Penticton Western News

Resident urges audit of West Bench water bills

A property owner on the West Bench is calling for an audit of the community’s water billing practices to determine how many ratepayers are receiving special discounts.

Ronald Johnson said he discovered three years ago that some West Bench residents have  exemptions to avoid paying the per-acre water charge on non-irrigable parts of their properties, like gullies.

In one case, he discovered a landowner was being billed for just two of 28 acres, and based on his inquiries believes up to 10 such exemptions have been granted since 1996.

West Bench votes for Penticton water

It won’t come as a surprise that West Bench residents are strongly in favour of signing on to a deal that will see the community buying treated water from Penticton.

In a referendum Saturday, West Bench residents voted 85 per cent in support of a deal the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen made with the City of Penticton to purchase water at a rate of 22 cents per cubic metre. A total of 324 West Bench residents voted in favour of the deal in the referendum — as well as in the advance poll — while 62 were opposed.

Grant money goes down the drain

[I have not had much occasion in the past to agree with Mr. Walker (global warming, diagnosis of the SOEC's woes) but I do agree with the basic thesis of this editorial: The recent West Bench water referendum was a significant economic setback for the City of Penticton.]

The residents of West Bench threw another monkey wrench into Penticton council’s plans.

Non-residents will pay more to use recreation facilities

By  -   (link to story)

If you want to play then you have got to pay.

Penticton council voted 4-3 to establish a two-tiered recreation fee structure that will charge non-Penticton residents more money to use city facilities.

The new fee structure will be limited to the Penticton Community Centre along with its pool and fitness room, McLaren Arena and the Cleland Community Theatre.

Region must share in facilities’ costs

Charging a higher rate for using the city’s recreational facilities hardly seems like a neighbourly thing to do. But Penticton council was left with little choice when they approved a two-tiered fee structure earlier this week.

Under the proposal, which still needs to have items such as pricing ironed out, those living in areas outside the city boundaries will have to pay more to use the Penticton Community Centre and pool, McLaren Arena and Cleland Community Theatre.

Forum focuses on future of KVR Trail

The uncertainty surrounding the transfer of a portion of the Kettle Valley Railway Trail to the Penticton Indian Band sparked a feeling of fear from some at Wednesday’s public meeting in West Bench.

“This is a very touchy issue between everybody,” said Chief Jonathan Kruger. “A lot of people use the (trail) right now and it’s just that fear of change and we just have to get past that fear and come to some understanding where we can all live together because we are living together right now. I’m sure we can work together and live together and prosper together.”

South Okanagan feels strain of demographic shift

Out with the new and in with the old. The future of Canada is right here in Penticton and they are starting to get a little grey around the hairline or what’s left of it. New population numbers from Statistics Canada show that the boom that produced a staggering increase in babies from 1946 right into the early 1960s is about to have its last great affect on Canadian demographics. The baby-boomers are becoming seniors, and with our warm weather and lack of snow days attracting elderly people of means from across the country, B.C. is well ahead of the demographic curve.

Band closes in on deal for KVR land

An agreement in principle to transfer portions of the Kettle Valley Railway trail from CPR ownership to the Penticton Indian Band is likely a done deal, according to the Okanagan Coquihalla MP. “Basically, they are close to coming to a settlement whereby CPR is prepared to transfer the land to the Penticton Indian Band,” said MP Stockwell Day.

“There are court details that they are still working out. But every indication I have, talking to both sides, is that a final official agreement is very close.”

City and band square off over KVR Trail

The Penticton Indian Band is in a struggle with the city over control of portions of the Kettle Valley Railway trail that pass through the band’s land. Penticton Council voted 4-2 Monday to write a letter to Indian and Northern Affairs Canada stating that it is the city’s position that the roughly 139 acres of land, six parcels in all, should be maintained in its current ownership by the citizens of Canada. The letter is a response to an INAC request for any comments or concerns regarding a PIB application to have the land added to Penticton Indian Reserve.

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