Oliver’s annual Expo “rooted” in community pride


Despite smoky skies, Oliver’s annual Sunshine Festival was a huge success, says Oliver Parks and Recreation’s manager Carol Sheridan.

“We didn’t get the blue skies and sunshine this year but Oliver residents didn’t let the smoke get them down.  The Roots and Fruits Expo was a great success and I was proud of our community for coming together in such big numbers to celebrate what makes our town special.”

Sunshine Festival started Thursday, August 16th, with Music and Market in the Park featuring the Steve Jones Band August 16th. Despite being pushed indoors because of smoke, the audience enjoying a rocking good show.

On Friday, August 17th, a sell-out crowd took in the Oliver’s first ever Rock and Roll Picnic, relaxing to the sweet ragtime blues sounds of The Burying Ground and then kicking it up with AC/DC tribute band, High Voltage. Among the best moments of the night was the youngest and oldest in the crowd singing their hearts out together to AC/DC’s iconic “Thunderstruck”.

Congratulations to The Wienery’s Chef Campbell Kearns for winning the coveted people’s choice ‘Golden Wienie’ trophy and the title of ‘2018 Top Dog’ at the Rock and Roll Picnic’s gourmet hotdog competition. His ‘Elvis’ dog, a peanut-butter-and-maple-bacon flavoured masterpiece, just slightly edged out a gorgeous chili-dog from Mica’s Chef Nick Atkins and an incredible deli-dog by Oliver Eats Ltd’s Derek Uhlemann.

The Oliver Parade and Oliver Roots and Fruits Expo rounded out Sunshine Festival on Saturday. With tons of activities and more interactive exhibits than ever before, the Roots and Fruits Expo kept locals and tourists entertained all day. Organizers were disappointed that the dense smoke thinned the evening crowd but estimate that over 1800 people still took part in the parade and visited the Expo. Congratulations to Emerrit Knechtel for building the fastest zucchini car, and thanks to the many volunteers, exhibitors and entertainers that made Roots and Fruits such a success!

Given that it takes the commitment of a whole community to put on great events, enormous thanks to the many sponsors and supporters who helped make Sunshine Festival happen! Special thanks to Oliver BuyLow and the Rotary Club of Oliver for their main stage sponsorship, allowing organizers to offer free live entertainment all day long.

Thanks also to the many other Roots and Fruits supporters: Casorso and Company, CIBC, the Dressmaker Dianne Gibson, EZ Rock, Fun4Life, Gerard’s Equipment Co, Growers Supply Co., Interior Savings Credit Union, John DiBernardo of ReMax – Wine Capital Properties, Michelle Weisheit of Investors Group, Munckhof Manufacturing, New Country Radio, NK’Mip Desert Cultural Centre, Oliver Chronicle, Oliver Coast Hotel, Oliver Daily News, Oliver Dance Studio, Oliver District Heritage Society, Oliver Online’s Leza MacDonald, Oliver and Osoyoos Winery Association, Pacific Silica, Parties and Pies, the Sagebrushers, SunFM, Valley First Credit Union, Walnut Beach Resort, and Women of Oliver for Women (WOW).

Mark your calendars for August 15-17, 2019. It’s going to be even bigger and better next year!

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Sky Blue

Blue days, all of them gone
Nothin’ but blue skies from now on

Blue skies smilin’ at me
Nothin’ but blue skies do I see
Blue days all of them gone
Nothin’ but blue skies from now on

1926 Irving Berlin

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F 18 CF in Penticton

2018 Dream Rally – Kelowna to Penticton and return

Expensive sports-cars and drivers coupled with kids with life threatening situations.

Show of CF-18 was short – a couple rounds above the airport – not sure all the cars and kids there but it attracted a crowd of jet plane watchers.

Fueling around at Penticton Airport

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Rain more likely today

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Strong Start 5 of 5 in three weeks till 31

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by Pat Whalley


A brain is a marvelous piece of equipment, our whole body is a miracle and nobody will ever convince me that it came to be by anything but a divine hand.

