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OKANAGAN VALLEY WIDE GOVERNANCE

LAST UPDATE April 14, 2018

Click on your refresh button in the top menu, to be sure you see any updates.

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SIGN THE PETITION FOR INCORPORATION

or help fund the Governance Study

The North Westside governance committee is seeking funding to assist in the collection, organization, and distribution of information to our residents. This will allow residents to make an educated choice on our future governance options and the costs/implications upon the taxpayer.

OR

SIGN THE PETITION REQUESTING A GOVERNANCE STUDY

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Municipal Incorporation Process

The following is a summary of the municipal incorporation process:

1. An individual or group contacts the ministry to indicate that there is community support for an incorporation study and to inquire about the process for incorporation.
2. The ministry, along with local citizens, assess the local context to determine if a broad base of community support exists for considering incorporation and that the community has the characteristics that would make a municipality feasible.
3. An incorporation study committee is formed from residents that is broadly representative of the community.
4. The committee asks the minister for approval in principle to conduct an incorporation study.
5. If the minister decides that approval in principle can be given, the committee establishes terms of reference for both the committee and the incorporation study and selects an independent consultant to conduct the study.
6. The committee makes a formal request to the minister for a restructure planning grant to fund the study.
7. If the minister approves the grant, the consultant works with the committee to produce an objective study on the impact of municipal incorporation.
8. The ministry provides an offer of provincial assistance, financial and otherwise, that it will give to the municipality if it incorporates. This information is included in the municipal incorporation study.
9. The final study is presented to the community for public discussion and input.
10. Based on community input, the committee decides whether to recommend to the minister that a vote be held to decide if the majority of the electorate support municipal incorporation.
11. If the committee recommends that a vote be held and the minister agrees, an order to hold the vote will be given. Community meetings are held leading up to the vote so that local citizens have every opportunity to make an informed choice.
12. If local citizens vote in favour of municipal incorporation, Letters Patent are prepared for approval by Cabinet. Letters Patent are the legal documents creating the municipality. These include information such as the effective date of incorporation, the name of the municipality, the council size, and identifies other transitional issues such as the transfer of services to the municipality from the regional district and any improvement district dissolved as a consequence of incorporation.
13. The ministry hires an interim municipal administrator to prepare everything necessary for the inaugural meeting of council.
14. The first municipal election takes place on a date set out in the Letters Patent.

Source: http://www.cscd.gov.bc.ca/lgd/boundaries/municipal_incorporation_process.htm

===============

B.C.’S 25 SMALLEST INCORPORATED COMMUNITIES:

Zeballos Population: 110
Silverton 199
Wells 234
Lytton 242
Hazelton 268
Slocan 301
Granisle 304
Tahsis 307
Sayward 307
Port Clements 371
Stewart 425
Alert Bay 443
Sun Peaks Mountain 451
New Denver 497
Port Edward 536
McBride 585
Clinton 624
Belcarra 637
New Hazelton 661
Midway 667
Greenwood 695
Pouce Coupe 726
Canal Flats 736
Radium Hot Springs 766
Port Alice 799

Source:  http://www.timescolonist.com/news/b-c/b-c-s-tiniest-towns-set-sights-on-growth-by-reinventing-themselves-1.1828885

=====================

.pdf icon Central Okanagan West is approx. 2,000 population without the native reserves.
With the native reserves, Central Okanagan West is approx. 9,000 population

Source: http://www.cscd.gov.bc.ca/lgd/infra/library/regional_stats15_summary.pdf

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Good Info About GOVERNANCE PROCESS

For information on the governance process, Director Wayne Carson has some good info here on his website

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EMAIL

Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development
lady who spoke at RDCO about governance

Marijke.Edmondson "at" gov.bc.ca

Minister Peter Fassbender (he is history as of May 9, 2017 BC Government election)

CSCD.Minister "at" gov.bc.ca

Government directory

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RDCO's website in regards to the North Westside Road Services Review

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"electoral district" means an electoral district referred to in section 18 of the Constitution Act;

Source: http://www.bclaws.ca/civix/document/id/complete/statreg/96238_01#section19

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It's time to cut the CORD
Ron Seymour Apr 12, 2018 - Kelowna Daily Courier

Their meeting set for today has been cancelled, but Regional District of Central Okanagan directors will still get paid anyway.

There was nothing — literally, nothing — for them to discuss. Nothing going on, apparently, across the Central Okanagan that warranted their attention.

But their salaries are set on an annual basis, rather than reflecting the number of meetings they attend.

So that'll be the easiest cheque they've earned this year.

Almost as easy as the cheques they received last year for the work, if you can call it that, they did on Jan. 23, Feb. 9, and Nov. 9.

At each of those meetings, proceedings lasted exactly seven minutes. Seven!

The amazing brevity of Regional District board meetings makes you wonder about the relevance and purpose of this level of government, and why local politicians appointed to it make so much money for doing so little.

