West Bench

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.

Neighborhoods: 

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.

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

WBE Closure: Request for reconsideration

As noted in my update to the grant proposal, I was caught off-guard by the Board of Education's dismissal of the RDOS offer.  I assumed this was going to proceed in a very straightforward way:

  1. A rural school will not be considered for closure if it has a ~$150K grant
  2. The RDOS can raise such a grant for West Bench Elementary
  3. West Bench Elementary will not be considered for closure

 

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.


 

Owning horses: Open house on 10 March 2016

Just a heads-up that the RDOS is coming back to the issue of "keeping livestock".  This aroused some interest especially on the West Bench. The main thread on the issue is here.

 

You may recall that the fundamental problem with the existing bylaw is that it has been amended in dribs and drabs over the years and has become difficult to enforce.  Hence the need for a re-write.

Issues: 

West Bench garbage pickup is NOT changing... at least not yet

The following is from Cameron Baughen, the RDOS Solid Waste Management Coordinator:

The City of Penticton used undressed admail  to send out a Curbside Bin brochure which went to every home with ‘V2A’ postal code. That included West Bench, Red Wing and the Carmi area in Area ‘D’. This has confused a number of our residents.  There are no changes to the RDOS curbside program for West Bench and Red Wing... The RDOS is only looking at the potential for a garbage cart program in the future. Any RDOS cart program would not be implemented until July 2018, at the very earliest, and only in communities where it makes sense.  

Neighborhoods: 
Issues: 

Just use the water meters already!

There was an article in The Herald recently about the RDOS's failure to use the West Bench's newly installed water meters for billing.  Fair enough, but please appreciate that the goal here is not to drag our heels but rather save some people unnecessary anxiety.

As readers of this blog might know, I have been taking a look at the water meter data as it becomes available every month (e.g., see this posting from August 2015).  The issue we have is huge variability in recorded water usage among some residential properties.  This variance could be caused by:

  1. Extreme water use (customer's fault)
  2. Leaks (RDOS's fault/problem)
  3. Meter reading errors (RDOS's fault/problem)

 

Neighborhoods: 

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