Vote to rescind motion to close a school

did you vote22Caught on camera – 4 votes visible, one on the phone. Two others don’t raise a hand.

School District #53 will keep Osoyoos Secondary School open for at least two years – with funds guaranteed  by the  province.

***

3pm to 4pm Thursday in Oliver. Vote 5 to 2 in favour of changing a motion.

Most people in the audience waited patiently for the vote – listening for key words in the discussion.

A theme – that the funding was not sustainable or predictable based on past experience. It would get the government in Victoria past the next election in May and a number of trustees would not be at the table in January of 2019.

All agreed including parents, councillors and members of the chamber of commerce – a better job is needed to shore up the education funding in BC so that school districts don’t have to go through the roller coaster drama every year.

For senior staff at the School Distict – a full summer of dismantling a plan for integrating high school students in SOSS in Oliver.

Courses, staffing, where do the principals go? etc.vic22

Vic Vieira – I have a kid going into grade 8 – I want him to go to school in Osoyoos. Yes I am very pleased.

On the Sunnyside

Brexit??

This recently much-used term could spawn a few additions to our vocabulary. It may be that others have suggested similar words, but here are my suggestions.

Chexit – a cheque that bounces for lack of funds

Flexit – a guy who tries to display muscles he hasn’t got

Hexit – plans that didn’t work out

Nexit – an attempted embrace that earns a slap in the face

Trexit – former supporters that abandon Trump

Wrexit – and unlicensed teen who ‘borrows’ dad’s car

E-jexit – pushing the delete button on an unwanted email

There’s a place for a bit of humor to send a ray of light into the gloom of recent days.

How about rejexit for the person who benefits from all the good things that God has created (food, air, water, an amazingly complex body, a very dependable set of nature’s laws, etc.) and then wants justice when he/she is mistreated but thinks life can work well even if we ignore God’s moral law. But He keeps on loving us.

henry-weibe4Keep on the sunny side of life,

Henry Wiebe

Bush wacked

bush three22bush one22bush two22

Oliver Parks crew busy with a bit of bush wacking – a lot of work actually on the west side of the park near the river and in a dark zone between Old Stockers Field and the roadway.

Way to go crew – Norm, Paige, Slade, Mark, Chad and Joey

Good day for local schools

PENTICTON – Penticton MLA Dan Ashton announced today that Trout Creek Elementary and West Bench Elementary Schools will receive $369,815 and $369,404 respectively, from the provincial government through the new Rural Education Enhancement Fund.

For months, many parents have been working tirelessly with the MLA, the Ministry of Education and the School Board to keep these two schools open. With this new funding, both schools will be able to continue to provide an education to students and essential community services.

“These schools are a foundation of both of these communities” says Ashton. “I would like to thank the community for working together to stand up for the students, and I’m delighted to have been able to obtain funding that will ensure the continued operation of these two very important schools. It is critically important that the municipalities, the regional district, the school board, and citizens, all start to work together to ensure the continued viability of not only our schools, but our communities.”

On June 15th, Premier Christy Clark announced the creation of this ongoing fund to keep schools in rural areas of the province in operation. This funding comes as a part of the Rural Education Strategy that will examine rural school district budgets in communities outside the Lower Mainland, Greater Victoria and Kelowna. The strategy aims to find solutions for the unique challenges facing rural school districts, while recognizing the economic impact of rural schools in small communities.

Another view – Andrew Stuckey

Unrestrained joy echoed through Town of Osoyoos Council Chambers this morning as MLA Linda Larson made good on a provincial promise to find the money necessary to keep Osoyoos Secondary School open.

Now, it’s up to trustees with the Okanagan Similkameen School District to make it happen. They’ll get a chance to do that this afternoon at 3.

“For those who know me, you know that keeping Osoyoos Secondary School open for business was my Number One priority,” MLA Larson told Council members and about 30 Osoyoos residents gathered to hear her announcement.