Here's a frightening stat: Given the infrequency and short duration of Regional District board meetings, most of the Kelowna city councillors who served on the board last year earned the equivalent of $750 an hour for their labours.

Nice work if you can get it. And if you're a City of Kelowna councillor, you almost certainly can.

Because of its dominant population in the Central Okanagan, Kelowna has seven of the 13 Regional District board slots.

So in addition to the $31,000 salary they got for being a councillor, one third of which was tax free, seven of the nine councillors also got $15,242, one-third of which was also tax free, as a regional director.

With the tax-free component, their regional salary is closer to $18,000. The 21 regional board meetings that were held in 2017 lasted an average of 67 minutes, or about 24 hours in total.

So Colin Basran, Maxine DeHart, Tracy Gray, Brad Sieben and Luke Stack effectively were paid $750 an hour for their Regional District duties.

Coun. Gail Given, who is the regional board chairwoman, drew a regional salary of $39,362, one-third of which was tax free, so her hourly wage was about $1,900.

And for what? A few quick and routine decisions on dog control, park maintenance, 911, waste management and recycling?

When West Kelowna incorporated in 2007, the Regional District, which had provided basic local government services to the Westside, lost most of its reason for being.

But who ever heard of a bureaucracy folding up its tent and going away? A perfunctory study on the regional district's future was conducted and — surprise! — the bureaucrats and politicians concluded it was still indispensable.

Those douple-dip salaries certainly were, anyway.

The truth is nothing the Regional District does couldn't be done by the City of Kelowna with chargebacks to the municipalities of West Kelowna, Lake Country and Peachland.

I don't think West Kelowna, Peachland or Lake Country should even exist as separate municipalities.


With less than 200,000 people, the Central Okanagan is ridiculously over-governed, with four municipalities plus the regional district plus the Okanagan Water Board plus various water purveyors plus the Central Okanagan hospital board plus the school board.

Amalgamation is probably never going to happen, however—at least not at the municipal level.

But the half-century old Regional District sticks out as an anachronism that trundles on because, well, it's a half-century old and local politicians enjoy the dollop of extra gravy it provides them.

As far as promoting valuable inter-region dialogue, have phones ceased to exist?

If Kelowna councillors really feel the need to chat with their Lake Country colleagues or their cousins way down in Peachland, they could hold a big meeting a few times a year and natter away to their hearts' content.

Of course, no one should be paid extra for attending such an amity-promoting gathering. It would just be part of their municipal duties.

But absent a $750 an hour paycheque, or any paycheque at all, I bet local politicians wouldn't regard that meeting as particularly valuable.

Probably not even worth seven minutes of their time.

Ron Seymour is a Daily Courier reporter. Phone: 250-470-0750. Email: ron.seymour "at" ok.bc.ca

Source: http://www.kelownadailycourier.ca/opinion/article_3c031946-3e0c-11e8-9249-e7e41a090eaf.html

RDCO's reply below to the article above.

Just The Facts
Occasionally, information provided to the public and local media by the Regional District may be misinterpreted or misunderstood. As a result, sometimes a correction is needed when media stories or Letters from the public are published containing a factual error/errors.

As needed, on this webpage you’ll find ‘Just the Facts’, with corrections or clarifications.

Media should direct any inquiries to:

Bruce Smith
Communications Officer
bsmith "at" cord.bc.ca
250-469-6339

April 13th 2018 - An opinion piece ‘It’s time to cut the CORD’ (above) in the April 12th edition of the Daily Courier may leave readers with a misconception regarding the work duties and annual remuneration paid to Regional District directors.

Bylaw 1247, adopted in 2009, sets out the remuneration for all Directors, elected and appointed to the Regional Board.

While the opinion column focuses on meeting attendance and extrapolates an hourly wage for Directors, there is much more involved with the total remuneration than a simplistic hourly rate calculation.

Directors are appointed to sit on various internal and external committees. Directors meet with other agencies and government officials to discuss subjects of mutual interest to their residents. Directors also are available to hear from their constituents on a wide variety of service issues or other matters of concern, whether it’s curbside garbage and recycling pickup, dogs in parks, to water and sewer matters to name a few. And of course, Directors must prepare in advance of Board meetings to debate the issues and make informed decisions as they carry out the corporations business.

It is a rare occurrence for a meeting to be cancelled, however they are subject to having items and staff reports available for consideration. Occasionally, as was the case on April 12th, there were no reports approved for consideration of the Board by the meeting agenda deadline of April 5th, and as a result, the meeting was cancelled.

With local elections scheduled for this fall, anyone considering a run for office may wish to consider all of the duties and responsibilities involved with the job, including meeting attendance.

Here are some useful links:

http://www.regionaldistrict.com/your-services/corporate-services/election-referenda/candidate-information.aspx
https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/governments/local-governments/governance-powers/general-local-elections/thinking-of-running-for-local-office

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Dave Robertson, maybe if you would have stayed for the entire meeting you would have seen Director Carson there, cause we seen him after Paul Siggers the consultant did his talk.  What time did you leave because the meeting was mostly over by about 7:30pm?

