Monday, May 29, 2017

Polson Park No Longer Family Friendly


Unintended consequences!

We heard yesterday of a young mother who took her 3-year old son to Polson so that he could ride his new bike and learn about traffic safety from his Mom.

"...Can you imagine how bad it'll be
when they legalize (pot).
  Holy cow, I'll never want to be
in public again with my young son."

Mom reported:  "He did so well...learned all about traffic.  And trafficking!  God, the 'low-lifes' down there...you could smell pot wafting across the playground.  Can you imagine how bad it'll be when they legalize (it).  Holy cow, I'll never want to be in public again with my young son."

What she was referring to, of course, is that homeless camps can take up residence in public parks.  If other options don't exist, that is.

Vernon Council voted 6-1 Tuesday to suspend the parks and public places bylaw, according to the Morning Star on May 26th, "when shelter space is not available and homeless individuals turn to parks temporarily."

But Councillor Juliette Cunningham said "I go to the park and it's a big park.  There's lots of places where you can go and feel safe."

Yeah, sure, Juliette!




"The Park will be family friendly during winter," Kia would've said.









Thursday, May 18, 2017

Lavington May Day Committee


...honoured Highlands Golf today with a visit to have their group photos taken.

Cute kids, cute costumes.
Nice adults.



The group went up to the irrigation pond...which is nearly overflowing from recent rains.

Thank you, Nicole with the Lavington May Day Committee for selecting Highlands for your photo shoot!


Give Bureaucrats a Window


...and maybe a thermometer too.

Received this letter, dated May 1st, 2017 from RDNO.
The letter was written 17 days ago, during one of the coldest--and wettest--six weeks of "Spring" in recent memory.

(click to enlarge)


Yes, our last backflow test was conducted on April 28th of 2016.
But this year?  Holy moly, it was probably snowing that day...

We still haven't turned our irrigation water on.

I phoned the Cross Connection Control Officer and left a message on voicemail (to which--by the way--there was no confirmation of receiving it) to state that our irrigation water isn't turned on yet and that we would attempt to make their "completion by May 31, 2017" deadline, there is no assurance that date will be met.

We haven't even heard from the tester fellow yet...

"He's probably still placing sandbags at his foundation," Kia would've said, "to prevent floodwaters due to heavy rains from entering his house."

Bureaucrats might be bailing water from their homes too...


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The Truth Eventually Surfaces


...if you wait long enough.

Anyone in the public gallery during the Stakeholders' Advisory Committee Meetings, as well as SAC-appointed members and elected officials, have heard ad nauseum consultants and Greater Vernon Water bureaucrats state that "agricultural water use isn't expected to increase appreciably" (or something to that effect).

"...shows a six per cent increase in tree fruit acreage..."
Fred Steele

The denial that ag water use will increase is even contained within the technical memoranda (TMs 1 through 9) for those meetings, as well as hearing consultants state it during their summaries to the SAC committee.

Yet today on page A21 of the Morning Star, here's an interesting short article that quotes B.C. Tree Fruit Association President, Fred Steele:

"Tree fruits growing:
The latest statistics are fuelling optimism within the tree fruit sector.
The 2016 agriculture census shows a six per cent increase in tree fruit acreage in the past five years and a 51 per cent increase in revenue.

'The census shows why we are optimistic about the tree fruit sector's future,' said Steele...who believes there are a number of reasons for the industry's growth.

'We have benefitted from a strong Buy Local campaign, and our introduction of new varieties of cherries and applies is attracting premium prices and expanding export markets for our product,' he said.

'In terms of production, new horticultural practices that are more productive and environmentally friendly, as well as the introduction of the seasonal agricultural worker program (Mexico and Caribbean workers), have removed barriers to growth.'

The B.C. Fruit Growers' Association represents 520 family operated farms."






What's the big deal about ag water increases?
Why do people care?