I’m unconvinced by the Adam and Eve story and also by the theory of us coming out of the sea as some sort of slime and evolving into what we are today. The big bang theory is probably nearer to the truth but what happened after the earth cooled is a mystery. My husband has a very scientific mind, I am more spiritual so we just agree to disagree, (even though I am right!) However we came into being, we are certainly a magnificent creation and the brain is a marvellous machine.

Living in a small town makes my face recognizable by many, thanks to many years of catering to the public and to Oliver Daily News, which flashes my face once a week. I sometimes wince when I see the lined, white haired individual, grinning at me when I open my laptop. (ed. note – You look great!)

Lunching with a Penticton pal, in an Oliver restaurant, nearly always is interrupted by one of the ODN readers. My friend is astonished by my fame (or infamy), but I tell her that this is a very small town and almost everyone reads ODN as it gives us the daily news, as it happens.

One of the questions I get asked is “where do you get your ideas”? Well, obviously they are either memories that waft in and out of my mind or some incident that has caught me off guard or I found amusing. Our daily lives may seem routine but really, they are full of wonderful little surprises that beg to be put down on paper. If they are not interesting to all readers, that is a shame but these little incidents are what make life worth living and the smallest thing has humour involved if only we look for it.

The world around us is filled with annoyances that seem to be stumbling blocks, so much red tape involved with everything, so many awful things reported on the news, politicians who cannot be believed and bad things happening to good people. If we did not see the humour in things we might as well give up now. Let’s face it, if we did not laugh at the lunacy that is abundant in Washington, Korea and Russia at this time, we would have no hope for a future.

However, putting words on paper is not always easy. I think maybe my brain has a leak as it sometimes just takes time-out. Writing a cheque a few days ago (yes I still write cheques now and again), I stumbled over my first name. I have never been comfortable with Patricia as a name, it just doesn’t flow well when writing it. I nearly always stop at the second i, it is just weird to write Patricia and I nearly always have a slight space after the first i.

My name is not the only word I have trouble with. I have sometimes stopped in the middle of something so simple as ‘the’ because it looks wrong. Now and again I get the awful feeling that dementia is hiding round the next corner, just waiting for me to let my guard down before it takes over my life. Before it gets me I intend to keep on praying about my concerns for the world around us and continue to laugh at myself and the silly things that make up our daily life.

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Little rain, cool, crisp apples on the trees

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Change – the most constant of things

Effective September 4, 2018

New Rider’s Guide

Service changes effective September 4, 2018

  • 40 Osoyoos to Penticton and 60 Osoyoos to Kelowna with stops in Oliver
    • Weekday morning trips leave Osoyoos 15 minutes earlier
      • Earlier arrival in Penticton
    • Service on Warren Avenue at Cherry Lane
      • Afternoon trips leave earlier, at 4pm
    • Scheduled service at OK College and Peachtree Mall.
    • Kaleden Community Hall is now On-Request only
  • Rt. 41 Osoyoos local only
  • Trip time changes to coincide with changes to routes 40 and 60.
  • Confused: concentrate on Rt. 40 and Rt. 60  – Both leave Osoyoos heading for Penticton – check the rider’s guide for times and connections to Kelowna and return
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Down the aisle

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On the Sunnyside


As I reflect on the more than 24 years we lived in Oliver before moving to Chilliwack, I think of so many experiences that have brought joy and wonder, so many friends and acquaintances we have come to know, so many mistakes I’ve made that caused grief and have taught me lessons, but also many great and enjoyable events that have provided good memories. Many are the funerals and memorials that I’ve conducted or attended as well as joyful weddings and social events. It’s overwhelming! Put together they remind me that:

inheritance may be a material thing or money we give to someone;

memories are impressions, good or bad, that we leave with someone;

but a legacy is the difference, positive or negative, that we make in someone.

As one song says: When we’re gone, long gone, the only thing that will have mattered is the love that we shared and the way that we cared, when we’re gone, long gone.

