Peachland getting ready to spend provincial grant

District ready to spend grant

Peachland will soon be allowed to spend a $2.7 million grant it received from the province last year.

The Growing Communities grant was given to Peachland and other local governments to use on infrastructure projects. Peachland included a number of projects in its preliminary budget, approved in December.

But before the money can be spent a bylaw must be approved, finance director Garry Filafilo explained to council. Council approved three readings of the new bylaw on Tuesday.

“Once fourth reading is obtained, the district will be able to expend monies for 2024 projects,” Filafilo said.

The budget listed several items that will be covered by the fund, including parks improvements, firefighting equipment, road repairs and a new website.

On Tuesday, council also gave itself permission to borrow $1.5 million. It’s a motion council passes every year that has never actually been used, councillors were told.

“I’m not aware that the district has ever used the funds under this bylaw, and it is not expected they will be used this year,” said Filafilo. “However, this bylaw does need to be in place and once fourth reading is obtained and adopted by council, a copy of this bylaw will be provided to our financial institution.”

“This comes up every year,” added Coun. Terry Condon. “It’s never a feature that’s been used. It just gives us the ability to borrow money should our tax revenue come in a little more slowly than we’re spending the money.”

Council also approved a proposal to raise program and facility fees, which haven’t kept up with inflation, recreation manager Benjamin Stringer explained in a report

“The district’s facility fees are currently operating on the September 2021-August 2022 fee schedule,” the report said.

Non-profit and youth activities will get a break.

Stringer is also working on establishing a new fee schedule for movie productions.

“Staff are developing a fee schedule for the commercial film industry to reflect the staff time and impact to community resources needed to accommodate film productions,” his report said.

Council approved a series of parcel taxes, considered to be another routine budget item. The parcel taxes help pay for sewer collection, the water treatment plant and regional solid waste transfer station. A new tax will support construction of a new fire hall.


Compost site taking shape at old Brenda Mines site, Peachland council hears

Compost site taking shape

Peachland has role to play in a new composting facility being built at the old Brenda Mine site, two of the leaders behind the project told council on Tuesday.

Matthew Malkin and Rolfe Philip of Brenda Renewables spoke to council via Zoom about their project on Tuesday.

Food waste collected in a new curbside collection program slated to start in 2025 will be composted at the site, they said. The company is also hoping to work with wineries to bring waste products to their new facility.

Brenda Renewables is partnering with the Westbank First Nation’s Ntityix Development Corp. and mine owner Glencore on the project, the speakers said.

Malkin said Peachland could participate in the project by setting up a drop-off/transfer station that might bring some revenue to the municipality. Green waste drop-off days would be established a couple times a year for Peachland residents and Brenda would supply compost for community parks and gardens, he said.

“We want to start supporting a lot of the community gardens and some of the recreational areas within Peachland. Peachland will be the example for the rest of the Okanagan,” he said.

The transfer stations are important, Malkin said. “This is one thing that is very important to us because it’s important that we congregate the smaller trucks ... and then we’ll move it from the transfer stations up to the mine in much larger volumes so the carbon footprint stays low and the traffic stays low.”

He anticipated 3-4 large trailers would transport green waste from the stations to the site at first.

Measures to protect the environment and water supply are in place, the proponents said, and would be enforced by the government and the land owner.

Glencore and its predecessors have been cleaning up the site for years under strict government regulations.

Brenda hopes to launch a three-year composting pilot project this spring. Under current timelines, further expansions are targeted for 2027 and 2030.

The company also hopes to produce renewable natural gas for FortisBC.

Entry to the site will be off of the Okanagan Connector. Princeton Avenue would only be used as emergency route, Malkin told council.

“This is going to be a show site,” said Malkin. “This is going to be the echelon of organics processing. We need to do a really, really good job in showcasing this because everybody’s watching.”

Coun. Alena Glasman wondered if bones would be included in the food scraps that will be composted.

“We can accept bones. They break down like everything else,” answered Malkin. “A stew pot that’s simmering at 180 degrees, you leave a bone for 48 hours, it just turns to mush. We’re doing it for 45 days.”

The compost will be screened as well before it would go out to the public, Philip added.

21-unit complex gets green light in Peachland

Project receives permits

A developer has received the conditional permits he needs to build a 21-unit complex on Princeton Avenue in Peachland.

The development on a 2.77-acre lot near Somerset Avenue will consist of four fourplexes and one building with five units.

Secondary suites, or flex units in Peachland’s official terminology, may also be part of the development, called The Haven.

Council on Tuesday was asked to approve a 1.2-metre height variance to bring one of the building’s heights from 11 to 12.2 metres.

“Quite honestly, it’s imperceptible and negligible that there would be any kind of visual impact,” said Planning Manager Lor Pellegrino.

Pellegrino told council the developer also owns neighbouring lots and will be bringing plans to council.

The developer must meet four conditions within a year for the conditions to be lifted. They include road improvements and a pickleball court.

