This electoral area encompasses the mostly rural, unincorporated area on the east side of Okanagan Lake, outside the municipal boundaries of the City of Kelowna and District of Lake Country. (Map)
There are a number of communities within the Electoral Area including Ellison, Joe Rich and neighbourhoods along the south end of Lakeshore Road and June Springs.
Land use in the Joe Rich area is regulated by the Joe Rich Rural Land Use Bylaw and the remainder of the Electoral Area is regulated by the RDCO Zoning Bylaw, which is supplemented by the South Slopes Official Community Plan and Ellison Official Community Plan.
There are also two Fire Protection Areas with paid on call fire services provided by the Ellison Fire Department and Joe Rich Fire Rescue Department.
Electoral Area News
Area Size: 127,109 hectares
Population: 3,824 (2016 Census)
Electoral Area Director: Mark Bartyik - Email - 250-808-3715
Local Services and Estimated Tax Requisition and Rates (2020 Financial Plan)
2018 Economic Profile - Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission
Electoral Area Community Parks:
Electoral Area News
2019 Audited Financial Statements (July 9 Regional Board meeting)
The Regional Board has approved the 2019 Audited Financial Statements for the Regional District of Central Okanagan and Central Okanagan Regional Hospital District. Copies along with a Guide to Understanding Financial Statements are available for viewing online at rdco.com/budgets.
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Ellison-area Zoning Amendment Bylaw (June 22 Regional Board meeting)
The Regional Board has adopted a Zoning Amendment Bylaw to replace an expired Temporary Use Permit for existing agricultural worker housing. The applicant requested the site specific rezoning for the portion of the property at 4401 Old Vernon Road which provides accommodation for approximately 100 seasonal workers. Two covenants have been registered prohibiting any new temporary farm worker housing units on the applicant’s surrounding agricultural lands.
Adventure Park Rezoning Applications
The Regional Board has adopted South Slopes Official Community Plan and RDCO Zoning Amendment bylaws for a property at 4429 June Springs Road to permit an existing outdoor recreational ropes course and zipline business through a new operator. The property owner has confirmed to the RDCO that public access will be maintained along the KLO Creek corridor.
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SILGA Award Winning Entry - (May 25 Regional Board meeting)
The Regional District has received an award from the Southern Interior Local Government Association (SILGA). The RDCO won the Association’s Community Excellence Award for Environmental Sustainability. In 2018 the Regional District partnered with the Okanagan Basin Water Board on a multi-stakeholder committee representing 13 local governments, four First Nations and several local and provincial agencies in the Okanagan to coordinate the Okanagan Flood Collaboration Project. This effort saw risk assessments undertaken along with flood mapping to help the valley become more resilient to precipitation extremes in the wake of the 2017 floods.
Regional Floodplain Management Plan
The Regional Board has received information and an update regarding the second phase of the Regional Floodplain Management Plan. The RDCO and City of Kelowna partnered to complete a flood mapping and dike breach analysis of Mission Creek in order to support identification of potential hazard areas and help with flood mitigation planning, future land use decisions and flood related works.
License of Occupation Agreement
The Regional Board approves entering into a five year License of Occupation agreement with the City of Kelowna. The agreement will formalize the existing small parking and bird viewing area along the Curtis Road right-of-way, adjacent to Robert Lake Regional Park.
The Regional Board considered the following planning application:
- Second and Third Reading and adoption of Zoning Amendment Bylaw No. 871-261 at 6880 Sierra Drive (S. Tulloch, owner) – to add a secondary suite to the existing single detached house.
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COVID-19 Utility Bill Late Payment - (April 27 Regional Board meeting)
The Regional Board has adopted nine amendment bylaws providing relief from late payment penalties on utility bills to help those facing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic. No late payment fees will be charged on outstanding balances for water, solid waste management and sewer utility invoices in the electoral areas for the rest of 2020. Penalty charges will resume in 2021 for outstanding utility payment balances. Residents that can afford to pay their utility bills on time are urged to do so in order to provide cash flow and help in mitigating potential interim borrowing costs for operations.