North Westside
Vernon Morning Star - Sep 22nd, 2017 - Letters/Opinion

I attended the North Westside Issues Review talk by Mr. Siggers at Killiney Beach Community Hall Sept. 6 and appreciated his efforts to reach out to us on behalf of the Regional District of Central Okanagan.

He had received only 142 replies though, and hopefully by now he has a better sampling of peoples’ opinions.

I remember I addressed the Board (Chairman Hobson) at a Board meeting decades ago mentioning that folks were “disgruntled” about the very same issues- transparency and accountability. He replied that the Board would do it’s very best to “ungruntle” us.

When the RDCO (and us?) get Mr. Sigger’s report, I sincerely hope they will have a town hall meeting to discuss strategies and tactics to finally address these issues.

All of us sincerely appreciate the fact that senior RDCO staff showed us enough respect to attend the meeting. Director Carson did not show us that respect. He could not be bothered to show up to speak to us or listen to us.

The very issues people are angry about is the lack of communication and feedback between us and the RDCO.

Our director is the conduit between us and the RDCO. So how can we solve the issues when our Director can’t be bothered to do the very job he was elected for?

It seems his only vision is to secede from RDCO and establish himself as the well paid “mayor” of a very cash-strapped municipality.

Imagine the revenge the RDCO would have on us when we beg them for services we cannot provide for ourselves.

How would he deal with the RDCO Board on which he would still be a member?

Dave Robertson
North Westside

Source: http://www.vernonmorningstar.com/opinion/north-westside-2/

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North Westside process proceeds
Vernon Morning Star - Richard Rolke - Jun 28th, 2017

A process is moving ahead but that doesn’t mean the North Westside’s elected representative is happy.

The Regional District of Central Okanagan has awarded a contract to EcoPlan International to review services, governance and community interests for the North Westside.

“My problem isn’t with the consultant but with the scope of the study,” said director Wayne Carson.

“We are doing a study to see if we need a study. It’s a waste of resources.”

Carson says North Westside residents have been clear that they want any review to identify governance options for the area, which is currently part of the Central Okanagan West electoral area.

“There’s only one question, does the community want to incorporate? The financial implications are the only question we have. This (services and issues) study will not answer that question.”

Currently, North Westside, with a population of 1,000 to 1,500 people, has one director on the 12-member RDCO board.

Many North Westside residents have indicated that current structure doesn’t represent their needs because the area is quite a ways from the RDCO office and service costs are growing.

Vancouver-based EcoPlan International will be paid $19,895 to conduct the study and a final report is expected by Oct. 23.

Source: https://www.vernonmorningstar.com/news/north-westside-process-proceeds/

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April 13, 2017 RDCO Board Agenda

Item 6.1 North Westside Services and Community Issues Review Terms of Reference / Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files Audio

What a fruckin shit show.  Fruck do I hate my government so bad.  Its time to reject government who are doing no good, and govern ourselves.  Look at all the money wasted on elections and paying politicians.  Its a real waste of money.  It's no wonder people are broke!!!  Pretty sure there are lots of volunteers who could replace those high paying political jobs.

Tension clouds North Westside process
Vernon Morning Star - Richard Rolke - Apr 17th, 2017

Regional District of Central Okanagan backs terms of reference for services study

A review of North Westside services is proceeding, but not without ongoing tension.

The Regional District of Central Okanagan board has adopted the terms of reference for the North Westside services and community issues review process.

“I will reluctantly support this,” said Wayne Carson, North Westside director.

Carson’s willingness to back the terms of reference came after lengthy debate and his initial opposition to the document.

“This is a stab in the back to the North Westside,” he said at the beginning of the discussion.

Carson’s primary concern was with what he saw as a limited scope for the terms of reference. It does not include a technical or financial audit of current services and governance, options on changes to the existing governance model and the impact of change to current governance in the review area.

“This is not the study that was offered to the North Westside. I have been excluded since the process began Nov. 28. I have not been involved in the terms of reference.”

Carson also blamed RDCO staff for the situation.

“Government staff at the ministry (of community development) were manipulated.”

However, chief administrative officer Brian Reardon insists his office had no influence over the process.

“The ministry has determined what is out of scope. It has been clear that this is not a governance study. This is a services review and a community issues review,” said Reardon.

Carson also took aim at directors from Kelowna, Lake Country, Peachland and West Kelowna voting on the terms of reference.

“You’re not responsible or liabel for any of this. This is just a tyranny of the majority,” he said.”

As staff and directors discussed the matter, chairperson Gail Given prevented Carson from interrupting.

“If you want to debate the CAO, you will wait your turn,” she said.

Given added that the services review could ultimately lead to a full-scale governance study for the North Westside.

“If we don’t take the first step, you (Carson) won’t get where you want.”

