The location of a controversial power pole and guy wire on a portion of Killiney Beach below the high water mark remains a burr in the side of the North Westside Community Association.
They have requested it's re-location since it was erected in January 2014.
The Regional District Central Okanagan has refused and now tenure has been granted the pole, meaning it may never be moved.
Michelle Carson, Vice-President of the Community Association, feels they have run out of options other than taking the District to court.
Bruce Smith from the regional district says they don't think the pole needs to be moved, but because the concerns have been raised again, he says staff is reviewing the site, and getting a cost estimate on if it was moved.
Power Pole 2 (Interview with Michelle Carson, VP)
The fight over re-locating a controversial power pole and guy wire owned by the Central Okanagan Regional District on a portion of Killiney Beach might end up in the courts.
Ever since it was erected in 2014, local residents and the North Westside Community Association have argued it needs to be moved for safety reasons and because it is below the high water mark.
CORD has refused and Association Vice-President Michelle Carson says when Andy Otter with the Ministry of Forest and Lands in Kamloops granted it tenure, it meant the pole became unmovable unless a judge orders it.
Bruce Smith from the regional district doesnt think it needs to end up in court.
He says due to the new concerns, CORD staff are reviewing the issue, and getting a cost estimate on possibly moving the pole.
Power Pole 3 (Interview with Michelle Carson, VP)
The North Westside Community Association's two-year battle with the Central Okanagan Regional District over a request to re-locate a power pole on a portion of Killiney Beach might end up in legal actions.
The pole was installed in January of 2014 below the high water mark and residents demanded it and the guy wire be relocated immediately.
CORD refused and ended up getting tenure for the post through the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources.
Association Vice President Michelle Carson says suing to have it moved is a last resort.
Bruce Smith from the regional district says they don't think the pole needs to be moved, but because the concerns have been raised again, he says staff is reviewing the site, and getting a cost estimate on possibly moving it.
Good Evening Madam Chair & Board Members,
As you are aware the power pole and guy wire installed in the middle of one of our five small recreational beach sites below the high water mark has been the subject of much community consternation since its installment in January 2014. The pole was installed by the Regional District of Central Okanagan (RDCO) with no permits or approvals in place. In addition the pole was not installed where the North Westside Communities Association (NWCA) had been told it would be placed which resulted in our effort to have the pole relocated to its original planned location. The NWCA is in full support of our fire department and the fire boat; our issue is with the RDCO and their placement of the power pole which gives no consideration to our residents who use the beach.
The NWCA maintains that the interests of our communities’ residents have not been considered or adequately addressed. Regardless of the recent grant of tenure for the pole there is still the question of immoral, unethical and unprofessional action towards our residents, the environment and the many levels of employees of the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations (MFLNRO).
We have received our Freedom of Information (FOI) request package from the MFLNRO and are shocked and appalled at the content and we did not get full disclosure. The FOI document clearly demonstrates how the RDCO has been spending exorbitant tax dollars fighting not only our communities request but also the MFLNRO Order to relocate the power pole above the high water mark and off the beach site. We can only speculate on the information that was withheld and who or what public body would be "damaged" by its revelation. The NWCA feels there are several untruths/misrepresentations contained in the FOI package and we will be referring to that document during this presentation. We will also be referring to the FOI package we received from the RDCO which was considerably less informative. Our purpose is to once again request that the RDCO relocate the power pole to an appropriate location and act in the best interests of our residents and the environment.
1) Power pole installed in January 2014.
In response to community complaints the NWCA sends a letter to Dan Wildeman (RDCO Fire Services Manager) on April 30, 2014. (Pg.7 - MFLNRO FOI) We respectfully ask the RDCO to reconsider the placement of the pole for the safety and wellbeing of our residents. As we had not received a reply I called Dan a week later and was told "no" they would not be moving the pole.
The NWCA then sent the same letter on May 7, 2014 to our then RDCO area director, Jim Edgson, with a request that the item be placed on the agenda for the next RDCO Board meeting. This letter was answered by Chris Radford (RDCO - Director of Community Services) on May 8, 2014. (Pg.10 - MFLNRO FOI - This letter is illegible in the FOI package but I have attached a copy of the letter). In his response Radford states, "This is an electoral area issue and subsequently will not form part of the agenda package."
He also says, "Staff has been in consultation with Director Edgson regarding the power pole..."
We note that although Radford claims that this is an electoral area issue our current RDCO Area Director, Wayne Carson, has never been consulted by staff on any issues pertaining to the power pole.
Radford then goes on to say that, "The pole was installed with all required approvals and permits."