“And that’s why I’m pleased to say today, Osoyoos Secondary will be receiving the full $490,000. This funding is ongoing.”

“We’re ensuring that this community will not have to go through this again.”

The board will discuss the Ministry of Education’s response to the Rural Education Enhancement Fund application it made earlier this month and the implications for the closing of Osoyoos Secondary School.

At the regular Board of Education meeting held June 22, Trustee Sam Hancheroff gave notice that he would move to rescind the school closing bylaw if the Ministry provided the Board with the necessary funding for the operations and maintenance of Osoyoos Secondary School for the 2016/17 school year.

Mayor Sue McKortoff, who sported a huge grin as the announcement was made, later expressed the depth of her gratitude.

“I am just so thrilled to be part of Council and to be here for this announcement,” she said.

“You know they say it takes a village. It didn’t; it took a town. And this town in the last six months has shown that they are together on this, they’re willing to work together. They’re willing to fight for what they believe. We are delighted.”

MLA Larson also expressed her respect for the community and they work it undertook to keep Osoyoos Secondary open.

“I’m even more proud of this community for the work that you’ve done and for standing up for your kids.”

Small turnout – a casual flip-flop type of day

ocp two22

Town of Oliver – Open House on Current Issues

1. Fairview Road improvements
2. Fire Smart grant – interface fire plan
3. Downtown design choices
4. Gala Park – au naturel ? or

Town staff received valuable information on these subjects Wednesday. Town Councillors present as well.
Report on this open house to a full council meeting in the near future.

ocp one22

Penticton – two of three schools slated to close – saved

The School District 67 board has announced that both West Bench and Trout Creek Elementary Schools meet the Rural Education Enhancement Funds program eligibility criteria and have been approved.

The information came from a letter received late Wednesday from the minister of education Mike Bernier.

The schools have been approved for the 2016/17 school year and will not have to reapply for the 2017/18 school year; costs will be adjusted at that time for any increases or decreases.

The district has been funded in full and will be receiving $739,219 as a special purpose grant.

“We are so very pleased and excited that both of our applications were approved,” said board chair Linda Van Alphen.

The board must still finalize their decisions with regard to school closures and acceptance of this funding which will occur at a special public meeting taking place at 3 p.m. at the school board office today, Thursday.

The board would like to thank staff and the PAC’s from both schools for their hard work on the applications.

The School District 53 board is meeting this afternoon.

Flashback

oss school22Monday May 26th, 2016

Osoyoos School will NOT close – says reliable BC Government Source.

 

***

Thursday June 30, 2016

School Trustees have yet to vote on the new funding but it is highly unlikely that they would turn down the offer.

When I talked to School District 53 Chair Marieze Tarr this morning

“I am ecstatic. I hope all goes well today at our meeting.”

Tarr was quick to make the statement that she is happy the school will remain open but there are challenges in the future for upgrading, maintenance and improvements to OSS.

“Government policy of the past has put us in this situation – which is really not fair to the community of Osoyoos or the elected school trustees.”

Osoyoos High School to be funded

Crowd at Town Hall expresses pleasure with announcement
Crowd at Town Hall expresses pleasure with announcement
MLA Larson grilled by Osoyoos report Andrew Stuckey
MLA Larson grilled by Osoyoos report Andrew Stuckey

OSOYOOS – Boundary-Similkameen MLA Linda Larson announced today that Osoyoos Secondary School will receive $490,000 from the provincial government through the new Rural Education Enhancement Fund to keep its doors open this September.

In addition to $390,000 in ongoing annual funding to keep Osoyoos Secondary School open indefinitely, the school is also receiving $100,000 to cover the cost of maintenance that has not been completed given the fact the school was previously scheduled to close.

For months Larson has been working tirelessly with the Ministry of Education, school district, school board, parents, and the Town of Osoyoos to find a way to save Osoyoos Secondary. With this new funding, Osoyoos Secondary will be able to continue to provide an education to students and essential community services.

