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Pendergraft reflects on various RDOS successes over the past 12 months
The regional district made significant strides over the past year on many longstanding projects and new ventures, according to chair Mark Pendergraft.
In his year-end report, the chairman acknowledged there was significant turnover on the board in 2013, but it “never missed a step.”
Pendergraft noted the former chairman’s seat was left vacant by Dan Ashton, who was elected MLA for Penticton.
This move led to the resignation of Garry Litke, who was elected as Penticton’s new mayor. This brought some new people on the board.
“We can now look forward to 2014 with a stable, experienced group of board members with strong personalities and great ideas that represent all the constituencies across this diverse region,” Pendergraft said.
The chairman said the board maintained a focus on regional issues and fiscal responsibility in 2013.
“We had a new CFO (chief financial officer Sandy Croteau) in 2013 and she’s continued the level of expertise that we had come to expect with Mr. (Warren) Everton.”
Pendergraft said the regional district fully implemented the “Time Tracker” program in 2012 and throughout 2013. In 2008 the board requested that staff justify allocations of staff time to various functions via a tracking program.
He noted that both general government and electoral area administration are now tracking time accurately, and “we can say with certainty that those citizens who benefit from our services, pay.”
Pendergraft said they had some struggles maintaining a level of stability in their management group, losing two managers in 2013, including the manager of human resources and manager of financial services.
Pendergraft highlighted other successes and accomplishments from each department.
Under the office of the chief administrative officer, the regional district began working with the City of Penticton on the new patient care tower at Penticton Regional Hospital.
Under legislative services, it handled 15 Freedom of Information requests, and organized a successful community-to-community forum.
Pendergraft said the human resources department provided a number of personnel services to member municipalities in 2013, and completed 19 recruitment competitions.
The chairman said the regional district updated aerial photos that can be used in Internet mapping.
“This is a perfect example of the benefits of a partnership in this case with all municipalities, and in the end we all received a better final product at a lower cost,” he said.
Pendergraft stated that emergency telecommunications infrastructure upgrades are underway and the board has renewed the 911 service agreement.
In addition, six emergency management courses were organized for staff.
Under parks and recreation, the regional district constructed the KVR trail from Okanagan Falls to Kaleden; completed the West Bench pedestrian corridor; the Tulameen outdoor ice surface roof; the transfer of Christie Memorial Park from the province to the regional district; and commenced work on the Regional Transit Plan.
Engineering projects included the Okanagan Falls Waste Water Treatment Plant, Faulder water system options, West Bench water distribution system and the Similkameen watershed sustainability plan.
Pendergraft said the Canadian wood stove change-out program resulted in 46 exchanges in 2013.
Under development services, there were two official community plan reviews and over 50 development and variance permits processed (14 rezoning and 25 Agricultural Land Reserve /Crown land referrals).
Pendergraft reported there were 277 building permits with a value of approximately $25 million. Under bylaw enforcement, 85 enforcement files were processed. Pendergraft congratulated regional district staff for their hard work in 2013.
The chairman said the board explores every angle thoroughly with objectivity, even in the face of different opinions from directors.
“Eighteen members on a board is large for a decision-making body, and yet everybody participates,” said Pendergraft. “We truly have established an enjoyable working relationship.”
Special to the Times