A final report on the review is expected by late October and input will be sought from the North Westside Communities Association and residents.

“They will want to have their say in the study,” said Carson.

Source: https://www.vernonmorningstar.com/news/tension-clouds-north-westside-process/

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COMMENTS

RDCO is a bully if you ask me. This ain't what North Westsider's asked for. They asked for a governance study, instead they are are being dictated to by RDCO CAO Brian Reardon who runs everything down there including dog control letting dogs bark for hours and was going to leave a dog to be eaten alive one day when he was contacted about coming out to the North Westside to pick up an at large 10 pound dog with no owner around. RDCO CAO Brian Reardon spends twice as much on dog control as the Fraser Valley Regional District and attended to more than 1,000 less complaints as the Fraser Valley Regional District in 2015. RDCO CAO Brian Reardon can't stop a dog from barking since 2014 I think he arrived at RDCO. In my opinion this man is a terrorist and is a waste of money. RDCO CAO Brian Reardon collects more than $200,000 per year, and gets more than Premier Christy Clark of $195,000. My Director has no control over it. Regional Districts are a scam if you ask me and people should take their money and start their own government because governments are wasting their money making people study what they don't want to study leaving no money for the study they do want.

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April 13, 2017 RDCO Board Agenda Item 6.1 North Westside Services and Community Issues Review Terms of Reference / Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files Audio

4.6 Out of Scope
The following items are out of scope for the review:
1. A technical or financial audit of current services and governance in the review area;
2. Options or recommendations on changes to the existing governance model; and
3. The impact of change to current governance in the review area.

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RDCO CAO Brian Reardon seems to be in control of everything, and although I didn't vote for the asshole, he gets to run everything?

No.  The system has to FRUCKING CHANGE.  THE PROBLEM IS THE SYSTEM!!!  AND THE REAL PROBLEM IS THE PEOPLE.  PEOPLE NEED TO GET INVOLVED, INSTEAD OF JUST BITCHING!!!  PEOPLE NEED TO CHANGE THE SYSTEM SO IT WORKS FOR THEM, INSTEAD OF AGAINST THEM!!!  I AM SO PISSED AT THE EXISTING GOVERNMENT AND THE PEOPLE WHO WATCH AND BITCH INSTEAD OF DOING ANYTHING TO CHANGE THINGS.  Most people can't even comment on the budget.  Its pathetic!!!

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North Westside director blasts budget
Vernon Morning Star - Richard Rolke - Mar 29th, 2017

The Regional District of Central Okanagan’s budget has been approved for 2017

The Regional District of Central Okanagan’s budget is coming under fire.

Directors have adopted the 2017 financial plan bylaw.

“The influence we are seeking as electoral area directors on behalf of our constituents is still being outvoted by the board,” said Wayne Carson, North Westside director.

“Planning costs are still too high and there is never any money for capital funding in the parks. Water rates are imposed on us by other communities.”

Carson says he and the director for Central Okanagan East didn’t support a centralized manager for the electoral area fire service but regional district staff then directed that money to the four fire halls.

“The regional district has done an end-run. They aren’t supporting the position of the electoral area directors.”

According to RDCO, the budget brings a decrease in the regional district portion of the tax bills for most average property owners.

“The 2017 operating budget totals just over $64.7 million which includes $29.7-million for operations, $4.95 million to reserves for future capital projects and $30 million in Municipal Finance Authority debt payments on behalf of member municipalities and the Okanagan Regional Library. This year $15.9-million will be spent on important capital and infrastructure projects,” says RDCO.

In other financial matters, Carson has approved a $1,600 grant for the North Westside Communities Association to hold an Easter egg hunt and Canada Day festivities while $1,500 will go to the North Westside Sports Club for youth soccer.

“They are a sign of our community,” said Carson.

Source: https://www.vernonmorningstar.com/news/north-westside-director-blasts-budget/

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Thats not Democracy, its Demo-crazy!!

The system is corrupt, and that is fact!!!

Doing everything right, is a fucking waste of time!

Its time people did things wrong!!!  Maybe a little defiance is in order eh??


click image for a larger copy

Director responds
Vernon Morning Star - Mar 12th, 2017 - Letters Opinion

North Westside director provides his thoughts on the governance study

At this point, it does not matter whether the scope of the North Westside governance study is restricted by the Ministry of Community Development as the Regional District of Central Okanagan chairperson claims, or the chairperson and the RDCO board as is my belief.

It is about achieving a workable document with accurate information for the residents that requested and are paying for the study.

The scope of the study as the RDCO chairperson has described it is neither what the community has requested nor what I have asked for on their behalf, again on the public record. All RDCO board Meetings are recorded and posted to their website.

The problem is simple. The community, through myself as the elected representative, is allowed no input to the local services and functions or their level and cost that are provided by the regional district. In my opinion, this situation has been created by the change in the stakeholder voting privileges (by the RDCO board) of the electoral area directors and the overwhelming dominance of the municipal vote, none with a vested stakeholder interest in these local matters.

