RDCO replacing park Caretakers

Re: RDCO replacing park Caretakers

Postby just popping in » Apr 21st, 2017, 11:00 am

Update: First on the agenda - RDCO Board meeting April 24, 7:00 p.m.

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Re: RDCO replacing park Caretakers

Postby Balance » Apr 28th, 2017, 5:37 am

Update: Board meeting Monday April 24

APR 27, 2017 — In a display of contempt for their communities and constituents, 8 out of 12 members of the Regional District of the Central Okanagan board voted to remove caretakers from the regional parks on Monday April 24th. Except for Brad Sieben (Kelowna), Cindy Fortin (Peachland), James Baker (Lake Country) and Wayne Carson (northwest side), the directors ignored the over 1000 letters and petitioners, the over 70 people crammed into the board room (see photo), a delegation that outlined the concerns, research and analysis done by community members, and seven months of inquiry about the reasons for this cut to the program. According to several people who attended the meeting, many of the other directors smirked and rolled eyes, one didn’t even know there were Regional Parks in Kelowna, and Chair Given even scolded the caretakers for not moving out more quickly.

We continue to ask why this cut to the program is happening. At the moment, the “reasons” boil down to money, funny money it seems. Presumably environmental, cultural, safety, and social reasons are of no interest to those directors who voted to cut the program; also the secret "in camera" reasons seem to have been set aside for financial ones. However, the “economic” reasons are so flimsy and flawed it hard to believe anyone could take them seriously, especially our Board members who are supposedly interested in fiscal responsibility. The reasons: 1) Supposed efficiencies—not one of which they can name especially in the face of increased cost and safety risks of vandalism, fire, illegal camping and other abuses not to mention the risk to cultural heritage assets and the loss (or replacement costs) of 10 or 12 other services formerly provided by the caretakers. 2) Supposed savings in security costs-- equally mystifying since the RDCO will lose rental income and have to pay Commissionaires for the opening and closing of park gates (not to mention increases in bylaw and staff oversight of the parks). During the pubic financial plan process, when asked where these mysterious savings are coming from, there was never once a clear answer given about this simple mathematical conundrum.

But 3) most incredible of all, suddenly there is going to be a nearly one million dollar savings in future maintenance of the residences of the caretakers. Where does this bizarre number come from? You’d think if this huge savings was a genuine reason, back in September when they announced the cut to the program they would have trumpeted this amazing figure. The figure is stunning since just two and a half years ago in a Regional Parks Service Review, endorsed by this very board in November 2014, the maintenance of ALL 11 of the caretaker residences was estimated to be about $80,000 over the next 20 years. Now suddenly, a whole million dollars will be saved by removing 3 or 4 of the residences. How is this even possible? Did the parks staff lie to the Board back in 2014 or were they so incompetent they didn’t see a nearly one million dollar bill ahead of them? Or was this million dollars just magically pulled out of a hat in the past couple of weeks once the community began to question the figures being used in the RDCO financial plan?

This lack of responsiveness and of financial scrutiny are very worrying for our community. We have elected officials who will not listen to the public and who refuse to provide any proper or believable explanation for the decision they seem to want to make in the face of common sense and genuine community concern.

Once again, we urge you to contact the Board and ask the eight members who voted to cut this program, why they did so and what answers they have to these questions.

Nancy Holmes

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Re: RDCO replacing park Caretakers

Postby Jflem1983 » Apr 28th, 2017, 6:13 am

I don't like the favoritism optic . Seems to be a sweet gig house In a park . With free rent. Can regular people apply .
Now they want to take our guns away . That would be just fine. Take em away from the criminals first . Ill gladly give u mine. "Charlie Daniels"

You have got to stand for something . Or you will fall for anything "Aaron Tippin"
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Re: RDCO replacing park Caretakers

Postby Gilchy » Apr 28th, 2017, 6:49 am

$1m may be high, but please show me how it would be possible to maintain 11 houses for 20 years for $80k.

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Re: RDCO replacing park Caretakers

Postby ak1ak1 » May 5th, 2017, 12:21 pm

There is potentially a higher cost to be paid over the next 10 years if resident caretakers are removed from parks as parks become more run down, littered and more susceptible to vandalism.
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