Well, for one thing, residents are fed up with paying for agricultural water use (as the segment only contributes slightly over 4 per cent toward Greater Vernon Water's annual budget).  Especially since chlorinated water is being applied to crops at huge cost.

And secondly because of bureaucrats' lies.
Lying that the ag sector's water use isn't expected to increase in the next few years.

Residents aren't blind...they've noticed previously-fallow acreages planted to fruit trees...in incredible numbers.  Certainly some acreages did already have water allocations...but the pages of "new requests" found in RDNO agendas proves an upswell of ag water requests.
Because not every parcel had allocations to sell.

Proof is the thousand-plus pages of GVAC agendas (generally about 140 pages for each monthly meeting) in which requests for agricultural water allocation are made.
 
"Expensive chlorinated--and maybe soon filtered--water will continue to be applied to farmland," Kia would've said "despite our neighbouring community to the south focusing on separating water lines."

If I had no life at all, I'd research those pages and total all the new (requested) water acreage allocations.
But my life doesn't allow for that!


Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Water, Water


The Boil Water Advisory that encompassed the entire North Okanagan's GVW water base has now been rescinded.

The following clubhouse sign will now be removed.




One complaint was that the alternative didn't taste good for brushing one's teeth during the advisory...G R I N !


Wonder what the water "depth" indicators would look like today (versus this March 1st reading).




Turn Off the Taps, Mildred!


Wow...and they say el Nino brings a lot of rain!

It seems la Nina packs a big bucket of it too!
Cold and wet since early April...unusual for the Okanagan.
We can count on one hand the number of sunny and warm days.

Flooding in low-lying areas, streams overflowing, fish 'n ducks on the road beside London Drugs.
Even Highlands Golf has water coming out of the ground in the strangest places...luckily no damage other than wet golf shoes.

Some pics:


48th and Hwy 97 (at the Toyota dealership), with a similar amount of water on the other side at the Fairfield Inn.

Boots for the grandson to do some putting...
No wonder this golfing family was happy...it wasn't raining!  And they were celebrating a birthday...

And this photo from the internet aptly explains the Okanagan's water woes...



So, turn off the taps, Mildred!

It's golf season...we hope.


Sunday, May 7, 2017

Birthday Girls, and a Daredevil


Dara, Holly, Alicia and Melissa...a great bunch of ladies!

They're not giving up their dayjobs...

And a weekend treat in this valley, our "daredevil" is back...a sure sign of spring!








What an accomplished pilot this individual is!

Love to see ... and hear it.
So do golfers on the course.


Recycling Survey Disappoints


In today's Morning Star, regional district segment, there's an appeal for the public to take part in a "general recycling survey", as they call it.


Residents have been angry for years since the "new" MMBC recycling program was pushed down their throats, so it was with anticipation I entered the URL into my browser.

There is a "grey box on the right" at this URL.
After clicking on RECYCLING on the engineering page disappointment was soon felt.

After completing several questions, I was disappointed that the survey was merely another way to "educate" the public, rather than truly obtaining their opinions on recycling changes' failures.
And asking for household income--as though to gauge whether rich--or poor--people tend to recycle more...is frankly, none of their business.
So I "x'd" out of it.

See for yourself here.

By the way, Multi Material BC is now renamed Recycle B.C.
We called it Mini Material BC.




"Because nothing beats the system we used to have...the blue bags at the curb, which were easy to haul down an icy driveway or stairs or an apartment elevator," Kia would've said.

Unlike some communities, we didn't even get the bins with the lids and wheels.
But the blue bags were the best.


Saturday, May 6, 2017

Really, GVW?


Imagine residents' utter surprise--after what seems like three days of torrential downpours (monsoons, according to some folks)--when they saw this sign at the base of Coldstream Estates:


There's even an evacuation alert for two homes along Duteau Creek's spillway.

And there's more.  Flooding in Vernon,  Armstrong, plus naturally, Lumby is very concerned.
Basically, anyone living in low-lying areas.

"Three days?" questioned a golfer this morning, adding "it's been raining on and off for 6 weeks."

