Mayor’s Report August 24, 2015
Over the last two weeks the key areas of concern have been the ongoing drought discussion and responses by municipalities and regional districts, as well as the wildfire situation.
August 13th Councillor Boot, myself, and our Manager of Utilities, Devon van de Meulen, attended a Drought Management Workshop held by the Okanagan Water Basin Board in Kelowna. The South Coast and the Southern Interior have moved from Level 2 (dry) , Level 3 (very dry), and into Level 4 (the highest rating). We are now in an unprecedented drought. Creeks and rivers are at low levels not usually seen until September and fish stocks returning to spawn have been decimated by low flows and high killing water temperatures.
The District of Summerland’s Water Use Plan developed in 2004- 2005 required consensus by all water user groups and is a plan where there was give and take by all stakeholders. It is being used as a model throughout the province. In response to the provincial Level 4 declaration, all water purveyors were encouraged to move to the next level of water restrictions. As a result, Summerland is at Stage 2. Staff are carefully monitoring the water levels in our storage dams as well as following our trigger graph developed in our Water Use Plan. The plan determines when we move into various stages of water restrictions as well as supplying mandated fish flows. The raising of Thirsk Dam put Summerland in a good position as far as managing our water use for all purposes. Currently with the request to users to reduce water use voluntarily and the move to Stage 2, our daily flows from our system have been reduced from approximately 70 to 80 megaliters per day to 47 megaliters per day. Our storages stand at 67 percent full. The water plan is built to anticipate three years of consecutive drought.
A closely related topic was dealt with in a presentation at the RDOS last week where biologist Natasha Lukey discussed the salmon rehabilitation project for the river channel in Penticton. In the past, 85 percent of the river was channelized, 50 percent of the river was lost and 90 percent of the riparian vegetation was lost. In pre settlement times there were up to 6,000,000 spawning salmon, this number dropped to 5000 in the sixties and seventies. In 2008 the Okanagan Nation alliance and the RDOS started doing habitat restoration and the 2014 return was 150,000 salmon. Extensive additional spawning beds are being put in place this year. Unfortunately, numbers will be greatly reduced this year due to low water conditions and high water temperatures.
With regard to wildfires, up until now Summerland has been fortunate and has not had a severe wildfire situation. We have had a number of small fires that could have been serious if the fire department had not acted thoroughly and quickly.
Mayor's Report August 9th, 2015
The community has two major immediate concerns right now. The fire hazard rating is at 4 or high as the hot dry weather continues. According to the Fire Chief we had a ¾ acre fire on Saturday which was aggressive and could have been larger if it had not been fairly accessible. The weather continues to not look good with lightning in the forecast for the remainder of the week.
On recommendation from our Fire Chief Glen Noble we continue to block access to vehicular traffic (including cars, dirt bikes and quads) on Giant’s Head, Conkle and Cartwright Mountains. There is significant danger that an extremely hot exhaust could ignite grass or brush.
The second issue is the drought situation. Up until late last week the Okanagan was still in a designation of Provincial drought level three. At the end of last week the Okanagan was placed under drought level four (please note there is no level five). This has implications for water purveyors like the District of Summerland.
A provincial declaration of a drought level four is recognition of the seriousness of water shortages throughout the Province. As a community we need to continue to vigorously reduce water use wherever we can and be efficient stewards of a precious resource.
Later in the meeting, staff will be giving us a water supply update.
One other topic, I have been managing to drop in on the Rotary Sunday market. There are approximately 50 vendors plus the downtown merchants, everybody is indicating good attendance. Vendors and the public seem to appreciate the laid-back but exciting atmosphere of the market.
July 27th, 2015
The extreme hot weather over the last number of weeks has created devastating wildfires throughout British Columbia. The Fire Chief is very concerned about our local tinder dry situation. I approved his desire to close Giant’s Head Park to vehicular traffic, and the closure of trails on Cartwright Mountain and Conkle Mountain to use by any motorized vehicles such as dirt bikes and quads. The rational is that hot exhaust pipes can ignite tinder dry brush and grasses. In addition we are asking the public to be extremely careful with cigarettes. We have had a lot of lightening but human caused fires are still very high on the list of causes of wildfires. This was brought to home this morning as an old fifth wheel caught fire adjacent to the base of Giant’s Head near the industrial area with grasses and pines nearby. Our fire department was right on it and dealt with it quickly.
