Thursday, June 23, 2011

Investing in Safe and Reliable Water Infrastructure

The District of Lake Country is planning major improvements to the community water system under the proposed Water Master Plan which will ensure safe, clean, sustainable and affordable water for all Lake Country residents.
“Water is an important issue for Lake Country residents. Council wants to make sure it is as safe and clean as possible, while still being affordable,” says Mayor James Baker. “Our new Master Plan will save us money in the long run, but only if we start to invest in our water system now.”

Over the last 2 years the District, the Water Services Advisory Committee and consultants specializing in water infrastructure have been planning for a better future by developing the Water Master Plan. The plan will build a fair system for everyone and does everything the District can to make water safer. The plan continues to move towards providing an equitable rate structure for all users, promotes economic development, recognizes the agricultural role in the community and will ultimately tie all the systems together so that the District can provide treated water to all of its customers.  The current system is deteriorating due to aging and although no one likes to pay higher rates, the longer the project is delayed, the more costs will increase.

Jake Thiessen, a member of the Water Services Advisory Committee says, "The process of updating the Master Water Plan was a thorough one with a large number of options having been investigated before the preferred option was recommended to Council. The objective is to provide safe drinking water and an adequate supply for all water users in the community. Project priorities are laid out and an estimated cost is given for each project. The Master Water Plan will be a road map for improving of the DLC water system over the next 20 years."

The total cost of the Water Master Plan is estimated at $79 million over 20 years with projects such as a treatment and filtration plant, Ultra-violet treatment systems, expanded reservoirs to meet the growing demand, installation of universal water metering to accurately track water usage and ongoing replacement and upgrades to existing infrastructure. Financing for the Water Master Plan will be done through a combination of user rates, senior and government grants and developer contributions.

The District will have a water exhibit at the Municipal hall over the next month displaying details of the proposed projects and financial plan, aging infrastructure and impacts on user rates.  Staff will be conducting a variety of presentations to community groups and holding a public open house on July 6th at the Municipal Hall from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.  Residents are invited to attend the presentations, talk to community members or District staff involved in the plan and to provide feedback by completing the Water Master Plan survey that will be available at the Municipal Hall and on the District’s website.

The Water Master Plan was unanimously endorsed by the Water Services Advisory Committee and after receiving public input, the Water Master Plan will be presented to Council at its July 19 meeting. More information on the Water Master Plan is available on the District’s website or you can contact Greg Buchholz, Operations Manager at 250-766-6677.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Gran Fondo Event Coming to Lake Country

VANCOUVER, June 8, 2011: GranFondo Canada has announced a new 115 km route featuring a dedicated lane for the inaugural RBC GranFondo Kelowna on July 16, 2011 in the Okanagan Valley. "We are incredibly excited about this route," said GranFondo Canada co-founder Neil McKinnon. He added, "We love the idea of touring the lakes of the Okanagan Valley - the route is spectacularly beautiful." Cyclists will begin their journey at Waterfront Park in Kelowna riding north on Glenmore Road with great views of the lake. As they merge onto Okanagan Centre Road and Carrs Landing, cyclists will have the memorable experience of riding alongside beautiful Okanagan Lake after which they will start a 6.5 km climb to Predator Ridge. Riders will conquer the much talked about Quasi-PavĂ© section before topping out at Predator Ridge Drive with views of the notable Predator Ridge Golf Course. Halfway through the ride, cyclists will enter the City of Vernon and enjoy some local scenery before venturing southbound onto Okanagan Highway (Highway 97), which will showcase Kalamalka Lake and Deer Lake. During the final portion of the ride, cyclists will find themselves in familiar territory as they make their way through Oyama and Winfield before passing through vineyards on Lodge Road and Glenmore Road. Finally, they will arrive at Waterfront Park to celebrate the victory of their accomplishment with fellow cyclists, volunteers, community members, family and friends. Cyclists will be provided with a scenic and challenging ride on a dedicated lane through the Okanagan Valley with an approximate elevation gain of 1200 m. It will be a ride to remember and promises to become a Canadian classic. "The RBC GranFondo Kelowna is an incredible opportunity to cycle alongside hundreds of other enthusiastic cyclists – beginners to advanced – in one of the most beautiful places in the country," said Karen Borring-Olsen, RBC Regional Vice-President, Okanagan, who is also signed up to ride the event. She added, "RBC is delighted to support what will truly be a world-class event right here in the Okanagan." There are still limited spots available for the 2011 RBC GranFondo Kelowna, for information on how to register please visit:

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Council Meeting Highlights from June 7, 2011


On May 3, 2011 Council had a lengthy discussion about Zoning Amendment (Russo) Bylaw 784, 2011 to re-zone 8, large rural lots along Oyama Road from Rural Large Parcel to a site specific zone RLOP, Rural Large Parcel Oyama Road allowing future limited subdivision while maintaining the OCP vision of a rural area. By approving the Zoning Amendment, Council is not granting approval to any future subdivisions, but is simply creating a zone which could allow for potential subdivisions. Subdivisions would still need to go through the formal application and approval process to ensure that servicing requirements are met including final approval from the approving officer. The Bylaw was given 2 readings and forwarded to public hearing to hear comments from the public. There were almost 30 concerned residents in attendance at the public hearing who voiced concerns specifically around the subdivided property sizes and requested that Council ensure sufficient investigation is done on the available ground water in the area.