How are these weighted votes considered democratic when these same parties (municipally appointed board members) do not participate nor contribute to the local services in the electoral areas? Weighted votes are intended to recognize and accommodate different levels of contribution to a service all parties share in, not to facilitate a tyranny of the majority and as a consequence severely restrict the democratic voice of small rural areas.

If the board chairperson wants to “come to a better place at the end of the process” then a study with a scope that offers options based upon financial accountability and the true cost of all the options, including status quo for the community.

This would allow for an informed community recommendation for the minister to consider.

This was the content, direction and intent of the proposed study as I understood it in my meetings with Minister Fassbender. The municipally appointed board members have made it clear that although they will not pay a cent towards this study, they demand complete control over the terms of reference and any final recommendations to the minister that might come from the study. That’s just not democracy.

Wayne Carson, director
Regional District of
Central Okanagan

Source: http://www.vernonmorningstar.com/opinion/director-responds-2/

ITS FUCKING CORRUPT!!!

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Did you know RDCO has a webpage on North Westside Road Governance?


click image for a larger copy or click here to go to RDCO's webpage

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Governance costs drive debate
Vernon Morning Star - Richard Rolke - Mar 3rd, 2017

Taxpayers may be billed for staff costs for North Westside review

A review of North Westside governance is moving ahead, but who will pay is causing a furor.

The Regional District of Central Okanagan is receiving $20,000 from the provincial government for a services and community issues review for the North Westside. However, RDCO could also charge Central Okanagan West taxpayers for $22,500 in in-kind costs, such as staff time.

“I’m looking for the same process that’s happened everywhere else,” said director Wayne Carson, adding that other communities within RDCO and elsewhere in the province haven’t been billed directly for in-kind costs for studies.

“This is a regional initiative and has been dealt with as a regional initiative before.”

What particularly concerns Carson is the study is only for the North Westside but all taxpayers in the Central Okanagan West electoral area, which includes areas near Peachland and West Kelowna, would have to pay for in-kind costs.

“I’ve had areas say they don’t want to be part of the process. To charge all of Central Okanagan West is unfair,” he said.

RDCO staff say there is no ability to just charge in-kind costs to the North Westside because there isn’t a specific administrative service for the governance review.

“They (all Central Okanagan West residents) will learn and take take advantage of the findings whether it impacts them or not,” said Brian Reardon, chief administrative officer, of broad-ranging benefits.

RDCO’s insistence that it may not cover in-kind costs will upset North Westside residents, says Carson.

“They are proving the case there’s a disconnect between the North Westside and the regional district.”

At Monday’s board meeting, most directors refused to consider investigating options for in-kind cost recovery.

“Central Okanagan West should pay for this. I don’t care what other jurisdictions have done. I don’t want to pay for that,” said Luke Stack, a Kelowna director.

However, there may be an opportunity to discuss the issue of in-kind costs once the terms of reference and scope of services and community issues review are developed.

“We may be able to revisit it,” said Doug Findlater, board vice-chairperson.

Source: http://www.vernonmorningstar.com/news/governance-costs-drive-debate/

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North Westside study funded
by Richard Rolke - Vernon Morning Star - Feb 24, 2017

A study will look at services the North Westside receives, including water.

A review of North Westside governance options could get underway soon.

The Regional District of Central Okanagan is receiving $20,000 from the Ministry of Community Development to facilitate a services and community issues review for the area from La Casa to Westshore Estates.

“It’s pretty much what we were looking for and expecting,” said Wayne Carson, director.

The study will include the collection and diagnostic analysis of available service delivery, taxation and other relevant data to better describe and understand key facets of local government in the area.

It will also identify the issues and concerns expressed by residents regarding decision making and delivery of regional district services.

Currently, North Westside, with a population of 1,000 to 1,500 people, has one director at the 12-member RDCO board table.

Many North Westside residents have indicated that current structure doesn’t represent their needs because the area is quite a ways from RDCO’s Kelowna office and service costs are growing.

RDCO will have to hire a consultant to lead the study and terms of reference will have to be developed. But Carson hopes the process can get underway in the spring.

“We want information on our community and whether it’s feasible to move forward with a governance process,” said Carson.

“You are either an electoral area or a municipality. The issue is whether the area could afford the additional costs that come with being incorporated and the additional cost is roads.”

Source: http://www.vernonmorningstar.com/news/414722813.html

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North Westside
Vernon Morning Star - Feb 10, 2017

North Westsiders didn't sign a 700-name governance petition to stay with the Regional District of Central Okanagan.

In fact the governance process was initiated because North Westsiders have had enough of the regional district ruining their lives.

I for one am sick of listening to dogs barking in excess and overnight just about every day and night now for seven years.

I won't be having a garden anymore until the barking stops. I am sick of the regional district doing nothing about the barking.

I didn't even get to sign that governance petition, yet I want to.