Councillors spent a lot of time pouring over the details of the development, but didn’t hesitate to approve the variance. Council received four letters with mixed feelings about the project.


Peachland fire chief joining Kelowna Fire Department

Fire chief moving on

Peachland’s fire chief is heading to the Kelowna fire department.

Dennis Craig is leaving his job after 10 years, Mayor Patrick Van Minsel announced at Tuesday’s council meeting.

“He has reassured us that his new role, specializing in wildfire prevention and protection, means he will still be a resource for our community through the regional emergency program,” Van Minsel said in a farewell statement.

“His shoes will be hard to fill because we will be looking for the same excellence and professionalism you have demonstrated in your 10 years with the District of Peachland,” the mayor said.

Following last summer’s wildfires, Craig has been a regular presenter at recent council meetings, bringing updates to Peachland’s fire prevention bylaws and practices to council for approvals.

More pop-up recycling depots planned for Peachland and Lake Country

Popular pop-ups to return

Pop-up recycling depots were so popular last year the Regional District of Central Okanagan has added even more this year.

The RDCO is doubling the number of pop-up recycling depots in Peachland and Lake Country, from eight to sixteen this year—eight in Lake Country and eight in Peachland.

These pop-ups are an opportunity to drop off recyclables like styrofoam, glass and flexible plastics which are not accepted in curbside carts.

“The goal is to make recycling more accessible to our residents, connect with as many residents as possible on a one-on-one basis, increase recycling awareness and keep recyclable material out of the landfill. The feedback we’ve received from residents attending these events over the last few years of hosting them is positive. Residents tell us they’re happy to have additional recycling options accessible right in their own neighbourhoods,” says the Regional Districts Cynthia Coates.

Peachland pop-ups

Eight pop-ups are slated for Peachland on the second Saturday of the month, March to October, at the Community Centre parking lot on Sixth Avenue. Staff will be on hand from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. to assist.

  • March 9
  • April 13
  • May 11
  • June 8
  • July 13
  • August 10
  • September 14
  • October 12

Lake Country pop-ups

Eight Lake Country pop-ups will take place on the fourth Saturday of the month starting in March from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the parking lot at the corner of Main Street and Hill Road (3165 Hill Road) across from the former Kangaroo farm.

  • March 23
  • April 27
  • May 25
  • June 22
  • July 27
  • August 24
  • September 28
  • October 26

Peachland councillors ask if extension of Beach Ave. pathway is necessary

Is a new path really needed?

Lakeside parking restrictions might be a better way to improve pedestrian safety than building a temporary pathway at the north end of Beach Avenue, some Peachland councillors suggested Tuesday.

Council convened a morning meeting to get details on a proposed walkway extension before sending it to the public for input.

The path from 13th Street to Todd Road would use the existing road with some barriers (bollards or garden boxes were suggested) to separate it from car lanes.

“We are looking for an inexpensive option such as simple line painting or some efficient plastic bollards that would identify the walking area versus the traffic area,” Director of Engineering Jason Sandberg told council during a workshop presentation.

A full pathway to connect with Peachland’s existing Centennial Walkway was estimated in 2015 to cost $2 million or more. In a previous meeting, council heard this new plan would cost about $100,000. The money would come from the Growing Communities Fund, a $2.7-million grant the province gave the municipality last year for infrastructure projects.

Mayor Patrick Van Minsel wondered why a current beachside path wasn’t adequate.

“We found that in the summer when it’s busiest and you’ve got RVs, their camp tends to spill into the beach. There are places where it is quite inconvenient to walk along there. Of course, most of the year it works,” Sandberg responded.

Councillors Keith Thom and David Collins said Peachland should wait to build a proper pedestrian and bike path later.

The Growing Communities money could be better spent on other projects, said Thom.

“I feel that it’s a waste of money at this point in time. Why not wait to do the big job. I’ve never seen any safety issues. We’re creating a problem that isn’t there,” he said.

As a cyclist, Collins said he would rather ride with traffic than mix with pedestrians on a separated pathway.

“When I bike down Beach Avenue, I’m on the road and I don’t find it dangerous. In fact, I don’t want to mix with pedestrians on a multi-use pathway because that would slow me down.”

After Administrator Joe Creron explained that safety was the reason the pathway was being pushed, councillors Alena Glasman and Terry Condon said banning bus and RV parking on the lake side of the street might be a better way to accomplish that goal.

“A lot of the problem I think will be solved by simply prohibiting parking on the lake side of the road,” said Condon.

Glasman suggested banning parking from the May long weekend to Labour Day weekend.

Residents could be asked whether they’d support a parking ban in the first edition of Peachland’s monthly newsletter, slated to come out soon, said Mayor Patrick Van Minsel.

Glasman said multi-use pathways can be dangerous for dogs.

“As a dog walker, multi-modal path lanes can actually be dangerous. I watched it happen once already when a dog on a short leash, and an individual walking a dog on a skateboard can’t get out of the way and it almost killed a dog.”

Council made no decision on the pathway proposal.

