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 - 250-808-3715
Local Services and Estimated Tax Requisition and Rates (2019 Financial Plan)
2018 Economic Profile - Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission
Electoral Area Community Parks:
Electoral Area News
Proposed Water Rate Updates (May 9th Regional Board meeting)
The Regional Board has given first reading (May 9th) to bylaws that propose increases in water rates for customers of the six water utilities operated by the regional district. The last water rate adjustments took place in January 2016 and if the new rates are approved, changes in both the User Fees and Asset Renewal Fees would take place on July 1st this year and in January 2020, 2021 and 2022. Customers will be informed of the rate adjustments over the next month before the Regional Board considers final approval of the new rate schedules in June. The Regional District operates the Killiney Beach, Westshore Estates, Sunset Ranch, Falcon Ridge, Upper Fintry and Star Place water systems with just over 1,000 connections.
Secondary Suites Bylaw Amendments
The Regional Board has given first readings to bylaws amending secondary suite regulations and permitted zoning designations for both the RDCO Zoning Bylaw No. 871 and the Joe Rich Rural Land Use Bylaw No. 1195. The amendments would clarify secondary suite regulations and strengthen servicing requirements while continuing with the current process of the Board considering individual secondary suite applications. The Board approved a motion for a moratorium on secondary suite rezoning applications until the bylaw amendment process is completed. A Public Hearing will be scheduled and advertised for these proposed bylaw changes.
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Music Festival Temporary Use Permit (April 29th Board Meeting)
The Regional Board has given conditional approval for a Temporary Use Permit to allow the Gonzo Music Festival at Sunset Ranch Golf Course. This is the second year for the event which is expected to attract 1,000 people. It will be held on Friday, June 14th from 3:30 – 10:30 pm. Among the conditions for Board approval: the applicant is required to obtain necessary permits from the Liquor and Cannabis Licensing Branch, RCMP and Interior Health and that all parking be contained on site.
FrontCounter BC Referral Applications
The Regional Board has given conditional support for two applications made to FrontCounter BC from the Recreation Sites and Trails Branch of the Ministry of Forests.
The first application proposes to maintain and legally designate Crown land as a recreation site or trail for existing facilities at the Dog House Cabin Recreation Site and Priest Creek Cabin Recreation Site in the vicinity of Myra-Bellevue Provincial Park, east of Kelowna on the McCulloch Snowmobile Trails.
The second application proposes to formally designate an approximately 4.2-hectare recreation site and amenities at the Greystokes Staging Area that have been developed in partnership with the Kelowna Snowmobile Club.
Each application would bring current site uses into compliance with Provincial regulations.
Program Highlights for January through March
A video is available highlighting various service and program accomplishments during the first three months of the year. The video can be viewed on the RDCO YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/regionaldistrict.
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2019 - 2023 Financial Plan Adopted (March 25th Regional Board Meeting)
The Regional Board has adopted its 2019 - 2023 Financial Plan bylaw. The 2019 operating budget totals just over $58.92-million which includes $18.8-million in Municipal Finance Authority debt payments including $18.5-million on behalf of member municipalities. This year $9.5-million will be spent on important capital and infrastructure projects including $1.9-million for flood recovery work in several regional parks. The details may be viewed online at: www.regionaldistrict.com/budgets.
The Regional District is 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 an average tax impact of $508.33 for property owners in the Central Okanagan East Electoral Area. The general service tax increases would have been higher if it hadn’t been for a successful appeal by the regional district to the Okanagan Regional Library which agreed to use more accurate population statistics in its funding allocation formula, further reducing the average household’s proposed tax increase. Large reductions in requisitions for Electoral Area Planning and Electoral Area Expenses have partially offset increases for Electoral Area Fire Prevention, Building Inspection, General Bylaw Enforcement 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.
Regional Hospital District Budget Approved
The Central Okanagan Regional Hospital District Board has adopted its 2019 – 2023 Financial Plan. For the third straight year, there is no increase for the average homeowner and no increases are anticipated for the next five years. The average residential home assessed at $739,000 will pay $183.02 towards capital improvements and new health equipment in the Central Okanagan. The 2019 budget includes $11.39-million for health-related capital project funding.
Community Works Fund Approval
The Regional Board has approved the use of Gas Tax Community Works Funds for six new projects in the electoral areas this year. In the Central Okanagan East Electoral Area, $72,500 will be used to fund three upgrades to the Ellison Heritage Community Hall, $32,000 for asset management improvements to the Joe Rich Community Hall and $15,000 for fire hydrants in the Falcon Ridge water system.
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Development Variance Permit (February 25th Regional Board meeting)
The Regional Board has approved a Development Variance Permit for a property in the third phase of the Sunset Ranch development. The permit allows an increase in the maximum height of five engineer-designed and certified retaining walls constructed on the property adjacent to Seminole Road and Riviera Drive.
New Community Parks Bylaw (February 14th Regional Board meeting)
The Regional Board has adopted a new bylaw regulating Community Parks in the two electoral areas. The bylaw replaces the previous one that was last amended in 2006 and reflects changes in the parks system. The new bylaw increases the evening hours that the 20 smaller community parks will be open year-round. It also updates the no smoking restrictions to prohibit vaping and gatherings of 25 or more people will require a permit. As with the recently adopted Regional Parks bylaw, the Parks Director has the authority to issue permits for First Nations ceremonial, cultural and social purposes in RDCO Community Parks.
Secondary Suite Zoning Adopted
The Regional Board has adopted a zoning amendment bylaw to allow a secondary suite in the basement of a residence on an agricultural property at 5731 Anderson Road.
Electoral Area Directors 2019 Conventions
The Regional Board approved the attendance and expenses of Directors Mark Bartyik and Wayne Carson for the Southern Interior Local Government Association, Union of BC Municipalities and Federation of Canadian Municipalities conventions.
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Secondary Suite Regulations (January 10th Regional Board meeting)
The Regional Board has directed staff to move forward with a technical stakeholder review and to prepare bylaws for a proposed secondary suite policy application approval process. That would make the Regional District consistent with other Okanagan local governments. Last year, a public survey was conducted for electoral area property owners on the potential changes which include permitting secondary suites in specific zones by policy rather than a formal zoning bylaw amendment process that requires Board approval. As well, the requirement for connecting breezeways would be eliminated and a one-hectare minimum lot size would be implemented to address existing and future servicing requirements. The Board has asked for additional information on how the proposed changes could impact rentals, septic and other site servicing requirements and that following the technical review, the proposed changes will be presented for consideration by the Governance and Services Committee.
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Development Variance Permit (December 10th Regional Board meeting)
The Regional Board has approved a Development Variance Permit for the Ranch Park Mobile Home Park at 3591 Old Vernon Road. The applicant proposes adding two manufactured homes at the rear of the property in an area that is currently used to store RV’s requiring a variance on the rear setback to the neighbouring properties.
Rock Quarry Expansion Referral Application (December 10th Regional Board meeting)
The Regional Board has given conditional support to an application to expand an existing quarry operation along Chute Lake Road in the Central Okanagan East Electoral Area. The application from Firestorm Quarries Limited was made to the Provincial Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources ministry and referred to the Regional Board for comment. The applicant would like to expand the present quarry operation by approximately 3.65-hectares. The Board says if the permit is approved, the applicant should be required to meet a number of conditions including reviewing potential impacts on the environment, infrastructure, and drainage.
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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
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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
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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).
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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.
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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.
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