Husula Highlands

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: 

Sage Mesa/Husula pilot survey invitation

Update 29 February, 2016:  So far the pilot survey has seen very little participation.  My conclusion is Sage Mesa and Husula residents do not have much interest in this project one way or the other.


The following email invitation was sent out to a handful of Sage Mesa and Husula residents regarding the proposed natural gas extension for those neighborhoods.  I relied on word of mouth for the survey invitation because I did not want to attract non-resident participation.  But the "snowball sample" methodology only works if people forward the invitation.  A such I am posting the invitation here as well in an attempt to attract some more participation from residents of those two neighborhoods.  Please spread the word.

I will close the pilot survey by mid-Febuary so please participate before then

Issues: 

Gas line extension survey: How this should work

The Problem

Deciding whether to go ahead with a project like the Sage Mesa (or Husula Highlands) gas line extension is difficult under the "opt-in model" because:

  • residents don't know whether they support or oppose the project until they know the project's cost, but
  • the project's cost depends on the number of people who opt-in.

 

So a simple "Are you in or out?" question will not work.

Instead, the RDOS can ask a willingness-to-pay (WTP) question: "What is the maximum amount you are willing to pay for a gas line extension on your street?".  We can then use the WTP information to determine whether the project should go ahead.

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).

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