Yup, it has.

Here are photos of Coldstream Ranch's "lake" taken this morning just south of the golf course...note the flooded creek (along the cottonwood/willow trees, and the field beyond that...toward Highway 6.




The latest round of thunderstorms arrived last night, looking very ominous indeed:




"Strange to hear the quacking of ducks in this dry valley," Kia would've said.

Even more strange to see the GVW sign.



Saturday, April 22, 2017

Disgusting Excess


It's not new during silly season.
But you'd think that the wasters would realize people may be offended by this duplication, and that it is no way to run a campaign.

Are you more likely to gain a resident's vote May 9th if they see the abject waste that you appear to support?




"Maybe that's how he ran his term as Member of the Legislative Assembly," Kia would've offered.

That's telling.


Dirk Minces Words


That's what I'd say.

Doug Dirk, GVAC Advisory Committee member was quoted in Gyula Kiss' blog on Thursday as saying "The (failed water plan) referendum is coming up on three years and we're marginally coming along on how to finance it..."

Gyula called his blog entry "Doug Dirk is too kind".
So it's kinda true.
The part about marginally coming along anyway.

But Councillor Dirk--a veteran (like Gyula) in Coldstream's political scene--is mincing words.
Side-stepping, actually.

Instead of admitting he hasn't a clue (same as his boss, Coldstream Mayor Garlick) in how to rein in the costly bureaucratic bush-beating, inefficiencies and bungling that today see chlorinated water irrigating farms, it basically underscores everything at Greater Vernon Water.
Doug Dirk wants residents to believe that the plan is still proceeding, albeit slowly.
He should've stated "frankly, folks, we're heading in a direction of no return.  We're totally screwed."

  

Let's see what Gyula posted under his heading of Doug Dirk is too kind:

Director Dirk is too kind!

Actually, the Master Water Plan has been going on since 2001, for over 15 years. It was supposed to be completed by 2007 (see MWP 2002 page 11-1). Then politics came in. Over $70 million later, amazingly,  we are irrigating agricultural crops with treated water, a huge waste of ratepayers money. Treatment cost runs about $1.5 million a year. Unfortunately, this water has chlorination only for disinfection while it serves about 20% of the domestic customers. It needs more treatment.
Now GVWU is planning to spend additional $8+ million so they can irrigate crops with even more expensive ultraviolet treated water. That is an extra treatment cost on top of the $1.5 million for a total of likely over $2 million annually. As the Chair person remarked, with UV we hope to be able to defer (but not eliminate) filtration for a bit longer. If filtration also has to be installed that will make the $8 million UV treatment redundant. It will also make the treatment costs significantly higher.

Kelowna and the South East Irrigation District (SEKID) were facing the same problem as Greater Vernon and VID did. Kelowna chose to take the gradual improvement plan by improving the water quality for the greater population of Kelowna first by installing UV treatment on the Okanagan Lake water supply. They have deferred filtration as the lake water quality was good without filtration.

When the problem with SEKID finally came to a crunch Kelowna went to the Government with the problem. They succeeded in obtaining a $44 million grant that will be used for total separation of the irrigation and the domestic water supply.

Greater Vernon Utility officials believed that government grants could only be used for treatment plant construction. Kelowna proved it not to be so! GVU wasted our money (and government grants as well) for constructing an ill-advised, money sucking treatment plant at Duteau because "...grants were available for treatment plant construction".

Kelowna is getting to work on a totally separated system that will provide highly treated Okanagan Lake water for both SEKID and Kelowna customers.

There is still time to reverse the current MWP direction. Projected additional cost to complete the MWP as it currently planned is roughly $150 million. About $110 million of that is proposed for Duteau Plant projects. In addition there will remain the annual treatment cost of about $2 million or more. These moneys would be more than adequate to cover the total separation costs.
The current masters of the MWP have been at it for nearly 17 years with little to show for their efforts. They are now bogged down in protecting the current direction. Since the construction of the Duteau Creek WTP there was a desperate effort to maintain the plant in the system even if it costs more to the taxpayers. They would not admit that there were mistakes made. New information has not been incorporated into the plans. For instance, the initial projections for water demand were hugely overestimated. We are still using those estimates in our plans to create larger than necessary infrastructure. 

