August 2007 Newsletter

Posted by: Johnny Smoke  /  Category: Archived Posts

The New APOA Website

We have a new and improved APOA website! Same address, but with a new look and capabilities. The goals of investing a little more time and money in the website are many:

  • Simplify the membership process by allowing members to purchase their membership online.
  • Improve the ability of the APOA to communicate with its members through the APOA online newsletter and links to relevant articles and websites.
  • Provide an archive of APOA information such as board meeting minutes, newsletters, etc.
  • Provide an online calendar of events.
  • Simplify the management of the website so that more people can be involved in contributing and maintaining its content.
  • Create a forum for discussion among APOA members. Topics like the volunteer fire department generated much debate but consensus building was difficult partly due to a lack of venue for discussion and information exchange.

Over the coming months the board hopes the new website will become the focal point for APOA related information and discussion. It is the most timely and cost effective way for a small group like the APOA to communicate with each other. This is especially true in a resort community where getting everyone together for a face-to-face discussion is so difficult.

If you haven’t yet joined the APOA it is easier than ever. We use PayPal, the same online payment service used by EBay, so you can be assured it is both safe and secure.

Of course e-mail continues to be an important method of sending timely APOA information to our members. If you have already joined but not provided the APOA with your email address, please consider doing so. Simply send an e-mail to The APOA only sends out e-mail only when needed (we hate spam as much as you do), we never reveal your address to others, and it helps keep our membership fees low since each letter we send by traditional mail is expensive in postage, stationery, and volunteer time.

We hope you enjoy the new website.

Wildfire Protection at Apex

Many of you will recall the presentation at our March 2007 AGM by Richard Swanson, the consulting forester hired by the Regional District (RDOS) to prepare an overview assessment of community fire risk. Given the expected impact of the mountain pine beetle on surrounding forests, this assessment is most timely.

Swanson’s preliminary report is now done and Mark Woods, the RDOS Emergency Services Coordinator is having the report for Apex and other communities posted on the RDOS website ( under the Emergency/Protective Services department. Three documents pertinent to Apex will be available:

  • The Fire Hazard Assessment report.
  • An interface fire hazard map.
  • The fire assessment form which describes risk conditions and fire suppression capabilities.

Some of the points made in Swanson’s report are that:

  • The Fire Weather Danger Rating has a long history of Danger Class 3 and above (High).
  • Most of the area has moderate to high fuel loads.
  • The topography of some of the interface area is usually steep, making fire suppression difficult.

Swanson concludes, “The Apex Resort area has a high hazard rating for the areas that have a forest interface … residential and commercial (uses) in the Apex village have a lower rating due to the distance from the fire interface, the lack of trees, fire hydrants and the amount of roads and parking areas”

The report recommends:

  • The community should have its own volunteer fire hall.
  • Removal of overhanging branches and clean up of fuels is required on an ongoing basis.
  • A fuel modification area should be established around all residences in the Apex resort area.
  • A fuel break should be established to protect the community from a wildfire moving through the Apex area. Consultation with the Ministry of Forests would be necessary to ensure it is established with the proper location and dimensions.

The report notes, “It is important that lot owners … make a joint commitment to minimize the risk by following fire smart practices … lead and organize themselves for fire protection and emergency strategies … meet with the Protection Branch of Ministry of Forests to go over fire safe practices”.

In terms of next steps the RDOS indicates this overview assessment needs to be translated into an operational plan for reducing hazards. Mark Woods has indicated there is a good potential to secure funding for this next stage of work. This would potentially include accessing the services of Protection Branch personnel in the months following the peak fire season.

To follow up, your APOA board will be seeking a meeting with RDOS Area Director Bill Schwarz and key RDOS staff (possibly jointly with Ministry of Forestry) to discuss steps in a feasible action plan.

Given Swanson’s reference to the community organizing itself for fire protection and emergency strategies, the Volunteer Fire Brigade column, below, deserves your attention.

As a sobering final note, I recently received the price of renewed fire insurance for our property. The increase over last year is staggering! Clearly there are some challenges

An update on the wildfire protection initiative will follow in our next edition of the newsletter.

A brief post-script: the RDOS emphasized the desirability of home addresses being visible from the street to assist emergency personnel. Yours truly is delinquent in this matter
and will have to get our house numbers up!

Enjoy your summer!

Denis O’Gorman

Volunteer Fire Brigade

The Fire Protection Service Referendum held on March 31, 2007 asked Apex property owners whether they were prepared to accept higher property taxes in order to fund a volunteer fire department. As you probably know by now, the referendum was defeated: 101 No, 86 Yes. It seems the cost of a taxation funded fire department was too high for the majority of residents. So now what?

There are still things our community can and should do to protect ourselves against fires and other emergencies. It will take a long time for help to arrive from Penticton or Keremeos; we should be able to do more than just stand around until help arrives. The APOA is continuing with the first step, which is to encourage volunteers who are willing to respond in case of an emergency. Then some basic information gathering and documentation is needed (e.g. the location of existing fire fighting equipment), followed by the drafting of an emergency response plan. We also need to establish a call-out tree so volunteers can be notified quickly.

We’ll address the simple things first. Where are the fire hydrants? How do we keep them working? Are there hoses available and accessible? Who can be trained to use them?

The group can be organized as a volunteer fire brigade, which would be an independent not-for-profit society funded through donations, fund-raising, and perhaps government grants. The regional district (RDOS) can help plan and organize fire fighter training for the volunteers, and liability insurance is available for fire brigade members. Equipment will likely be the biggest challenge, so we’ll need to determine what equipment will make the biggest first-responder impact and find a way to purchase it. Hopefully the citizens of Apex will respond positively to the inevitable fund-raising required to purchase the training and equipment needed to protect our community.

In the meantime, we are all reminded to make a point of inspecting our property regularly and reducing the risk of fire spreading to and from the adjacent buildings and forest. Often it is the little things that make a big difference at the early stages of an emergency. Is your yard clear of dry wood and underbrush? Is there a street address clearly visible at the front of your property? If a passer-by notices your cabin is on fire  will the call to 911 sound something like this? “Help! There’s a fire up at Apex! It’s the greenish-yellow cabin, third from
the left on the first street on the right after the T-junction. You know … the cabin with the tree that blew over last winter!”

Apex Resort and the APOA are committed to help improve the emergency response capability at Apex Mountain, but volunteers are essential. If you are a permanent or frequent
resident of Apex and are willing to get involved in a volunteer fire brigade please contact Steve LaPrairie at, or call 250-292-8536.

Jeff Brown

Summer Social

Sunday September 2, 1PM – 4PM

Plan to be on the mountain on the afternoon of Sunday September 2. Yes, it’s the annual APOA fall social, and this year we are teaming up with the Gunbarrel for a special treat, literally. The Gunbarrel has a new chef, Dave, and he has invited APOA members to taste-test his new menu. Dave is providing APOA members free appetizer-sized portions of what he calls his “new healthier menu”, and we will be voting on our most and least favourite dishes. So this isn’t just an opportunity to sample free food, we will be impacting the winter season’s menu at the Gunbarrel. And you thought the APOA didn’t have influence!

The Gunbarrel will also be providing us their famous “Burger and a Beer” (or wine or pop) for $10, so don’t worry, no one will go away hungry.

If last year’s fall social is any indicator they’ll be a big turn out so we want to ensure Dave prepares enough goodies! Please let us know you are coming by send an e-mail to And don’t forget, if you haven’t already done so please purchase your APOA membership either at the fall social or online at

September 2 is the last day of summer operations for Apex so be sure to bring your mountain bike.

See you at the social!

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