“I would like to thank the community for working together to stand up for the students” says Larson. “I’m proud to have played a role in securing this funding that will support the students, families and the local economy here at home by ensuring the continued operation of Osoyoos Secondary”

On June 15th, Premier Christy Clark announced the creation of this ongoing fund to keep schools in rural areas of the province in operation. This funding comes as a part of the Rural Education Strategy that will examine rural school district budgets in communities outside the Lower Mainland, Greater Victoria and Kelowna. The strategy aims to find solutions for the unique challenges facing rural school districts, while recognizing the economic impact of rural schools in small communities.

Source: BC Government PR

Photos by ODN

Really ?

Only seven full-time park rangers patrol 14 million hectares of protected area

 

VANCOUVER – The number of full-time (FT) park rangers in BC has sunk to a low of just seven individuals who are expected to patrol 14 million hectares of protected areas. The number of full-time rangers slumped from 27 positions in 2001, to 12 FT rangers in 2009 to just seven FT park rangers in April 2016.

The seven full-time park rangers in BC have to patrol protected areas the combined size of Denmark (4.3 million ha), Costa Rica (5.1 million ha) and Switzerland (4.1 million ha) from October to April.

Auxiliary park rangers are hired in the summer months, but the season for these positions has been shortened significantly with some auxiliary rangers only being hired for eight weeks. In 2009, there were 87 auxiliary rangers hired in the summer months. For a best case scenario in the summer there would be one ranger per 10 parks.

“We’ve hit a new low. We now have fewer park rangers than spotted owls in BC,” said Gwen Barlee, national policy director with the Wilderness Committee. “That’s saying something, because spotted owls are one of the most endangered species in Canada and we are down to around a dozen in the wild. For the life of me, I can’t understand why the BC government is starving our provincial park system of the staffing and funding it needs to operate.”

British Columbia has over 1,000 parks and protected areas, which provide a $392 million boost to the province’s GDP and supports over 5,200 full-time jobs. Every dollar the BC government invests in the protected area system generates $8.42 in visitor expenditure. Despite the economic benefits, the operation budget for BC Parks is $31 million – 10 million less than it was in 2001.

Battle between School Districts and Victoria

Minister of Education Mike Bernier released the following statement

“I am disappointed that the Vancouver School Board chose to go against the School Act by failing to adopt a balanced budget.

“Our offer was a simple one – we gave them the go-ahead to sell Kingsgate Mall and put the proceeds back into education services. We backed that up with a guarantee of almost $6 million in exchange for a small ownership share in the mall if the sale does not happen in the next school year. Either option would have made sure the budget was balanced in Vancouver.

“This proposal gave them the time and the resources they needed to avoid cuts, and they chose to reject that.

“Just like many parents, I am disappointed that the Vancouver School Board has put their desire to own a mall ahead of services for students. Combined with their continued investment of $37 million a year in empty seats, the VSB seems to have forgotten its mission is to educate students – not maintain ownership of as much property as possible.”

Protection or freedoms on Oliver Mountain

The Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations is taking steps to protect sensitive ecosystems and species-at-risk on Oliver Mountain from damage by motor vehicles, while also working to enhance recreational opportunities for local motorbike riders.

The ministry’s two-pronged management approach consists of:

  • a prohibition on motor vehicle use on 348 hectares of Oliver Mountain (under the Wildlife Act), which will come into effect on July 1, 2016
  • a proposed 29-hectare recreation site on Oliver Mountain, which would allow motocross use on designated recreational trails only

Motor vehicle prohibition under the Wildlife Act

On July 1, 2016, a motor vehicle prohibition will come into effect on parts of Oliver Mountain to help protect sensitive grassland ecosystems and at-risk plant and animal species.

Under the Wildlife Act, operators of all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), motorbikes and other off-road vehicles (ORVs) will no longer be allowed to ride on some sections of the mountain. These new “off limits” areas border on two existing Wildlife Management Areas on the northeast and southwest edges of the mountain.

