Osoyoos Mayor and his wife admit error in judgement

June 24, 2013 – Mayor Wells and his wife Dr. Martha Collins attend an open house for a $800,000 mansion at Regal Ridge east of Osoyoos. After visiting for about an hour they leave and notice two signs on a nearby fence post saying “BUYER BEWARE”. This fence about 3 homes down the hill.

stu thumps up22Finding them offensive they took them down, put them in their trunk and disposed of them further down the road. The act was caught on video, RCMP investigated and the court system used something called “alternatives measures” to conclude the matter. Stu and Martha admit to committing the act.

The Well’s paid a small sum for the loss and the case file was closed. Mayor Wells also wrote a letter to the owner of the home with the signs – Mr. Oliver Betz and his partner. Date of that letter May of this year.

Yesterday ODN received the following letter and contacted RCMP and Mr. Wells:

“In regard to Osoyoos Mayor Stu Wells’ sudden decision to withdraw his candidacy for the upcoming term, I believe there is a reason that he has not made public.

Mr. Wells was involved in a theft from my property last year, along with his wife, Dr. Martha Collins and a contracted employee from Osoyoos Mountain Estates (OME). The tresspassing and theft of signs were captured on video from a surveillance camera. The matter was handed over to the RCMP and a six month “investigation” followed. Despite accepting criminal responsibility, the Mayor, Dr. Collins and the OME employee, all evaded charges and were referred directly to probation. Mr. Wells also avoided a Breach of Trust charge (warranted due to his capacity as an elected official), which I understand the RCMP should have pursued.

In the weeks preceding the Mayor’s withdrawal of his candidacy, I heard anecdotally from a few people in Osoyoos that the Mayor was getting very anxious about the number of people aware of the thefts, and the impact on his campaign. One individual was even visited at his place of work by a Wells rep who told him to stop talking about the thefts because “Stu is getting upset about how many people know”. Likewise, I heard that Dr. Collins was confronted with the story of the thefts and asked her patient to “keep it to herself during the campaign period”.

Whether Mr. Wells’ withdrawal from the current Mayoral race represents a “hiatus” from politics as he stated, or is a permanent retirement from politics, I think the matter of why the Mayor trespassed onto my property and stole legal signs (which were meant to protect his constituents) continues to be a matter of public interest. I believe that the citizens of Osoyoos and the RDOS (as he is a Director), are entitled to know what motivated the theft of the signs. In case Mr. Wells returns to politics, I believe citizens also have a right to know the true character and history of the individual they are voting for.

The significance of the signs which were stolen is key, therefore I have attached background information and would be happy to discuss further. I am a pilot who is frequently out of the country, so email contact is most convenient.”

Oliver Betz

Mayor Wells says he and wife admit everything and have taken the necessary steps to apologize and compensate. Was this a factor in his recent decision to not run again? “Jake, this incident has play a role in my life, for sure”. “This process was fair, but a wake up call” says Wells.

Wells anticipates some controversy on this matter and is planning to speak to all media Friday.


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Osoyoos Soroptimists Celebrate 28 Years of Community Service

Osoyoos Soroptimist Birthday Party 2014 004

Osoyoos Soroptimists celebrated their 28th Anniversary, Tuesday evening (October 21/2014), at McKia’s Restaurant. President Kate Krist says, “We wore smiles of happiness for our history of 28 years and our future of continuing community service here in the South Okanagan. We wore pink in proud recognition of Breast Cancer Month.” Six Charter Members were part of the celebration and six guests were welcomed to share this milestone Soropitimist event. Submitted by Doreen Janko

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Candidate Ray Vandenberg for Mayor of Osoyoos

ray vandenberg osoyoosI was a Councillor about 25 years ago, and over the past few years, I have become more upset with the way things are being handled by the present Council and the new Fire Hall was the last straw. Enough is enough, we have to get back to the basics and common sense.

There are few things that are achievable, like opening up council so the taxpayer has direct access to Council. Reviewing By Laws to ensure that they benefit all, not just the few, we have so many By Laws, it’s suffocating us. The really big problem is our money, Council are acting like kids in the Candy Store. Lastly, ensure that all processes are executed to ensure that the taxpayers democratic right have not been violated.

