Open letter to Martin Johansen

Martin Johansen – Mayor-Elect – Town of Oliver

You have been elected. I have not. But I do bring to the conversation a certain amount of experience and a touch of wisdom on governance, serving the electorate and getting to the true agenda.

Martin, to my knowledge you have a vast knowledge of team building and leadership within a confined space – civil servants versus – those from the street elected by the community to help set budgets and policies.

The role of a municipal government is vast – whether Oliver, Keremeos or even Kelowna.

A couple of suggestions might help:

  1. Agree to appoint a member of the present council as the Municipal Director at the RDOS table and you serve as alternate. You can do that for you entire term of four years or one year. But you need time to get your feet firmly on the ground in Oliver with the Town Management staff before venturing far afield to represent us all, say at the ORL in Kelowna or the RDOS in Penticton.
  2. Form a special committee – let us call it “the Joint Services Budget Review Committee” and don’t take any guff from staff that this is not possible.


Let me expand on those two suggestions.

It has been a tradition, not a law, that a Mayor of a village, town or a city attend Regional District meetings so they can commune with their compatriots in similar offices in the region. Bolderdash.

I, Jack Bennest,  was the Municipal Director at the RDOS, many years ago,  because Mayor Hart Buckendahl said why not. Summerland had two councillors sit at the RD because then Mayor Janice Perrino perceived herself to be in a conflict with her job as chief fundraiser for the Regional Hospital Project. Penticton council appoints three councillors to the Regional Board. So let us be honest – it is not necessary for a Mayor to attend.

It is not the law and one of your first decisions should be one that shows confidence in your team while you take on the deep learning curve of a first time street politician.


There is a notice of motion that is now part of the minutes – proposed at the last meeting to allow Oliver Town Council to have a review and a say on every budget involving taxation of the population. Bravo Councillor Mattes – you are indeed a mind reader:

Frank Venables Theatre – what is the subsidy for capital and operations – not sure I have ever seen those figures.

Oliver and District Heritage Society – what is the subsidy?

Oliver and District Parks and Recreation Society – check those figures at the top of the page

Oliver Landfill – Garbage and Recycling

RDOS Administration costs

Sterile Insect Release program

Fire Protection – Oliver Rural Fire Protection District/OIB

To clarify – council appoints members of it to represent itself on most of these semi- independent groups…. but two much power is vested in the two people who make all the decisions at the Regional Board table  for Oliver rural/town.

The suggestion is that all of these societies and groups receiving tax dollars should appear annually before council – when scheduled – along with the local Regional District Director for a review of what is paid for in the subsidy in relationship to a business case of revenue vs costs and any changes proposed in a need for MORE money from the deep pockets.

Martin,,, hope that helps!!!

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Up close and personal

Linda Isaak

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Board of Education Report October 24, 2018

Following is a brief synopsis of items discussed at the recent School District 53 Board of Education meeting:

The District held a Post-Secondary Institution Day on September 25. We hosted 14 representatives from a variety of post-secondary institutions at both OSS and SOSS. Students from SESS joined the OSS group to listen to recruiters talk about their programs. Students provided very positive feedback on this experience.

Also, the District hosted an information night for the Health Care Assistant program that will be housed in SOSS/YouLearn. The information night was on October 16 in the SOSS Library. There are already 5 high school students enrolled in the program that will have a maximum capacity of 6 high school students and 6 adult students. There is an extremely high demand for employment in this field and we are very excited to be able to host this program in our district.

We will be taking all Grade 10 students in the district to the Education Career Fair on November 30 in Kelowna. Not only is this a great opportunity for students to obtain information from recruiters from various institutions but from employers in a variety of sectors.

All nine schools in our district are participating in a learning series which focusses on improving assessment practices to support student learning and the revised curriculum with Myron Dueck. Myron has a district position with SD 67 (Okanagan-Skaha). Thirty-eight educators from our district are going deeper with their learning around the best ways to assess students formatively to enhance learning.

In an effort to support and encourage coding/computational thinking in our district, five elementary schools with intermediate Grades 5 to 7, took part in a coding workshop on October 30th. Each of these five schools have been supplied with a set of programmable moving computers (Spheros). This workshop is designed to help build capacity in these schools to utilize the Spheros to promote coding and computational thinking with students.