A map showing the affected areas is available online at: http://ow.ly/dmeN301JpVy

These areas are being closed to motor vehicle use to reduce the harmful environmental effects of ongoing motor vehicle use on the mountain. This closure will help prevent additional damage (including soil disturbance and the introduction of invasive weed species) and allow the grasslands to revert to their natural state.

The Oliver Mountain ORV Management Strategy was informed by a public advisory committee to ensure that public input and stakeholder group feedback was considered in the planning process. Local First Nations were also consulted.

The ministry’s long-term goals are to enhance the protection of Oliver Mountain ecosystems and allow responsible riders to continue enjoying their sport in the south Okanagan.

New recreation site proposed

Following discussions with the public advisory committee and the Osoyoos Indian Band, the ministry has proposed the creation of a new, 29-hectare recreation site off Willowbrook Road on Oliver Mountain. Motocross use would be permitted in this area (on designated trails only) to minimize negative impacts on sensitive species elsewhere.

Members of the public are reminded that they can email comments about the recreation site proposal to Recreation Sites and Trails BC until July 7, 2016 at: Ian.McLellan@gov.bc.ca
Details about the proposal are available online at: https://www.for.gov.bc.ca/dos/Programs/Misc/Oliver%20Mountain.html

If the proposed recreation site is approved, its management would be co-ordinated with local riding groups so they would have a say in its stewardship. Recreation sites that are currently managed by local stewardship groups in the Okanagan include the Bear Creek ORV and Okanagan Falls ORV trail networks.

Learn more about designated ORV networks:

Bear Creek ORV trails: http://www.sitesandtrailsbc.ca/search/search-result.aspx?site=REC166998&type=Trail

Okanagan Falls ORV trails: http://www.sitesandtrailsbc.ca/search/search-result.aspx?site=REC201755&type=Trail

Drought conditions again for wet west coast

Okanagan Similkameen doing better
Okanagan Similkameen doing better

Water experts are warning of drought-like conditions in Metro Vancouver this summer, and parts of the province are already on high alert.

With record-low snow packs, the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources says Vancouver Island and Haida Gwaii can expect serious water shortages unless significant rainfall comes by the end of June.

B.C.’s water stewardship manager Valerie Cameron says Vancouver Island and Haida Gwaii have been designated as very dry, or level three on the province’s drought levels gauge system. (Living Water Smart)

B.C.’s water stewardship manager Valerie Cameron says those areas have been designated as very dry, or level three on the province’s drought levels gauge system. That is just one level shy of the worst drought conditions and it is the earliest the province has designated the regions to level three conditions this early in the year.

“Weather is really going to be the wildcard for us in the coming months,” she says.

“We can’t do anything to manage the natural environment of course, so we’re really going to have to emphasize water conservation, community effort, and industry effort to try to manage water supplies the best we can to carry us through to the fall.”

All users of water in those areas, including farms and industry, are asked to voluntarily cut water use by 20 per cent. The province has the power to order industrial users to curtail water use, or suspend water licences, when drought conditions reach stage four.

While Metro Vancouver and Greater Victoria do have large water reservoirs, Cameron says people need to obey local watering rules and restrictions.

To be fair there is about six weeks left in the overheated summer season that cools in late August. Time will tell.

Taxiway funded by province at Oliver’s Airport

Looking South
Looking South
Looking north
Looking north

Narrow window of opportunity given to small airports in BC – Oliver had a grant application ready to go and the result $157,350 awarded today for MLA Linda Larson for the new taxiway that will see small planes move south to north for a take off at the North end of the main run way.

The balance of the funds needed for the project coming from the municipal airport budget. MLA Larson said that cooperation between Osoyoos and Oliver on this type of granting is essential and should be appreciated.