  •  Opening Up Council by scheduling Council meeting in the evenings, and setting aside a 15 to 20 min. time frame where the taxpayer can approach Council on any subject, and this would become part of the Council Minutes. Therefore, corrective action would be taken in a timely manner.
  • Dedicate each Councillor with specific responsibilities, commonly referred to as Portfolio, so the taxpayers has a direct contact person for the issue on hand.
  • Review all the By Laws, to make sure that they are fair to everyone, and not to hinder business progress, anything less would not be acceptable.
  • We have to review how the taxpayers money is spent. The new proposed fire hall should have been priced properly before going to AAP (Alternate Approval Process), to know exactly how much money was involved.  In fact because of the immense amount of money involved it should have gone to a Referendum. Also, the present Council seems to be re-inventing the wheel. by changing the construction to Gyro Park again, and I am guessing it will be at immense cost to the taxpayer, after major construction was just finished just a couple of years ago. That kind of spending is outrageous.
  • We all know that any upgrades and maintenance to infrastructure there is not a requirement to go to Referendum, but major projects there is, and all taxpayers should have a vote that is secret, The AAP, process requires a persons name, address that is clearly visible and if that falls in the wrong hands there could be devastating consequences.

There are many other issues that need looking at, this is to name just a couple. Improving local industry to stimulate local employment would be high on my list of things that needs my immediate attention. We should also check out that proper drinking water is available to all residents and eliminate the boiling water advisories we are exposed to frequently.

I hope to have a hands on council and not a council that rubber stamps everything.

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Statement from the Governor General of Canada Following Recent Tragedy in Ottawa

Together with all of Canada, Sharon and I are shocked and deeply saddened to learn of today’s attacks. At this most difficult time, we wish to express our deepest sympathies to the family of the Canadian Armed Forces member who was killed in this crisis. Our thoughts and prayers also go out to those who were injured today.

As governor general and commander-in-chief of Canada, I am grateful for the professionalism and courage of our security personnel and emergency responders.

David Johnston

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Ribbon Cutting At Desert Valley Hospice Society

Desert Valley Hospice Ribbon CuttingA new facility at 22 Jonagold Place in Osoyoos was officially opened today for administration of the Desert Valley Hospice Society and for programs.

The facility will be used as a Supportive Care Centre which the Society will utilize as their administrative office, as education and training space for Hospice Volunteers and as a place from which to deliver current and future programs. It won’t be a 24 hour a day care facility.

Society President Janet Shaw thanked BC Housing as well as local MLA Linda Larson and  the town councils from both Oliver and Osoyoos.

Shaw also singled out the society’s volunteers. “Saying thank you just doesn’t seem like enough,” Shaw said of the hospice volunteers.  “You really are the heart of what we do.”shaw22

Dozens of people attended the gathering, and an open house followed the ribbon cutting ceremony.

“This is a well-oiled machine being driven by Janet Shaw,” Osoyoos Mayor Stu Wells told a packed house.     “When Janet gets behind a project, you know it’s going to be successful.”  Wells added that the new facility speaks to the success of collaborative efforts of the towns of Oliver and Osoyoos.  “Every time we’ve done something spectacular, it’s been together,” Wells said.  “These two towns working together for the betterment of the area.”

Oliver Mayor Ron Hovanes thanked the society for providing the public with education on subjects and programs that are perhaps not easy to promote.  “You have done so much to educate the broader community on how important (end of life care) is,” he said.  “On behalf of the Town of Oliver I absolutely wish you nothing but success.”

See previous story here.

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Trick or Treat Main Street

Date: October 31, 2014

Attention all Boils and Ghouls!

Osoyoos Credit Union has partnered with Osoyoos Main Street businesses to bring you a day of family fun on Main Street this HALLOWEEN!

Participating Main Street businesses will be handing out treats during their business hours. But to get a treat you must be wearing a costume!

Look for the “TRICK OR TREAT MAIN STREET” signs in the windows of pariticpating businesses this HALLOWEEN.

To find out more on Trick or Treat Main Street or other events happening this HALLOWEEN, go to http://www.ocubc.com or vist the Osoyoos Credit Union

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Truck Rams Police Car; Osoyoos Man Charged

rcmp-logoA 33-year-old Osoyoos man faces multiple charges in relation to a series of events Tuesday morning which allegedly began with stealing a 1993 Ford F150 from a home in Penticton.

RCMP were told at 3:58 a.m. that the red truck, which had a Yamaha Big Bear ATV in the back, went missing from the driveway. The noise from the vehicle woke the homeowner who immediately contacted police.

An officer observed a southbound truck on the Channel Parkway at Skaha Lake Road at 4:09 a.m. The officer attempted to pull the driver over but instead the truck made a sudden right turn onto Old Airport Road, missing the turn and hitting a hill on the west side of the road.

The truck then reversed and rammed the front of the police vehicle.

The man, who was the lone occupant of the vehicle, faces charges including theft of a motor vehicle, evading a police officer, dangerous operation of motor vehicle, assault of a police officer with a weapon, possession of break-in instruments and driving while prohibited.

No name has been released.  A court date is set for next week.

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