Recent comments

  • Out of left field: The election is looming - come meet your choices   4 years 13 weeks ago
    Not only was the price tag outrageous but the manner in which the proposal was presented to the public was somewhat offensive in that councillors who spoke at the public meeting were basically issuing an ultimatum.....support this, or get nothing at all for an undetermined period of time. No indication, no desire expressed to come up with an alternative plan should the referendum fail. Where are we going with this and why isn't it more of an election issue?
  • Out of left field: The election is looming - come meet your choices   4 years 13 weeks ago

    All 10 council candidate profiles have been posted, and each candidate got a day in the feature section of the front page.

    They were posted in the same order that they were received in my email inbox.

    Had I posted all the profiles at once, only seven of the 10 would've been on the front page at all, and only three in the feature position....and I would have been accused of being biased and unfair.

    If you can suggest a better, more fair way to do it, I'm all ears.

    Yes, I have opinions, and strong ones - which are never put forward in my news stories, only in commentary work. That doesn't make me less-than-credible - it's my job.

    Ironically, were I to act on personal bias, this would not be the way I'd go about it - I have more faith in the candidates than to think the number of hours they spend on the front page will be determining factors in their success ...unlike yourself, apparently.

    Oh, and for the record, "Bounty"? Part of my credibility comes from the fact that I always sign what I write.