May what we leave behind draw someone to the sunny side,

Henry Wiebe


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Think about it with Joseph Seiler


Commercial activity is related to commerce. Commerce is the business side of our world, that kind of activity that provides services and products for a price in order to make a profit. A commercial sector of the community is the shopping area. A commercial transaction seeks to find the balance between offering a good price to the buyer and a fair profit for the vendor. Then enters competition and that model can be skewed

In the aftermath of disaster the beginning of commercial activity, however small, can be a sign of recovery. If someone has enough to sell some then there is a little bit extra available. In addition, there is a certain amount of confidence and a trust/hope in the future that is believed by the vendor who starts commercial activity. Good stuff, a survival attitude needed to rise from the ashes, to be welcomed

Increased commerce, commercialization, is usually a sign of a healthy economy, a good thing. It can go too far. It is a common complaint that the season of Christmas has become too commercial, that over commercialization buries the true meaning of the event. A commercial approach to Christmas is considered, by some, to be taking advantage of the good spirit of giving, giving being one expression of the celebration

Did you know that much of the early work of the Chicago school of architecture was referred to as ‘commercial’? A commercial is an advertisement, in many forms, print, TV, media. The commercial is meant to gain support for, to inform and to convince us about something..”When your pistons lose their way, UNCO HD 20″ was part of a singing radio commercial in the mid 50s. Convincing huh ☺

Making commercials is a commercial venture. Lots of supposed experts vying for our dollars. The most successful commercial is not the most logical, rather the most humorous and catchy. When you eat your Smarties do you eat the red ones last? Might we be walking commercials about ourselves? What might be the jingle tune that attracts just the right people to you. The commercial that we are is called our BRAND

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We need some rain


The B.C. Government has elevated the Okanagan to a Level 2 drought rating as a precautionary measure.

While Okanagan water purveyors are generally experiencing average supply conditions, regional drought conditions have escalated after weeks of hot, dry conditions. Kokanee and other fish species need sufficient flows in the fall to successfully spawn and fisheries scientists are becoming concerned about flows in several Okanagan streams, especially if the current weather patterns continue. The Province is sending letters to water users on those streams.

Given that water demand has also increased in many communities in August, we ask that water purveyors take a close look at current reservoir levels and downstream flows and consider ramping up communications with customers, increasing watering restrictions, or implementing other conservation measures as needed. Once again, the province is also asking licensees with upstream storage to closely follow their release schedule requirements to avoid low flows downstream and potential impacts to fish.

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No news!!! How come?


Well folks we might be lucky there is no news.

For the record – I have my sources and I reference the work of 10 other sites. No news this week.


We do not make it up.

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Improvements for sure

Spray Park – paved lot

Curb is in – next a sidewalk, some lighting and better and safer parking for sports

Opening Day will be a BIG day

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The Steele report

The word crime has many definitions and the they all arrive at the same conclusion.   When does perception become reality?  When a person realizes they have been victimized. There is of course a difference of opinion when it comes to what is the acceptable level of incidents in a community?

The answer is always the same something has to be done. Who is to do what? How big is the problem?  What are the solutions? It is easy to accuse and to cast blame its done all the time.

The alternative is to discuss the issue out in the open and work together to come up with solutions and that is more difficult.  There are any number of reasons for crime we can likely recite them from time immemorial.  High unemployment, gangs, greed and of course drug use.

The latest crime epidemic is being touted as a result of the drugs fentanyl and opioids.  Fentanyl is a scourge, it not only destroys life –  it depletes medical resources due to illegal drug use.

Opioids came from the pharmaceutical companies as a pain relief medicine.   It’s a case where a drug known by it creators to be addictive has turned business people, trades people, retired people, young people, the homeless, you name it into addicts.

There is no solution now the barn door is open and the horses are gone.  The only relief for taxpayers is to sue, Yes sue the companies for the additional costs for medical treatment of those addicted and for the increased costs of policing for crimes committed to get money for their habit.

Can’t be done?  Ask big tobacco about that.

Anyway there is a perception of a problem =  a short explanation and a proposed solution.

Yes there is theft in every community.  People who are the victims of crime, often feel helpless.  They feel there is no solution, and they are alone.  What if there were a few tips and solutions, and those people who feel isolated were not along?

