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.
Land use in the Joe Rich area is regulated by the Joe Rich Rural Land Use Bylaw and the remainder of the Electoral Area is regulated by the RDCO Zoning Bylaw, which is supplemented by the South Slopes Official Community Plan and Ellison Official Community Plan.
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: Mark Bartyik - email
Local Services and Estimated Tax Requisition and Rates (2018 Financial Plan)
2018 Economic Profile - Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission
Electoral Area Community Parks:
Electoral Area News
2018-2019 Regional District Board (November 8th Statutory Inaugural Regional Board meeting)
At the Inaugural Statutory meeting of the Regional District Board, the Oath of Office was administered and signed by all Directors. Kelowna Councillor Gail Given was acclaimed as Chair and will serve for a fifth year. West Kelowna Mayor Gord Milsom was also acclaimed as Vice-Chair. The Regional District Board consists of 13 voting members representing the Central Okanagan East and Central Okanagan West Electoral Areas, the City of Kelowna, District of Lake Country, District of Peachland and the City of West Kelowna. The Westbank First Nation is represented with a non-voting member. Board Information
Cannabis Sale and Production (October 1st Regional Board meeting)
The Regional Board has given second and third readings to bylaw amendments that will prohibit the retail sale of cannabis as well as regulate cannabis 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. Final approval and consideration by the Regional Board will take place following approval of the amendments from the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure
Tourist Accomodation Zoning Changes
The Regional Board has given second and third readings to Zoning Bylaw amendments in order to minimize the likelihood that short term accommodations will be used as full-time permanent residences. This issue has been a concern in the electoral areas, as developments that have been approved for short term accommodation, have limited services and are intended for seasonal recreational use, not as permanent residences. Final consideration of the bylaw amendments will take place once approval has been received from the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.
Recycle BC Contract (September 24th Regional Boad meeting)
The Regional Board has approved a new five year agreement with Recycle BC. The agreement ensures the Regional District and member municipalities continue to receive financial incentives provided by Recycle BC while maintaining the existing service levels for automated curbside and depot recycling and recycling education in the region.
Regional Board Remuneration Bylaw Adopted
The Regional Board has adopted a new Remuneration Bylaw. The most significant change deals with offsetting the elimination of the one-third non-taxable allowance for elected officials effective January 1st, 2019 by Revenue Canada. As well, starting in January income taxes and Canada Pension Plan premiums will be payable on the full remuneration of Directors. The bylaw sees a one-time 14.25% increase on the entire remuneration amount to cover the increased tax and CPP changes. Including the annual Consumer Price Index adjustment the annual estimated remuneration for the Chair will be $47,671.39; for electoral area Directors $23,176.08 and $18,540.93 for municipal Directors.
Festival Application Not Supported
The Regional Board does not support a non-farm use application made by the proponents of the Volim Valley Lifestyle Festival. As with the original application made in the summer of 2017, the Board remains concerned there are too many unresolved safety concerns identified by a variety of different agencies to support the proposed festival planned for August 31st and September 1st 2019 at Heartland Ranch on Highway 33 East. The Board directed staff not to send the application to the Agricultural Land Commission for its consideration.
Secondary Suite Application
The Regional Board has given first reading to a zoning bylaw amendment application to allow a secondary suite at 5731 Anderson Road. The applicant wishes to construct a secondary suite in the basement of the residence which is on an agricultural parcel. The application will be scheduled and advertised for a Public Hearing, once a business license is obtained for a kennel business that is operating on the property.
In Camera Rise and Report
The Regional Board rose from an in-camera session to report a resolution approved on July 19th. The Board directed staff to begin or continue preparation of a bylaw to amend current C8 zoning regulations to remove Tourist Cabins and Tourist Lodges from the permitted uses, amend the definition of Recreational Vehicle in the zoning bylaw to provide that park model trailer is not a permitted form of recreational vehicle and include a definition of park model trailer in the zoning bylaw. As well, the resolution stated that the Board considers an application for Tourist Cabin or Tourist Lodge or Tourist Campsite on which a park model trailer will be located will be in conflict with the proposed zoning amendment bylaw and that staff be directed to withhold any building permit application for a Tourist Cabin, Tourist Lodge or Tourist Campsite for a Park Model Trailer for a 30 day period or less in the event of any further Board resolution.
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.