In fact the RDCO had no approvals or permits to install the power pole, guy wire and underground electrical works which eventually led to the Trespass Notice (Pgs.26-28 MFLNRO FOI) issued by Compliance and Enforcement Officer Don Lemp (NRO - MFLNRO) on Dec.17, 2015.
2) Cost to the taxpayers in the RDCO's effort to gain tenure for the pole.
In the same letter from the NWCA as mentioned above (Pg.7 - MFLNRO FOI) the NWCA included a quote from Four Sons Electrical to relocate the pole to the original planned location. Four Sons were aware of the circumstances under which they provided their quote. Four Sons was one of three companies who bid on the job so they were familiar with the site and where the pole ought to have been placed. Their quote of $2021.25 did not include BC Hydro charges for disconnect & reconnect or the minimal excavating work. We had a resident who subcontracted with BC Hydro offer his services as well as a local contractor who offered his excavating services for no charge. Total cost to relocate the pole is $2021.25. (Quote is attached)
According to the FOI we received from the RDCO more than $6500.00 has been spent in an effort to gain tenure for the pole. (Invoices in RDCO FOI)
In addition to the $6500.00 in invoices there were countless hours of staff time involved from the RDCO and many MFLNRO offices which adds thousands of dollars.
It is our understanding that the RDCO has proposed a protective metal cover and rip rap to protect the pole from water/wave action which will most likely cost several more $1000.00’s as well as violating our beach site even further.
Very disturbing is the fact that the RDCO did not piecemeal the $6500.00 away, their first go to was to spend more than $5200.00 contracting Western Water Associates.
Even more disturbing is that Trina Koch (Western Water Associates - Biologist) "Advised Dan that they should relocate pole as requested by MFLNRO." (Pg.24 - Don Lemp's continuation report - Jan.13, 2016 - 1030hrs - MFLNRO FOI) Also in this same entry Trina Koch is recorded as saying she, "Prepared initial report to relocate pole but was given direction by Wildeman to do up report with measures so that they can keep the pole where it is."
The RDCO elected to not comply with what was requested by the MFLNRO and instead directed Trina Koch to, "As per our telephone conversation today, please resubmit an amended proposal with the intend of validating the power pole in its current location." (Email from Wildeman to Koch Pg.18 & pg.30 - MFLNRO - FOI)
The same information is in Patrick Tobin's (Regional Manager - Thompson Okanagan, Compliance & Enforcement - MFLNRO) review of Trespass Notice dated Jan.22, 2016 in which he states that it is apparent to him that " RDCO staff elected to engage their Qualified Environmental Professional in developing a plan to keep the pole at its current location." (Pg.45 of FOI pkg. or Pg.10 of Tobin's review - MFLNRO FOI)
3) Ron Fralick (RDCO - Planning Manager) takes over the file from Dan Wildeman.
Officer Lemp reiterates several key points for Fralick as to why the pole must be removed/relocated. Please refer to : (Pg.22 - Nov.25, 2015 - MFLNRO FOI)
Fralick contacts Patrick Tobin (MFLNRO – Regional Manager – Thompson/Okanagan) and "suggested that if we did not make this issue go away the complainants would be empowered to barrage us with complaint after complaint." Mr. Fralick also "suggested that there was significant conflict between the Area Director for the Area and Mr. Wildeman and as a result Fralick had been assigned the file as Mr. Wildeman was to close to the issue." (Pg.23 - Dec.1, 2015 - 0900hrs - Lemp's continuation report - MFLNRO FOI)
In fact, Area Director Wayne Carson has had absolutely no contact whatsoever with Mr. Wildeman in the entire time he has been Area Director since he was elected in Nov. 2014.
Mr. Fralick is then recorded as saying, "That the current Area Director who was let go by RDCO as the Fire Chief of NWFD had an agenda to remove NW Fire Services." (Pg.23 - Dec.2, 2015 - MFLNRO FOI)
We note that Mr. Fralick and the RDCO could be held liable for that statement as Director Carson was not "let go," in fact he resigned, which is on the record.
The statement that he "had an agenda to remove NW fire services," is absurd. In his 20 year tenure as Fire Chief, Director Carson initiated the FMR program, the firefighters society, built huge additions on the existing fire hall as well as getting the Shorts Creek Fire Hall built by community, acquired 2 new engine fire trucks through a referendum and parcel tax, acquired 2 new water tenders and acquired Canada's first marine water supply - our fire boat. He also achieved an agreement with NORD to provide a higher level of training that was not available through RDCO. Through prudent management skills and the support of the resident taxpayers all of this was acquired without incurring any capital debt. These are just a few of his many accomplishments as Fire Chief of which he is very proud and for anyone to say that he is out to "remove NW Fire Services” is beyond ridiculous.
