Shocking decision made by Chair Given, who twice refuses to hear our concerns

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."

Bob Andrews, President, NWCA

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