Seen in the picture below: MLA Larson, Mayor Ron Hovanes, Airport Manager Paul Dumoret, Airport Committee members Cal Craik and Vic Seder

airport three22

Welcome to the craft brew revolution

montage on brewWith the soft opening behind us, we’re ready to start adding to the social scene downtown! There’s no rule that says we can’t break those ol’ sleepy-town habits and add more life and vigor to our daily routine in Oliver. Downstairs in the Beer Shop & Social we’ve got draught beer, beer to-go, wine, cider, local gin, craft soda, coffee, free wifi, board games, communal record-player & instruments, intimate tables, a long “social table”, lounge chairs, tastings, tours, “Beer Club” deals (through CAMRA South Okanagan), special events, and a warm & welcoming Host attitude. Kids are permitted if accompanied by a Grown-Up.

Everyday Noon-Night (permanent hours TBA) we’re here to welcome you for a cold mid-day half-pint, a relaxing after-work full-pint, or a late-evening gin & tonic. Pappa’s Firehall Bistro is right upstairs for when you get hungry, and we also allow customers to take-in “takeout” food from anywhere in town (just please don’t leave a mess). On Vinyl Tuesdays, all are welcome to bring a record and some friends down to share good tunes and good times. On Jam Night Fridays like this Canada Day (and on every OTHER Friday, alternating with the awesome Open Mic Friday Nights going strong at Medici’s Gelateria) we welcome all to join in song and dance. Join CAMRA South Okanagan (www.camraso.ca) and show your member card at the Beer Shop for the “Beer Club” 10% discount (and deals all over the province). We have membership forms at the shop, and are always planning the next CAMRA beer event. Our boardgame collection will slowly grow over the next week or two, as we find classics at local flea markets and thrift stores, games well-suited for a casual hangout with friends. And we’ll be rotating through various non-beer offerings, like craft cocktails, ciders, and estate wines from local suppliers. And the craft sodas from The People’s Crafthouse in Penticton are amazing… on their own, or mixed in a “Shandy” (half-beer, half-soda/lemonade).

All of this was made possible by the support of local citizens, generous Crowdfunding-Campaign backers, and hard-working local tradespeople. The last of the Kickstarter Rewards (hoodies and stoneware growlers) will be arriving early next week, ready for distribution or pick-up. We already have received the coasters, decals, mugs, and t-shirts. The date for the Grand Opening All-Day Party has been set too! We will be throwing the party Saturday, August 13th, before our Back Alley Concert with Wild Son (invites to be sent out to everyone shortly).firehall

Stop in today or any day, and help us to continue building Oliver’s downtown culture, one day-in-Paradise at a time :) Cheers!

School Board meets in Special Session Thursday

agenda one

School District No. 53 (Okanagan Similkameen) June 24, 2016

Rural Education Enhancement Fund Application

1) School District name and key contact:
School District #53 (Okanagan Similkameen)
Box 1770 6161 Okanagan Street
Oliver BC V0H 1T0
Lynda Minnabarriet, Secretary Treasurer

2) School for which funds are being requested:
Osoyoos Secondary School
5800 – 115 Street
Osoyoos BC V0H 1V0

3) Overview of local community context:
Osoyoos Secondary School (OSS) is a Grades 8-12 school located in the town of Osoyoos. The Board has
held numerous meetings with communities and stakeholders since 2009 highlighting its challenges with
declining enrolment, budget reductions and aging facilities. In January 2016, the board released the 2015 Facilities Plan and approved a school closure consultation process to consider the following two recommendations:

a. closure of OSS and transfer Grades 8-12 students to Southern Okanagan Secondary School (SOSS) in
Oliver; or

b. closure of Osoyoos Elementary (OSE) , renovate Osoyoos Secondary to a K-9 facility and transfer
Grades 10-12 to Southern Okanagan Secondary in Oliver

The Board held the school closure consultation process from mid-January to April 2016 and passed a
School Closure Bylaw for Osoyoos Secondary School on April 27, 2016.