Mr. Fralick makes several other statements to Officer Lemp in this same entry. (Pg.23 - Dec.2, 2015 MFLNRO FOI) They are as follows :
"That he talked with the RDCO Parks Director and indicated that as the p/p was there now that it was okay with parks."Murray Kopp (RDCO - Director of Parks) was never consulted prior to the installation of the power pole. We can only speculate on what Mr. Kopp may or may not have agreed with had he been consulted. However, the Internal Memorandum mentioned in this entry and dated Sept.12, 2012 written by Murray Kopp when former Fire Chief Wayne Carson was in the process of acquiring permits and permissions for the boathouse states :
"As advised in our meeting and previous discussion a public swim area has been identified south of the proposed boathouse locations and Park staff would recommend that all future use and access of the water lot area adjacent to the swim area be conducted in a manner as to not have an adverse effect on recreational users." (This quote is also referred to in Patrick Tobin's Request for Review of Trespass Notice Pg.37 of MFLNRO FOI or Pg.2 of Trespass Review)
"RDCO would not be removing the pole as it was going to be expensive."
"They would not get the budget to relocate the pole."
" Is there not a fine they could pay?"
Really? We believe we have covered these statements in #2 - Cost to taxpayers
"Officer Lemp reiterated the reason from their last conversation as to why the pole needed to be removed."
Ron Fralick is recorded as stating that, "This issue is very political." (Pg.23 - Dec.2, 2015 MFLNRO - FOI). Please note that this quote was not included in our original draft presentation as we had not yet been denied our delegation request. As we have now been denied by the RDCO Board Chair based on her allegation that this is an "operational matter," we feel it is necessary to refute this by providing a quote from RDCO senior management stating that, "This issue is very political."
4) Chris Radford (RDCO - Director of Community Services) perplexed by Trespass Notice
Letter from Radford to Patrick Tobin (MFLNRO - Regional Manager - Thompson Okanagan Region) dated Jan.12, 2016 "disputing the process leading up to the issuance of the Trespass Notice (Pgs. 33-35 MFLNRO FOI)
Radford says, "There appear to be discrepancies with the direction provided by some Ministry staff and RDCO staff is very perplexed by the events that led to the Trespass Notice."
Really? Would you have us believe that collectively, the educated minds at the RDCO were so confused that they could not grasp the concept of the events that led to the Trespass Notice despite the fact that they had been given ample opportunity/time to comply with a "gentlemen’s agreement," which they preferred over being issued a trespass notice as evidenced in the quote below.
"Radford agreed that they had erred and would take appropriate measures to rectify the issue."
He also said, "that they would prefer not to be given a legal order as this would not look good."
(Pg.14 Lemp's continuation report - MFLNRO FOI)
Dan Wildeman sent Don Lemp an email (Pg.16 - MFLNRO - FOI) in which he states, "Mr. Johnson did advise that we would be required to address the Section 9 issue as he feels the pole sits below the high water mark. Our mapping and survey show it is above but regardless it is close either way and we want to make this right." Wildeman then says that he would like to meet and "find the most efficient and cost effective means to resolve this issue."
In fact, the RDCO survey shows that the pole and guy wire are below the high water mark. (Pg. 3 of RDCO application for proposed works or page 41 of Western Water Associates section of FOI). RDCO survey also referred to in Tobin’s review (Pg. 2 - #6 FLNRO-FOI)
It is abundantly clear to us that Chris Radford, Dan Wildeman and Ron Fralick were aware of what was required and deliberately chose to not comply with the MFLNRO Order and the expressed wishes of this community. Instead they chose an alternate route at the taxpayers’ expense which was not the "most efficient and cost effective means to resolve this issue."
In order to have a better understanding we urge you to read the MFLNRO FOI from cover to cover, in particular Patrick Tobin's Review of Trespass Notice (Pgs.36-45 MFLNRO FOI) and Don Lemp's Continuation report (Pgs.1-25 MFLNRO FOI). There are numerous entries in these documents that, in our opinion, leave no doubt that the RDCO was well aware of what was required and decided to feign confusion as a defense to acquire tenure for the power pole.
In closing the NWCA again requests that the power pole and guy wire be relocated to an appropriate location off the beach site and above the high water mark, in accordance with the MFLNRO Order and the expressed wishes of this community.
On Behalf of the NWCA Board of Directors
Who would have known that something like a simple power pole installed in the wrong/inappropriate location on Killiney Beach would get blown up to such an extent that the North Westside Communities Association (NWCA) would be forced to pursue the Freedom of Information route to discover and reveal all the wrong that has been done to us by Regional District staff. Then, to exasperate things further the RDCO Board Chair, Gail Given, has refused not once, but twice, to have our delegation representing our community speak on this issue at one of their meetings, claiming that this is an "operational" item, and not of their concern.
