Westwood Properties

Lastest on asphalt plant

Notice went out recently to residents adjacent to the Peter Bros. asphalt plant regarding a second  (temporary) 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 has withdrawn their temporary use permit (TUP) application for the second plant and has decided instead to locate the plant on PIB lands (see notice on main RDOS site).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.

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.


 

Development potential on the greater West Bench

I sent the following to the Board of Education Trustee for rural Penticton, Ginny Manning.  The email is a follow-on to my previous comments on this issue:

Subject: Re: West Bench school closure and growth
Date: Mon, 4 Jan 2016 23:01:02 -0800
From: Michael Brydon 
To: Ginny Manning
CC: Bill Newell, Andrew Jakubeit

Hi Ginny,

Other signs on West Bench Hill Road

Just a heads-up: crews will be working to install the West Bench sign at the bottom on West Bench Hill Road.  To work freely, they will have to remove all the signs that are currently spread across the highways right-of-way.  Once the West Bench sign is constructed and the area around it is landscaped with natural vegetation we will likely take it upon ourselves to keep the area clear of signs (they are not supposed to be in the highways right-of-way in any case).

West Bench parents want their school taken off list of facilities being considered for closure

Noting the potential for serious health and cultural impacts, parents of West Bench Elementary students are asking their community’s school be removed from the list of those identified for possible closure.

“Our whole community is dependent on that school. It’s how we stay connected, it’s how our friends know their neighbours, and we think that’s pretty important,” said Riley Gettens on behalf of the West Bench Parent Advisory Council.

Blasting for West Bench reservoir

Note from RDOS staff regarding the West Bench reservoir:

We wanted to let people know about some small blasts we are going to be executing today and possibly over the next several days in the West Bench & Sage Mesa area, west of Penticton. We are installing a new reservoir and have encountered rock that we need to blast out. The charges are expected to be relatively small but some people may get worried and call wondering what it is.

The blasting should be finished in a couple days depending on if more is found as the excavation continues.

Please don’t hesitate to provide people with my contact info if they have questions.

Liisa Bloomfield, P.Eng. ● Engineer/Engineering Supervisor
p. 250.490.4229 ● tf. 1.877.610.3737 ● f. 250.492.0063
www.rdos.bc.ca ● Lbloomfield@rdos.bc.ca

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