Thursday, May 28th13°C

City Hall injustice

Hillcrest: victims of city hall injustice.

Two city councillors, Ryan Don and Siebens, voted to listen to the people who filled city hall chambers tonight and to extend the public hearing of Hillcrest vs City Hall to two meetings in the light of "new information" brought forth by the city in the 11th hour.

After the motion to hear the people of Kelowna was voted down the chambers erupted. Cries of "Injustice", "You should be ashamed!" (directed to the councillors who voted no), "How can one get justice" and a mob of angry faces rose as one, after the vote. Where is direct democracy?

I am simply a patron of the only local Rutland coffee shop I know of, that's open when I want to partake of gourmet coffee in my community. I love the staff. I don't care how many little nit picky bylaws heartless government officials can use to condemn a community minded establishment, this business must stay open. I don't want another soulless corporate coffee shop, I want Hillcrest.

Please play the audio of May 26 2015 city council meeting and hear the uproar of a frustrated community that can be heard near the beginning of the meeting.

Clayton Kessler


Dog fines out of control

Last year I got my two small lap dogs licensed around the end of February/2014 for the first time. I have not received or heard anything from the RDCO/Dog Control office since. Then recently, one of my neighbours complained about our dogs barking in the back yard when left unaccompanied at home outside. This is something we were not aware of and most certainly would have corrected had the neighbour simply left an anonymous note on our porch. But they felt compelled to report it to dog control so an officer sent who left a notice at my door. After playing phone tag with the officer, we finally connected and he informed me of the complaint and said it was just a warning but then broke it on us that our "permanent dog licenses" had expired and I am facing a $600 fine (reduced to $300 if renewal done within a week)  and my renewal rate has doubled from the usual $20 to $40 per dog.

I did not receive any renewal notices or reminders or anything from RDCO office. As this is my first year renewing, I was not familiar with the process so I was waiting to hear from RDCO but nothing until this incident.

My dogs both proudly wear their "permanent dog tag licenses" on their collars so for, all intents and purposes, I considered them licensed.  Had I received any notices or bills, I would have surely paid them. But because of this missed payment of $40 I am now facing a potential $640 increase.  
I have now paid the $80 fee ($40 regular plus $40 penalty and asked to have the $600 in fines waived.  I have now been informed of the "Zero Tolerance Policy" they apparently adopted and my request refused.

What really irks me is that I have never met a dog control officer face to face, no dog control officer has ever actually seen my dogs, nor have I received any tickets. Just phone calls and emails. For all I know, there was no complaint; they simply noticed I hadn't renewed my license, came knocking on the door, heard dogs bark so wrote tickets (which I have yet to receive). I look forward to the opportunity to dispute my tickets and hopefully face the alleged complainants to see if they truly exist. 

In short, watch out Central Okanagan dog owners, dog control is rabid and on the loose! 

Andrew Giffin

Toxic sludge

"Biosolids" - marketing waste and deceiving farmers - a wolf in sheep's clothing.
One of the main arguments for the use of "processed" sewage sludge on agricultural lands is that it is a positive example of "reusing" and "recycling" - that sacred mantra of the environmental movement. People first introduced (at a superficial level) to the concept of using biosolids are initially swayed, as I was, by the use of these positive terms, into believing that this must be a good thing - after all is this process not endeavouring to make a sustainable, ecologically sound contribution to the management of waste? Is not the sludge industry and the government doing a good thing by converting this waste into a usable, eco- friendly product?

Unfortunately this is just not the case. Initially comforted by these cosy terms, I did further reading into the issue, and an examination of non-industry sponsored (arm's length / independent) scientific research, reveals clearly that this is simply an attempt to market something noxious as something good.
This is not a case of "reusing" a plastic bag, or "recycling" some coffee grounds into the backyard compost pile. Remember that what we are dealing with here is the concentrated by-product of the water treatment process. This is the stuff left over when water has been eliminated and returned back into the environment - this is the stuff that we wanted OUT of the water specifically because it was toxic. How then are we to "reuse and recycle" this copious accumulation of toxins? We can't - so we spread it thin, throughout the environment, and cross our fingers that all will be well.
This industry has used the terminology of the environmental movement but has done so in a disingenuous way. This process is not about recycling and reusing harmless organic materials. This process is all about attempting too hide tons of toxic residue throughout our environment. To pretend that this is an environmentally positive act is nonsense.