Throughout British Columbia the other concern is water. The province has announced a level four drought advisory for the South Coast and Nicola area. The Okanagan is at a level three, and the situation here is under review. The recent rain has certainly assisted the firefighting effort but has not substantially changed dry conditions if very hot weather returns as it is supposed to. All areas in the interior have been asked to reduce consumption by 30%.
We have a very unique situation here in Summerland. The raising of our main reservoir, Thirsk Dam, doubled our storage in Thirsk Dam. We are sitting at approximately 80% of full storage for our combined dam capacity. At this point the Director of Works and Utilities advised that we urge the residents to reduce consumption. We will be reviewing our situation on a daily basis.
Along with other Regional District directors, I had the honour of attending the second anniversary of the Regional District’s protocol agreement with the Penticton Indian Band. This was very significant as such an agreement creates an environment of consultation and partnership on topics of mutual concern.
This last Saturday I had the honour of welcoming the teams and throwing out the first ball at the Senior Ladies Provincial tournament. I actually threw a decent ball and did not embarrass myself by wildly missing or injuring anybody. Ball tournaments bring a great number of participants to our community and they had a great time.
The Sunday market is proving to be a fantastic success. This last Sunday my wife Claire and I attended and it was buzzing with residents and visitors. Booths and retail stores indicated really good activity. So Kudos to Rotary, and the market manager Laurel Burnham.
July 13th, 2015
The last three weeks have been active and exhilarating.
It started July 1st with the Royal Canadian Legion’s celebration of Canada’s 148th birthday which I attended with our MLA Dan Ashton. The legion brought pageantry to our birthday as Pastor Rick Gay led the celebration. Two more years and we hit a grand 150 years.
The big story for Summerland and Garnet Valley water users and drivers, was the announcement by the Federal and Provincial governments of our grant for the Garnet Valley water separation project. I participated with the rest of council in a golden shovel event with our MLA Dan Ashton and our MP Dan Albas on site on Garnet Valley Road. Tremendous thanks goes to Dan Ashton who worked hard with the previous council lobbying on our behalf with the rest of cabinet. A special thanks goes to MP Dan Albas who diligently worked on our behalf to secure the Federal Governments participation. In the process of delivering high quality water, the Garnet Valley residents will also see Garnet Valley road rebuilt, a boon to safety and front axels.
I would like to thank MLA Dan Ashton as we celebrated the provincial grant of $420,000 for the Lakeshore trail project. I would also like to thank Rotary, and community members as they spearheaded the project that will see an important safe link in our trail system linking lower town and the Trout Creek area for walking and biking. It will be completed in mid-August and will also contribute greatly to tourism in the community.
The other exciting news is the strong success of the Sunday Market. What an event! Special kudos again to Rotary. The market is gaining strength with approximately 50 vendors so far, with potential for 80. The retail stores, coupled with the vendors and the music, have created a buzz that I am very excited about. It’s a laid back event and fits the Chambers new tag line of “Take Your Time”.
June 24th I had the opportunity to speak and enjoy dinner with seniors at the Senior Centers’ regular Wednesday social. I was able to explain council’s direction and respond to questions.
June 26th I was able to attend the 2015 Summerland Senior Secondary graduation ceremonies and had the honour of presenting Summerland Scholarship Bursary in the amount of $1100 to Abishek Lekhi.
The weekend of June 27th we had another fantastic long board competition. Giant’s Head is the premier location in the Pacific Northwest. I could not attend this year, but there are again chances for some incredible video clips.
My wife Claire and I were invited to the Yacht Club Soiree, Saturday July 4th. It was a formal event with full dress whites for Yacht Club members and a lovely dinner. I was also invited to participate in the Sunday Sail Past with Past Commodore Brian Wilke. It was a beautiful Okanagan morning as we saluted the Yacht Club Commodore.
July 9th I was invited to say a few words at a gathering of the Specialty Car Association at the Dairy Queen. The association contributes greatly to the colour of Summerland as well as the economy as they pursue their passion.