S. Schnurr
North Westside

Source: http://www.vernonmorningstar.com/opinion/letters/413316683.html

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Regional district responds
Vernon Morning Star - North Westside - Jan 25, 2017

On behalf of the Regional District of Central Okanagan board, I'd like to thank The Morning Star for its ongoing coverage related to the governance study for the North Westside fire protection service area.

It's important for all residents in the area, and throughout the Central Okanagan, to be aware of important issues like this which come before board directors. I would however, like to clarify one statement made in the editorial, Westside study a good start, in the Jan. 15 edition.

It was written, "RDCO only wants the study to explore issues within the existing electoral area structure." Actually, the regional district has in its request for provincial funding for the study, reiterated the position put forward by Community Development Minister Peter Fassbender in his letters to the board.

He's stated the study should consider, "approaches within the existing regional district electoral area structure," and, "I believe a small-scale review, with a focus on local decision making and input into regional district services, would be a good starting point."

For my part, as the editorial indicated, "I am hopeful that we can come to a better place at the end of this process."

Gail Given,
Regional District of Central Okanagan chairperson

Source: http://www.vernonmorningstar.com/opinion/letters/411653566.html

 

Re: RDCO Chair Gail Given Wed Jan 25 edition of the Morning Star

North Westsider's didn't sign a 700 name governance petition to stay with the Regional District of Central Okanagan. In fact the Governance process was initiated because North Westsider's have had enough of the Regional District ruining their lives. I for one am sick of listening to dogs barking in excess and overnight just about every day and night now for 7 years. I won't be having a garden anymore until the barking stops. I am sick of the Regional District doing nothing about the barking. I didn't even get to sign that governance petition, yet I want to.

North Westsider

Blue Divider Line

EDITORIAL: North Westside study a good start
Jan 15, 2017 - Vernon Morning Star

The ball is rolling over North Westside governance and that’s good news.

On Thursday, the Regional District of Central Okanagan board agreed to ask the Ministry of Community Development for$20,000 for a governance review study for the area from La Casa to Westshore Estates.

That’s a positive step given that there’s been several heated discussions between director Wayne Carson and his colleagues over the need to review governance and the apparent dissatisfaction among many residents with the current provision of services.

Among the most conciliatory was chairperson Gail Given, who has sparred with Carson.

“I want to be hopeful that we can come to a better place at the end of this process,” said Given Thursday.

One outstanding issue, though, is the scope of the potential study.

RDCO only wants the study to explore issues within the existing electoral area structure, while Carson and the North Westside Communities Association want all options considered, including forming a municipality.

There are differences of opinion on the focus the ministry will ultimately endorse, but no one should be concerned that Victoria will be too restrictive or too open. The reality is the possibilities of governance will unfold during the study, and if it indicates electoral area status isn’t sufficient, then a municipality can be investigated further.

In the end, what’s positive is that the interests of the North Westside are being taken seriously after years of debate.

Source: http://www.vernonmorningstar.com/opinion/410669235.html

Blue Divider Line

Funding sought for North Westside governance study
by Richard Rolke - Vernon Morning Star - Jan 13, 2017

Director Wayne Carson wants governance options for the North Westside investigated.— Image Credit: Photo Submitted

The North Westside could be one step closer to looking at how it's governed.

On Thursday, the Regional District of Central Okanagan board agreed to ask the Ministry of Community Development for $20,000 for a governance review study for the area from La Casa to Westshore Estates.

“We’ve turned a major corner here,” said Wayne Carson, North Westside director.

“I’m absolutely thrilled the application is going in. The amount being sought should be enough to do what we want to do.”

However, Carson is concerned about the remainder of the board motion which states the proposed study would explore issues within the existing regional district electoral area structure, blending a service analysis and a community issues assessment.

“That’s making a conclusion but we have an understanding with the minister (Peter Fassbender). He has said the scope of the study is up to him and staff,” said Carson.

Carson added that the study shouldn’t preclude what form of governance the North Westside follows.

“There are only two choices. You either are an electoral area or you are a municipality. We want to look at whether there’s an ability to self-govern. Nobody has said we need to incorporate. We just want to see what it would look like and if it’s financially viable.”

Opposition to applying for the $20,000 came from three Kelowna directors, Colin Basran, Tracy Gray and Luke Stack.

“This is a futile effort that will solve nothing,” said Basran.

Both Stack and Gray expressed concern that there’s a difference of opinion between the community and RDCO on the focus of a study.

“It (Thursday’s motion) doesn’t achieve the objective of the North Westside Communities Association,” said Gray, adding that governance concerns could be addressed by having advisory committees for various services.

Support, though, for the $20,000 application came from the remainder of the board.

“I want to be hopeful that we can come to a better place at the end of this process,” said Gail Given, board chairperson.

James Baker, Lake Country director, insists the grant application simply starts the process and governance options can be considered later.

“All of the details that will come afterwards will come once you have funds,” he said.

Carson expects a ministry decision on the grant soon, and believes the study could start this spring.