    Kyra Hoggan

    Editor

  • Out of left field: The election is looming - come meet your choices   4 years 13 weeks ago
    Kyra, I find it interesting that you still are missing some candidates, although I believe you received their information on or before the 4th and say you will publish everyones comments. I also find it interesting that although you say you take an unbiased view, it is apparent through "social media" , facebook, etc. that you do have an agenda and fully support the candidates you are in favor of, not just now, but throughout the year. It has been entertaining reading your articles during the year, not informative, but entertaining. I am glad you have found a way to politic. Have you thought of writing for the National Inquirer?
  • Proposal opens trails to all users - can motorized traffic co-exist with bikes?   4 years 13 weeks ago
    I find it interesting that you question if this is a prank. I'm sure that’s what many ATV users thought when they saw signs posted around Summerland indicating that they could be fined $2000 for riding on the KVR or Spirit 2010 Trail, whatever you want to call it. It's my understanding that these signs were not legitimate and are not being enforced. It is also my understanding that there is currently no law that prohibits motorized users from riding on the rail beds. If I happen to be misinformed, then authorities are doing a poor job of communicating these laws to the general public. Putting a sign up that says, “NON-MOTORIZED USE ONLY” is not a law and from what I understand is only there for insurance purposes. Earlier this year, the Spirit 2010 Trail was officially established under Section 56 of the Forest and Range Practices Act and many ATV Clubs around the province are simply showing respect for the other user groups when they comply with certain sections of the rail beds being non-motorized. An example of this is the section of Trans Canada Trail from Grand Forks to Christina Lake. We have communicated to our members that this section is not open to ATVs. Majority of the motorized users in the area respect these closures, so at the moment what really stands out is all the “bad apples” that don’t. If non-motorized users invited all ATV users to use the trails, they just might see how many are responsible and respectful. In the article, Mr. Longden is “not saying that all motorized users are irresponsible” and that “[he] agrees that many of the club members are responsible users.” The Grand Forks ATV Club, has what we consider a good relationship with the Grand Forks Community Trails Society, and as readers may or may not have noticed in the article, the Chair of this group has attended a few of our meetings to communicate their concerns with ATVs on the trails. They have communicated to us that the Trans Canada Trail from Grand Forks to Eholt is open to motorized users, providing they have proper third-party liability insurance and a valid driver’s license. Whether they have the authority to actually regulate the use like this is beside the point, as we have communicated to them that we want to work together to make a better trail system for everyone. The section of the Trans Canada Trail that spans from Christina Lake to Castlegar is also open to ATV users. Unfortunately the bridge that was constructed to replace a washed-out section of trail was intentionally built too narrow for ATVs to cross. Many ATV riders feel this investment was a selfish and almost discriminatory act toward the ATV users and the group that maintains this portion of trail. We understand that there are certain sections of the TCT that are not suitable for ATV use, within city limits being one of them, however many motorized and non-motorized users will agree that there are no valid reasons that certain sections shouldn’t be open to ALL user groups. Look at the other comments on this article if you question this. The Grand Forks ATV Club is trying very hard to promote the safe responsible operation of ATVs in our area. In the past three years alone we have encouraged approximately 24 of our members to take the CSA/CASI Approved ATV Safety Course, and all passed. The proposal is to develop a trail network for ALL users, and to create different routes so that ATV riders can get around sections that have been “closed” if you will, to motorized users. The article indicates that “the trails would be open 365 days a year to mountain bikers, hikers, horses, ATVs, off road motorcycles and snowmobiles”, in short, for ALL to use. With that said it may actually be a benefit to the non-motorized users to support this proposal and I’m sure that many do. Read the comments on the article if you question this. It has been said many times before, there are always going to be “bad apples”; they exist is all sports and are not limited to motorized users only. To say that “[you] have seen the damage and garbage left behind by ATVers” is sure an interesting comment as it pretty much implies that you believe that not a single non-motorized user has ever done damage to the trail or left garbage behind. Your comment regarding paving the trail just might become a reality before you know it as the Grand Forks Community Trails Society has a long term goal (3-5 years) to paving the TCT from Grand Forks to Christina Lake. See the minutes from their last meeting at the following link (http://www.gftrails.ca/Home.html). I encourage more trail users to get involved with the Grand Forks Community Trails Society as they have done wonders for the local community trails. I fully understand that not everyone is going to support this proposal and I appreciate the comments. However, if anyone out there has a decent argument against it, please post it. Dialogue is what this article is all about. Cody Zorn – President Grand Forks ATV Club www.gfatv.ca
  • Proposal opens trails to all users - can motorized traffic co-exist with bikes?   4 years 13 weeks ago
    The Iron Horse trail in Alberta is 300 kms long and is a mulit-use trail that is used by non-motorized and motorized users alike. It is part of the TCT as well. Please visit the following site for more information: http://www.ironhorsetrail.ca/
  • Proposal opens trails to all users - can motorized traffic co-exist with bikes?   4 years 13 weeks ago
    Motorized & non-motorized vehicles have used these old rail beds for years. I too, have hiked, & biked on these trails since before the rails were removed, & I have never been witness to any problem with the motorized traffic on these trails. They have always yielded to me when I've been on a non-motorized machine, I can't say that about people riding bikes in the city, on the sidewalks. And seriously, no matter what it is, there are always going to be bad apples. We have to deal with it as best we can & not ban whole groups because of a couple of inconsiderate "yahoos". In the bigger picture, I think it was foolish to remove the rail in the first place. The rest of the world makes good use of their rail systems for the transport of people & goods, & we are turning ours into bike trails & fighting over who shouldn't be allowed to use them… does anyone else see a problem with this?
  • Water meter protests all wet   4 years 13 weeks ago
    I have all sorts of crazy things to say about water meters, but mostly I am interested to see if there is any interest in revisiting topic - particularly from the candidates. For me, the water supply was a major benefit to moving to Castlegar. My family grows a very large vegetable garden and we take food security seriously. I am worried that the water metering will make growing a garden cost prohibitive. And yes, I have 2 rain barrels - both which were completely dry in August. I don't think residents are done with this issue, but the mayor would like us to get on with it. Any thoughts?
  • Kevin Chernoff - City council incumbent   4 years 13 weeks ago
    Thanks Kevin, I am glad there is on-going efforts in this direction. However, I don't believe that the tripping hazard that clover presents reasonably justifies exposing children, pets and wildlife (and city mowing staff) to the dangers of 2,4D. If slipping hazards on sports fields are a concern, I suggest the city could ease up on its irrigation.
  • Kevin Chernoff - City council incumbent   4 years 13 weeks ago
    The Green Committee along with Transportation and Civic Works have been for some time trying to find the balance between the use of no pesticides and the visual and safe enjoyment of our parks and playing fields. When I talk safe enjoyment I mean playing fields that don’t have weeds creating such things as slipping hazards on soccer and ball fields. Like you I also have had a lot of personal interaction with the people in the community who are in favour of eliminating pesticide use as long as it did not impact the visual appeal that groups such as Communities in Bloom have worked hard to achieve and the safety of the users of our sports fields. The City has worked alongside such groups as the Food Security people to do testing of non-herbicide products in some existing parks with mixed results. The City has also found other products that have been effective eliminating the use of pesticide for certain applications such as Eco-Clear (citric acid) that has been used on the miles of City sidewalks. Over the past year the City was first out of the gate to try a new product called Fiesta at City Hall which the performance of this product from the summer will be brought forward this winter season for evaluation. As I as of yet have not seen any performance results on this product. The City also implemented use of organic fertilizer and corn gluten at both Kinsmen and Blueberry Creek Park which will also be evaluated this winter for its performance. I think the City has been progressive in eliminating the use of pesticides maybe not as quick as some hope but definitely moving forward in finding an effective alternative.
  • Out of left field: The election is looming - come meet your choices   4 years 13 weeks ago
    Hi Steve, first and foremost this was not just a City issue it was a regional issue. The referendum was to gauge the the people in all threee areas, Castlegar, Area I and Area J. Every Councillor and every Director involved was on board with asking the questions thru a referendum. We felt that was the only way to find out if there was broad public support not just Recreation Center users. Clearly there wasn't.
  • Out of left field: The election is looming - come meet your choices   4 years 13 weeks ago