Back to regular business, I also attended the Okanagan Basin Water Board meeting where vigilance on water use was emphasized as well as the heavy theme of the concern about monitoring for the invasive Qaugga and Zebra Mussels. We all received this new Mussel shirt.
Councillor Boot and I also attended the regular meeting of the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen.
One final note, we had the misfortune of a community-wide power outage July 8th. I realize that such an event is financially very difficult for business, but Fortis and staff got us back on line as quickly as possible. Staff will be participating in a debrief session with Fortis early this week and we will have an explanation very soon.
June 8, 2015
What a weekend! Great weather and tremendous participation by athletes. I would like to extend my appreciation to the Action Festival Committee, Chair Pat Bell, and his team for a job very well done and a special thank you to all the volunteers, and staff involved. All venues seem to be well attended, including the Kinsmen beverage garden. I would like to thank my wife and two grandchildren Hannah and Kaylah for being with me in the lead car for the Action Fest parade. On top of all that the music was fantastic, with a great set of CCR renditions which got yours truly and his wife up on their feet.
In addition there were other events that I had the pleasure of attending. The big one was the 100th anniversary of the Kettle Valley Steam Railway which included a special commemorative run and an unveiling of a special stamp of an old red caboose by Mr. Gus Boersma. This was all followed by a BBQ and cake. I’m pretty sure my grandfather was at the inaugural run 100 years ago as a representative from the Princeton Light and Coal Company.
Last week a joint meeting of the Okanagan Basin Water Board and the Water Stewardship council (this is the science advisory group to support the Water Basin Board) was held at the Summerland Lakeshore Resort.
Most importantly, this is our Corporate Officer, Maureen Fugeta’s, last council meeting as she is about to retire. Maureen started with the City of Penticton in 1989, went to the RCMP and back to the City of Penticton and on to Summerland as the Deputy Corporate Office in 2008 and has been our Corporate Officer since 2011. On behalf of council and staff, I would like to thank her for her years of dedicated service to the administration and the community. She has been kind, patient and generous to me in my new role and I thoroughly appreciate her willingness to help. She will be greatly missed.
Mayor Peter F. Waterman
May 25, 2015
First you will notice some changes to our meeting agenda presentations, they are clearer and more complete for the public. Our new CAO and the admin staff have brought these changes forward.
I attended the Okanagan Regional Library board meeting on Wednesday the 13th and introduced Erin Carlson as the new District of Summerland representative who will take my place on the board. The board continues to be excited about the progress of our new library in Summerland. Our CAO and I had a quick tour of the new building- it’s impressive.
The Thompson Okanagan Tourist Association had a PR event at the Sandman to announce new initiatives and direction of particular interest is an initiative led by Ellen Matthews focussing on trails and experience tourism.
This is a great Segway to the Giant’s Head Grind - Ellen Matthews and our Rotary Club did a wonderful job. The full day event was a great success, our own Councillor Trainer did extremely well. I couldn’t help but think what an incredible venue we have at Peach Orchard beach. Summerland has yet to realize its potential for events and tourism.
Last Thursday Councillor Boot and I attended the RDOS board meetings, of particular interest was the passing of a motion recommending a moratorium on the installation of smart meters in the South Okanagan. Also noted was the strong monitoring effort to prevent the invasion of Quagga and Zebra Mussels into our lakes and streams. There will be mobile monitoring taking place but a serious border inspection commitment is required immediately by the Provincial government. Eradication is not possible once they have invaded our streams and lakes and water infrastructure.
My wife Claire and I had the pleasure of attending the annual Rotary Gala fundraiser at the Waterfront Resort. The dinner was excellent, and the dining room was filled to capacity. Lawyer Micheal Welsh did a stellar job of the live auction; all in all it was a very successful evening.
May 11, 2015
The first part of our term has been busy, and the last three weeks have been no exception.
Councillor Boot, Peake, myself and our CAO Linda Tynan all attended the Southern Interior Government Association (SILGA) conference in Kamloops from April 29th to May 1st. This is a regional government conference where resolutions from municipalities and Regional Districts are forwarded to the Union of British Columbia Municipality conference in September. There were some excellent seminars plus opportunities for discussions, relationship building and networking. As a new Mayor I found this very valuable.