It is obvious that a second opinion is needed to evaluate the MWP. When a potential expenditure for the plan is  over $215 million we should not rely on the opinion of a single group that ruled for over 15 years with questionable success. We must insist on getting a second opinion.

Staff and politicians try to eliminate further input from the ratepayers by using inflated water rates to collect funding for the financing of the water plan. This way they would not have to go for another referendum. It's kind of an "end run" to avoid the repeat of the 2014 defeat of the referendum. 
 However, this action is totally inappropriate as the current ratepayers will not get the benefit of what they are paying for. The benefits will only come after the moneys are collected and the projects are completed. For many that might be too late! Talk to your elected politicians and express your opinion to them!

My earlier activities: In 1991 I wrote a report with supportive evidence that total separation of the domestic and agriculture systems is the most cost effective option to follow.  MWP 2002 affirmed the same principle.

In 2006 I appeared in front of the RDNO Board of Directors requesting a Judicial Review (click for news report) of the direction of the MWP. It was refused. Instead, staff wrote a report stating that the Plan, which is incomplete even today,  was heading in the right direction. It seems that was not true.

This might be my last effort to appeal to my colleagues and to the Greater Vernon Water customers to demand an independent review of the plans. I have no more voice on GVAC. Neither staff nor politicians wish to hear opposing opinion.


Perhaps they will have to start listening to you, the customers!"
 
 

The unwelcome opposing views at Greater Vernon Advisory Committee meetings are the educated and analytical work of Gyula Kiss, who knows all aspects of numerous master water plans better than the GVW engineers and consultants combined.

So is Doug Dirk too kind with his politically-minced words?
Yup, suppose so.

Just another useless political comment from Doug Dirk, almost matching his political attributes.
Must be something going around.

"Maybe there's something in the water," Kia would've said.

Totally screwed up.

"Marginally coming along."
Maybe Doug Dirk is referring to how irrigated trees will fare under the soon-to-be UV-treated irrigation water!





Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Water Meter Readings page Updated


The blogger gremlins are still active, but here's the link to the data for January 1st through March 31st, 2017:



So, technically, it cost $356.12 for 28 cubic metres of water (including the residence).

"Doesn't that amount to almost $13 bucks per cubic metre water?" Kia would've said.

Yuppers.


Those Hardy Calgarians


A warm welcome back to members of the Centennials, here in Vernon for a weekend recreational hockey tourney.

Mark, Mike, Paul and Rich were a little rusty in their 18-hole round...but apparently hockey went well.



They did grumble a bit that the cold prevented them from wearing shorts, as they did last year.




Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Our Own Fake News


The United States isn't alone in the fake news phenomenon.

In fact, the North Okanagan area was likely the first to achieve that distinction with its consultant- and bureaucrat-biased "data" on the master water plan(s).

the Water Authority's ally...


Add to that the contrived biases of the Okanagan Basin Water Board and you've got a pack of liars that'll curl your hair.

So it's refreshing to get back to basics...something we residents can get our teeth into:

"Civil Servants must understand:
services required by their employers, the public,
must be provided cost effectively
and to the demand the public requires..."
G.Kiss                         

I recall years ago the OBWB stating in a national publication that residents of the Okanagan used "x times" more water than the average Canadian household.  Twice the Canadian average, they said, as my blog post of October 24th, 2015, indicated.

Shaming Okanagan residents nationally.
How nice!
All fake news to suit their purposes!


But Gyula Kiss has a handle on the numbers, thankfully, and presented them in his April 7th post here.
Here's his post on the fake news of the water authority and the OBWB:

Response to Anonymous comments on: Some real data on Greater Vernon water use

Anonymous said...

