The West Bench had a bus route at some point in the past (I believe in the 1980s) but the service was discontinued due to underutilization.  Much has changed since then, including an aging population, increased costs of operating a vehicle, and new educational opportunties at Okanagan College and UBCO. So we are revisiting the issue. 

The rat control pilot is running

A brochure will be sent out next week to all residents of Area F describing our pilot rat control program.  The procedure for using the service is summarized below.  The service is available immediately, so you do not have to wait for the brochure to make the call.

[...] The core of the pilot is a “capped” price for professional rodent control.  Rural residents are ultimately responsible for rodent control on their property and should take appropriate preventative action as outlined in this brochure.  However, if more help is required, residents can follow the procedure below.  The RDOS has contracted with Orkin/PCO Services to provide rodent control at a cost to residents capped at $39, which is significantly lower than the unsubsidized cost of the service. 

Explanation of the 2009 property tax mix-up

Update 11 June 2010: Area F residents outside of Faulder should notice that the mill rates for "Area F OK_Simil. Reg" and "Area F Tax on Bldgs" have gone down significantly in 2010 (relative to 2009).  This is the "adjustement" that the provincial government promised us.  If you did not notice the impact of the adjustment on your taxes, it might be because RDOS taxes are a relatively small part of your overall bill.  See a more detailed discription of rural taxes.



The threat of two-tiered user fees for recreation

I recieved the following question recently from a concerned resident:

What is your position on the surcharging of children involved in sports when using Penticton facilities?  I understand that my children will now be subjected to a user fee to engage in Penticton Minor Hockey.  Are we not trying to encourage families to engage in healthy lifestyles with active bodies?  This measure seems to speak against the value of involvement in physical activity.  Children who live outside of the Penticton tax zone will be penalized and many will not engage as a result of being priced out of participating. This is a major step in the wrong direction.  Many families on the West Bench and outlying areas are having their ability to cover costs stretched far too far. This is another of those situations.

Background on the City of Penticton's two-tier scheme can be found here.

Why I voted against the funding request from Okanagan College (again)

The RDOS board took a bit of a blast from James Miller of the Penticton Herald regarding the board's decision not to contribute up to $2M to the new Okanagan College Centre of Excellence (see also the editorial by Dan Ebenal in the Penticton Western News).  I voted with the majority on this, so some explanation is perhaps in order:

RDOS rejects college funding

A senior Okanagan College official acknowledged that it may take the college longer than planned to fundraise $5 million for its proposed expansion. “It may take us a little bit longer,” said Donna Lomas, regional dean for the South Okanagan-Similkameen, adding later that the college is confident that it will meet its goals. Lomas made that comment after board members of the Regional District Okanagan Similkameen rejected a request to contribute $2 million over three years towards the proposed Centre of Excellence in Penticton.

What would a horse fence cost?

As noted in a previous posting, we are having a light year for horses on the West Bench.  Some residents have therefore posed a reasonable question: Why would we build an expensive fence if the horse problem is solved?

Ultimately this will go to some kind of voter assent process (likely a referendum) so you will be asked to decide this question for yourself.  But a couple of things to consider: