Cost of RDOS office renovation jumps nearly $200,000

The cost of renovating the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen’s headquarters in downtown Penticton has now ballooned by nearly $200,000.

The latest cost hike came Thursday when directors approved by a 14-2 vote spending $58,518 for all new carpeting inside 101 Martin Street.

Combined with the added expense of swapping out existing light fixtures for more energy efficient models and replacing the building’s roof, the total cost of the makeover has now climbed to $540,125, well above the initial budget of $365,800.

Local government conservation funds

Public opinion polls over the past 10 years show a vast majority of South Okanagan residents think that our impressive natural landscapes, ecosystems and abundant and varied wildlife contribute greatly to the quality of life we enjoy here in the Okanagan.

These same surveys show that local people see the importance of protecting natural areas and believe local governments should do more to help preserve our environment. However, funding is often a major stumbling block for local governments and conservation organizations.

Sage Mesa/Husula Gas Main Opt-In Model

As noted previously, response to the proposal to extend the Fortis gas main into the Sage Mesa and Husula neighborhoods has been mixed.  What we are seeing in our informal straw poll and other feedback is residents with very high electrical costs who want access to natural gas and other residents who are happy with the status quo.  This is especially so in Sage Mesa, where many of the houses do not have ducts.  Such a split in opinion is problematic given the RDOS’s preferred approach, which is to make the decision on a neighborhood-by-neighborhood basis.


RDOS board scuttles economic development bylaw

PENTICTON - Plans for a regional economic development fund came to a sudden end at last week’s regional district board meeting.

Directors at the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen voted to rescind and abandon a new economic development bylaw at last Thursday’s regular board meeting.

West Bench Director Michael Brydon spearheaded the effort to create a new fund last February, citing the need for the board to be more transparent when dealing with annual funding requests for grants such as those made by the Okanagan Film Commission.

Missing toilets among oddities at $90,000 sports centre in Hedley, where RDOS director paid himself $1,900 to manage construction

HEDLEY — Looking at it now, it’s hard to reconcile the Hedley Multi-Purpose Sports Facility with the original vision for the project that attracted $90,000 in government funding.

Besides an outdoor arena, the site at the north end of the village of 250 people features just two small buildings: one containing a single washroom and another used for storage.

Challenge Penticton owners disappointed, but undeterred, after $48,000 sponsorship request denied

(see also the board update on this)

Challenge Penticton’s owners are disappointed, but undeterred, after local politicians voted Thursday to turn down their request for a sponsorship deal.

In a unanimous decision, the board of the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen decided to take a pass on a three-year, $48,000 agreement proposed in July by the race operators.

West Bench Water: Where does the money go?

There have been some massive changes in the West Bench water system over the last few years:

  1. The West Bench Irrigation District (WBID) disbanded after two generations of managing water on the West Bench.
  2. The RDOS entered into an agreement with the City of Penticton to buy treated water instead of pulling water directly from the lake,
  3. The RDOS has taken over billing, instituted a parcel tax for capital improvements (the new supply and distribution system) and added water meters.

To help make some sense of this, I have included below an analysis of revenues and expenditures for the West Bench water system under the RDOS.  Revenues are shown as positive numbers and expenses are shown as negative numbers.  The two do not match (revenues do not equal expenditures) because I have suppressed several types of financial transactions: 


Taxes to increase in RDOS

South Okanagan residents could be paying more in taxes if the Regional District of the Okanagan Similkameen passes the draft budget for 2015. 

The total budget has increased from $3.72 million to $4.14 million this year, mostly due to a $436,000 capital expenditure to renovate the RDOS building at 101 Martin St. in Penticton. There is also $100,000 decrease in the surplus from the previous budget.

The budget passed first reading on Jan. 22 and is now out for public consultation. 

The average increase in cost for a homeowner in the RDOS will work out to $7.48/year.

Regional board grant will assess public appetite for conservation fund

PENTICTON - The South Okanagan Similkameen conservation program manager approached the Regional District Okanagan Similkameen board of directors Thursday, seeking $65,000 to investigate the development of a conservation fund for the regional district.

Bryn White described a regional district conservation fund as “a dedicated source of funding for organizations to work together to conserve in the region and build a legacy to benefit future generations."