Yes, the resultant sludge does have things that plants need - nitrogen, and phosphorous for instance - and this is the "selling point" for duping the poor farmers and ranchers who wish to save on fertilizer costs. Unfortunately this is not an honest description of what ends up on the fields and in the forests. Along with a few usable substances, comes all the other unmentioned toxic components. As Dr. Snyder (PhD Harvard) has noted in her eye-opening account of this waste management process, "No amount of treatment can remove or treat PCBs, dioxins, endocrine disrupters, solvents, detergents, prions and superbugs and thousands of other unregulated pollutants in the waste stream; instead most concentrate in biosolids and many magnify in the food chain and are absorbed by plants." She also points out how this free gift of nutrients to the farmers comes at a price: "Is the short-term yield increase, caused by the nitrogen and water in sludge worth the long-term DECREASE in yields? Both the US and Canadian regulations permit cumulative pollutant loading of soils, until there is a 50% yield reduction." This is clearly a case of short-term gain, and long-term pain. You can be sure the farmers are not told of the long-term loss of soil fertility.
The sludge industry couches its business in the cosy terms of sustainability - compost, organics, soil enhancement etc. in its attempt to market its insidious product and make it appear innocent. Like the child in the tale of the Emperor's New Clothes, we need to stand up and call out what is really facing us here - a serious threat to health dressed up as something benign and beneficial. It's a lie - pure and simple.

It seems that a lot of people in this community believe that we can trust the government and its laws and guidelines to safeguard our health and that of our children. That would be (and has been literally) a "grave" mistake ... government legislation is always performing a catch up game ... tobacco, thalidomide, asbestos ... all government approved until science caught up ... and now we are paying the price for these (and many more) government errors. I have little doubt that biosolids used as fertilizer will be the next big mistake - initially condoned by our government, and then after a series of tragic events, seen as yet another failed experiment at the public's expense. What I am advocating is employing a "precautionary principle" towards acts that may endanger health and/or the environment. More research needs to be done. In the meantime let's stop playing Russian roulette with our health and our environment. Let's also start calling this substance "biosolids" what it really is - toxic sludge.

Don Vincent
Merritt BC


Is Justin Trudeau too young

The latest attack add by the conservative party of Canada suggests Justin Trudeau to be too young and inexperienced to lead Canada. So far we have heard nothing about Justin from Mr. Mulcare, the NDP leader himself being 61 years old. Perhaps we should be looking at the new lion Mistress of Alberta being NDP and aged 40, three years younger than Justin Trudeau who is 43. If you add up all the ages of the premiers of our provinces you come up with an average age of 39.5 years old. All elected and all very capable individuals regardless of their ages. Arguably Ontario, 37, B.C. 40, Que, 58, AB 40, the most powerful provinces in Canada have an average age of 43, the same age as Justin. Perhaps the old man, Prime Minister of Canada, Stephen Harper whose age is 56 is worn out and too old to continue to be our leader. It is obvious doing the math we Canadians want younger citizens to run our country so perhaps the present Prime Minister and his party are out of touch with Canadians.
Dale Dirks

Coffee discrimination cont.

Some more responses re: Coffee Discrimination

When I first read the title of this letter I burst out laughing. Seriously? As mentioned before, bikes not being allowed in a drive thru makes sense. I worked in a coffee drive thru years ago and foot traffic and bikes were not served at the window - because of safety procedures. Not only for yourself, but for the people employed at the business.  If you are on a bike and desire coffee, park your bike and go inside. You may choose to leave on your bike after you have paid, though it hardly seems advisable to bike away holding a hot coffee in your hand. Discrimination? Please. There are bigger problems in life then complaining about the options available to you in how you receive your coffee. First world problems.

Chericce Schulz

I have indeed checked my facts and when it comes to the safety of a worker it is always on my mind. That is why companies and governments have reinforced on us worker’s not to fight back in case of a robbery, in fact we are to follow the robbers demands period. If I go into a store whether, I am driving  thru or riding my bike thru, the worker is to comply with my demands. That is what we are told to do from the companies we work for and is also one of  the reason's for Grant's Law for gas stations. Finally whether driving a mophed, a mortorcycle, a car, walking or biking thru a drive thru, if I point a gun and tell you I am robbing you, there is no safety for the worker.

Victor Stockmann  

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