     I hope one of the councillors replies to you, but in the meantime, I think it's worth noting that the majority of the population does, I think, support recreation expansion.

    It was the scale (and thus the price tag) that I believe led to the proposal's defeat.

    I know for a fact that council has heard many, many, many resident requests for improved recreation facilities/services - the reason they planned so big was in trying to accommodate as many individuals/organizations/interests as they could.

    Council was trying to meet a demand they'd been hearing about for years - to assume they're completely out of touch because the residents want something but are unwilling to pay $25 million for it ...well, you decide if that's fair.

    There are shades of grey, here.

    As for public consultation, you've got them over a barrel. If they hold a referendum, it's a waste of public dollars. If they don't, it's back-room decision-making. And if they don't mind-read and mystically know, not just which recreation improvements we want, but also how many millions we're willing to spend and what threshold we think is too much money - and know all this without benefit of a referendum - well, then they're not representing the people and they're out of touch.

    Does this sound reasonable to you?

    As for council reservations, I attended all the public meetings, I sat in council chambers myself, and I didn't hear any reservations expressed by any of the councillors.

    The vote in favour of the project was unanimous.

    Regards,

    Kyra Hoggan

    Editor

     

  • Out of left field: The election is looming - come meet your choices   4 years 13 weeks ago
    I have seen 3 incumbent Councillor's refer to the referendum - and I think I am seeing two different issue being raised. 1. supporting the need for the referendum. 2. supporting the referendum question. I initially misread Gord and Deb's post and thought this was further discussion of the need for holding a referendum at all. I would have liked to have seen the Councillor's reservation against the project in the media (and not just in council chambers) at the time of the referendum. My position on the referendum is this: How did a City Council that is supposed represent the population come to support a referendum proposition that was defeated by an overwhelming 79%? Could there not have been a more cost effective way of gauging public opinion prior to launching a media campaign and holding a referendum?
  • Out of left field: The election is looming - come meet your choices   4 years 13 weeks ago
    Sorry, meant this as a reply.
  • Out of left field: The election is looming - come meet your choices   4 years 13 weeks ago

     I'm baffled by your perspective. 

    Of course the city supported the "yes" side - it was their idea, their plan, and it was them asking voters to green-light said plan via the referendum.

    The banner spot belongs to ... wait for it ...the city, and thus can be used for whatever purpose council feels serves the city, regardless your perceptions of its intended use.

    Politically biased? Of COURSE they were - I should hope they felt strongly in favour of a plan they were asking us to commit millions to bring to fruition.

    Just because voters denied it doesn't mean the city should now pretend they didn't believe in it - in fact, to do so would be dishonest and frankly repugnant.

    For them to have pretended at the time to not care one way or another would have been outright ludicrous - they were asking us for $25 million. One would think they wouldn't do that unless they felt strongly that it was the right thing for the city.

    They lost a referendum, that doesn't make them bad guys and it doesn't mean they somehow subverted the democratic process.

    Keep looking for it, and you'll always find a slight and a hidden agenda - whether there ever was one or not.

