning Smoke Control Regulations by the BC Ministry of Environment, before lighting any fire, anyone with a permit issued by their local fire department is also required to separately ensure compliance with those new regulations.

The new BC regulations divide the province into zones:  the Central Okanagan is within the High Sensitivity Zone which means many new requirements must be met including new setbacks near neighbouring properties, hospitals, schools and health care facilities. As well, they must make efforts to reduce the amount of vegetative debris to be burned through alternative methods (reducing, reusing or recycling).  The BC Ministry of Environment has detailed information available on its website to assist any property owner to comply with its regulations.  Property owners should contact the Ministry if they have questions about the Open Burning and Smoke Control Regulations.

Burning permits issued under Central Okanagan bylaws are available from local fire departments.*  Those eligible to burn within the four Central Okanagan East or Central Okanagan West electoral area fire protection areas (Ellison, Joe Rich, North Westside, Wilson’s Landing) may call the Regional District at 250-469-6223  to obtain a permit.  (Long Distance Collect Calls are accepted weekdays only between 8:00 am and 4:00 pm, excluding holidays).  Residents with questions about the burn permit process in the Central Okanagan should contact their local fire jurisdiction.

Property owners with a valid permit from their local fire service and meeting all of the Provincial Open Burning Smoke Control Regulation must call the toll-free Outdoor Burning Hotline:  1-855-262-2876 (BURN) before lighting any fire to determine if open burning is allowed on a particular day.  In order for burning to take place, both the Venting and Air Quality conditions must be good.  This information will also be available each day after 8:00 am at rdco.com/airquality.

Under the Regional District Smoke Control Bylaw, 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 Central Okanagan West Electoral Areas or under the bylaws of the District of Peachland.  Yard waste such as leaves, pine needles, grass clippings, weeds and other garden waste are not allowed to be burned.

Violators of local bylaws could receive a fine or be charged with the cost of putting out the fire by their fire service.  Residents are encouraged to report anyone violating local bylaws by burning on a non-burning day by calling the Regional Fire Dispatch Center at 250-469-8577.  Potential violations of the Provincial regulations should be reported to the BC RAPP line (1-877-952-7277).

Under Regional District and local fire bylaws permitted open burning must be complete on April 30th although the date may be adjusted depending on the local fire hazard.  Central Okanagan residents should check with their local fire jurisdiction regarding regulations and restrictions on campfires, chimineas and other outdoor wood burning devices.  Campfires are not allowed in the City of Kelowna.

* Fire Department Jurisdictions for Permits

  • Central Okanagan East or Central Okanagan West Electoral Areas 
    (Residents of Ellison, Joe Rich, Wilson’s Landing, North Westside fire departments):
    • Call the Regional District 250-469-6223 weekdays only 8:00 am – 4:00 pm excluding holidays
      • Note:  North Westside residents may call ‘Collect’
  • City of Kelowna residents - Kelowna Fire Department  250-469-8801
  • District of Lake Country residents - Lake Country Fire Department  250-766-2327
  • District of Peachland residents - Peachland Fire Rescue Service  250-767-2841
    • Weekdays only 8:00 am – 4:00 pm excluding holidays
  • City of West Kelowna residents – West Kelowna Fire/Rescue  778-797-3200
    • All burning permits are issued from Lakeview Station 32, 2708 Olalla Road

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Open Burning Alternatives and Best Practises - September 23, 2019

With open burning season set to resume in the Central Okanagan October 1st, the Regional Air Quality program encourages all residents to consider cleaner air alternatives.

Coordinator Nancy Mora Castro says many options exist that don’t require outdoor burning. 

  • Starting this year the bi-weekly curbside yard waste collection program runs an extra month through December.  Please only place leaves, grass, pine needles and small pruning’s inside the yard waste cart with the green lid closed. 
  • The yard waste drop off program is available at the Glenmore landfill and Westside Residential Waste Disposal and Recycling Centre (Asquith Road in West Kelowna). Fees apply.  When transporting loads for disposal, please make sure they are covered.
  • Mow-Chip Rent-it Rebate program - Qualifying participants must have a property one hectare or greater in size with a small volume of wood for fuel reduction and/or agricultural activities that can’t be served through the regular Agricultural Chipping Program. The Regional Air Quality Program provides up to 80% of the cost of renting mow/chip equipment or services up to a $500 maximum. Visit the Mow-Chip Rent-it program for more information and an online application. Depending on your needs, you can hire a contractor or rent your own machine. Search online (wood chipping, stump grinding, tree service, machine rentals, etc.) to find a company that suits your needs.
  • Air Curtain Burning uses forced air to burn wood faster and with less smoke. Contact your local Fire Department to learn more about forced air incineration options for agricultural or land clearing wood waste
  • A number of private companies offer wood chipping and grinding services or rent portable chippers.  Some may also pick up yard waste for disposal.

She says “If a property owner cannot use any of these alternatives and they have a permit to burn under local bylaws from their fire department and they meet the new BC Environment Open Burning Smoke Control Regulations they should follow the Best Practices for open burning” including:

  • On days when conditions allow for open burning, light fires after 10:00 am when venting conditions are usually more favourable;
  • Pruning’s, branches and stumps 10 centimetres diameter or greater should be dried for a minimum of two years or have a moisture content less than 30%;
  • Smaller piles (3 metres wide x 3 metres long and 2 metres high) allow better control of fires and help reach proper dryness.

There are alternatives to open burning for agricultural producers in the Central Okanagan.  The Regional Air Quality Program is working with farmers to encourage use of the Agricultural Chipping Program.   The program offers a Best Management Practices handbook to help farmers.  Agricultural producers who wish to participate in the free chipping program should register online preferably one year in advance due to high demand and limited annual budget or contact the Regional Air Quality Coordinator at 250-469-8408 or email airquality@kelowna.ca if they have any questions.

A reminder that under the Regional District Smoke Control Bylaw, 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.  Yard waste such as leaves, pine needles, grass clippings, weeds and other garden waste are not allowed to be burned.

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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@rdco.com
Hours: Monday – Friday 8:00 am – 4:00 pm (Closed Holidays)