   “Let's not assume anything!

    Actual residential water usage in Greater Vernon is closer to 222 litres per person per day, not 675.  (open a new browser window, copy and paste the following URL into your browser to access the 20-page report from J.Miles in 2009).

 http://obwb.ca/obwrid/docs/337_2009_Residential%20ICI%20actual%20use%20(Miles).pdf    As Coldstreamer has calculated, we are already "doing the right thing" and conserving water (... probably because our rates are so high!).

    Same story with BC Hydro - customers do the right thing and conserve energy, and then the utility hikes the rates. We can't win.”





The above comment was in response to my blog post entitled: 

Some real data on Greater Vernon water use.
The quoted reference by Anonymous was published by Jennifer Miles in 2009. She is currently employed by the North Okanagan Regional District.  The report shows even lower per capita water use than was calculated by me. That calculation was based on water use data provided by Greater Vernon Water in their Annual Reports between 2011-2015 (reported average annual per capita consumption at 307 liters per day per capita).

There are some questions that must be asked:

The 2012 Master Water Plan was designed for a domestic capacity of 9,670 ML in 2011, increasing in steps to 13,360 ML in 2052. At the estimated consumption of 222 l/d/p the 9,670 ML would have supported a population of 119,339. Why would the planners design such a huge oversized infrastructure for a population of ~55,000? They must have been aware of the report Jennifer Miles.
 

The 2052 consumption estimate of 13,360 ML would provide domestic water for a population of 164, 877 using the 222  per capita estimates. Would we anticipate that kind of growth in 40 years?
 
Even at the per capita consumption of 307 l/d/p, calculated by me based on actual data, the projected 2011 consumption of 9,670 ML would have supplied  over 86,000 people. That’s an oversize of 57%.
 One set of data that made a huge influence on the per capita consumption was the high ICI water consumption. Without the ICI consumption the current per capita consumption could be in the low to middle 200's.
Obviously, if the 222 l/d/p consumption figure was used to estimate future water demands the plant would have been undersized. However, the currently available empirical evidence should be considered prior to establishing future water demand figures. Should we not incorporate actual data collected over 5 (or now 6 years)?

As for “Let's not assume anything!”: scientific reports must always state the assumptions the author of the report made in collecting the data for the study and for the conclusions.

Civil Servants must understand: services required by their employers, the public, must be provided cost effectively and to the demand the public requires within the available resources. If we require the public to finance an infrastructure that exceeds their needs and/or the capacity of the resource, then the customers pay more than they need to pay."


Refreshing.
Yup, that's what calling out fake news leads to.
That we're not crazy;
that we're doing a good job at conserving water.

"But just think of all the folks that believe fake news," Kia would've said.

The Okanagan Basin Water Board's meme...

And it ain't over, based on this comment from staff, printed in the newspaper April 9th under the heading "Pressure grows for water plan."

"...However, staff insist that reviewing the master water plan has been proceeding, including public engagement."

Public engagement?
Total bullshit.
As usual.


Wednesday, March 29, 2017

BCUC -- So Much For "Public Opinion"


Their "call for comments" produced such a spiralled web of crapola that it's difficult to even wade through their website listings on the issue of electricity rate tiers in British Columbia.

Good ole' Wacky Bennett must be rolling over in his grave right about now.
But he's the only one who'd have time to read it all...

My November 23, 2016 blog post on the issue is here.
We all know hydro's electricity rates have been going up and up and up for years; have a look at their 2012 document on conservation.

My November blog post had ended with the phrase:  "Good...now let's see if BCUC will come up with an analytical and thoughtful reply to their request for comments from the public."

Anyone suffering from insomnia can cure themselves by wading through the following BCUC stuff that was sent to me today in response to my "Public Comment letter".

