Joe Fries

West Bench water meters still not producing revenue

Their water meters are already whirling away, but West Bench residents aren’t expected to move to a usage-based billing system until next year.

Switching the community to a user-pay model is among four measures the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen is adopting as it seeks to cut water use in the community by 15 per cent – or 49,000 cubic metres – by 2020.

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.

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.

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.

Contract awarded for long-awaited Faulder water project

A contract was awarded Thursday to complete the long-awaited upgrade of the Faulder water system.

The board of the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen voted unanimously to assign the $414,000 job to Grizzly Excavating.

Residents on 80 properties in the community about 15 minutes west of Summerland have for years dealt with uncertainty about the long-term supply available from the Meadow Valley Aquifer and concerns about uranium content in the water.

Penticton fails to meet 30% water reduction targets

City residents have failed to voluntarily curb their water consumption by 30 per cent this summer, but mandatory restrictions appear unlikely at this point.

As of Monday, domestic users in Penticton had trimmed their consumption by 17 per cent compared to a 15-day benchmark period in early July. That’s up from 11 per cent on Aug. 3.

“So we’re moving in the right direction, which is what we wanted to do,” said Mitch Moroziuk, the city’s operations director.

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.

Scientists 'can't all be quacks,' as RDOS calls for moratorium on smart meters

Persistent concerns about smart meters have prompted a group of local politicians to call on the B.C. government to pull the plug on further installations of the devices in the region. 

“It’s easy to be silent, but sometimes it’s important to take a stand and get a message out, and it doesn’t have to be based on perfect information,” said Tom Siddon, who led the push for an immediate moratorium from his seat as the Area D director on the board of the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen.

Poll shows rural residents support two-tier rates

The results of the citizens' survey can be found here.

Nearly two-thirds of rural residents would rather pay higher user fees than see their taxes go up to pay for facilities in neighbouring municipalities, according to a new citizens’ survey.

Sixty-four per cent of people polled by the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen preferred the idea of a two-tiered rate structure so those who use public facilities elsewhere pay their fair share.