If you live in Oliver or Osyoos, there is a meeting to discuss the problems and what can be done.  It’s in Oliver August 28th

First I am not the organizer of the meeting but I have been asked to moderate or MC the event.  The invitation is a result of people reading my weekly column in the Oliver Daily News.

When it comes to crime it can be an emotional time I know I was once a victim myself.  This will not be an event were we come to throw stones.  Yes we want to hear your stories but even more important we want to learn from each other about solutions.

In addition there will be a number of speakers with the insight as to how costly crime really is.

At this meeting there will be official speakers however I want to ensure those attending have their voices heard as well.

Fred Steele

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(5) Electoral response requested by August 31

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Music in the Park – inside again this week

We will be taking  the performance indoors  again, as the air quality risk is still not at a safe of comfortable level for some people.



FROM 6:30 PM TO 8:00 PM.

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Do you believe it?

At the best of times – Environment Canada’s record for accuracy is about 50%

What do you think? – is it likely we will get 3 days and 3 nights of rain…. or is that –  ” it could happen, chance of, etc.”

My favourite forecast that cannot be disputed. Dark tonight, brighter during the day. Clear skies with  some clouds, possibility of sun or rain. Cool overnight warming during the day.

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Go with the Flow – artists – deadline September 7th

Fall Art Show and Sale – sponsor – Oliver Community Arts Council

Artists of all ages and skill levels are encouraged to enter works in any visual medium in the upcoming Fall Art Show and Sale (FASS).

The Oliver Community Arts Council mounts the popular event on Saturday September 29 and Sunday September 30. The show and sale runs jointly with the Festival of the Grape at the Oliver Community Centre. The two-day arts event includes a multimedia art competition, public voting, sales, exhibits and demos by featured artists, live entertainment, a dessert reception, and exciting draws, including a wine fridge.

Visual artists in all media and of all ages are invited to enter. Prizes are awarded in nine categories, including two youth categories. Artwork may also be advertised for sale: locals and tourists alike frequently purchase pieces, whether by budding and emerging artists, hobbyists or professional artists. Public voting ensures the competition is friendly and full of surprises!  Past winners have included both newcomers and returning favourites.

Categories are Photography, Fibre Arts, Oils, Acrylics, Watercolours, Three-Dimensional Arts, and Mixed/Other Media. Two categories for youth, Emerging Artists and Budding Artists, invite entries in any visual medium. Awards are given in each category, as well as an overall winner. Work can be recent or old, but must not have appeared before in this event. Artists may submit one or two pieces. Each requires its own entry form.

This year, the show has a theme: “Go with the Flow”. While no artwork is ever rejected for not following the theme, it can serve to inspire artists to create something new.  To motivate artists: the public votes for a special overall “Best Interpretation of the Theme”.

Some inspirations to get the creative juices “flowing” include the flowing application of a paintbrush or drip techniques,  rippling jewelry designs, curved shapes in wood, metal and glass, capturing movement in photography such as dance or a bicycle race or a windy day, and relaxing fluid abstract shapes. Alternatively, artists could create a piece simply inspired by a mood or get socio-political and make an artistic comment on what it means to follow the crowd. Going with the flow could also refer to the technique or the colours chosen. What does going with the flow mean in your life? Taking it easy? Letting others decide? Jumping into a current of thought with both feet and seeing where it takes you?

Only the entry forms (below poster) need to be submitted before the weekend of the Fall Art Show and Sale. Mail or email the form  by Friday September 7, 2018. An early bird prize is awarded from among entries received by Thursday September 6, 2018. Prize: a free entry or a second entry free. Extension for youth artists only: Friday September 14, 2018.  Problem? We’ll gladly help you solve it!

Email olivercac @ gmail.com

DOWNLOAD your entry below by clicking on the text and printing the PDF form. See the guidelines if you require more information.


FASS 2018 Entry Form

FASS 2018 Terms and Guidelines

FASS Category Definitions

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Osoyoos opts to borrow, not spend reserves


After lengthy debate and clearly divided opinion, Osoyoos council decided Monday to borrow about $1.5 million to pay for a water twinning project rather than dip into its $2.6 million water reserve fund.

