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:

Neighborhoods: 

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?

Does the West Bench Elementary Subsidy Proposal lead to Two Tiers?

School District 53 “flatly rejected" a proposal from the Town of Osoyoos to help subsidize Osoyoos Secondary School.  The Osoyoos proposal was similar to the West Bench proposal in that local government offered to use local tax dollars to keep a school open.  SD53 provided the following rationale in its letter to Mayor Sue McKortoff rejecting the town’s offer,

The proposal you have made is not consistent with the spirit and intent of the School Act funding provisions which are aimed at providing equal access to educational programs for all […] Students in communities with the ability and willingness to contribute monies in addition to assessed school taxes would gain significant advantages over students in communities which could not provide these funds.

In praise of roosters

I received the following defense of roosters.  This is in regards to proposed changes to the "keeping livestock" bylaws for rural residential neighborhoods.
 


As a Backyard Chicken Farmer with 16 chickens – 1 rooster and 15 hens – who has completed extensive research in small flock farming and has years of experience in raising backyard chickens, I offer the following thoughts and adjustments to the Proposed Zoning Bylaw Regulations:

Parcel Size

  • Adjust #2 from 500m to 2500m to 500m to 2000m.
  • Adjust #3 from 2500m to 4000m to 2000m to 4000m.

 

This reduction from 2500m to 2000m would fall more in line with actual property sizes and be less limiting.

Fruit trees

All owners of fruit bearing trees or shrubs are responsible for controlling insect pests on their properties to prevent them from severely affecting nearby neighbors and professional growers.

To protect the commercial fruit industry in the South Okanagan and Similkameen, the RDOS has had Bylaws in place since 2001 that ensure better control of fruit tree pests. The Bylaw has recently been updated to include new species and emerging threats.

The Bylaw and related information on mitigation can be obtained at the RDOS office or on the main RDOS website.

The economic case for a West Bench Elementary subsidy

It sounds like the Board of Education will seriously consider the RDOS proposal for a local subsidy for West Bench Elementary.  The next question is: Will West Bench residents seriously consider it?  I have heard several residents say that they have absolutely no interest in paying a new tax.  I am certainly sympathetic to this view.  After all, my own kids are past the elementary age and the fate of the school is no longer my problem.  But I think this view misrepresents our true situation.  Our choice is not between business as usual and a new tax.  Rather, our choice is between one significant cost and another.  On March 30, 2016—the day the Board of Education voted to close West Bench Elementary—every house in the West Bench Elementary catchment lost

West Bench Elementary School subsidy proposal

Update 30-31 March 2016:

I missed the SD67 meeting tonight because I help coach my daughters' volleyball on Wednesday nights.  All I know is that SD67 decided to close West Bench Elementary despite the subsidization proposal below (story in The Herald). Thanks to those who filled me in on the details at the meeting.

I have requested reconsideration as outlined in the follow-on post.


 

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