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Council praises volunteers who have worked so hard to keep Pioneer Walkway clean and beautiful
Member of Town of Osoyoos council thanked the small group of volunteers who work so hard to keep Pioneer Walkway beautiful and pristine throughout the year.
Carol Boan, who heads up the Pioneer Walkway group of volunteers, presented her annual letter to update members of council on the status of the popular walkway that is used by tens of thousands of tourists and local residents every year.
“We had another enjoyable, gratifying and full gardening season at our volunteer project at Pioneer Walkway,” wrote Boan in her letter to council. “It is truly a community participation park and I am always grateful for the dedication of fellow volunteers.
“We continue to have a core group of seven to eight who come out weekly. In addition, we have another eight or so people we call on for specialized help such as routing or steel fabrication whenever or whatever we need. This year, a total of 16 volunteers contributed 618 hours to the walkway.”
Boan informed council this was her final year as committee co-ordinator, but she would like to continue volunteering as a gardener along the walkway and will assist the new co-ordinator who steps forward.
The committee suggests washrooms along the walkway need to be completely updated as they are in poor condition, said Boan.
“A great many local people and many travellers use them. The current condition is not what we hope folks will remember about our town,” she said.
The committee also urges council to consider a paved path parallel to the walkway for cyclists and handicapped scooters. The popularity of the area often makes a hazardous combination of elderly walkers, tourists, cyclists and dogs, she said.
Dog droppings are also worrisome and have become a problem, she said.
Mayor Stu Wells thanked Boan and her committee for their contributions.
“I want to thank Carol for everything they do down there,” said Wells. “There’s a whole group of people who do some great work … and it’s a wonderful part of our town.”
Council wants DARE program to apply for grant funding
Members of town council will urge the Osoyoos Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program to apply for funding through the town’s annual grants and aid program that assists local community organizations as part of the annual budget process.
Local RCMP officers teach the DARE program to many of Osoyoos’ Grade 5 and 6 students to empower them to avoid the use of drugs and alcohol by making healthy choices.
While the program is offered at no cost to schools, the cost of the students’ learning materials is covered by funds raised in Osoyoos.
The learning materials cost roughly $10 per student and during the last two school years, insufficient funds were raised to cover the full costs of the materials.
Last year, DARE BC undertook a special appeal to service clubs and Parent Advisory Councils, but it only raised $400, less than the cost of learning materials for the 50 students who took the program during the 2012-13 school year, leaving a $100 shortfall, which was covered by a reserve fund.
But this fund is now depleted and DARE BC is asking town council to assist with the anticipated shortfall in funding.
Since its inception, more than 100,000 B.C. students have taken DARE, making it the most comprehensive youth drug prevention program in the province.
Coun. Mike Plante urged local program co-ordinators to apply for funding through the town’s grant and aid program as part of the annual budget process, which begins in a couple of weeks.
Because this program benefits local children and has such positive results, there’s no doubt council would approve some funding for the program, said Plante.
Members of council about to enter 2014 budget talks
After several weeks of preliminary discussions, members of town council and senior administration are preparing to enter into official budget deliberations over the next couple of weeks.
“We are moving into the serious part of our budget deliberations,” said Coun. C. J. Rhodes at the end of Monday’s regular meeting of town council. “If you have opinions or ideas that you would like to share, please don’t by shy to contact me.”
Rhodes said he would be “more than happy’ to meet with any local resident who wants to discuss what they feel are key issues heading into the annual budget process.
Mayor Stu Wells, who was on vacation in Palm Springs, California, but participated in the regular council meeting via an audio link, said he and members of council are looking forward to going through the budget process once again.
It’s important that members of the public who want to have input on the budget process get in touch with him or members of council to voice those opinions so they can be brought up and discussed during budget deliberations, said Wells.
Council is expected to receive a draft document of the 2014 budget at the next meeting of council on Feb. 3.
Council will continue to fund bursaries to three grads
Town council has voted to continue sponsoring three $750 bursaries to three graduates from Osoyoos Secondary School in June.
The town has supported scholarships and awards in the past, but giving students $750 in bursaries to pursue post-secondary studies is the best way to go, said Mayor Stu Wells.
The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen will provide $200 a month in funding to continue to use the dog pound facility in the Town of Osoyoos for 2014.
The town has been providing a facility to house dogs rounded up in the RDOS for many years, but this new agreement will make the arrangement formal and help defray the costs that were being picked up by Osoyoos taxpayers.
There will also be a small “per animal fee” paid by the RDOS to the town when dogs are captured and brought to the Osoyoos facility.
Coun. Mike Plante said it was a kind gesture from the RDOS board of directors to acknowledge the town has been helpful in providing this space and service for many years now and to offer a monthly fee to offset costs in operating the facility.
“We are getting recognition for a job well done by the RDOS and this is much appreciated,” he said.