The borrowing option was recommended by senior town staff, including operations director Jim Dinwoodie and finance director Jim Zakall.

Their main argument was that interest rates are likely to rise over the next couple of years and with substantial other capital water projects on the horizon, it makes sense to borrow now at a lower rate than to risk having to borrow later at a higher one.

The borrowing in question — $1,538,615 – would pay the town’s 27-per-cent share of the $5.7-million project to complete the twinning of the southwest sector of the water district. The town is applying for a federal-provincial infrastructure grant to cover the remaining $4.2 million.

Leading the charge against the borrowing option was Councillor CJ Rhodes, who questioned the prediction that interest rates are likely to rise. “There is no way of knowing that the interest rate is going up,” he said, calling rate projections “pure speculation.”

Councillor Mike Campol countered: “We have to have some faith in our financial directors.” He said he worries that a decision to spend the reserves rather than borrow at lower interest rates might cause a future council to “(look) back in hindsight and say that we just cost a half a million dollars” by not heeding the staff advice.

Councillor Carol Youngberg agreed: “I don’t want to see (future) infrastructure developments put in jeopardy if the interest rate does rise and it prevents us from moving forward because our reserves haven’t been built up enough.”

Councillor Jim King suggested that perhaps there could be a compromise to spend some reserves and borrow a portion. None of his council mates took up the idea.

In the end, Mayor Sue McKortoff sided with Campol and Youngberg to pass a motion to borrow the money. King and Rhodes voted against.

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Is that a blue sky?

Two weeks – students return to classes in 14 days

Yes this picture taken this morning

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Letter to the Editor

From: Linda Larson, MLA

By now many of you will be aware of the Community Crime Forum on Aug 28th organized by a private citizen, Michael Guthrie.

I know Mr. Guthrie has put a great deal of time and effort into organizing this forum.

It is important to note that Oliver and Osoyoos are not the the only areas experiencing a crime wave. What we are all beginning to realize is that, just because we are small rural communities, we are not immune from the Opioid crisis gripping the entire country, or the crime that follows any upsurge in drug use.

I attended the previous forum on crime this Spring and acquired lots of good information on how to protect your home and property from theft, and I have finally made it a habit to lock my car – something I have always done when travelling to any other community but somehow missed in my own town.

I support the Mayors and Councils of Oliver and Osoyoos in their ongoing lobbying efforts with the RCMP both locally, regionally and provincially. They have built relationships at all levels through respectful dialogue and endless meetings and have ensured that when RCMP personnel become available we will not be overlooked.

Both communities will have further dialogue at the UBCM in September and will hopefully be updated at that time on progress for more local RCMP.

I will try to attend the Forum as an observer only if possible. I have explained to Mr. Guthrie that I would not be available to be on a panel or answer questions at this Forum.

I cannot speak for this Provincial Government nor answer questions on their behalf.

My position as MLA allows me to take your messages and petitions to government as I have done in the past and will continue to do. If you want the Provincial Government to answer questions you need to contact them directly with your questions.

My office will be happy to help forward any and all of your concerns to the appropriate Ministries.

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Despite smoke and warm temps – apples colour up

It’ll be a huge concern if we don’t see the overnight conditions start to drop down a bit,” according to B.C. Fruit Growers Association president Pinder Dhaliwal

“Right now, it seems like the smoke is sort of acting like a blanket, keeping temperatures at night a few degrees above normal,” Dhaliwal said.

Summer-ripening apple varieties like Sunrise and Ginger Gold are already being taken off the trees but the big Okanagan harvest, beginning with varieties like Gala, is currently forecast to begin at the end of the month.

In the South Okanagan, the overnight low this month has averaged 16.2 C, compared to the normal of 14 C. In the Central Okanagan, night-time temperatures have averaged 14.2 C, compared to the normal of 13 C.