    Regards,

    Kyra Hoggan

    Editor

     

  • Out of left field: The election is looming - come meet your choices   4 years 13 weeks ago
    It is true that council supported the referendum. But don't forget that the City officially endorsed the "Yes" side in the referendum. Including spending city money on promoting the "yes" side. The City had even used the banner site on Columbia ave - using city employees to install it. I had contacted the city about my concerns, as it was contrary to the spirit of having this banner location. It is intended for community notices, charity drives and the like. Not for politically biased advertising. (I was bounced back and forth between City Hall and the RDCK on my complaint).
  • Proposal opens trails to all users - can motorized traffic co-exist with bikes?   4 years 13 weeks ago
    Is this some kind of prank? Why not widen it a little more so Hummers and Jeeps can get in too. Hell lets just pave it so people can bring in their RVs. Of course this is a ridiculous proposal. There are thousands of miles of logging roads perfect for ATVs but a hundredth as many for hikers wishing to get away from the internal combustion engine. I have seen the damage and garbage left behind by ATVers. I don't think they should have any more access to anywhere than they already have. I am against this proposal 100%.
  • Proposal opens trails to all users - can motorized traffic co-exist with bikes?   4 years 13 weeks ago
    Motorized use on the rail bed is nothing new. The sections of the TCT that this proposal covers have been used by ALL user groups in the past, and even before the Trans Canada Trail came to life. More recently, efforts by non-motorized groups have been aimed at discontinuing use by motorized users and we are simply disagreeing with that movement and feel that all user groups have the right as tax payers to use these trails. Geo2man’s comment that "ATVs etc have the entire outdoor area to utilize other than the trail" is pretty ridiculous itself because this is implying that cyclists and hikers don't have the "entire" outdoor area to utilize. Last time I was out cycling and hiking (this past summer), I could pretty much go where ever I wanted to including city streets where it is much more likely that I could be hit by a motorized vehicle then on the TCT. In the urban areas around Vancouver, many hikers/walkers complain about cyclists going too fast and surprising them as some complain motorized users do. In fact, there are many outdoor areas that do not allow motorized use. For example, many provincial parks and wildlife management areas do not permit the use of motorized vehicles but still allow non-motorized users. With that said local motorized groups such as the Grand Forks ATV Club respect these closures and have made efforts to communicate them to other motorized users. Motorized users have been using the rail beds for decades, so if Geo2man’s comment regarding "their wear and tear destroying the trail surface" is true, then by now I would imagine the rail bed would surely be destroyed by now. The reality here is that these trails are probably in their best shape ever thanks to the contributions from all users groups. The Columbia and Western (C&W) Trails Society currently maintains the TCT from Castlegar to Christina Lake. With the washout that happened a few years back near the Lafferty gravel pits, they were unable to maintain the trail from the washout west to Christina Lake without driving all the way around. This resulted in reports that the trail had become overgrown and was degrading rapidly. They had created a bypass route around the washout, which was not wide enough for majority of motorized groups to pass, however non-motorized users could easily get by. It's my understanding that a less expensive alternative to the bridge that was constructed at that site was brought forward by the C&W Trails Society and that little to no communication was made when it was decided to proceed with the bridge construction. This is obviously a sneaky tactic in an effort to limit the input by motorized users. In my opinion, building this narrow bridge was a very selfish act by the non-motorized groups in an effort to restrict motorized users. I formed this opinion by the comment "The 3 ft. wide access to the bridge should do the trick" which was made by Trails BC on a photo of the bridge that C&W Trails Society posted on their Facebook page. There are advantages to having motorized users on these trails. For example majority of maintenance is done by motorized users that carry chainsaws, axes and shovels to clear fallen debris. Anyone that disagrees with this should contact the groups that maintain the trail and ask them how they manage to clear trees and debris. Surely they don’t haul maintenance equipment by foot or bicycle. The safety benefits that come with motorized use out weight the concern of users colliding on the trails. In my near 20 years of using the trails in the area, I have never heard of a motorized user colliding with a non-motorized user. Many non-motorized users actually prefer motorized users on the trail in the event that they require emergency assistance. If non-motorized users succeed in having motorized users banned from the trails, they could very well find themselves in a situation where they could use some motorized help. If “the 'sharing' of our heritage rail trails between motorized and [non-motorized] users is extremely dangerous” (A deadly mix by Sjeng), then why in the past has there not been more accidents involving these two groups? Many activities are “extremely dangerous”; does that mean that we should stop the general public from enjoying these activities when they have every right to? To think that “serious and fatal accidents are 100% predictable” (A deadly mix by Sjeng), is total non-sense. I find that comments regarding the destruction of enjoyment for non-motorized users are contradictory because by not allowing motorized users on the trails, you are doing the same thing and taking away from the enjoyment of the motorized users. What it comes down to is that with shared use we can continue to create a better trail system for all users and not cater to specific groups. Keep in mind that "Bad apples" will always exist regardless of whether motorized use is permitted. As a reference, there are speed limits posted on roads all over the world, but yet majority of drivers still continue to speed regularly, causing accidents and threatening the lives of other drivers on a daily basis. Think about it. Cody Zorn - President Grand Forks ATV Club www.gfatv.ca
