Directors with the Regional District Okanagan Similkameen will soon have to find an alternate location for meetings.

The office at Martin Street is too small to offer safe social distancing.

An obstacle they encountered was food prices, with catering quotes ranging between $435 and $450 as directors often work over the lunch hour.

Memo to the RDOS: you’re well paid for your services. Bring your own lunch!

Okanagan Skaha School District 67 used to have their committee meetings at noon hour complete with — you guessed it — a catered lunch for trustees and participating staff. (One person in the board office always popped her head in the door and grabbed a sandwich, even if her presence wasn’t needed at the meeting.)

This nonsense ended thanks to former trustee Bruce Johnson and a few others. Committee meetings were moved to 4 p.m.

Another option is the board can take a one-hour break and go out to support the local restaurants in the area.

As a side note, in addition to having lunch covered, there’s often a generous treat table with pasteries, juice, coffee and tea at RDOS. It’s like the continental breakfasts at the budget motels, but better. This is again paid for by regional taxpayers.

The other challenge is facility rentals range between $800 for the school board IMC building to $1,500 for the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre (which is owned by the City of Penticton.) If the City contributes 40% to the RDOS bottom line, why wouldn’t they waive the fee?

Member of Parliament Dan Albas famously said that public groups need to work together and share services. Surely, there must be a middle school gym somewhere, especially if classes don’t resume in the fall.

Did RDOS staff call David Prystay at the Penticton Lakeside? He has meeting space available and fair prices.

Okanagan Falls/Skaha Estates director Ron Obirek suggested several venues that are available including the Kaleden community hall.

The regional district covers a huge geographical area. Why not rotate the meetings? This of course would mean paying mileage and it would be an inconvenience, but worth it.

Everyone else has adapated well during the COVID pandemic. People, especially in business, are creative.

Now is the time for RDOS directors to flashback to their childhood and brown bag it to meetings. That would be a start.

-James Miller