SD #53 is extremely fortunate this year to have two schools chosen as participants in an exciting RECON project. RECON stands for Research and Education Collaboration Occultation Network. It is a network of communities across the United States who each have a telescope and video camera, and on predicted occultation events, look at objects in the Kuiper belt (where Pluto is). The RECON project has purchased a telescope, a video camera, and most of the necessary equipment for our schools to conduct their role in this project. Data from every occultation event will be written up into a scientific paper and every person (student, teacher, etc.) who takes part in the data collection, will get their name on the paper and thus become a published author in the scientific community!

Finally, we say farewell and thank you to two long-serving trustees who decided to not run in the recent trustee elections. Both Trustee Marieze Tarr and Sam Hancheroff served with distinction and a fierce voice for public education. While the board will miss their wisdom and insight, we welcome two new trustees: Janice Stevens who will represent the Okanagan Falls area and Brenda Dorosz who will join Casey Brouwer in representing Osoyoos and Area A.

Rob Zandee, Chairperson
School District No. 53 (Okanagan Similkameen)

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Is this a neighbourhood….. or a new village ?

Press to enlarge

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cot banner

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20:30 hrs – a surprise

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BOO – it’s Halloween at OES

Mother Sofia Raposo with Owen the 3 years old. And Ethan, the tot.

Left to Right: Ishmeen Buttar, Amy Bearman, Kayla Koteles & Supreet Brar

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by Olivia Agt VonGonzenbach

Sometimes hard to believe the damage water can do. MOTI (Highways) has had marker stanchions on Waterman’s Hill for months. Lots of excess water seeping –  it seems right out of the rock – no discernable creek bed. In fact at the top of this steep hill in the spring the water formed ponds in many depressions including an area near a series of power transmission poles.

During the summer all that dried up… But it is back in the fall. Where is all the water coming from?

Highways appears to be completing a project to get the water in the mini highway creek to pass under the roadway into a deep culvert and hopefully drain to the lake.

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Yvonne (5)

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Revisiting some….. hot air

Credit: Andree Webb

Many people sent in shots of the hot air balloon that has visited the area twice to our knowledge.

Credit: ODN

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by Linda Isaak

This heron certainly loves posing.



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If you know Hart…

…..You might know this location and it is not Christian Valley


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kubara banner 35

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Update – Town to review a policy in upcoming discusssion

Notice of Motion

“That staff be directed to create or amend Council Policy to ensure that all budgets for joint services with the R.D.O.S. or other organizations be presented to Council at a regular meeting or Committee of the Whole meeting for discussion,change (if necessary) and approval prior to submission to; or adoption of said budgets by the R.D.O.S. or other organizations”

Notice of Motion presented to Council Tuesday evening and refer to the next meeting of councilor and or at a later date at the discretion of those persons who presented the Notice.


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Final meeting filled with tears and emotion

Another term of office for Oliver Council has ended – the first that was 4 years long.

The electorate October 20th made a few changes – inviting three new people to the table and that meant 3 had to go.

The 4 year term also saw a by-election with the resignation of one councillor and the selection of a replacement.

Mayor Ron Hovanes started the meeting with a presentation of flowers to an employee who is retiring. Linda Schultz has served for 18 years as a front office clerk and Deputy Corporate Officer. In that entire time – she did not take a sick day off.

The Town is advertising for a new CFO – as the present incumbent Devon Wannop has resigned citing family matters and the necessity to return to Alberta with his young family.

One delegation Tuesday night – Kaitlyn Bennett – Food Secure Coordinator outlined work that has been done since May of this year when she was hired. Her contract expires next March. She coordinates various groups and is writing a plan of action that will guide the community to its chosen goals.

Couple of routine business matters and then a Notice of Motion by Councillor Dave Mattes that would have budgets for joint services reviewed by council.
Mayor Hovanes said he felt uncomfortable debating a change in policy at the last meeting of a council term.

It was pointed out by staff that the Motion would be entered into the minutes but not discussed, debated or dealt with until the next meeting of council.

The meeting ended with reports of council members including three that are not returning:

Councillor Andre Miller said he had had a pleasant 28 years on council and “glad it is over”.