Photo: SO Photos
Source: files from Penticton Herald

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Not yet open – new owner and new menu

Ye Olde Welcome Inn pub north of Oliver at Gallagher Lake has received a facelift (sandblasted exterior and new parking lot – expanded and paved) and is reopening to the public September 14 or before.

The pub changed ownership earlier in the summer and closed for renovations.

“So many people keep stopping by to talk about it and look at it and wondering when we’re open,” said new kitchen manager and head chef Ryan Hoffman.

“It’s gone under a complete renovation, patio, inside, menu, kitchen. We’re in the process of doing all of that right now. That’s coming along swimmingly, just fantastic,” he said.

The new menu includes gourmet macaroni and cheese dishes, homemade meat pies, salads, sandwiches, and classic pub fare like fish and chips.

Picture: SO Photos
Source: files from Castanet

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Seen in passing

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Osoyoos braces for pot retailing


Over the objections of one councillor fearful of sending an anti-business signal, Osoyoos council is moving forward with its site-specific zoning bylaw for cannabis retailing in the town.

In a 4-1 vote, council directed staff to come to the September 4 meeting with a zoning bylaw amendment and a proposed policy. Applicants for the right to sell pot in Osoyoos will be required to appear before council and go through a public hearing.

Councillor Mike Campol objected, suggesting it is inappropriate to treat cannabis sales differently from other types of business. He said council is overcomplicating the process to the possible detriment of potential retailers. “I’m quite frustrated going to site-specific,” he said. “It’s an example of not being open for business.”

Mayor Sue McKortoff disagreed, saying, “I think we have done a really good job of being open for business in a positive way.”

She added that council is being appropriately cautious in figuring out how to handle the legal sale of marijuana and the intention is to make sure they get it right and “don’t have to backtrack.”

One other controversial aspect of the draft policy presented by planning director Gina MacKay was a proposal to consider the possible impact on other businesses of a cannabis store on downtown Main Street.

Councillor Jim King said he would like to see the bylaw disallow pot stores anywhere on Main Street between Tim Horton’s and the Watermark.

Councillor CJ Rhodes took an opposite view, suggesting that special consideration for Main Street businesses be taken out of the policy altogether. Rhodes carried the day and no such special consideration will be part of the town policy.

MacKay will bring back to council on September 4 a policy that includes “general guidelines to assist in consideration of applications to re-zone a property in order to accommodate a cannabis retail sales outlet.” The considerations will include:

  • Proximity to Osoyoos Elementary School;

  • Proximity to day care centres and the like;

  • Proximity to and impact on residential areas;

  • Access, egress and parking;

  • Visibility from tourist routes; and

  • Whether potential sampling areas contravene other bylaws.

Although council has indicated that it won’t be rushed into decisions, the possession and sale of recreational cannabis will become legal in Canada on October 17.

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Pastor Phil seeks help for picker camp


Pastor Phil Johnson has at least a little cause for optimism after his appearance before Osoyoos council today detailing the successes and challenges of the summer pickers’ camp out behind his Baptist Church.

Over June and July, some 300 mostly young would-be fruit pickers from across Canada and around the world pitched their tents on the gravel expanse west of the church. Two porta-potties and the washroom and shower facilities in the church were available to the itinerant workers.

Johnson told council one of the reasons he requested to appear today was to seek some sort of legal sanction from government to protect the church and the town from potential legal problems. He suggested a possible “temporary zoning” from the town or some sort of pickers’ camp designation from the province.

Mayor Sue McKortoff offered positive, if rather vague, assurance. “You’ve come to the right people,” she said. “Because our CAO and planning director are both here and I know that type of thing will be possibly looked at to see if we can help you come up with a solution.”

Much of the problem is financial. Johnson said the church spent about $19,000 on camping, garbage, sanitation, showers and meals. The bulk of it was raised locally, with some help coming from another Baptist congregation in Abbotsford.

Johnson acknowledged that the congregation lost a few members as a result of the camping project, which the church carried out for the first time this summer. It has been sponsoring dinners for pickers during peak season for several years.

Johnson and some members of council agreed that local farmers and orchardists should be doing more to deal with their accommodation

Aside from about $1,000 from a never-completed project sponsored by the BC Fruit Growers’ Association from five or six years ago, the church received no financial support from the agriculture industry.