To cut to the chase, B.C. Hydro's (through their arms-length approval function, the B.C. Utilities Commission), still hasn't seen the public outrage that since  no “baseline all electric” was determined, which would have led to higher average monthly electrical usage and a resulting higher Tier 1 level before Tier 2 rates “kicked in”, this public submission process led to exactly what the BCUC and B.C. Hydro and the current B.C. government wanted:  public input that could then be ignored, and business would go on as usual.

Anyway, here's the email I just received:

"The BCUC has issued its independent report requested by the BC Government in response to public concerns raised about BC Hydro and FortisBC’s residential inclining block (RIB) rates. As you provided a letter of comment that was considered as a part of this report, we have enclosed a pdf link to the Report.

To see all documents submitted as a part of this process, please see the following link: BCUC RIB Rate Report 
Thank you for participating in this process.
Regulatory Services
British Columbia Utilities Commission
Sixth Floor, 900 Howe Street, Vancouver, BC   V6Z 2N3
Tel:  604-660-4700 | Email:  commission.secretary@bcuc.com"



The 32-page Exhibit List is here.
My submission shows up on page 30, numbered E-567.

Still haven't cured your insomnia?
Well, the following will do it:  have a peek at the 2,139-page (yessiree Bob!), the 2,139 page 2015 Rate Design Application.

Doing a Ctrl-Find search of the word "baseline" leads to these statements:
  • On page 6
    -28, BC Hydro says
    : “.... AMPC stated that the inability to annually adjust baselines to reflect
    changes in use is a significant problem for a heterogeneous class, and thus a flat energy rate may be more useful in providing a conservation price signal than a tiered energy rate.”

  • The mechanism of LGS rate structure include a provision for new accounts where the last 15 percent of energy consumed in a monthly billing period will be charged at the Part 2 energy rate rather than at the Part 1 energy rate until a baseline level of consumption is established one year hence.
  • LGS Flat Energy Rate
    - A LGS flat energy rate eliminates all complexity-related issues resulting from the baseline component of the SQ LGS Energy Rate and aligns with how other similarly situated Canadian electric utilities structure larger general service energy rates (predominantly flat). However, there is a trade
    -off between the customer understanding and acceptance and the economic efficiency criteria because the flat energy rate would not be reflective of LRMC (F2017: LGS flat energy rate is 5.37cents/kWh with demand charge cost recovery at 65 per cent, and the lower end of the energy LRMC range is 9.46 cents/kWh)
  •  
  •   “Initially, freshet energy volumes will be calculated hourly by determining
    energy consumption in excess of an average MW (aMW) baseline determined in consultation with the participating customer.”
    BC Hydro sought feedback on four baseline options on slide 27 of the Workshop 10 presentation and ultimately received broad stakeholder support for pursuing Option 3,an average MW baseline discussed on page 34 of the Workshop 10 consideration memo, giving customers the ability to respond to daily HLH and LLH price signals.Options 1 and 2 were rejected because they used average freshet prices, across an entire month or season, and would have sent customers an inferior price signal relative
    to the use of an average MW baseline in Option 3.
From page 65: 
Were there any issues with setting baselines, implementation and billing?


Frankly...I quit after page 65 of 2,139.
Just couldn't pause my life for however long it would take to get through this one link!

So here's their pertinent comment: 

"B.C. Hydro's conclusion, which is also supported by COPE 378 and BCESA, is that the Customer Specific Baseline Rate is impractical due to the large number of customers, and will impose significant implementation challenges."

What does that mean?

"It means they're too lazy to canvass B.C. customers (easy-peasy...it IS the computer age)," Kia would've said, "to accurately get a customer specific baseline", instead of guessing at it."



So, what's MY summary now?

  • Get ready for time-of-use (ToU) energy billing in British Columbia (as in Ontario, for most of their customers).

  • Get ready for continued single-digit (~5? ~6 per cent) increases...year after year after year.

...oh, and just wait until Greater Vernon Water figures out how to charge for time-of-use water consumption *grin*.



Try telling that to B.C. Hydro and the B.C. Utilities Commission!