COSAR rescues six UTV riders from gully above Peachland

COSAR rescues 6 from gully

Medical concerns elevated the urgency during a Central Okanagan Search and Rescue operation Sunday night.

COSAR was called to get six people to safety from the hills above Peachland. The group’s three side-by-side UTVs had gotten stuck at the bottom of a gully.

After hours of trying to get themselves out, the stranded people called 9-1-1. COSAR was dispatched, sending in an initial snowmobile team to assess the situation.

Once the medical concerns about the stranded party came to light the tracked UTV was also sent in. All six people were brought to the staging area on Brenda Mines Road.

Sunday’s rescue was COSAR’s fifth task in a week-and-a-half and the 18th so far this year.

Peachland puts on hold possible request to join short-term rental restrictions

Short-term motion on hold

A request to include Peachland to provincial regulations restricting short-term rental units has been put on hold.

Council was slated to vote Tuesday on a motion to be added to the new provincial regulations.

Proposed legislation will essentially restricts short-term rentals in the province to an owner’s principal residence – or a secondary suite or carriage-style home on the property.

As a municipality with a population under 10,000, Peachland would be exempted from the new rules.

Some smaller and rural jurisdictions are concerned they may become too much of a hotspot for short-term rentals if they’re excluded while the bans go ahead in neighbouring jurisdictions.

Mayor Patrick Van Minsel said on Tuesday more consultation is needed before a motion is voted on.

“We still need more information coming down from the province,” he told council.

Council will host a town barbecue in June, where public input can be sought, Van Minsel said.

He added that the provincial residency requirement is already included in Peachland’s bylaws.

The motion likely won’t come back to council until fall.

District of Peachland to launch civic newsletter

District to launch newsletter

Launching a monthly newsletter and conducting a citizen survey will add $16,500 to Peachland’s 2024 budget.

Councillors approved the additions unanimously on Tuesday.

The additional spending will increase taxes by 0.33 per cent, council heard. Mayor Patrick Van Minsel said the municipality will look for other ways besides taxation to fund the projects.

In December, council approved a preliminary budget with a 7.74 per cent tax increase.

The newsletter and survey are part of a new communications plan, approved by council last month.

A citizen survey will ask Peachlanders for their views on services offered by the municipality, Kirsten Jones, the municipality’s new communications co-ordinator, told council in January.

Peachland has an e-notification service with 566 subscribers, council heard in January. The newsletter
will also go out by mail.

The City of Kelowna has also started a regular newsletter.

Peachland residents want large Ogopogo sculpture installed in community

Residents want Ogopogo

An enthusiastic group of Peachlanders has come up with plans to carve a large Ogopogo sculpture and donate it to the municipality.

“We would create the project, we would raise the funds for it, so there would be no cost to the city, other than we would need a spot to put it, Lee Etherington told council on Tuesday.

A wood carver has already been lined up for the project, the group told council.

Etherington, Bruce Klippenstein and local Ace Hardware store owner Tim Stubbert came up with the idea.

Stubbert had thought about putting a large Ogopogo sculpture on the roof of his store, Etherington explained to council. When that couldn’t be done, he put one in a window. The popularity of that got the trio thinking about doing something bigger.

The carving would be 8-10 feet high and 25 feet long. The group would seek the funding for the project themselves. The municipality would only need to provide a spot for it.

Etherington said his group envisions the statue being in a place where tourists could take photos with Rattlesnake Island, the alleged home of the giant lake creature, in the background.

The group hopes to work with the Westbank First Nation on the project, Klippenstein told council.

“They are thinking about it,” he said.

Klippenstein is a familiar public figure who attends many local events as a town crier.

In local Indigenous legends, Ogopogo is known as N’ha-a-itk, a not-so-benevolent lake creature.

Waving a piece of paper, Klippenstein said he owns the trademarks to Ogopogo, so he’s able to do this.

Klippenstein said the carving would be a huge tourist attraction.

“The tourist potential is amazing,” he said, referring to other towns that draw tourists with their statues. “You can carve your place in the tourism world by approving this carving,” he said.

“I admire the passion,” responded Mayor Patrick Van Minsel.

Council voted to have municipal staff work with the group to come up with a plan that can be presented at a future council meeting.

As for Klippenstein’s claim to hold the Ogopogo trademark, he explained it in response to a blog post in 2022 by Hugh Stephens, who examined reports the City of Vernon had transferred the copyright for Ogopogo to the Okanagan Nation Alliance.

Klippenstein wrote on Stephens’ site: “I registered 3 related Trademarks for Ogopogo, OgopogoLand and N’ha-a-itk. It took 3 years, to 2021, for them to be approved by CIPO (the Canadian Intellectual Property Office.)

“These trademarks were specifically crafted to include any form of advertising or promotion, ie tourism potential.

“I then donated the Trademark for N’ha-a-itk to WFN ... I still own the TMs for Ogopogo and OgopogoLand.”

Both trademarks are indeed registered to Klippenstein on the CIPO website.

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