“Our farmers and orchardists need to recognize that this is their responsibility, too,” he said. “They’re the ones who need them.”

Councillor Mike Campol concurred, wondering why the industry “hasn’t put skin in the game. … It’s hard for me to get behind putting significant (taxpayer) money toward this … when I don’t see the industry stepping forward to do their part.”

Asked by Councillor Carol Youngberg if the church would be willing to run the camp again if sufficient funding was available, Johnson said, “We certainly would look at it. We’re very open to it.”

Johnson described the church campsite as a “landing strip” for pickers who often arrive in Osoyoos at the beginning of the fruit season with no contacts and no real idea of how the system works.

Osoyoos is often the pickers’ first stop. “They all come here first. They all want to get into the first tree, the first crop, and that’s here,” he said.

Once the season starts, the pickers fan out to the various orchards, some of which offer reasonable accommodation for the pickers’ tents. Occasionally, farmers would drive to the church campsite to hire pickers for the day.

Johnson told council that at the peak, the campsite held 200 tents. The visitors included people from 43 different countries. Two porta-potties were emptied every day and the garbage bin twice a week. The church served 3,284 meals, including 882 on one evening.

He told council that he is taking three separate months of sabbatical this year. One of them was July “when all I did was deal with pickers. I hung around town, but I didn’t have to preach on Sundays.”

He said the site had cleared out, but a few tents have sprouted up again as some workers have come back to get in on the apple and grape seasons.

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Letter to the editor

From: Rick Knodel

Comments on the proposed South Okanagan national park.

The invitation only meeting in Penticton highlighted one of the important groups being left behind, as the Penticton Indian band (PIB) who were only given a 1/2 hr. notice of the meeting. PIB spokesperson Jonathan Baynes was critical of the lack of inclusion shown toward the PIB in this process and stated “It is not a partnership if the park is just going to be pushed through” and asked “What does the gov’t mean by a partnership?”  Well, Jonathan welcome to what the non-native locals feel like, but at least we had a little more notice. Now that you know you have become window dressing, you won’t be surprised if you are asked to wear traditional garb next time you are invited.

It seems that the Liberal gov’t is taking a lot of lessons from Donald Trump by ignoring the law and telling lies (oh sorry! alternate truths) in order to misdirect the unwashed hillbillies of the Southern Okanagan. After all, we elitists know what’s best for you and a national park will make a nice addition to the pipeline we just bought for you. It appears that Catherine Mckenna is making promises that will require assent by parliament or possibly the creation of a whole subsection, much like the Banff Canada parks section, or will this be another Trumpism and we will be promised anything to get around us peasants. In short the accused will be given a fair trial before being hung.

Every resident of the Southern Okanagan should read and understand the Osoyoos Indian Band /Syilx Nations Draft Plans and Park Feasibility Study. These are the documents along with the Canada Parks Act that will create this park. I list it in this fashion because, make no mistake, this is the group that will have control of this park and the obligated expansions if the seed park is formed. If I were a member of the Penticton Indian Band I would be very concerned here; as they are in bed with a giant with enormous political control, unfathomable financial resources, and outside partners. These documents lay out, in no uncertain terms, that the current lands under consideration are too small and the expansions in consideration are up to Giants head on the west and Rattlesnake Island on the east. The areas on the east would encompass O.K. Falls, Skaha Estates, Heritage Hills, Carmi, East Bench, and Naramata. On the west the encompassment would be St. Andrews, Kitley, Kaleden, Twin Lakes, Olalla, Apex, West bench, Summerland, and Faulder.

The Canada Parks Act Bill C-27 allows for the expansions by order in council, which eliminates any need to have public input on the matter. This is very much akin to Donald Trump’s bulldozer democracy. So we can’t say that Justin Trudeau and his ministers have not been learning a thing or two.

We have all been victims in the past of governmental soft sell and assurances; just to end up being slapped by the realities and consequences of what was not disclosed to us. Some will reap huge financial benefits, while the elitist perpetrators pat themselves on the back and wander back to the sanctity and security of their homes far away, leaving us with the decaying remains of what they will have caused.