RDCO Response to Pandemic
The Regional Board has received a report on how the RDCO organization is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic emergency. The areas of focus include:
- Community and staff safety
- Provision of essential services
- Balanced use of financial resources and resident/business support
- Contribution to regional economic recovery
It’s important to note that regional districts operate differently than municipal governments as they do not directly tax property owners and are required to submit a budget bylaw to the Provincial Government by March 31. Any changes made to the budget now will not change the 2020 tax requisition but may offset costs in 2021 through surplus funds.
Regional Essential Services Agreement
The Regional Board has approved a region-wide agreement for the provision of essential services during the coronavirus emergency. Each local government in the Central Okanagan has agreed to this mutual aid agreement providing staff and equipment as available to ensure continued drinking water, waste water treatment and solid waste management services for a partner requesting assistance in these critical service areas. Emergency Management BC has indicated eligible costs under the agreement will be recoverable.
Economic Response and Recovery Efforts
The Regional Board has received an update on the Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission response to the economic impact of the pandemic. An Economic Response Action Team is working to help local businesses over the next few months while a longer term strategy is being guided by the Regional Mayors and Westbank First Nation Chief’s Economic Task Force to emerge from the crisis stronger and with new opportunities for economic prosperity.
Solid Waste Management Plan Approved
The Regional Board has given final approval to the new Central Okanagan Solid Waste Management Plan. The updated plan includes two amendments required with the approval from the Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy:
- Completion of a Five Year Effectiveness Review by December 31, 2024
- Re-evaluation by December 31, 2030 of organic waste diversion opportunities and an assessment of the effectiveness of maintaining landfill gas collection and use at the Glenmore landfill.
The plan outlines initiatives that initially target the reduction of waste; increased reuse of waste materials and the increased collection of recyclable
and compostable components of the waste stream. When fully implemented over the next ten years, the initiatives have the potential to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill and increase the region’s diversion rate from 43% to 50%.
The Regional Board has considered the following planning applications:
- First Reading for Zoning Amendment Bylaw 871-261 at 6880 Sierra Drive (S Tulloch, owner) – Public Hearing will be scheduled for this application to add a Secondary Suite to an existing dwelling.
- First Reading for OCP Amendment Bylaw 1304-02 and Zoning Amendment Bylaw No. 871-258 at 4429 June Springs Road
(R Schoenherr, owner) to permit existing outdoor recreational ropes course and zipline business – Public Hearing will be scheduled once comments are received from Provincial Resource Management Branch and Interior Health and confirmation from owner that public access will be maintained over KLO Creek.
Electoral Area Grant-in-Aid
The Regional Board has approved the following Central Okanagan East Electoral Area Grant-in-Aid:
- $400 for Joe Rich Ratepayers and Tenants Society community information mail-out
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2020-2024 Financial Plan Adopted - (March 23 Regional Board meeting)
The Regional Board has adopted its 2020 - 2024 Financial Plan bylaw. The budget was drafted prior to the current public health response to the COVID-19 virus and its approval will ensure delivery of RDCO services. In light of the evolving response to the challenges ahead, there may be a time in the coming year that will require the Board to revisit and adapt the Financial Plan to best respond to the needs of the region. The 2020 operating budget totals $55.99-million compared with $58.92-million in 2019. This year $12.5-million will be spent on important capital and infrastructure projects. The details may be viewed online at: rdco.com/budgets.
Community Works Fund Approval
The Regional Board has approved the use of Gas Tax Community Works Funds for new projects totalling $301,700 in the electoral areas this year. $203,000 will be used in the Central Okanagan West Electoral Area for a new picnic shelter in Killiney Beach Community Park, dog beach fencing, a comfort station at Fintry Access #2 and a Community Trail in Traders Cove. In the Central Okanagan East Electoral Area, $98,700 will be used for signage and roof replacement at the Ellison Heritage Community Hall and for signage at the Joe Rich Community Hall.
Non-farm Use ALC Application Supported
The Regional Board supports an application for a non-farm use to the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) for an Ellison-area property within the Agricultural Land Reserve. The applicant is asking the ALC to allow construction of an additional cold storage building at 4381 Old Vernon Road in order to expand its existing cherry and apple production line. If the application is approved by the ALC, the owners would be required to apply for a RDCO building permit.
