Students are opening a new publicly accessible chapter in education outdoors.
Kala Star Academics is moving its classroom to the old Log House in Coldstream on Kalavista Drive, where it also aims to create a public interpretive centre.
“Kala Star would be looking for daytime access to the Log Cabin, strictly as a daytime learning environment for an opportunity to co-exist with our local community, natural environment, and watershed,” said Brad Swanson, head learner, in a report to Coldstream.
“The Log Cabin will have a publicly accessible Interpretive Centre providing visual information on Kalamalka Lake as our drinking water source, our watershed, ways all user groups can sustainably enjoy Kalamalka Lake, and the devastating threat of the Quagga and Zebra Mussels.
“The park property will still be open to the public, however, Interpretive Centre Learning opportunities for school groups, and other groups, provided by Kala Star, must be booked in advance and will be happily accommodated based on availability.”
Coldstream will negotiate a lease agreement with the school for the Log House and will be putting $30,000 into upgrading the structure.
Funding justice sought
An alternative to the lengthy and costly option of court is seeking justice.
The North Okanagan Restorative Justice Program continues to share its success stories, statistics and need for funding locally.
The voluntary program has kept hundreds of cases out of the criminal justice system since forming in 2006 by bringing both parties together to reach an agreement.
“In addition to that they (victims) get those answers in a timely manner, not years after an incident, often months,” said Margaret Clark, executive director of the Restorative Justice Society – North Okanagan.
“Repairing harm connects individuals and builds communities.”
Coldstream recently heard Clark’s plea and is interested in establishing a Restorative Justice service function through the Regional District of North Okanagan.
But local politicians would also like to see the government step up to fund this service which is alleviating the already overcrowded court system.
“Wouldn’t it be much better if the government, since they’re saving so much, was providing some significant money?” said Coun. Gyula Kiss. “It doesn’t make much sense.”
While larger justice groups are largely funded, the $81,000 Restorative Justice Program only receives $5,000 from the Ministry of Justice, said Clark.
“It’s the difference between having a professional team and having T-ball.”
Regional representation frustrates
Efforts to keep all local politicians in the loop on regional issues continue to fall on deaf ears.
Coldstream has been trying to get the Regional District of North Okanagan to change policies which only permit representatives to be privy to in-camera items.
“The situation that exists right now is ridiculous,” said Coun. Richard Enns. “For council to give direction to our representatives sometimes we would have to know some of the information that is in-camera.”
Coldstream Mayor Jim Garlick has been trying to make RDNO staff and directors understand the concerns.
“Making them realize the difficulties we have when we have a lot of services involved with the regional district,” said Garlick. “We should be able to provide this information to council.”