It is time for all residents to become well informed and involved. Considering the ramifications of what changes this will cause and the costs to you and your way of life. Make your informed decisions from the documents that will create this park and not from the propaganda for or against. Then whether you choose to support, or not to support the nation park, make your voice heard loudly. That is the democracy being denied you.

The documents referred to have been made available to the editors.

Executive Summary

In November 2010, the Syilx Working Group began assessing the feasibility of a potential Syilx/Parks Canada protected area in the South Okanagan – Lower Similkameen, an area within the Okanagan Nation Territory. The Syilx Working Group was tasked by the Okanagan Nation Alliance Chiefs Executive Council to determine if it was feasible to consider development of a National Park Reserve as part of a broader Syilx vision to protect valued lands and cultural values within the Okanagan Nation Traditional Territory. A National Park Reserve would be established under the authority of the Canada National Parks Act, allowing a National protected area to be established where land claims and treaties are not settled.

This Final Report consolidates the findings of the feasibility assessment process. It was determined that there is sufficient protection of Syilx interests, common ground, relationship, and communication with Parks Canada to move to the next phase of the park establishment process. The next phase will provide additional information and clarity on issues, such as Syilx inherent rights (harvesting, hunting), collaborative decision-making, and the inclusion of traditional ecological knowledge in park management and decision-making.

The study found that it is feasible to engage in further discussions with Parks Canada about a future National Park Reserve without diminishing protection of Syilx Title and Rights. Parks Canada has committed to ensuring that appropriate legislative measures to establish a National Park Reserve will not compromise future settlements of Aboriginal Rights and Title claims for the Okanagan Nation. It was deemed feasible to establish a collaborative and consensus based model with Parks Canada that would seek cooperative management and decision-making, similar to Gwaii Haanas. Although the current park concept is deemed feasible, it is insufficient in size to promote the broader vision for protection of Syilx cultural and ecological integrity in the South Okanagan Lower Similkameen. Additional work should be initiated to address the broader Syilx vision for protection of land and culture. A Socio-Cultural, Environmental and Economic Impact Assessment has determined that a National Park Reserve has the potential to provide benefits to Syilx people and culture, research funding and increased employment opportunities.

Based on the findings of this report, the Syilx Working Group makes the following recommendations to the Okanagan Nation Alliance Chiefs Executive Council:

Recommendation 1: That ONA advance to the next phase of the NPR establishment process, the negotiations phase, as there will be no diminishment to Syilx Title and Rights, and that on all of the issues, with the exception of the issues related to the Province’s role, a determination of feasibility was made. Page 5 of 28

Recommendation 2: That the Okanagan Nation plan for and build appropriate capacity to prepare for future dialogue and negotiations, including but not limited to, Syilx inclusion in a cooperative consensus-based decision-making framework, integrating and showcasing TEK to guide park planning and management in the NPR, and ensuring Syilx access to the land and resources for traditional and cultural purpose within proposed National Park Reserve boundaries.

Recommendation 3: That a communication (media) strategy be developed and implemented in a timely fashion to ensure effective and accurate public communication relative to the Syilx engagement in the NPR establishment process, findings and future steps.

Recommendation 4: That the Okanagan Nation re-engage the Province by sending a letter to the Premier and to Cabinet outlining the findings of the Syilx feasibility process and expected re-engagement from the Province in future discussions.

Recommendation 5: That the Okanagan Nation seek a similar ‘approach’ to the Park SWG using a SARA group or committee (e.g. SOSSEC) to initiate solution-based dialogue with Environment Canada/Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS) and Parks Canada with clear objectives to build an effective working relationship and to resolve outstanding SARA implementation issues in the Okanagan-Similkameen prior to the establishment of a NPR. Appropriate capacity will be required.

Recommendation 6: That the Okanagan Nation continue ongoing strategic communications between the Syilx Chiefs and the PCA senior executives, including an agreed upon meeting following the conclusion of the feasibility study.



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