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Capital News Thursday, April 19, 2012 A3



Fake guns can look real, cops

Cross-border flows should not be a requirement, students

RCMP from A1 sidering that it was made of clear plastic and had an orange tip. Once again though, from a distance the gun could’ve certainly been mistaken for a real firearm.” And, it’s better to be safe than sorry, said Clark, in defence of those who call 911 about toys. “It’s very likely we’re more sensitive here because of the high profile incidents that have happened here in the last couple of years,” he said, making reference to the gangland slaying that took place outside the Delta Grand last summer. “But if you look at a Glock or an M16, those up-close don’t look real, but they are.” The problem is, police can’t respond to a call with toys in mind. “When we have a complaint of firearms involved in a criminal offence then we have to respond appropriately, we

have to protect the public and ourselves,” he said. “It makes for a precarious situation for the person who’s holding a toy gun and it’s also putting us at risk.”



Ultimately, he said, whether they’re real, Airsoft, paintball or any other imitation firearms, they should be used in designated areas only and handled in a safe and responsible manner.


A group of UBCO senior undergrads are critical of a series of scientific reports written for the International Joint Commission on the conditions being proposed for a renewal of operating orders for the cross-border Osoyoos Lake. The students, enrolled in the Freshwater Resources Issues and Management course led by Professor Bernie Bauer, who is also chair of the Okanagan Water Stewardship Council, reviewed the eight studies commissioned to provide data on issues surrounding the upcoming renewal of the Order of Approval government operations of the Zosel Dam on the Okanogan River in the U.S. Although just a few kilometres south of the Canadian border, the dam impacts the level of Osoyoos Lake in Canada, so international cooperation is important to its operation. It is governed by

the IJC, with three members each from the U.S. and Canada, under the provisions of the Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909, but a local Osoyoos Lake Board of Control operates under the IJC, also made up of three Americans and three Canadians.



The term of the current orders expires next February, and the IJC is currently accepting comment from the public, so the students will make recommendations to the board of control based on their research. Their main concerns centred around two of the studies which were writ-

ten by U.S. scientists, both of which brought up the issue of basing the orders on flows rather than lake levels. That would mean Canadian water users in the Okanagan Basin would be required sometimes to use less water in order to maintain a specified flow of water across the border. When Bauer presented his students’ report at last week’s OWSC meeting, he noted, “There is no legal precedent for flowbased criteria.” While agreeing it is important that both countries maintain flows in the Okanagan and Columbia systems that would sustain sockeye salmon, runs which have recently been restored back into the Okanagan River and even up to Skaha Lake, Bauer said writing flow requirements into the operating orders is a different matter. Hydrologist Don Dobson noted that there are other options for maintaining flows in the river south of the border,


FRESHWATER RESOURCES students at UBCO have reviewed a series of reports on conditions for renewing cross-border water flows in Osoyoos Lake. including augmenting flows using an old irrigation canal that could carry water from the Similkameen River to the Okanagan River, just south of Osoyoos Lake. Fellow council member Brian Guy, a hydrogeologist, noted there’s interest on both sides of the border in maintaining adequate flows for conservation. He said in Washington State, irrigation water can be shut off of water supplies run low.

“We wouldn’t want to be in a position of having to cut off water here,” he commented. However, there’s tremendous concern in the U.S. agriculture community about adequate water, he said. The Okanagan Basin Water Board, to which the OWSC makes recommendations, has already written to the IJC asking that flows not be included in the new operating orders, which currently just address the lake level.

Local MLA calls WFN’s private hospital plan a ‘bold move’ Wade Paterson STAFF REPORTER

Westside-Kelowna MLA Ben Stewart says that Westbank First Nation’s plans to create a $125 million luxury hospital are interesting and the proposal is something that he thinks may be welcomed and supported by some. Lake Okanagan Wellness Clinic would be a first-of-its-kind medical facility in Canada. The facility will focus on medical tourists and Canadians who would otherwise be forced to travel abroad to speed up their care. WFN Chief Robert Louie said that the facility will focus on all medical services except emergency, obstetrics and

Ben Stewart psychiatric care. “You can’t fault WFN as being entrepreneurs… maybe they’re going to chart new territory that’s going to open up and make things better for health care in Canada. “I think it’s a bold move and I think the federal government needs to be thoughtful when

they’re considering what the impacts are going to be.” Stewart noted that it’s important for WFN to “seek clarity” from the federal government to ensure that the band’s medical wellness facility isn’t conflicting with the Canada Health Act. However, it’s been suggested that the proposed private hospital will do just that. According to Stewart, it’s tough to come to any conclusions until more information is released by WFN. “(Health) Minister (Michael) de Jong is anxiously awaiting their proposal and more details. . .at this point it’s a conceptual idea without any of the inner workings.”

Talks of WFN’s plans for a private hospital come just over a month before the official opening of the six-storey, 360,000-square-foot patient care tower at Kelowna General Hospital. The tower will feature new locations for several hospital departments including emergency, operating rooms, renal dialysis, psychiatric, eye care outpatient programs, additional beds and other patient care facilities. A three-storey, 84,000-square-foot clinical support building, containing the hospital’s new laboratory facilities, will also be opened on May 27. Stewart has toured the facility and said that it is state-of-the-art. “(Lake Okanagan

Wellness Clinic) is going to be competing against what we think is a very exceptional public facility,” said Stewart. Stewart said that there has been little feedback at his office with regards to WFN’s proposed facility. “I think for the most part we’re just trying to navigate our way through so that we can have a definitive answer for the public. If it was to proceed, we want them to know exactly what that means in terms of health care on the Westside. “It certainly has a lot of implications. I think that (there are) probably a lot of positive implications. On the other hand, we do need to know what it really means for the other publicly funded hos-

pitals, which we pour billions (into).” Chief Robert Louie has been reported as saying that he is hopeful that Johns Hopkins, or a similar reputable entity, will manage the hospital. Gary Stephenson, director of media relations and public affairs for Johns Hopkins, confirmed that there have been talks between Johns Hopkins and Westbank First Nation. “We’ve had some very early, very preliminary discussions with (Westbank First Nation),” said Stephenson. “At this point it would really be premature to even speculate on what the outcome of those discussions may or may not lead to.”

Johns Hopkins Medicine International has branches in five continents, including Medcan Clinic in Toronto. Medcan Clinic has over 30,000 clients and focuses on prevention through early detection of health risks, before symptoms occur. Four of the 17 Johns Hopkins Medicine International collaborations are located in the United Arab Emirates. None of the 17 locations deal with the WFN’s proposed “medical tourism.” “We do have a rather robust international presence, but it has not been in the area of medical tourism,” said Stephenson.


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Kelowna Capital News, April 19, 2012  

April 19, 2012 edition of the Kelowna Capital News

Kelowna Capital News, April 19, 2012  

April 19, 2012 edition of the Kelowna Capital News