Council approved a DVP for an applicant on Maddock Ave allowing an existing deck to encroach into the left side yard setback. The deck was previously constructed and did not meet the setback requirements of the zoning bylaw. On March 1, 2011 staff recommended that a Notice on Title be placed on the property and Council tabled the recommendation pending the receipt of a variance application from the property owner. Council approved the variance request which varies the north property line side yard setback from 3 metres to 0.43 metres as per staff's recommendation.


OCP AMENDMENT BYLAW 773, 2011 & ZONING AMENDMENT BYLAW 774, 2011 (0825634 BC Ltd)

Council gave 2 readings to OCP Amendment Bylaw 773, 2011 and Zoning Amendment Bylaw 774, 2011 and forwarded the bylaws to public hearing. The bylaws rezone the current industrial and residential zones and amend the OCP allowing for commercial development on the properties located on Oceola and Woodview Roads. The bylaws also create the Turtle Bay Crossing Development Permit Area which regulates the form and character of the commercial development by way of a direct control zone which includes site specific design guidelines. Council discussed the possible need for a second access in the proposed Turtle Bay Crossing Development area and requested that the topic be discussed further prior to adoption of the bylaw.



Council deferred a Temporary Use Permit application for a property on Chase Road where the applicant was requesting permission to allow storage of heavy oversized equipment on a residential lot. Council requested that the owner of the property apply for a Development Permit to bring the land alternations that have occurred into compliance. As insufficient material had been provided for staff to properly analyze the Temporary Use application staff were directed to gather the required information and bring the proposal back to Council.



Council approved a 2-year extension of the DeSchutter Temporary Commercial Permit allowing New Beginnings Early Learning Centre to continue operating until an application to rezone the property to commercial use can be made.



At the May 3rd Regular meeting Council considered a Temporary User Permit from Lake Country Harvest to to expand a home-based fruit processing business and hire some additional staff for the summer months. Some concerns were expressed by the applicant's neighbours about the operation being located in a residential area. At that time staff recommended approval of a 3-year permit and Council approved a 1‐year permit. Since that time, the applicant has submitted a letter to Council requesting reconsideration of its decision and that the permit be issued for three years instead of one. Staff supported the original recommendation for issuance of a 3 yr permit and this time, Council agreed, noting that a 3 year permit will eliminate the uncertainly for the business that a one year licence would impose, and increase its success.



The Draft 2010 Annual Report was presented to Council and the final 2010 Annual Report will presented on June 21, 2011 at the Regular Council Meeting at 7 p.m. for Council to adopt. The District is looking for public comment on the Annual Report on or before the June 21st meeting and comments can be submitted by mail, email or directly to Council on the 21st of June. The Annual Report can be seen on the website here or at the Customer Service Centre at the Municipal Hall.

Agri-Tourism Accommodations in Lake Country

The following press release was sent to the media yesterday.


Lake Country, BC – Current regulations on RV Accommodations on agricultural land are being reviewed by staff after Council heard concerns specifically with respect to a recent development of an RV Campground in Oyama. Such regulations have a minimum provision that applications for RV Campgrounds on farm land only need a building permit, which does not require Council to make a decision but it is granted by staff as long as the zoning requirements are met.

As part of the review, on May 17th Council gave 2 readings to Zoning Amendment Bylaw 790, 2011 which deals with issues such as buffering, minimum setbacks, appropriate placement and restricting the number of permitted units based on lot size. At the same time, Council will exercise powers under the Local Government Act that all new applications for RV accommodations on farm land are to be approved by Council. This power can be exercised only for 90 days from May 17th. In addition, Council requested that Bylaw 790 be subject to an extensive consultation process with the public and interested and affected stakeholders.

At last night Council meeting, staff informed Council that such an extensive consultation process would take longer than the 90 days provided by the legislation to "fix" the bylaw. To avoid the gap that would be left after the expiry of the legislated process and to minimize the impact of possible new applications prior to the new bylaw being adopted, staff has recommended that the current regulations be rescinded for the time being. This would allow for a less rushed process and would ensure that all stakeholders and the general public are properly heard. Staff would then have the time to review all the comments and forward those to Council for the approval of new regulations. Bylaw 793, which removes agri-tourism accommodation for the interim, was given first and second reading and Council decided also to wave the Public Hearing requirements and obtain feedback from the public by soliciting input through public notifications and letters to those affected by this change. By the way of this process, residents and stakeholders have an opportunity to submit their comments up until July 5th, when the rescinding bylaw will be discussed again.