“I’m confident the ministry will put a fair process before us,” he said.

Source: http://www.vernonmorningstar.com/news/410642665.html

Blue Divider Line

North Westside study gets board blessing
by Richard Rolke - Vernon Morning Star - Dec 13, 2016

The Regional District of Central Okanagan will pursue a governance study for the North Westside.— Image Credit: Logo

Those wanting to investigate North Westside’s future have overcome a major hurdle.

On Monday, the Regional District of Central Okanagan board voted 9-2 to ask the Ministry of Community Development for a governance study of the area from La Casa to Westshore Estates.

“This was the part that was necessary to keep moving,” said Wayne Carson, director.

Previous attempts by Carson and the North Westside Communities Association to raise the governance issue have been met with reluctance among some RDCO officials.

The motion approved Monday states the board supports a governance study for the North Westside fire protection service area.

The focus will be on a review of existing services and the cause of concern in the community.

RDCO staff will now prepare an application requesting that the ministry fund a study.

“At the end of the day, all decisions are the minister’s to make,” said Carson.

Carson met with Community Development Minister Peter Fassbender twice in the fall to discuss the matter.

“The minister is a fair and reasonable man and we’re putting our future in his hands,” said Carson.

Currently, North Westside, with a population of 1,000 to 1,500 people, has one director at the 12-member RDCO board table.

Many North Westside residents have indicated that current structure doesn’t represent their needs because the area is quite a ways from RDCO’s Kelowna office and service costs are growing.

A 700-name petition calling for a study was presented to the district.

“We want a good look at our services and how they are run and if there are options for providing those services,” said Carson.

Source: http://www.vernonmorningstar.com/news/406306736.html

Blue Divider Line

Governance study support
Castanet.net - Wayne Moore - Dec 13, 2016 / 6:55 pm | Story: 183505

The Regional District of Central Okanagan has thrown its support behind a governance study for the North Westside Fire Protection Service Area.

In a 9-2 vote Monday night, the board agreed to approve the study, with a focus on a hybrid approach blending a diagnostic service analysis and a community issues assessment.

"We are getting, in this phase, what I believe the North Westside is looking for, which is a good hard look at our services, how they are managed and operated and the efficiencies in those services," said Okanagan West area director Wayne Carson.

"That was one of the prime drivers behind this whole issue, so I'm quite happy about that and the process moving forward."

He said the problems are local issues, local services and the inability to have a say in those services. He has no issue with regional services provided by the board.

The regional district will now be asked to approve a study scope, objectives and terms of reference. It will also come back with an application for funding from the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development.

While the province has indicated it will consider covering the cost of the study, any local expenses incurred through staff time or other costs will be borne by the Central Okanagan West Electoral Area Administration or if possible to the specific study area.

Carson voted against the local funding aspect because he has heard from some areas within his constituency who have said they don't want their tax dollars going to fund a study in another area within their electoral region.

He said he is fine with the North Westside paying those costs, as long as something similar occurred during governance studies for Lake Country and West Kelowna.

Carson said no one was able to give him a definitive answer to that question.

Directors Basran and Gray voted against the study.

Source: http://www.castanet.net/news/West-Kelowna/183505/Governance-study-support

Blue Divider Line

North Westside
December 7, 2016 - Vernon Morning Star

As a resident of North Westside for more than eight years, I would like to inform your readers that not everyone agrees that there is a need for self government or autonomy here.

Many of us are satisfied with our existing parks, water systems, transfer station, community centre, fire department, and library. Having lived in five other communities in southern B.C., I have come to realize that areas are constantly changing.

We have several parks that are consistently maintained and upgraded.

At the present time, water is and will be a huge issue. Having good water and improved systems comes at a price. I have never used a transfer station that was better run or more user friendly. Our community centre is well used, comfortable, and centrally located.

It is well documented that our fire department is one of the best in the region. We are grateful to have a library giving us access to a variety of books so near home. Yes, there is always room for improvement. Yes, there can be difficult issues to solve. But, looking back over the years and seeing all that the North Westside has become, I believe we got here by our citizens working with the CORD.

Lynne Findlay, North Westside

Source: http://www.vernonmorningstar.com/opinion/letters/405055796.html?mobile=true

Blue Divider Line

North Westside
Vernon Morning Star -  Nov 6, 2016

Community Development Minister Peter Fassbender, as a resident of the North Westside, I am appalled by the attitude and behaviour of the Regional District of Central Okanagan staff and board members towards residents on the North Westside.

This is particularly evident in the attitude taken by the board in relation to regional director Wayne Carson, our representative and our communities' request for a governance study.

It is not only that our tax dollars seem to go to benefit elsewhere but also, the attitude inflicted on residents when bylaw response is needed, building code infractions are clear and requests for information are excused.

As simple as it is, if the RDCO makes an error in accounting for your dog license the response is a vicious letter outlining the fines you will incur immediately (this happened to me. They lost my payment).