Councillor Maureen Doerr stated she had been a community volunteer for 38 years and on council for 7. That she had brought her honesty and integrity to community decision making. She mentioned the importance of maintaining the town and rural infrastructure and her revitalization of the Emergency Social Services function of the Town in the last few years of fires and flooding.

Mayor Ron Hovanes ending 16 years on council – stating he hoped that in the end Oliver is a better place to live for our children and grandchildren. He thanked his family, staff and members of councils in five different terms of office.

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Wet November

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Crime Watch gets vehicle for dedicated service

Town of Oliver donated a vehicle for the use of Crime Watch supply storage for it and insurance.

The outing going council met at 5:30 pm to get in on a photo shoot of a transfer of the truck. Graphics supplied by Tony of Munday Media and Design.

The regional district donated $2150 to the cause. The truck came from the fleet of PW vehicles used in Oliver.

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by Crackers

Colour seen through my eyes

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In transition

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Smart look on Kootenay Steet

North of Carter’s Bakery/Byer’s Apartments
Congratulations to the new owners – may we see more investment like it

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by Jeremy Cook

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You can ride a Greyhound today and tomorrow .. then no more

Okanagan Lake Penticton in the forties

submitted by Brian Wilson – Okanagan Archive Trust Society

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by Bernard Bedard

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October 31st

Routes that still don’t have a carrier are Cache Creek to Kamloops, Kamloops to Valemount, Valemount to the B.C.-Alberta border, Dawson Creek to the B.C.-Alberta border, Salmo to Creston, Cranbrook to the Alberta border, Fort Nelson to Yukon border, and the Hope-Princeton route.

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Hovanes hopeful about federal siphon bucks


Pretty much the last thing Mayor Ron Hovanes wanted to do the morning after being defeated in his re-election bid was fly cross-country to drum up $5 million for the Gallagher Lake siphon repair.

But fly to Ottawa he did, to meet last Monday with infrastructure minister Francois-Phillippe Champagne and local MP Richard Cannings.

Hovanes will report the results of his trip at Tuesday’s council meeting, his last as mayor.

“It wasn’t the trip I wanted to make the day after the election. It was a really tough trip to make,” Hovanes said in an interview today. “(But) I walked away thinking there’s a very, very good chance that Ottawa (will) do something down the road.”

Hovanes said he met for an hour with Champagne and his staff trying to figure out a way to fund the replacement of section of the irrigation system that was damaged by a rock fall in January 2016.

A temporary fix has been in place since Spring 2016, but a permanent replacement is needed for the system that provides irrigation water from Okanagan Falls to the head of Osoyoos Lake.

The feds are looking at the Disaster Relief and Adaptation Fund, the Indigenous Services Agency and other possible avenues to find the money, said Hovanes. The town earlier received assurances of $5 million from the province, but it needs federal funds as well to pay for the replacement.

Osoyoos Indian Band Chief Clarence Louie joined the conversation from Oliver. “Chief Clarence as great on the phone,” said Hovanes. “I think we made a very strong presentation and we’ll keep our fingers crossed.”

Hovanes finished 160 votes behind new-comer Martin Johansen in the October 20 election.

“My statement is that the electorate is always right,” Hovanes said today. “I was a little shocked and little numbed at the outcome. … But you know what? You’ve got to suck it up and go forward.”

He offered the line he said he’ll use at tomorrow’s meeting: “Everybody goes into this hoping they’re going to make a better community than the one they took over. … I believe there’s a better Oliver than there was fours years ago.

“Do you make mistakes? Sure you do. But, all in all, it’s been a remarkable experience. I thank the people of Oliver for the opportunity. … Maybe this wasn’t the end I wanted, but I’ve had a remarkable 16 years. … I feel pretty good about it.”

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Fall colours and trumpeter swans arrive at Vaseux

Photos submitted by Audrey MacNaughton

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The Steele report

There is one celebration that nearly every institution has tried in vain to stomp out. Halloween goes back in one form or another to a time prior to civilization itself. It was a more serious affair being as it was part of the passage of the human soul into the afterlife. Yes Halloween drips with the trappings of pagan ritual, stolen by the early church and converted into All Souls Eve, November first being all souls day, also known as all Saints Day.

Other societies have the feast of the dead, ghost suppers and one more closely aligned with our tradition – Guy Fawkes Night.  Who was Guy Fawkes? His attempt and unsuccessful act is part of the folklore of tricks and fireworks. Guy Fawkes hatched a plot to use gun power to blow up the King in the early sixteen hundreds.