Regional Hospital District Budget Approved
The Central Okanagan Regional Hospital District Board has adopted its 2020 – 2024 Financial Plan. It was drafted before the current public health emergency on priorities identified by Interior Health. Depending on how the response unfolds, these priorities may require some flexibility and adjustments in the Financial Plan to meet the needs of Central Okanagan residents. In order to build financial reserves and reduce the potential need for debt financing for a possible $55-65-million in capital projects over the next ten years, the Board has agreed to annual three per cent increases over the next five years. In 2020, the average residential home assessed at $734,500 will pay $188.86 towards capital improvements and new health equipment in the Central Okanagan. The 2020 budget includes $10.5-million for health-related capital project funding.
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Secondary Suites Amendments Approved - (February 24 Regional Board meeting)
The Regional Board has approved amendments to the Joe Rich Rural Land Use and RDCO Zoning bylaws. The amendments clarify secondary suite regulations and strengthen servicing requirements while continuing with the current process that sees the Board consider individual secondary suite applications. The amendments also reflect new design and construction requirements for secondary suites in the BC Building Code.
Agricultural Advisory Commission Members
The Regional Board has endorsed the appointments of three people to its Agricultural Advisory Commission. Meagan Ludwig is a new member while Andreas Wins-Purdy and Leo Gebert have been reappointed. All three will serve a three year term through February 2023. The Agricultural Advisory Commission provides advice to the Regional Board, other Commissions and staff regarding agricultural issues and the potential impact of land use and planning decisions on agriculture.
ESS Program Grant Application
The Regional Board has approved submitting a grant application to the Union of BC Municipalities Community Emergency Preparedness Fund, which administers Provincial Government funding to enhance local government resiliency in responding to and recovering from emergencies. The grant funding would be used by the Emergency Support Services program to modernize computer equipment and provide volunteers with further training in order to assist residents impacted by emergencies.
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Wellness & Poverty Reduction Strategy - (February 13 Regional Board meeting)
The Regional Board has given approval for staff to work with a local committee in developing a regional poverty reduction strategy. In addition, the Board supports the RDCO submitting an application for a grant of up to $150,000 from the Union of BC Municipalities Poverty and Action Program in order to create the regional strategy.
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Secondary Suites Amendments (January 27 Regional Board meeting)
The Regional Board has given second and third readings to amendments to the Joe Rich Rural Land Use and RDCO Zoning bylaws. The amendments clarify secondary suite regulations and strengthen servicing requirements while continuing with the current process of the Board considering individual secondary suite applications. The amendments also reflect new design and construction requirements for secondary suites in the BC Building Code. Final adoption by the Board will be scheduled following approval from the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.
Electoral Area Directors 2020 Conferences
The Regional Board approved the attendance and expenses of Directors Mark Bartyik and Wayne Carson for the Southern Interior Local Government Association, Union of BC Municipalities and Federation of Canadian Municipalities conventions.
Financial Plan Bylaw Amendments
The Regional Board has adopted amendments to the 2019-2023 Financial Plan Bylaw. The changes reflect actual year end revenues and expenditures and in a few cases offset deficits as a result of unanticipated costs.
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Flood Planning Grant Sought - (January 16 Regional Board meeting)
The Regional Board has approved submitting a grant application for up to $150,000 to the Union of BC Municipalities Community Emergency Preparedness Fund, which administers Provincial Government funding. If approved, the grant would be used to complete the third phase of the Regional Floodplain Management Plan which would create mitigation options and strategies, building on work done since 2016 to identify and reduce flood risks across the Central Okanagan.
Updated Emergency Preparedness Bylaw
The Regional Board has adopted amendments updating the Preparation for Emergencies Bylaw. The changes modernize the original bylaw which dates back to 1991 and includes a description of the service as it is today reflecting the participating areas and local governments and provides additional cost recovery methods. Each participating local government has agreed to the updated bylaw and it has also received approval from the Provincial Inspector of Municipalities.
Environmental Advisory Commission Appointments
The Regional Board has approved four appointments to its Environmental Advisory Commission. Joining the commission are Catherine Nesmith and Gisele Rehe who will serve three year terms through January 2022. The Board has also reappointed Tanis Gieselman and Rhianna Moghadas effective in March for a three year term ending in March 2022. The independent Commission volunteers represent a diverse background of environmental professions, practice and experience and provides expert advice to the Regional Board on environmental issues relating to land use and development applications.