May 2nd two special events took place. First, I brought greetings for the District of Summerland to the South Okanagan Boundary Labour celebrations at Gyro Park. I stood with our MLA Dan Ashton, and Mayor Andrew Jackebuite. The event was well attended and focussed on the successes of the Labour Movement over the decades.
The second event was the selection of our new Royalty at the 45th annual Blossom Pageant. As Mayor I opened the evening’s events and presented gifts to our very successful retiring royalty, Miss Summerland Taylor Arkestyn, Princesses Julia Belmonte and Makenzie Vandertoolen and Miss Congeniality Brianna Ure.
Of course at our opening this evening I had the opportunity to swear in our new Summerland Royalty. Congratulations again ladies and we wish you every success in your activities over the next year as you represent Summerland.
I also attended the Okanagan Basin Water Board monthly meeting on the 5th. Discussions revolved around our snow pack, which for our area runs about 76% of normal, but some areas such as the Island is running at 15% of normal. In addition we discussed the need for border inspection at all border crossings to keep on the watch for the very destructive and invasive Quagga and Zebra Mussels. These invasive species will cause millions of dollars’ worth of damage to water based infrastructure. I would urge the provincial government to protect British Columbia with a much more serious commitment.
Other events that I and Councillors attended were the annual Health and Safety Breakfast at Public Works. All I can say to staff is please continue to work safely.
In addition, I attended the regular RDOS board meeting with Councillor Boot, and on Saturday the 9th I attended the final event for NeighbourLink at Summerland Senior’s Village. Kudos to this tremendous organization and their work at making life better for Summerland citizens.
And lastly, I looked in on our Emergencies Services Saturday morning workshop. Watching the effort, I came away feeling pleased with our abilities and capacity to deal with emergency situations. Congratulations are due to our Fire Chief, our ESS Coordinator John Topham, his volunteers, and all the residents that gave of their time to make this event a success.
Mayor Peter F. Waterman
April 27, 2015
The last two weeks seemed to have whipped by with a large number of key community events.
It started with a highly successful Sadie Fundraiser at Zia’s –it was packed, the food was excellent as usual. I don’t know the exact amount but considerable funds were raised for Sadie through the silent and live auction, and the contribution of the meal cost by ZIA’s. The live auction was led by our talented and exuberant Marty Van Alphen, a fun and excellent event for Sadie.
On Monday the 20th, I along with several councillors, attended the excellent anti-bullying presentation at the Lakeside in Penticton given by Barbara Coloroso. It is a terribly difficult problem and not easily solved.
As most of you know, last week was Earth Week. Busy probably does not cover the number of events adequately. I believe there at least 11 events. My wife Claire and I attended the taking out the Olives event- at PARC – an invasive species that has run rampant.
In addition I attended the Philosopher’s café – Henry Micheals, a First Nations knowledge keeper presented, as did our own Don Gayton – biologist and writer.
In addition Trails BC held their AGM at the IOOF hall – reps from around the province were there. I was pleased to be able to make the introductory remarks welcoming the conference to Summerland.
On a more somber note- Our long time employee at public works, Gary Williams passed away recently. The celebration of life will take place tomorrow at the Providence funeral home at 10:00am.
Also April 28th has been designated a National Day of Mourning for workers, families, employers, and others to come together to remember those who have lost their lives on the job.
April 13, 2015
First I am delighted to introduce our new Chief Administrative Officer Linda Tynan, who joined us at the end of March. Linda comes to us with an impressive list of credentials. She was recently the CAO for Nakusp, prior to that the Chief Financial Officer for Nelson and is also a certified general accountant. In addition she has been the Chief Executive Officer for the Kootenay School of the Arts. It has been a whirlwind of introductions to staff at a special BBQ organized by Karen Jones and chief cook Rick Leardo. Also, I gave her a tour of Summerland from one end to the other, including a special roadside seminar of tree fruit horticulture.
During the past three weeks since our last council meeting we have had an excellent council team building session led by facilitator Dan Dinsmore on Saturday March 28th.
