Alan Whitman announces candidacy to run for Area “D” director

Candidate declares himself running for Area "D" director

  • Sep. 7, 2011 3:00 p.m.

Alan Whitman

In the past year I have attended nine resident’s meetings throughout RDOS Area “D”: in Apex Resort, Heritage Hills/Lakeshore Highlands, Kaleden, Okanagan Falls, Skaha Estates, and Twin Lakes to listen to your concerns. No other potential candidate attended meetings in more than two Area “D” communities. I would welcome invitations to attend residents’ meetings in Farleigh Lake, Marron Valley, and St. Andrews as well.

Any proposal that would require a significant property tax increase must be decided by the taxpayers through a referendum. If I am elected director, I will ensure that there will not be any more attempts to raise taxes through the Alternative Approval Process in Area “D”.

I strongly support the Area “D” Economic Development Office in Okanagan Falls. The position is essential for Okanagan Falls, Apex Resort, and our wineries.

Retired city administrator Doug Lychak offers this excellent advice on development: “One over-riding principle I learned about development in over 30+ years of local government, is that quality of development (physical appearance, architectural appearance, environmental impact) can be as important as the development itself. High quality development begets high quality development and sets the standard for the community. [Poor quality] development does the same at the other end of the spectrum! While everybody wants the economic base and tax base to grow, this should never occur at the expense of the quality of the community.”

Small and endangered aquifers must be protected by requiring an effective proof of water before rezoning occurs. My congratulations to the LNID members and other Twin Lakes residents who have done such a fine job of making their case for protection. I will work for you.

I am in favour of extending sewer service to lower Kaleden and Skaha Estates before more aging septic fields fail, endangering Skaha Lake water quality and the broader environment. This will also benefit Okanagan Falls residents because more taxpayers will be sharing the operating costs of the new wastewater treatment plant, and this should allow grit removal, a centrifuge, and spray irrigation as originally planned. Osoyoos and Oliver are lobbying the provincial government for this sewer extension along the Skaha Lake shoreline to protect their downstream water quality – this should help us to get the grants from senior governments that will be necessary to make this affordable. Sewers might be extended to Lakeshore Highlands, Heritage Hills, and upper Kaleden at a later date.

I support the residents of Heritage Hills, Lakeshore Highlands, and McLean Creek Road in their fight to have the ugly Fortis powerline moved out of sight, and will move a motion to that effect at the RDOS Board annually, as well as lobbying provincial cabinet ministers on this issue. To quote Harry Levant: “The visual pollution from the power line is vaporizing property values…”.

Heritage Hills and Lakeshore Highlands pay high property taxes, but do not have a single park after years of asking for one. If I am elected, the needs of Heritage Hills and Lakeshore Highlands will no longer be ignored.

I will lobby the province to put proper bike lanes on Eastside Road between Penticton and McLean Creek Road for the benefit of automobile drivers and the safety of bicyclists. (I am both).

We must ensure that zoning properly protects the KVR Trail through Kaleden and elsewhere. Our remaining riparian areas also need protection, as does the electromagnetic interference zone that allows the radio telescopes at the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory to study extremely faint sources far across the universe.

RDOS planners invite nearby property owners to comment on rezoning and variance applications. But far too often, even when many affected property owners have taken the time to prepare detailed letters with attached photographs and maps, their submissions are barely discussed at the RDOS Board. I will give your submissions on rezoning applications and variances the consideration that they deserve.

Ways must be found to make our RDOS rural director system more democratic with less opportunity for one-person rule in Area “D”.

Staff, not the director, should be choosing members who sit on review committees to ensure that the director cannot exert undue influence on their decisions.

Volunteers are the heart of our communities, and I pledge to support their projects in any way that I can. Pioneer Park in Kaleden and the restored KVR bridge and Lions Gardens in Okanagan Falls are shining examples of what concerned citizens can accomplish.

If I am elected, there will be no more expense claims for junkets to conventions in distant provinces charged to you, the taxpayer. (See the August 12, 2010 issue of The Review that exposed a glaring example in which the alternate director claimed expenses that, amazingly, were more than five times his remuneration for the year!)

Since November, 2010 I have routinely attended RDOS Board meetings so that, if you elect me, I will not be a neophyte. With the experience that I have gained over the past year I will be able to represent you effectively, after listening to your opinions on significant issues. No other potential candidate was interested enough to regularly attend board meetings.

Biographical notes:

Alan was Officer-in-Charge of the Prince George Weather Office. He is financially prudent. Given $350,000 by Ottawa to build a new weather office, he completed the project for $99,000 which was 28 percent of budget, and a year ahead of schedule.

For seven years Alan served as a trustee of the Skaha Estates Improvement District.

He founded the club that eventually became the Okanagan Centre of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, and has served as president six times. He is on the RASC National Council for the tenth year.

To keep his mind active in retirement Alan became a freelance author, and has sold 20 articles to magazines, including 16 to Sky&Telescope, the world’s leading magazine for amateur astronomers. As a result, he has been invited to be a keynote speaker at conventions of amateur astronomers in Oregon, Saskatchewan, Newfoundland, and also on a Caribbean cruiseship.

He is a season pass holder at Apex, a sailor, and a member of the Okanagan Similkameen Parks Society and several Penticton and Okanagan Falls clubs. Alan and his wife treasure the south Okanagan.

Phone 250-497-6759

Email: alandwhitman@gmail.com

– Alan Whitman

 

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