Wednesday, August 17, 2011

August 16th Council Meeting Highlights

Bylaw 794 went to Public Hearing on July 19th and proposes to rezone the property located between Main Street and Vernon Creek to allow for development of a mixed use commercial/residential complex consistent with the District’s OCP.  Council gave third reading and forwarded Zoning Amendment Bylaw 794 to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure for approval. 

During Public Comment Mr. Hans Karow of Lake Country expressed concerns about the BC Hydro Smart Meter program, specifically about potential health hazards and residents’ lack of opportunity to provide input. Mr. Karow handed out some information for Council and listed 7 communities in BC that have placed moratoriums on the installation of the smart meters. Gary Murphy, Chief Project Officer from BC Hydro made a presentation to Council outlining the program which will deploy automated data collection systems and upgrade old meters to new smart meters.  The most recent BC Hydro generating facility was completed in 1984 and the system of electro-mechanical meters hasn’t been upgraded in 50 years.  The demand on electricity in BC will increase by 40% over the next 20 years and BC Hydro says smart meters will help customers better manage their energy use and reduce GHG emissions.  Council had some tough questions for Mr. Murphy about the implied health hazards, the potential of smart meters leading to time-of-use billing and the need for public input.  Council requested that BC Hydro provide some more information to the District from trusted reliable sources that can be made available for residents. Information will be posted on our website as soon as it’s available. What is your opinion on the smart meters? Join the conversation on Facebook!

Jason Schleppe reviewed the Foreshore Inventory and Mapping & Aquatic Habitat Index for Okanagan Lake.  The project compiled information on the current condition of the foreshore on Okanagan Lake (289 km of shoreline – eg Kelowna to Hope) in order to help create an integrated approach to watershed management and determine the current state of the foreshore of Okanagan Lake.   This data will help develop policies such as the Regional Growth Strategy and Official Community Plans and provides an invaluable GIS database. 

The Turtle Bay Crossing Development bylaws propose to change the property at 11850 Oceola and 2855 Woodview Road from Urban Residential to Mixed Use Commercial and to a Direct Control zone. Plans include approximately 44,000 sq ft of retail and office space.  Council had a lengthy debate related to access issues, development in this location, the need to expand the Commercial tax base in Lake Country and the importance of promoting development in Town Centre. After a lengthy debate, Council gave third readings to the Official Community Plan Amendment Bylaw 773 and Zoning Amendment Bylaw 774 with a provision that a meeting be held with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure and the developer to ensure that secondary access issues are addressed to Council’s satisfaction.

Council approved a development variance permit allowing the construction of an over-height retaining wall on a property on Forest Hills Drive.  The retaining wall will be used to shore up a failing driveway and staff suggested that the wall would have minimal impact on the neighbourhood aesthetics as well as enhancing the safety of the lot.

TEMPORARY USE PERMIT – Destination Management
Council denied the Temporary Use Permit for the Lakes Development freestanding sign on the property at the corner of Oceola Road and Hwy 97. The sign is contrary to the District’s Sign Bylaw and the timeliness for the location of the sign has expired.

Zoning Amendment Bylaw 796 is an application from a group of approximately 10 properties along Stubbs and Ottley Roads to have their properties zoning amended from RR2 – Rural Residential 2 to RR3 – Rural Residential 3 order to allow for future subdivision.  The properties are not currently serviced with District sewer and connections would be required prior to any subdivision. Staff supported the application as a means of adding density to an already developed area and recommended that the applicant submit a concept plan on the feasibility of providing sewer to the affected properties.  Council read the bylaw a first time and requested that staff work with the applicants to pursue options for servicing the area.  

Council rescinded second reading due to a mapping error and read Zoning Amendment Bylaw 795 again a second time as amended.  Bylaw 795 proposes a minor change to rezone a portion of the property on Chase Road from RU1 ‐ Single Family Housing to RU6 ‐ Two Dwelling Housing and to RM2 ‐ Low Density Row Housing.  Bylaw 795, 2011 will be forwarded to a Public Hearing.

There are over 120,000 registered vehicles in the region, and 90 per cent of residents commute to work by car. With the population increasing from 188,000 to approximately 264,000 in 2035, the number of automobile trips will increase in a constrained road network.  Meeting the demands of the population and traffic growth in the Central Okanagan requires a shift in focus from moving vehicles to moving people. To help build a sustainable future in the region, the plan is designed to increase 4.3 million rides today, to nearly 16 million rides in 2035. The Transit Future network is composed of four layers of service that are designed to efficiently and effectively move people and are facilitated by transit priority measures: Rapid Transit Network (RTN), Frequent Transit Network (FTN), Local Transit Network (LTN) and Targeted Services. The presentation on the Central Okanagan Future Plan, Executive Summary and Final Draft Future Transit Plan were approved by Council and are available on our website.

Council adopted Nominating Committee Policy 11.120 which creates a sub-committee of Council to assist Council in seeking potential members, reviewing applications and recommending appointments for Council Committees.  Other communities have found this helpful in getting and keeping members of the community engaged in community affairs.  Staff will be bringing forward recommendations for adjustments to individual Committee Terms of Reference in order to streamline and add consistency to the process of selecting Committee members.

The Corporate Services Department recently conducted an audit of all the current Council Policies to ensure that they are still relevant. There are approximately 120 policies on a range of topics dating back to incorporation in 1995. Some have been rendered inapplicable by virtue of changes in legislation or through new practices and procedures developed as the District has grown. Table 1 of the report summarizes the policies proposed for rescinding and provides some background and accompanying explanation for each one.   Council approved staff’s recommendation rescinding the indicated policies and also adopted an updated Farewell Gifts Policy and Grants in Aid Policy.

Council placed a Notice on Title for a property located at 16015 Powley Court due to a grow-op which was dismantled by the RCMP in January.  The District’s Bylaw 728 requires that the property be remediated and inspected prior to occupancy which has not been completed to date.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

More on Water and Water Bottles

I have received the following comment from Deb Youngest, in our Engineering Department:

"Interesting reading. On the point of the environmental impact that comes along with drinking from plastic bottles, it made me think of a photo series that drew my attention a few years ago. Chris Jordan. “Running the Numbers: An American Self-Portrait.”  I’ve only seen the pictures on the internet; I imagine it is quite more impactful to see them life-size (on five-foot by ten-foot canvas):  - “two million plastic beverage bottles, the number used in the US every five minutes.” (if you use the Click to Zoom feature, you’ll see the image contains quite a few water bottles in amongst the pop and Gatorade detritus). – “400,000 plastic bottle caps, equal to the average number of plastic bottles consumed in the United States every minute."

Maybe the numbers in Canada are lower but I think they would still be pretty high. Meanwhile, did you know that the average person in the Okanagan uses 675 litres of water each day? Wow is the expression that comes to mind. This is more than twice as much water than the average Canadian uses, which is 329 litres per day. Clearly the Okanagan average is high and needs to be addressed, especially when we have less water available to us than almost anywhere in Canada. Interestingly, the average resident in France uses 150 litres per day and, in water-stressed Israel, people use 135 litres per day.

The figure of 675 L/day is an annual average for all Okanagan residents. Our use in the summer is actually much higher than in the winter. Residents in the North Okanagan, where they receive more precipitation, use less water than South Okanagan residents who live in Canada's only pocket of desert.

Should I say more?