In addition, two select committees have been active. One a select committee on the OCP composed of Councillor Boot, Councillor Trainer and myself, with recommendations coming forward to council soon. The second select committee concerned with restructuring our committees, composed of Councillor Peake, Councillor Holmes and myself. The first set of recommendations will come forward tonight with the recommended list of Cultural Task Force members and the terms of reference. This task force will formulate a cultural plan in collaboration with arts and culture groups in the community. The cultural plan is critical, as arts and culture are a key pillar in Council’s four pillar strategic plan.
Council also had a special meeting with our new school district board led by Board Chair Linda Van Alphen. This was an introductory meeting to be followed by more strategic meetings in the future.
April is Daffodil month and is the Canadian Cancer Society’s national fundraising campaign. There are not too many people that have not been affected by cancer either directly or indirectly. Wear your daffodil to show your support.
April is also National Organ and Tissue Donor Awareness month. Right now there are 465 British Columbians waiting for a transplant. 326 transplants were performed in 2014. If you would like to be an organ donor, please go online to www.transplant.bc.ca.
Mayor Peter F. Waterman
March 23, 2015
The last two weeks have been active to say the least. One of the main focuses for council has been the development of our strategic plan, which consumes a large part of tonight’s agenda. This is council’s focus for this year and beyond. We have added a forth pillar “cultural vibrancy”. Council feels strongly that our drive to the future needs to reflect the depth and breadth of the cultural identity of Summerland. To that end a Cultural Task Force will be struck to formulate a cultural master plan for the community.
Another major effort of the last two weeks has been the review of amendments and proposed amendments to the OCP over the last six years. Council struck a select committee which has met a number of times for a considerable number of hours. This effort reflects the desire of the community to preserve our rural urban mix. The electorate provided this direction in the last election. Council will be bringing the results of these deliberations to the public in the near future.
Both of these major efforts are meant to spur economic activity, and to provide certainty and focus to the development community in Summerland.
All our efforts in these areas, with extensive budget deliberations over the last three months, plus an on ongoing examination of the advisory committees have been led very successfully by the stellar leadership of our interim CAO Tim Wood. Tim’s depth of experience has provided a seamless transition for a brand new council as we start our term. For me personally his kind, personable and thoughtful advice during his three month term has been invaluable.
Mayor Peter F. Waterman
March 9th, 2015
The main event during the past two weeks was the Chambers 77th Annual Business and Community Awards Gala. The dinner was excellent, Thor Clausen did a great job of auctioneering- and I had the pleasure of awarding the Mayor’s Award of Excellence to the Sister City Committee. Many community businesses received awards, but accolades go out to all those who participated. I would like to thank Christine Petkau and her staff for a wonderful and fun event.
On the 7th I attended the AGM of the Friends of the Summerland Research Gardens- excellent attendance – The gardens have always been a special place for tourists, Summerland residents, and indeed the whole Okanagan. It is kept beautiful, largely due to the host of hardworking volunteers.
I have also attended regular meetings of the RDOS and the OBWB as Summerland Council’s representative.
As a council we are finalizing our strategic plan for this year. Also a select committee of council is reviewing our Official Community Plan and will soon bring a report to council.
Mayor Peter F. Waterman
February 23rd, 2015
This particular council meeting is somewhat of milestone. Each new council has aspirations for meeting public need, for accountability, and for transparency. This council is making some significant changes for open dialogue.
We decided to meld the Monday morning Committee of the Whole with our evening meeting to bring full discussion and questions for better public understanding. In addition we have provided for public input in our 15 minute period early in the meeting prior to votes on specific topics. As well the new procedural changes allow for public comment at the close of our meetings prior to adjournment. These opportunities for public participation are in addition to regular public comment where that is already a matter of regular procedure.
Existing and new committees are in the process of being set up with the terms of reference being largely driven by those tasked to participate.
We hope that these changes will help us reach our goals.
A phrase I heard recently covers our approach- “if you want to go fast, go alone,” “If you want to go far, go together”
As well over the past two weeks, I have been involved with council in strategic planning, district budget plans for 2015, as well as Regional District budget, planning and regular meetings. I also met with our RCMP detachment commander Sergeant Stephane Lacroix- we will be meeting monthly so we can maintain a good dialogue.
