For Immediate Release
October 12, 2016
HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE OCTOBER 11, 2016 COUNCIL MEETING
Rose Valley Reservoir Turbidity
Council was provided a presentation from Heather Larratt of Larratt Aquatic Consulting who monitors the water quality of the Rose Valley Reservoir for the City of West Kelowna. Ms. Larratt indicated that she has never seen the Rose Valley Reservoir behave the way it did this year. Lakeview Water System users are currently under a Water Quality Advisory due to higher-than-normal turbidity levels in the reservoir caused by a significant algae bloom. Usually water quality from the reservoir is outstanding, but this year a record-setting heat in February, March and April caused a strange freshet pattern and an early start to algae blooms and record spring flooding occurred contributing nutrients into the reservoir. Coupled with stormy, windy weather which mixed the shallows of the reservoir and high water levels as well as soil disturbance from recreational users and impacts from three forest fires in the last three years, the algae bloom began early. Several approaches have been taken to try to address the water quality issues including siphoning off the bottom water, installation of sediment traps and increased sampling and monitoring. The turbidity is expected to subside as the weather cools. Ms. Larratt provided several recommendations to address the water quality in Rose Valley including a line flushing in vulnerable sections of the distribution system to avoid regrowth, maintaining pressures on regulators to keep logging, recreation vehicle access, cattle grazing away from the watershed (West Kelowna does not have complete jurisdiction in the area around the reservoir as it is Crown land). Council agreed to provide free access to the City’s bulk water station, located on Shannon Lake Road, while the Water Quality Advisory stands.
Goats Peak/Gellatly Comprehensive Development Plan
Council gave first and second reading to Official Community Plan Bylaw No. 0100.40, 2016 relating to four properties encompassed within the Goat’s Peak Gellatly Comprehensive Development Zone totalling approximately 110 hectares. The proposed land uses generally adhere to the Official Community Plan in that 55% of the land base will be set aside as open space protection with developed areas focused on historically disturbed area of the site. The development of the subject lands will provide community benefits including an elementary school site and parkland suitable for an athletic field and recreational connectivity to adjacent regional parkland. The location may also provide economic benefits to the Westbank Centre and Gellatly Bay area of the City. Staff will now schedule the bylaw amendment for an upcoming public hearing.
3055 Thacker Drive Development Application
Council adopted a Zoning Amendment Bylaw to rezone a 2.8 hectare parcel at 3055 Thacker Drive from Rural Residential Small Parcel to Single Detached Residential to facilitate a 14-lot subdivision. The rezoning includes the protection of a steep hillside area commonly associated with Kalamoir Regional Park and a pedestrian access right of way that will connect Collens Hill Road to an extension of Wales Road.
Westbank Centre Agricultural Plan
Council approved the Westbank Centre Agricultural Plan, which is intended to encourage diversification and expansion of the agricultural industry in Westbank Centre. The plan encompasses eight parcels, seven of which are located within the Agricultural Land Reserve. Plan development aimed to achieve a common vision based on synergies identified between the objectives of agricultural property owners, the community and the Agricultural Land Commission, an independent administrative tribunal dedicated to preserving agricultural land and encouraging farming in BC. The outcome of the plan is to see renewed productivity into fallow lands. The project budget was $20,000, $11,500 funded by the City with the remaining $8,500 from the Investment Agriculture Foundation of BC, and included the following components:
Understanding the historic context of the plan area
Identification of opportunities and challenges of the plan area
Investigation of local economic impacts of potential agricultural uses
A comprehensive action plan
Presentation of proposed agricultural scenarios
Consultation with the ALC and property owners
The plan indicates that the ability to accommodate a diverse base of agricultural activities is high. Crop scenarios are based on viability of soil and climate, relative cost of start-up, return on investment, and overall suitability. The top three crop scenarios are cider apples, sweet cherries and herbs, vegetables, blueberries, flowers and egg production. The plan will now be distributed to plan area property owners and members of the West Kelowna farming community including members of the Wine Trail, Farm Loop, Agricultural Advisory Committee and the Economic Development Committee.
Rose Valley Water Treatment Plant
Council directed staff to apply to the Clean Water and Wastewater Fund (CWWF) requesting 83% funding from the Government of Canada and the Province of BC for construction of the Rose Valley Water Treatment Plant and related transmission main construction, estimated to cost $53.5 million. The $450 million CWWF opportunity was announced on September 30 and provides a rare opportunity for the city to receive up to 83% of the funding for this project with the federal government potentially contributing 50% and the province providing 33%. The City’s contribution of $9.1 million could be funded through a combination of reserves, water development cost charges and debt financing to be repaid through user fees. The City would need to seek electoral approval, likely sometime in April, to cover the borrowing portion of the costs. The Lakeview Water System obtains its water from the Rose Valley Reservoir and a treatment plant is recommended in the City’s Water Utility Master Plan, with the Financial Plan and Capital Plan calling for construction in 2021 and 2022. The planned construction includes transmission line connections from the treatment plant to the Pritchard, Sunnyside and West Kelowna Estates Water Systems. Securing grant support from the federal and provincial governments would allow the City to accelerate the construction of the project within its financial plan.
2017 Permissive Tax Exemptions
Council adopted the Property Tax Exemption Bylaw for 2017. It allows permissive tax exemptions for qualifying places of worship, private schools, hospitals and non-profit groups. The estimated value of city property taxes exempted through permissive exemptions is $111,796. In 2016, the value was $108,540.