This electoral area encompasses the mostly rural, unincorporated area on the east side of Okanagan Lake, outside the municipal boundaries of the City of Kelowna and District of Lake Country. (Map)
There are a number of communities within the Electoral Area including Ellison, Joe Rich and neighbourhoods along the south end of Lakeshore Road and June Springs.
Throughout the Electoral Area, the RDCO Zoning Bylaw applies and is supplemented by the South Slopes Official Community Plan, Ellison Official Community Plan and Joe Rich Rural Land Use Bylaw.
There are also two Fire Protection Areas with paid on call fire services provided by the Ellison Fire Department and Joe Rich Fire Rescue Department.
Electoral Area News
Area Size: 127,109 hectares
Population: 3,824 (2016 Census)
Electoral Area Director: Patty Hanson
Local Services and Estimated Tax Requisition and Rates (2018 Financial Plan)
Electoral Area Community Parks:
Electoral Area News
Westbank First Nation Flag Presented (August 27th Regional Board meeting)
The Westbank First Nation flag is now proudly displayed in the Woodhaven Boardroom at the Regional District office. It was presented by WFN Councillor and RDCO Director Tom Konek after a unanimous invitation from the Regional Board. Chair Gail Given says this initiative is a commitment to further strengthen the special relationship and friendship with Westbank First Nation
Programs and Services Highlights
The Regional Board watched a video update highlighting various service and program accomplishments during the first six months of the year. The video can be viewed on the RDCO YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/regionaldistrict
Cannabis Sales and Production
The Regional Board has given first reading to bylaw amendments prohibiting the retail sale of cannabis as well as regulating production on agricultural land within the two electoral areas. As with similar actions by other local governments, the proposed amendments to the Zoning Bylaw and Joe Rich Rural Land Use Bylaw are proactive measures being taken ahead of the federal legalization on October 17th and would be subject to further review of cannabis for regulations related to retail sales. A Public Hearing will be scheduled and advertised for the amendments to the bylaws
Clarifications for Tourist Accomodation
The Regional Board has given first reading to amendments to the Zoning Bylaw to minimize the likelihood that short term accommodations will be used as full-time permanent residences. This issue has been raised as a concern in the electoral areas, as developments approved for short term accommodation, have limited services and are intended for seasonal recreational use, not as a permanent residence. A Public Hearing will be scheduled and advertised. The Board has also asked staff to review the Joe Rich Rural Land Use Bylaw to determine whether it should also be amended and similar regulations considered
Elimination of Non-Taxable Allowances (June 14th Regional Board Meeting)
The Regional Board has received a report from staff in light of the elimination of the non-taxable allowance for work expenses of Board Directors. The Federal budget and Bill C44 will cut the exemption effective January 1st, 2019, and see income taxes and Canada Pension Plan premiums payable on the full remuneration of Directors resulting in a significant net reduction in Board members pay. Prior to October, staff will bring forward amendments to the Directors Remuneration and Expenses Bylaw proposing a one-time 14.25% increase on the entire remuneration amount to cover the increased tax and CPP changes. This would see an increase of just over $2,300 for municipal Directors; $2,890 for electoral area Directors and $5,945 for the Board Chair. Including the annual Consumer Price Index adjustment the annual remuneration for the Chair would be $47,671.39, for electoral area Directors $23,176.08 and $18,540.93 for municipal Directors.
Gonzo Music Festival Approved (May 28th Regional Board Meeting)
The Regional Board has given conditional approval for a Temporary Use Permit to allow a music festival next month at Sunset Ranch Golf Course. The Gonzo Music Festival is expected to attract up to 1,200 people on Friday, June 15th from 5:00 – 10:30pm. Among the conditions for Board approval: the applicant is required to obtain necessary permits from the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch, RCMP and that all parking be contained on the golf course site.
Non-farm Use ALR Application Supported
The Regional Board has given conditional support to an application made to the Agricultural Land Commission for a non-farm use within the Agricultural Land Reserve. Eldorado Ranch Ltd. has applied to the Commission for a non-farm use on a 4.7-hectare portion of a 22.3-hectare parcel at 5932 Old Vernon Road. If approved, Kangaroo Creek Farm would move to the site from Lake Country. The Board asks that if approved, the Commission ensure measures are taken to minimize negative impacts of compaction and fragmentation of agricultural land, protection of Environmentally Sensitive Areas and that necessary permits be obtained from the Regional District.
Ellison Area Transit Service Expansion - (May10th Regional Board Meeting)
The Regional Board has approved moving forward in the process to expand transit service to the Ellison area. The majority of respondents to recent online and public meeting opportunities supported adding two new peak time transit trips starting in September 2019 with the local share of the cost estimated at approximately $23.11 a year for the average property owner within the service area. The area currently receives limited service as a deviation of the 23 Lake Country route with one trip in each direction Monday through Saturday.
Firefighters' Donations for Fire Truck (May 9, 2018)
It’s not often people put their money up to support what they believe in, but firefighters in Joe Rich have done just that.
Members of the paid-on-call department have voted in favour of donating funds to the Regional District to purchase a 1996 fire engine that was being sold by the City of Kelowna.
Joe Rich fire department members contribute three per cent of their wages to a special fund which is used for equipment and other purchases determined by a majority vote of the members. Recently, the membership voted to donate some of this money towards the purchase of the Kelowna fire truck.
The Chief of the Joe Rich department says “We have a small tax base, and large purchases like trucks put a strain on the department budget and ultimately the taxpayer. It’s not uncommon for smaller fire departments to seek value in purchasing used vehicles.” View Complete News Release
2018-2022 Financial Plan Adopted (March 26 Regional Board Meeting)
The Regional Board has adopted its 2018 - 2022 Financial Plan bylaw which brings a decrease in the Regional District portion of the tax bills for many average property owners. The 2018 operating budget totals just over $65.96-million which includes $30.7-million for operations, $5.7-million to reserves for future capital projects and $29.5-million in Municipal Finance Authority debt payments including $26.5-million on behalf of member municipalities. This year $15.2-million will be spent on important capital and infrastructure projects.
For the average property owner in Central Okanagan East, total taxes for the 28 general services provided by the Regional District throughout the Electoral Area will be $474.92. Thats a decrease of $1.53 from 2017. It's important to note that taxes can vary further depending on whether a property receives additional services from the Regional District, such as fire protection (Ellison/Joe Rich) or participation in a community hall (Ellison/ Joe Rich).
Conditional Support for ALC Application (February 26 Regional Board Meeting)
The Regional Board has given conditional support to an application made to the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) for approval of a non-farm use on an Ellison-area property. The applicant is asking the ALC to allow infilling of a ravine on the 3.7-hectare parcel at 2624 Lakha Road so that the existing agricultural operation can be expanded. The Regional Board asks that if the ALC approves the application, that the applicant meets several conditions including an evaluation of possible drainage impacts on adjacent properties, a no building covenant is registered on title and that earthworks are satisfactory to the Black Mountain Irrigation District.
Electoral Area Director Convention Approval (February 8th Regional Board meeting)
The Regional Board has approved Central Okanagan West Director Wayne Carson’s attendance, registration and travel expenses for the Southern Interior Local Government Association (SILGA), Federation of Canadian Municipalities and Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) conventions. The Board has also approved Central Okanagan East Alternate Director Mark Bartyik’s attendance, registration and travel costs for the SILGA and UBCM conventions.