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Evacuation Route Plan Grant Application - (December 9th Regional Board meeting)
The Regional Board has approved submitting a grant application to the Union of BC Municipalities Community Emergency Preparedness Fund which administers Provincial Government funding. The RDCO hopes to partner with other local governments in the region to assist with planning safe emergency evacuation routes that would be used to safely move people, personal property and animals from an area during an emergency.
Regional Board Committee Appointments
The Regional Board has approved the appointment of Directors to represent the Regional District on several boards and committees for 2020. Directors James Baker, Colin Basran and Cindy Fortin will serve on the Okanagan Basin Water Board. Director Wayne Carson is appointed to the Okanagan Regional Library Board. Directors Brad Sieben and James Baker will serve on the Sterile Insect Release Board while Director Mark Bartyik has been appointed to the Economic Development Commission Advisory Board and Loyal Wooldridge will serve as a liaison to the Okanagan Film Commission.
Electoral Area Directors Conferences
The Regional Board has authorized the registration and travel of two electoral area representatives for training conferences in early February. Central Okanagan East Director Mark Bartyik and Central Okanagan West Director Wayne Carson will attend the Local Government Leadership Academy Forum and Union of BC Municipalities Electoral Area Directors Forum February 4-7 in Richmond.
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Revised Secondary Suites Bylaws - (November 25th Regional Board meeting)
The Regional Board has rescinded the May 9th first reading of proposed amendments to secondary suite regulations and permitted zoning designations for both the RDCO Zoning Bylaw No. 871 and the Joe Rich Rural Land Use Bylaw No. 1195. In light of upcoming changes to the BC Building Code for secondary suites, the Board has now given first reading to updated amendment bylaws. The amendments would clarify secondary suite regulations and strengthen servicing requirements while continuing with the current process of the Board considering individual secondary suite applications. A Public Hearing will be scheduled and advertised for these proposed bylaw amendments.
Financial Plan Update
The Regional Board has received information from Financial Services staff regarding proposed new items that could be added to the 2020-2024 Financial Plan. This was an initial opportunity for Board Directors to review and discuss items of interest or concern while providing staff with preliminary direction as they prepare the first draft of the budget for mid-February presentation. Staff is directed to explore opportunities for enhancing the RDCO connection to and relationship with First Nations in the Central Okanagan and report back during budget deliberations.
Climate Change and Global Warming
The Regional Board has discussed a Notice of Motion regarding climate change and global warming. The Board supports further discussion and asked staff to report back on what the RDCO and member local governments are doing about climate change and to suggest local actions that can be taken along with any possible financial implications.
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2019 - 2020 Regional Board (November 14th Regional Board meeting)
At the Inaugural Statutory meeting of the Regional District Board, Kelowna Councillor Gail Given was acclaimed as Chair and will serve for a sixth year. West Kelowna Mayor Gord Milsom was also acclaimed as Vice-Chair serving for a second year. The Regional District Board consists of 13 voting members representing the Central Okanagan East and Central Okanagan West Electoral Areas, the City of Kelowna, District of Lake Country, District of Peachland and the City of West Kelowna. Westbank First Nation is represented with a non-voting member.
2020 Regional Board Meeting Schedule
The Regional Board has approved the meeting schedule for 2020 including 12 meetings of the Governance and Services Committee and 23 meetings of the Regional Board.
Mutual Aid Fire Agreement
The Regional Board has approved renewing a Mutual Aid Agreement between the RDCO Joe Rich Fire Department and Regional District of Kootenay Boundary Big White Fire Department. The renewal for an additional five years will continue, as required, to provide each department service area with additional equipment and fire fighting resources at no additional cost.
Emergency Preparedness Grant Application
The Regional Board has approved submitting a grant application for $100,000 to the Union of BC Municipalities Community Emergency Preparedness Fund, which administers Provincial Government funding. The RDCO fire departments in Ellison, Joe Rich, North Westside and Wilson’s Landing are each requesting $25,000 to assist with purchasing new or replacement equipment and to provide training that will support disaster response and recovery.
Program and Service Highlights
The Regional Board viewed a video update highlighting various service and program accomplishments from July through September this year aligning with the Strategic Priorities 2019 - 2022. The video can be viewed on the RDCO YouTube channel: youtube.com/user/regionaldistrict.
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