There are lots of celebrations from around the world associated with Halloween. Some religious groups associate the night in question with death and the devil. Over time they attempted to rid themselves of the holiday by associating it with witches, ghosts, evil spirits, black magic, and even the superstition of black cats. This has proved to be a very difficult task eliminating Halloween. The more they heaped abuse upon the event the more popular it became. For the church it is sort of like having a hangnail you can’t get rid of. If you stomp our All Hallows Eve you diminish All Saints Day. For the consumer market today, it would cause millions of job losses. Costumes, candy, decorations, fireworks, books and stories, movies— well you get the picture.

There have been modern attempts to change the image with name changes in schools. A couple of years ago the education system tried to re-brand it as Orange and Black Day. That was about as successful as that fools errand documentary reefer madness most kids in my day were subjected to.

The fact is regardless of what religion or creed we belong to they all have a day of the dead in some fashion. We have kids going out for trick or treat and Halloween Parties and the annual celebration carries on. Now and then I hear the Halloween night festivity is losing its luster. For those my age and I am a senior we would look silly going out for trick or treats wouldn’t we?

Yes there is a lot of noise, trick or treating, costumes and those who want to end it all. Face it the kids have a night of fun. Even the garden gnomes get into the act taking the lawn furniture from around the neighborhood and putting them on one lawn or soaping a few windows perhaps unrolling toilet paper around people trees. Too bad there are no outhouses to push over. Come to think of it one Halloween Night we pushed an outhouse over not knowing my friends mother had gone over for a visit a neighbor and she was in it. Halloween is a spooky night for kids to have fun and have a few treats. I hope you get a chance to remember some of the adventures you had as a child. Enjoy the night and taste test the children s candy. One more thing “Happy Halloween”

Fred Steele

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Win in the valley

The SOSS Field Hockey team defeated Penticton 3-0 and South Kamloops in the final in shootouts on Saturday to win the Valley Championships!

We played here in Oliver in the glorious sunshine.

Submitted by Lesley Magnus

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By Gail Prior



Darkness was fast approaching as she pulled the blinds down and closed the drapes. The only light was in their bedroom, where they were dressing to go out. He was wearing a suit and tie, while she was dressed in a long skirt and elegant, sequined blouse. Reservations had been made at a secluded restaurant several miles away. They looked forward to the drive and dinner, but mainly to their planned escape from the charade of Halloween night.

Halloween as described by the Oxford dictionary: the eve of All Saint’s Day. What is saintly about letting children go door to door begging for candy? And, conversely, teaching them to not speak to strangers the other 364 days of the year? What about parents actually driving youngsters away from their own areas to perceived more affluent neighbourhoods for better “loot?” What subliminal message does this give?

Will Halloween spawn chemical engineers or chemists, so they may understand the listed ingredients in candy bars and licorice? Sodium bicarbonate, citric acid, calcium chloride, soy lecithin to name a few, plus all candies come complete with artificial colours. This stuff is to be begged for at strange doors?

The parents allow consumption of the chemical candies, although some will first cut them open, looking for straight pins or concealed razor blades. Even homemade popcorn balls and candied apples are subject to scrutiny. These may be more wholesome treats, but did the cooks wash their hands during preparation? Lick their fingers? Is that powdery white stuff sugar or ground up aspirins? Could there be cannabis in the Gummi bears?

Then there are the bizarre, or supposedly cute, costumes made of flammable material, all sold at the same stores alongside the chemical candies. And frightened animals, and firecrackers that can burn. She and her husband wanted no part of this bizarre evening. They were going out. He started the car, while she turned off all the outdoor lights. Yes, the best thing about Halloween is

NOT being home.

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Wood pile – fire – take crews away from families for two hours

A lot of wood going up in smoke east of Byer’s Pit Saturday night.
south of Marsel vineyard and
Okanagan Correctional Centre and
Gravel pit area north and east of Oliver near the McGowan subdivision

No structures threatened.

Oliver firefighters  dealing with situation for over two hours.

One firefighter quoted -“this seems to happen every year around Halloween” – this one involved logs for fire wood – malicious damage for sure

A complete waste of time for fighters.

Time: 8-10 pm Saturday

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