Lastly as most of you know there was a flooding emergency at SADI, it has been resolved for the short term and we will be looking for long term solutions to meet the needs of SADI and Summerland’s youth.
Mayor, Peter F. Waterman
January 26th, 2015
Since the last council meeting my schedule has been very active. Things started with an interesting business after business evening at the latest opening of a new business Rock Star Clothing, on the corner of Main Street and South Victoria. Its a great location and we wish them every success. This event was followed by yet another fascinating evening of the Conversation Caf. (by the way I do sincerely mean this), Barbara Thorburn and her committee do an incredible job of finding very interesting speakers. The speaker was Danielle Krysa. She is a returned Summerlander a challenging writer and artist.
The balance of the period was a series of meetings, including interviews for a new CAO for the District of Summerland, where we are getting very close to finding a successor to Mr. Day. In addition, Council has been busy in our own budget deliberations, and Councillor Boot and myself, have attended a series of Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen regular meetings, budgets meetings and planning sessions.
And last, but certainly not least, I was extended an invitation to attend the Legion, Robbie Burns dinner, I had my first serving of Haggis with all the pageantry of bagpipes, and drums plus very entertaining renditions of Robbie Burn poetry, and blessing the Haggis. I had a generous serving of Haggis and will go back for more next year. It was a full house, and the food was outstanding.
One final, rather sad note, was the passing of Ollie Olaf Norman Norum on December 31st. I attended a celebration of life at the Legion on January 22nd. Lots of good stories, many of us remember Ollie as a fixture of downtown he added colour to our town. A bench will be funded in his memory at gofundme.com/Ollie Bench or donations may be made at the Credit Union, his friend Steve Haaf took care of all the arrangements.
Mayor Peter F. Waterman
January 12, 2015
It has been a busy start to our term. One of our biggest snowfalls occurred January 4th and 5th. Crews were kept very busy, there were some complaints but by and large residents realized that crews did their utmost with some equipment breakdowns. Anybody who has run a farm or heavy equipment business realizes that despite constant maintenance equipment still goes down with heavy use. In addition Trout Creek residents had difficulties, in future as snowfalls reach approximately 4-6 inches, collectors and bus routes will be done as quickly as possible just like the other areas in town.
The electrical surge that happened in late November, hit homeowners in the Front Bench and Trout Creek areas very hard. A public open house was held January 6th. Public concerns were aired and staff explained the issue with the available information, a further Special Council Meeting will be held January 27th. Our Corporate Officer Maureen Fugeta will have more to say a little later.
I attended a special workshop of the Local Immigration Partnership Council January 7th- it was very informative, focussing on efforts to integrate new immigrants into the work place and generally to our society.
Chief Financial Officer Lorrie Coates will be leading our budget discussions starting January 21st, January 26th, January 28th, and February 2nd.
Councillor Boot and I have had several meetings of the RDOS board where we have just started budget discussions.
As you know Tom Day, our CAO, has just retired after doing a stellar job for Summerland.
Now I would like to introduce Tim Wood, a retired CAO who comes to us as our Interim CAO. Tim comes highly recommended. He will be leading us through a seamless transition as we move to hire a new full time CAO.
Mayor Peter Waterman
December 8, 2014
Our first week started December 1st with our inauguration. Official photos were taken where we were flanked by the RCMP in their Red Serge, and a swearing in with his honour Judge Koturbash. The pageantry with our families attending, made the whole ceremony a great honour. We were also happy to see our MLA Dan Ashton come forward and shake the new Councillors hands and wish us well as we started our new term.
The new Councils orientation started November 26th, with an all-day session with governance expert George Cuff, followed by an excellent session on legal responsibilities with the law firm of Fulton and Company of Kamloops, who specialize in municipal law Monday December 1st.
The calamitous snowstorm of November 25th /26th wreaked havoc for many home owners and had a major impact on many peoples electrical service with disastrous effects on appliances, furnaces, etc.
Staff will have a more thorough explanation in tonight's agenda.
Crews were busy twenty four hours straight plowing and cleaning up.
It was a very difficult time for Summerland residents, but I sincerely applaud our municipal staff for an exceptional response in a severe situation.
Mayor Peter Waterman