4) Overview of school district and school context:
SD 53 is a rural district with schools in the communities of Cawston, Keremeos, Okanagan Falls, Oliver,
and Osoyoos with a total school enrollment of 2,160 students as of October 2, 2015. The district also has
a distributed learning program (YouLearn) with an FTE of 60 students as of October 2, 2015. In 2005, student enrollment in school facilities (excluding YouLearn) was 2,809. Since 2005, enrollment in school
facilities has declined by 650 students or 23% (decline at OSS has been 28% in the same time period). A
further loss of 250 students is expected over the next eight years, with school facility enrollment
projected at 1,910 students in 2024-25. Student capacity across the district is 2,900 seats and the district
projects there will be 820 seats available in 2017 and 990 seats available in 2024.
The district has an 2015/16 operating budget of approximately $24m and a current structural deficit of
$500k. Existing surplus was used in 2014/15 and 2015/16 to offset this structural deficit, however, the
Board did not wish to continue to offset the structural deficit in future years. Preliminary projections showed an anticipated deficit for 2016/17 of $1.1m. In addition, the operating structural deficit projected for 2017/18 was $1.4m. With the OSS school closure savings and numerous other reductions, the board anticipated using approximately $100k of surplus for 2016/17.

OSS has a 2015-16 enrollment of 230 students. Projected enrollment for September 2016 is 225 students
and September 2024 projection is for 203 students. The student capacity is 325 students. The school is
currently at 71% of capacity and is projected to be at 62% in 2024-25. Student headcount in cohort grades
are projected to be small in the foreseeable future due to declining enrollment. This impacts the
recruitment of specialized teachers, course offerings and compounds timetable constraints even with
innovative structures. The FCI rating for the school is .40, rated as poor and requires mechanical, electrical, structural and plumbing upgrades with potential capital costs of $4.8m over the next five years (as identified in CAMS).

5) Why the school is at risk of being closed:
Declining enrollment, a structural deficit, small student cohorts effecting course offerings, and a poor
facility rating are the rationale for closing the school. The district’s understanding is that available student capacity throughout the district impacts the board’s ability to receive capital funds for upgrades.
Many concerns were raised during the school closure consultation process such as impact on students
and on the community. Concerns include:
 Students going to school outside their home community;
 Student time lost due to bus travel;  Transportation issues for students with unique needs;
 Impact on extra-curricular activities;  Fear of bullying and student discipline issues resulting from combining student populations;  Negative impact on the economy of the town;  Negative impact on the local housing market;  Negative impact on after school employment of students.

6) Expected savings from school closure:
Salaries and benefits $207,800
Supplies and services 82,500
Utilities 57,000
Grounds and maintenance 40,000
Total operating savings $387,300

Additional costs to ensure OSS is open, in compliance with legal requirements, and provides a safe environment for students and staff:
If OSS was not facing closure this year, the district would have budgeted the following dollars:
 $50,000 for domestic hot water tank replacement as it is at the end of its useful life (2012);
 $30,000 for replacement of flooring in two classrooms (no longer able to weld vinyl seams);
 $10,000 for scheduled gym floor resurfacing;
 $7,000 for exterior lighting upgrade scheduled for all schools this year;
 $6,500 for asbestos inventory as required by WorkSafe BC.

7) Identification of schools within the area that have capacity to receive students:
SOSS has a capacity of 700 students and a projected enrollment of 450 students for 2016-17 and is able to accommodate the students from OSS. The school required a minor renovation to convert an open space
into two classrooms in anticipation of the additional students from OSS. The new anticipated capacity of
SOSS is 750 with these renovations. The distance between the towns of Osoyoos and Oliver is 20.8 kms

Use free events

The list of activities seems to be down for the long weekend

Book Sale Saturday

Cherry Fiesta Osoyoos

July 1st Breakfast Oliver Parks

Yard Sales/Garage Sales

Press the button FREE events and insert your item. DON”T use FREE classifieds

Major sponsor of Oliver’s Sunshine Festival

buy low 2523

Presentation this morning – Tyler Gludovatz, Manager of the Oliver store – Buy-Low with parks staff
Kyle Fossett and Natalie Korsovetski