Really??? Now, just imagine a moment, a group that installed a power pole in the wrong location, by mistake. Not a big thing, right? After all, once they were informed of their error, it should have been a very simple thing to have that power pole relocated to the appropriate location. Relocating the power pole would have abided by the Order issued by the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations (MFLNRO), and the wishes of the North Westside Communities. Who wants to have a power pole located in an area that is of concern to the MFLNRO...below the high water mark, for which they issued a "Trespass Notice" to the RDCO. The safety issues and hazards associated with having a power pole and guy wire in the middle of our recreational beach site are too numerous to imagine. As well, the pole intrusively occupies very expensive, prime real estate on what was one of the most popular beach sites on Killiney Beach.
Shortly after its installation in January of 2014 the NWCA provided a quote to the RDCO to relocate the pole to an appropriate location for $2,000.00. However, the Regional District staff chose to fight the MFLNRO and our community and have spent more than $6,500.00 of taxpayer $$$ as well as countless staff hours by the RDCO and the MFLNRO so that they could keep the power pole in its present location. Why, do you ask? That is a good question and unfortunately, we do not have an answer for you. According to the Freedom of Information documents, the Regional District "suggested that if we did not make this issue go away the complainants would be empowered to barrage us with complaint after complaint." This statement was made by senior staff of the RDCO to management of the MFLNRO.
To comment on Mr. Reardon's (RDCO CAO) recent email to the RDCO Board of Directors; please note that he has totally missed the issue on the power pole placed on a beach in an area that he works for:
Yes, the power pole was installed to service the fire department Boat House. At no time has this fact been questioned by our community nor has the NWCA sought to have hydro power removed. The issue is the placement of the power pole. The power pole would have (and still would) equally service the boathouse in an appropriate location. By relocating the power pole, the RDCO would meet the requirements of the MFLNRO and support one of the CAO’s areas of responsibilities...the North Westside Communities.
The "well-known contractor" that installed the power pole followed the directions of a Regional District employee who provided the wrong information as to its location. That individual has apologized for his error.
According to the Freedom of Information documentation the proper permits were not obtained.
Regional District staff hired consultants to go against both the MFLNRO Order and the North Westside Communities expressed wishes.
Our question to Chair Given is why are you not allowing our requested delegation that represents the North Westside Communities, an area of about 1,100 residents, to have its voice heard? Yet, you allow the CAO to speak on our behalf. The CAO represents the staff that has been so insistent on ensuring that a power pole, wrongly installed, remains in its location, at a substantial cost to our residents who have no desire to have the power pole on our beach.
If the Regional District and its Board are truly representative of its people (not just the major area that encompasses Kelowna...the biggest area), they would quickly realize the wisdom of relocating the power pole to an appropriate location, at an inconsequential cost of about $2,000.00. After all, what reason would there be to fight both the MFLNRO and the North Westside Communities...except to be the Goliath, and govern/bully with its inherent strength?
The NWCA represents the voice of the North Westside Communities. It is clear, through the Freedom of Information package we received that the Regional District staff has gone out of its way to ensure that a power pole be forced to remain in the wrong location in Killiney Beach. There is absolutely no reason that we can find, after reading all the available communication on the subject, to have the power pole remain in its current inappropriate location.
We are horrified to learn that there may be yet more money poured into this project. The proposed plan for a protective metal contraption and rip rap to ensure longevity of the pressure treated pole will further desecrate our beach site. This latest proposal further demonstrates the RDCO's obliviousness for the wishes of our residents. That, in any political arena is poor governance. If the pole were simply relocated then there would be no need to "protect" it from the water. We question if the cost for this "protection" may be better spent relocating the pole to an appropriate location above the high water mark and off the beach site.
Once more, we request that you honour the wishes of the residents of the North Westside Communities and the Order issued by the MFLNRO and abide by the RDCO Mission Statement which is to, "provide effective and efficient services that meet the needs of our citizens, in a manner that nurtures growth, opportunities, and prosperity while maintaining and enhancing the unique Central Okanagan lifestyle and environment."
The Regional District is holding an Open House this Monday, at the Killiney Beach Community Hall, from 4 pm - 8 pm (more information here). However, last year when they held their Open Houses, it cost our residents over $20,000.00, and most residents appeared to have felt that the information wasn't disseminated properly and that our community didn't receive sufficient value for the cost of these Open Houses.
