Posted on 22 August 2012 by Keith Lacey
Town of Osoyoos council doesn’t want to get involved in the “smart meter” debate with FortisBC, but they do believe members of this community deserve a public forum to voice their concerns.
As a result, council voted unanimously to send a letter before the early September deadline to FortisBC, asking that they host a public information session now that the company has officially applied to the B.C. Utilities Commission (BCUC) to bring advanced metering infrastructure, more commonly known as smart meters, to this community.
“I think a public hearing is going to work for everyone in this community who has concerns,” said Mayor Stu Wells.
The vast majority of complaints and concern are related to the smart meters emitting electro-magnetic frequency (EMF) waves, said Wells.
There are also concerns by many residents who believe the current meters used by FortisBC work just fine and there’s no need to change to the smart meters, which have been rejected by several communities across the country.
When FortisBC announced two months ago it was looking at bringing smart meters to its 1,900 customers in Osoyoos, there were numerous complaints by citizens, saying they don’t want them and shouldn’t be forced to have them installed on their property, said Wells.
While the BCUC will make the final decision on whether the FortisBC application to bring smart meters to Osoyoos is accepted and town council doesn’t want to get seriously involved, his office has received enough complaints to warrant council asking FortisBC to hold a public hearing, said Wells.
It’s also prudent of council to ask FortisBC to consider an “opt out clause” for any customer in Osoyoos who doesn’t want a smart meter installed on their property and to provide more information about time of use provisions which would save significant dollars for property owners who use less energy during peak periods of the day, he said.
FortisBC has set a deadline of Sept. 7 to receive complaints and concerns about its proposal to bring smart meters to this part of the province.
Town looking at
Town council wants to know the costs involved before deciding exactly what to do to landscape and beautify several recently-completed downtown construction projects, including what to do with the large tract of land across from the town’s new marina and Gyro Beach parking lot.
Community planner Steve Shannon made a presentation to council’s committee of the whole Monday, which presented several options to landscape and beautify the area across from the town marina and Osoyoos Sailing Club parking lot.
Some of the options presented included landscaping with rocks, plants, flowers or a combination of all of these.
Filling in the sloping terrace across from the parking lot could be done cheapest by using rocks, while plants and flowers would cost a little more, said Shannon.
Mayor Stu Wells said there’s little use in council talking about what should be done to beautify this area as well as new projects near Lions Park and Gyro Beach until some actual figures on what it’s going to cost are presented.
“Cost should be paramount,” said Wells. “It’s hard for council to make a decision until we know the costs involved … I think we really do need the dollar numbers before we move forward with this.”
Wells suggested a small fee be paid to a consulting firm to present the cost of all of the options being considered for landscaping and beautifying the land across from the marina, land around the Gyro Beach parking lot and a couple of other spots downtown.
The money that will be used to pay for this project will come from the $100,000 in savings from the recent construction upgrades on Spartan Drive coming in well under budget, said Shannon.
Shannon said a consulting firm will be hired at minimal cost to look at all landscaping and beautification options for these projects and he will report back to council on the dollars involved in the near future.
Mayor thanks Osoyoos Royalty
Members of the Osoyoos Royalty were given a warm thank you from members of council for all the good work they do in promoting the town across the province.
Katie Gilbert, the princess from the 2011 pageant and queen Helen Powers, made a slide presentation to members of council Monday, detailing how often they travel to represent the Town of Osoyoos and promote it as a wonderful place to live and visit.
Last year, members of the Osoyoos Royalty attended 17 community parades and travelled more than 90,000 kilometres across the province and spent almost 700 hours away from home, said Gilbert.
Mayor Stu Wells said the work these young ladies do in promoting the town is invaluable.
“I thank you for being such good ambassadors for the Town of Osoyoos,” he said. “You are wonderful ambassadors and we really can’t thank you enough for promoting the good name of our town.”
Wells also thanked Cathie Baskett, who volunteers her time as a chaperon and organizer with the Osoyoos Royalty program, for putting in so many long hours organizing the annual contest as well as travelling with the teenage girls around the province to promote the Town of Osoyoos.
Gilbert and Powers said their time spent with the Osoyoos Royalty program has provided wonderful experiences.