  • Out of left field: The election is looming - come meet your choices   4 years 14 weeks ago
    We all agreed to support the referendum. Doesn't matter strong or weak all city Councillors and Regional District Directors of Area I & J were on board.
  • Social media impacting Castlegar municipal elections   4 years 14 weeks ago
    Thanks Steve, points well taken. Would appreciate going for a coffee with you. You sound like an interesting person and someone who has some good insight. Thank!
  • Out of left field: The election is looming - come meet your choices   4 years 14 weeks ago
    One of my objectives would be to continue to expand the Twin Rivers-Millennium Park. I am particularly interested in developing the picnic area for the public. I don' t think I would have to twist the arms of my fellow councillors to get this done. They are all on side when it comes to that area of the city. I might, however, have to lobby them from time to time. In regard to the failed referendum, I was not a strong proponent of the referendum in the first place. I would support a proposal for an added facility to the Community Complex that was less pricey. What was offered was going to tie up the citizens' pocket books for too long. --Gord Turner
  • Kevin Chernoff - City council incumbent   4 years 14 weeks ago
    I am posting this to Councillor Chernoff comment section as he is directly involved with Castlegar Civic Works. I welcome feedback from all candidates. Candidates, what is your opinion of banning cosmetic pesticides within the city of Castlegar? According to the city’s own survey, Residents having been calling for this since 2006 "The majority of respondents (71.8%) favor eliminating the use of pesticides and herbicides in municipal parks. 12.5% of respondents indicated that they do not support such an initiative."- sourcehttp://www.castlegar.ca/pdfs/AnnualReport2006.pdf page 21. This summer I was disturbed to see the continued use of 2,4-D in City parks. Having talked with many park users, it would appear that there is a great deal of concern about this practice. (2,4-D is one of the active ingredients in Trillion – used this July in Castlegar parks: http://www.sierraclubchinook.org/Pesticides/docs/facts/2,4-Dfactsheet.pdf. Having taken my concerns to city hall, I am convinced that city staff will continue to run pilot studies for eternity. Only a motion by City Council will see this done once and for all. We are actually falling far behind our neighbours in the East Kootenays on this issue: http://www.pesticidefreecolumbiabasin.ca The City of Castlegar has been waiving the “Green” flag a lot lately, but when will City hall accomplish this very basic tenet of the green movement?
  • BC Transit expands service between Nelson and Castlegar   4 years 14 weeks ago
    Thank you to all the people that made this happen. I think this will make life easier and more convenient for a lot of people.
  • Social media impacting Castlegar municipal elections   4 years 14 weeks ago
    Deb- I don't doubt your integrity on running a fair forum. But the perception of integrity is more important in politics than the reality. Debating issues on a particular candidates page would be no different than holding a public debate at their home. Sure it could be done, but would all candidates and observers think it was fair? And sorry, I haven't sold my soul to facebook and don't intend to - so I won't be participating. I have observed, but cannot participate unless I join. As for engaging the public, the city (not candidates) is getting better and better about using social media. Keeping the public informed on a regular basis can only be a positive. It shouldn't be one Councillor's opinions (they can post as themselves), but the official city agenda. Personally, I like checking here: http://castlegar.ca/notices.php rather than social media. But I like primary sources. For candidates, I would actually advise staying away from Twitter. You have everything to lose there and very little to gain. I almost felt sorry for the Conservative candidate for our region in the last federal election (almost)- trying to use twitter. The only thing you can accomplish there is preaching to the converted, and you will occasionally kick a hornets nest with random following.
  • Social media impacting Castlegar municipal elections   4 years 14 weeks ago
    How do you get people engaged Steve? What is the difference where I post my opinions, they are mine. I wouldn't delete comments from my page, unless it was really inappropriate. I have a public site and I have also made comments on the site that Cord put up and of course commented on other candidates sites. I encourage people to ask questions, give opinions and if you want to tell me go to hell, well thanks for engaging. Just my two bits. Hope to hear rom you on FB. Sorry about the Twitter thing, still a newbie. :)
  • Out of left field: The election is looming - come meet your choices   4 years 14 weeks ago

    Okay, fair point. "Moronic" was perhaps too harsh a word. In future, I'll find a less offensive way to express my opinion.

    Thank you for your kind words about our coverage!