Because of this problem, Bob Andrews, President of the North Westside Communities Association will be attending the Open House with the following list of questions (and he will definitely include other excellent questions that you wish to be answered by the Regional District). The answers that he will be provided by Regional District will be included below in order that all our residents will be provided the answers. And, of course the Regional District will be free to make comments to clarify answers.
Please feel free to make any suggestions concerning the Open House in the Comments area below.
Questions to Regional District
Does my Director have no voice in the running of my community? Why is my Director not heard by other directors?
Does my Director have any significant input on how my taxes are being spent within my community?
Are my taxes being spent within my community? How many tax dollars are paid by our communities and please provide a detail summary of how tax dollars are returned to our community. Also, there needs to be a measure of effectiveness applied to human resources that are not based in our community as at least 25% of there time will be wasted in travel. We also need to know total admin costs we are paying for....again, an issue of effective use of our tax dollars on the front line services.
What are the operation costs of my water system? How many staff are water system employees? Where are the staff based? Are they spending 2 hours travelling to our site due to their home base?
In the proposed upgrading of our water system, does the final cost include such things as resurfacing the roads and updating the fire hydrants? If not, what are these costs and why are they not included as part of the project they are unmistakably linked too?
Why do we now have “RDCO” signs on our buildings when these buildings were built by volunteers within our community and paid by our community? What budget paid for these amendments? Is this regionalization of community services?
Why isn’t Killiney Beach maintained to the same standard as other parks? The road is full of potholes, the dust is a serious health hazard to all the children, seniors, and adults that use it and the ditches and culverts need servicing.
Why do we have a hydro pole right on the beach? Why did the RDCO spend $6500 plus all the staff time of the RDCO and the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources fighting the Ministry's order instead of simply relocating the pole to an appropriate location and saving the taxpayers thousands of dollars? Why were the expressed wishes of our residents ignored?
Why do the municipal Directors on the Board have the determining votes on water rate increases when they neither live nor pay taxes here? As this was previously an electoral area Directors vote only, why is that not the case now?
Why are there so many Regional District vehicles and employees at the pump house in Fintry Delta every day? What are they doing? Have private tenders to maintain our water service been considered vs uncontrollable municipal employee costs?
Why do the residents not have public input in a 2.8 million dollar project that less than 300 people have to pay for on the Killiney Beach water system?
What “upgrades” are in store for the Westshore water system and will there be public input on that or will the decisions be made in town as with everything else to do with our tax dollars?
Will a settlement on the current collective agreement with the unionized staff carry through for management wage increases? If so, WHY is management conducting the negotiations? How is this not a conflict of interest?
Why do we pay the same for libraries as those communities who actually have libraries?
Why do we pay into bus services when we have no busses?
Why did the fire services manager agree to expand the North Westside fire protection area to include all the Wildland area in Caesar’s Landing instead of just the structures, thus making the residents responsible for the cost of fighting a fire they are neither equipped nor trained to fight? Will this not endanger the rest of the community if the Fire Department is committed to a difficult fire in this area so far from the populated areas to the north that paid for all the equipment and supplied the manpower? This was a very poor uninformed decision by someone who obviously does not know the area or care.
What testing has been done to determine whether a water system improvement is required? Are the test results available to the general public?
What is the actual plan for the water system improvements? Is it simply storage, or are there plans for filtration as well? If you're looking at filtration, what studies of been done to determine the need, and what studies have been done to determine the requirements to fix any issues?
Why was so little notice given for this meeting? It leaves the impression that the electorate are not really wanted as Active participants?
Is a cost breakdown available so that the cost of self governance is clear to the electorate,? What has happened to similar sized communities taxes, when they converted to self governance. How would a mayor and council be elected?
Are the CORD byelaws readily available for viewing? Who has ultimate responsibility for enforcing these byelaws ?
What added value will the communities see under self-governance? What added value will the communities see under self-governance? why is now the right time to be having conversations on self-governance?
RDCO to prepare a series of graphs and charts for the meeting, detailing for the current fiscal year (at minimum):
Tax-paying Population by electoral district (note: not just full-time residences) 2. Provincial Government and private sector revenue stream by electoral district.
Provincial Government and private sector grants by electoral district.
Operational expenditures by electoral district.
Water expenditures by electoral district.
Streets and roads expenditures by electoral district.
Fire expenditures by electoral district.
Bylaw expenditures (weed eradication, dog control, etc.) by electoral district.
Bylaw response time by electoral district.
Number of bylaw incidents by electoral district - both investigated and enforced.
For "North Westside Communities" only: Total revenue generated by taxation; total operational expenditures, total capital expenditures.
For "North Westside Communities" only: A list of completed capital projects for 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and budgeted for 2017.