In the meantime, the public consultation process on the new regulations will begin with times and locations being announced in the next few weeks. More information on the proposed changes can be obtained from the Development Services department at the District of Lake Country Municipal Hall or from the District's website.


For more information, please contact:

Mike Reiley, Director of Development Services


Monday, June 6, 2011

FCM Conference a Success

The 2011 FCM Convention just concluded and it was a success. The 2000 delegates were able to hear and work on policy issues that are critical to local governments, such as infrastructure management and funding, economic development, sustainability, climate change, social and affordable housing and so on.

We also had a number of federal political leaders addressing the delegates and recognizing that local governments need more attention from the federal government and that money needs to be set aside to assist municipalities with the delivery of services to their residents.

One interesting session dealt with integration of immigrants within municipalities. Local governments recognize that a key to Canada's future is successfully integrating new Canadians into our society and economy. It was clear, by the many examples presented during the session, that municipalities play an essential role in attracting, retaining and supporting immigrants and their families. The Okanagan has a program, through the Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission, to attract foreign workforce, which is becoming critical to the viability and success of many businesses in our area.

Another highlight of the conference was the session on the foundation of sustainable infrastructure. This presentation looked at the integration of the urban forest, oxygen-rich moist soils and rain water management as a single integrated approach, to develop and maintain sustainable green infrastructure in a dense urban environment. The concept of integration included creation of 'green' walls, 'green' roofs, streetscape and parking lot retrofits, and other innovative elements for the integration of trees, soil, and rainwater. Although Lake Country is not a dense urban environment, the adoption of sustainable practices and policies around age-friendly community living will make a difference to our community that will benefit our future generations.

Finally, I was really impressed by the quality of the presentation and discussion on breaking the costly cycle of chronic homelessness. Let's face it, chronic homelessness takes a terrible toll each year on thousands of Canadian families and lowers our communities' quality of life. Short-term solutions have proven ineffective and expensive. Our efforts, even in a more affluent community like Lake Country, need to focus to make attainable housing more available to both younger and older generations which cannot afford the costs of the current real estate market.


Saturday, June 4, 2011

FCM Conference Focuses on Infrastructure Sustainability

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) is the biggest municipal event for local governments in Canada. It happens every year and generates 2000 delegates from all canadian municipalities.

This year conference is held in Halifax and Lake Country is participating. The theme of this year is 'Strong Cities, Strong Communities. Strong Canada'. I find this theme very appropriate: the foundation of our nation is indeed in its communities. Like our bodies cannot be alive without some vital organs, so our country cannot exist without its communities.

Taking the hint from this theme, this year's conference focus is on making communities better places to live with an eye on a holistic, even global approach. I personally see three main topics developing while I participate to this event:

  • Infrastructure demand and impact on our communities;
  • Stimulation of growth, with an eye on international partnership approaches; and
  • Make the Federal Government understand the need to support communities.
In the first day of the conference, I sat in the Canada's first national infrastructure report card session. Over the past year FCM has been working with the Canadian Construction Association (CCA), the Canadian Public Works Association (CPWA), and the Canadian Society for Civil Engineers (CSCE) to develop a comprehensive, objective, and repeatable reference tool to evaluate the state and performance of three core municipal infrastructure categories: roads, potable water systems, and wastewater/storm water networks. This tool provides additional ways for municipalities to set targets and bolster the support available for local asset management. In Lake Country we are doing something very similar. In fact, we are on the leading edge of infrastructure management and inn the next few weeks, our water assets management plan will become public and will be built into our Corporate Business Plan.

In a subsequent session, we specifically discussed the challenge of rebuilding our water infrastructure. The big question came up: do we rely on internal processes or should we partner with the private sector in order to make the targets more attainable? I do not believe there is one answer or a wrong answer for that matter. Each community needs to figure that out for the benefit of its constituents.

The session on municipal international relations for economic development was very intriguing and an eye-opener. During the session, I heard many good points about establishing international partnership through memoranda of cooperartion with municipalities from other countries. I heard that size does not matter but shared goals, objectives and values plays a major role. Asian economic boom, in particular, offers opportunities that were unthinkable in the past.

Finally, the session on the use of social media in the municipal environment was a blast. Phillip Lecrec, from the City of Regina, explained how Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube have changed and will change the way the City of Regina does business. With 15,000 fans, the City of Regina Facbook page is extremely popular and well used. Naheed Nenshi, the new Mayor of Calgary, explained how the rlationship with the community has changed by using social media. He was entertaining and very convincing. Just visit the City of Calgary and the City of Regine Web and Social Media sites to have an idea.

I found the first day of conference very interesting and stimulating. Now onto the second day.