Reminder- Oliver Parks presents Canada Day Breakfast starting at 8:30 am Friday July 1st at the community hall

Update

backside ol 322APC draft minutes show reservations and comments of planning commission (APC) on proposed Oliver Mountain recreational area

Area C Oliver RDOS

APC members raised a number of concerns regarding this application for motorized recreation track on Oliver Mountain:

·         Potential noise impacts to neighbours and beyond

·         Impacts to species at risk including Lewis Woodpecker and Antelope-brush

·         Motorized vehicles will not stay within designated area due to lack of fencing

·         It needs to be shown how this use would be compliant with the Okanagan Shuswap LRMP direction on uses of this particular Crown Land which we understand was to be reserved for a protected area

·         No provisions for monitoring usage

·         Motorized and non-motorized users groups sharing same area is not compatible

·         APC would like to see defined guidelines or protocol for motorized use, that could be used as assessment tool (i.e. staying within designated area, noise restrictions, use of spark arrestors and the concerns noted here) to determine whether used should continue after 5 year trial

·         After 5 years the tenure should expire automatically and a new application be made for this use on these lands. It should not be an automatic renewal. Review of any new application will be made conditional upon the compliance of the motorized users with the terms of the use guidelines in the previous period.

·         If guidelines/protocols are not followed, prior to end of 5 year trial, motorized use of the recreation area should be removed and the tenure cancelled for the motorized use of these lands.

oliver mtn two

6,100 boats inspected as B.C. leads the fight against invasive mussels

osoyoos station22OSOYOOS – British Columbia remains free of invasive mussels, thanks to ongoing efforts that have seen more than 6,100 watercraft inspected so far this year – already surpassing the number of inspections in all of 2015.

Through the Invasive Mussel Defence Program, a crew of 32 trained mussel inspectors are working seven days a week, 10 hours a day, at eight permanent inspection stations along B.C. borders to prevent the spread of invasive mussels.

Of the watercraft inspected this year, 240 were identified as coming from a high-risk jurisdiction and eight were confirmed to be carrying adult invasive mussels. A total of 45 decontamination orders were issued, of which 35 had quarantine periods to meet the 30-day required drying time.

In June 2016, B.C. signed the Western Canada Invasive Species Agreement, partnering with Alberta, Yukon, Manitoba and Saskatchewan in a co-ordinated regional defence against invasive quagga and zebra mussels.

Outreach activities are continuing in communities throughout the province. To date, inspection crews have interacted with more than 10,000 people to promote the message of “Clean, Drain, Dry,” and educate the public about aquatic invasive species.

Quagga and zebra mussels pose a serious threat to B.C.’s aquatic ecosystems, salmon populations, hydro power stations and other infrastructure facilities. They can clog pipes, cause ecological and economic damage, displace native aquatic plants and wildlife, degrade the environment and affect drinking water quality.

B.C. remains free of invasive quagga and zebra mussels. To keep it that way, remember to practice “Clean, Drain, Dry” when boating in B.C.

The public is encouraged to report mussel-affected boats and equipment to the B.C. Conservation Officer Service’s Report All Poachers and Polluters (RAPP) hotline at 1 877 952-7277.

 Minister of Environment Mary Polak – “The province continues to remain free of zebra and quagga mussels, thanks to ongoing efforts of the Invasive Mussel Defence Program. Through co-ordination, prevention and education, we are helping to ensure the health and safety of B.C.’s freshwater lakes and rivers.”

 

Boundary-Similkameen MLA Linda Larson – “It’s great to see the work being done to protect the waterways in Osoyoos and across the Okanagan from invasive mussels. The ongoing outreach efforts of the Invasive Mussel Defence Program are alerting communities to the serious threat quagga and zebra mussels pose to the province’s ecosystems and economy.”