Welcome to the website for Area F of the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen (RDOS)

The practical objective of this site is to increase two-way communication between you and your local government. Although the RDOS has a fully-functional website, this site is meant to be less formal and, as a consequence, more timely.  See the Area 'F' page on the official RDOS website.

What does a hectare look like?

I have had some questions about the "one hectare rule", which was enacted sometime around 2010 at the insistence of the Province of BC. The rationale behind the rule was an increase in septic system failures in residential neighborhoods.  The problem is especially dangerous/expensive for properties located near lakes and other sources of drinking water.  We face a slightly different problem on the West Bench: silty and unstable soils.  Indeed, we just about lost a front end loader in a sinkhole while doing work in Mariposa Park.

 At bottom, the rule means that the minimum parcel sizes specified in the zoning bylaws are subject to "servicing requirements" (basically sewer and adequate water).  Lots without sewer require a septic system and the minimum parcel size for a conventional septic system is now 1 Ha (or about 2.5 acres).

West Bench metered water rates

A study of potential approaches to metered water pricing was provided at the September 15th RDOS Environment and Infrastructure Committee meeting.  I extracted pages from my own marked-up copy of the board report:

West Bench water rate structure review

The consultant recommends a 30% variable + 70% fixed rate with a farm rate.  Public information sessions will be held on this issue in early November.  Standby for more information.


UBCM update

I attended the last half of the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) conference in Victoria last week.  I did not attend on Monday and Tuesday because I had to work.

I mostly attend UBCM for the ministerial meetings and talk to people in an informal setting.  My own priorities for ministerial meetings were:


Husula petition results

I received the following message from RDOS staff regarding the results of the Husula natural gas petition:

The petition for the Husula Highlands Natural Gas service did not receive the required number of responses by 3:00 pm yesterday.  30 properties of the 68 eligible properties returned the petition.  We needed 35.  (Interestingly, 42 properties expressed interest on the initial petition.)


As noted previously, the dominant views on this issue seems to be indifference.  Some are strongly in favor, some are strongly opposed, but most are busy with other things.

Lastest on asphalt plant

Notice went out recently to residents adjacent to the Peter Bros. asphalt plant regarding a second processing unit.  This has caused some concern on the West Bench so an update is in order:

Bottom line: Peter Bros. has withdrawn their temporary use permit (TUP) application for the second plant and has decided instead to locate the plant on PIB lands (see notice on main RDOS site).  This decision effectively ends the RDOS's involvement in the issue this time around.  RDOS bylaws do not apply to First Nations lands.

Motocross in Meadow Valley

The RDOS has received numerous complaints about the construction of a motocross track on Agricultural Land Reserve farmland in Meadow Valley.

The RDOS generally has very limited control over what people do on their own land.  However, there are two existing bylaws that are relevant in this situation and a new bylaw that will be relevant in the future:


Provincal intervention in school closure decision

James Miller from the Herald asked my option the the province's intervention in the school closure decision.  My response is below.  Representatives from the RDOS will meet with the province at UBCM in order to make the case that school closure decisions should be made on a wider basis.

This whole episode shows the messy division of labor between school boards and local government.  Both Trout Creek and West Bench are transitioning from true rural to suburban status--less agriculture, more homes.  However, this transition process has been slowed considerably in the last few years by economic stagnation.  We have been left with a large gap between the potential growth of these neighborhoods and their actual growth.  This in turn has led to conflict in the mandates of the Board of Education and local governments.

May 2016: Meeting with School District 67 Regarding West Bench School

First of all, today is my 49th birthday.  Let's hope a year from now I am doing something more exotic and entertaining than meeting with representatives from School District 67 explaining our subsidy proposal...

The meeting included myself (representing RDOS Area F), RDOS CAO Bill Newell, Board of Education Chair Linda Van Alphen, Superintendent Wendy Hyer, Secretary-Treasurer Bonnie Roller-Routley, and Dick Knorr, standing in for MLA Dan Ashton who is in Victoria. The purpose of the meeting was to address any questions or concerns SD67 might have about the proposed subsidy for West Bench Elementary School.

The meeting went about as well as expected: The group from SD67 does not like the proposal. It does not solve their underlying problem.  But before we get too agitated about the outcome, it is worth a moment to ask (in the interest of balance): What is their underlying problem?