Vernon councillor takes swing at B.C. Hydro

Smart Meter program generates static from Patrick Nicol

B.C. Hydro’s smart meter program is generating some static.

Coun. Patrick Nicol is upset the Crown corporation did not consider the request from the City of Vernon and other municipalities to create an opt-out program for customers not wanting the new meters.

“It was a legitimate motion,” he said, adding that an opt-out system exists in Quebec.

“This whole thing has been mishandled by B.C. Hydro. They wasted our time.”

Some residents have expressed concerns that the smart meters may intrude on privacy and radiation from the devices may negatively impact health.

Tree program takes root

Vernon residents will be encouraged to plant trees.

The city has launched a tree education and outreach program.

“We have some neighbourhoods that are very well treed but other neighbourhoods have a much lower tree canopy cover,” said Brooke Marshall, environmental planner.

The initiative will consist of a program in which  residents can receive financial assistance for planting trees in their yards, and a program where the city plants boulevard trees but residents are asked to water them.

There were some initial concerns, however,  from Coun. Catherine Lord.

“I can’t support paying someone to plant a tree in their own yard,” she said.

However, council ultimately agreed that the initiative would be a pilot project in 2013 and would be reconsidered for 2014. Council support was unanimous.

Transit passes


Special needs students at Vernon Secondary School will have a chance to increase their self-esteem by taking the bus.

The City of Vernon has agreed to provide VSS with 10 free transit punch passes for the remainder of the school year.

“It’s using transit as an educational process,” said Coun. Brian Quiring.

The passes would help the students get to jobs or volunteer activities.

Many of them have never used transit and find the process intimidating.

The city’s cost for providing the passes is $172.

Quiring said it’s not lost revenue because the students were not using the transit and this project will allow them to become long-term transit customers.