Husula Highlands

West Bench Recreation: Summer Sampler

Hi West Bench! I am a Recreation Coordinator with the RDOS and I am working on putting some recreation programming together for your community. Next month, we will be offering a "Summer Sampler" series that will be absolutely FREE at Mariposa Park . Please check out the attached image for more information.

May 2017 Sage Mesa system boil water notice

The Sage Mesa water system is on a boil water notice.  See here:

Why?  The Sage Mesa does not filter or otherwise treat its water beyond dosing it with chlorine.  Chlorine is less effective when the water is turbid.  Below is a photo of Okanagan Lake near the Sage Mesa water system intake:

Issues: 

West Bench Hill Road

Here we go again: Anyone who doubts the instability of West Bench soils should take a look at the new dip on West Bench Hill Road.  This dip is in a slightly different place than the previous large dip.  A few things to know about this problem:

Message from the West Bench Elementary Parents Advisory Committee (PAC)

Dear West Bench Community,

We have an important opportunity to let the BC gov’t know why our community school is important, and why it deserves long-term stable funding.

By the Jan. 9th deadline, the provincial gov’t has invited all community members to contribute their thoughts on the importance of our school to children and as a community asset. The responses go directly to a task force currently designing a new funding model for schools such as ours.

Please visit: http://engage.gov.bc.ca/ruraleducation/ to participate in the survey called “A Conversation about Rural Education”.

The survey contains 4 questions.

Cattle guard is gone

The Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure removed the Bartlett cattle guard today.  We asked on behalf of some residents but it was MoTI's decision.

The cattle guard was completely unnecessary due to the PIB's new fence configuration and cattle guard adjacent to the Westhills Aggregates entrance (see previous posting).  Ours was a cattle guard with no fence attached to it. It did absolutely zero to stop the horses.  Instead it was just a nuisance for motorists, cyclists, and nearby residents alike.

On the positive side, it served as a pretty effective speed bump and waker-upper (especially on frosty mornings if you hit it while still cornering).  Hopefully folks will continue to moderate their speed as they approach the intersection with Lambert.

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

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