An example of the general attitude is reflected in the report of your meeting with regional directors, chairperson Gail Given, and chief administrative officer Brian Reardon at the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention this fall.

The RDCO is non-democratic and self-serving.

We are controlled by the regional district bureaucracy and Kelowna directors in a manner that can only be seen as contemptuous and manipulative.

On behalf of my friends and neighbours at Fintry Delta, one of the many North Westside communities, anything the province can do to remove our communities from RDCO control would be much appreciated.

It is a toxic relationship that shows no hope of improvement.

The "civil" in civil service is long gone if it was ever present in the first place.

Judy Paterson
North Westside

Source: http://www.vernonmorningstar.com/opinion/letters/399997421.html

Blue Divider Line

Decision delayed on North Westside governance study
by Richard Rolke - Vernon Morning Star - Nov 29, 2016

Director Wayne Carson hopes a governance study will proceed for the North Westside.— Image Credit: Photo Submitted

North Westside residents may soon know if governance options will be investigated.

Director Wayne Carson asked the Regional District of Central Okanagan board Monday to support a governance study, but the matter was deferred until Dec. 12 so staff can present a report.

“Several directors are willing to support it but they want the report first,” said Carson.

The board had asked administration for the report Aug. 22.

One of the issues the report will likely address is how staff-related costs will be covered if a study proceeds. Staff will be needed to provide information to the consultant.

Based on past processes in Lake Country and West Kelowna, Carson believes the entire regional district will pay for any expenses.

The major cost of the study, though, would be paid for by the provincial government.

A Ministry of Community Development representative spoke to the RDCO board Monday for two hours.

Currently, North Westside, with a population of 1,000 to 1,500 people, has one director at the 12-member RDCO board table.

Many North Westside residents have indicated that current structure doesn’t represent their needs because the area is quite a ways from the RDCO office and service costs are growing.

A 700-name petition calling for a study was presented to the district.

“I am hopeful the board will support a study,” said Carson.

“We will have to make a decision next time.”

Source: http://www.vernonmorningstar.com/news/403593326.html

Blue Divider Line

North Westside governance comes under fire
by Richard Rolke - Vernon Morning Star - Nov 21, 2016

The Regional District of Central Okanagan is determining how to handle governance issues in the North Westside area.

Not everyone is thrilled with the idea of the North Westside going it alone.

Some residents are questioning a move by director Wayne Carson and the North Westside Communities Association to have a governance study and possibly move towards municipal status.

“Not everyone is as interested in changing things,” said Lynne Findlay, a resident of the North Westside for eight years.

“People have said, ‘It will cost us money and if it costs money, I’m not interested.’”

Many North Westside residents have indicated that current structure doesn’t represent their needs because the area is quite a ways from the Regional District of Central Okanagan office in Kelowna and service costs are growing.

A 700-name petition calling for a study was presented to RDCO.

“Somebody brought the petition to our home but even then, we were comfortable with the regional district as it’s set up at this point,” said Findlay, adding that parks are maintained, the transfer station runs well and the water system needs to be a focus.

“There needs to be a positive review on our community. Everything I see is negative.”

Currently, North Westside, with a population of 1,000 to 1,500, has one director at the 12-member RDCO board table.

“You can always ask questions but you may not get the answer you want,” said Findlay.

“Even if we become a municipality, we’re still going to be part of the regional district.”

Findlay wants Carson and the communities association to slow down on the governance issue and consult with residents.

“There should be another way to canvas the community to see if there are enough of us who truly want a change,” she said.

Carson says residents with concerns about a governance change need to come forward.

“I’d like to hear from everyone. Everyone has a right to have a say,” he said.

However, Carson says he and the communities association have actively sought input from residents, including at public meetings.

“The petition showed overwhelming support for a study,” he said.

“We want to find what’s best for the majority of the residents.”

Carson also points out that there is no guarantee that governance will change.

“We’re just asking for a study,” he said.

Source: http://www.vernonmorningstar.com/news/402302055.html

Blue Divider Line

North Westside governance study gains steam
by Richard Rolke - Vernon Morning Star - Nov 15, 2016

The Regional District of Central Okanagan has received further information from the provincial government on North Westside governance.— Image Credit: Logo Submitted

The North Westside’s elected representative will push for a governance review now that Victoria’s support appears clear.

The North Westside Communities Association and the Regional District of Central Okanagan have received a letter from Community Development Minister Peter Fassbender on a potential review of governance options for the area.

“I understand now from our communications that the board is considering a study that includes all of the North Westside fire protection service area and I support considering that scope as it includes the largest populous in your communities, rather than narrowing the geography within the North Westside,” said Fassbender in the letter.

Previously, Fassbender had only identified Killiney Beach and he had indicated it was too small to pursue municipal status.

Wayne Carson, North Westside director, welcomes Fassbender’s acknowledgement that any study will cover an area from Westshore to LaCasa.

“The ministry is on the job and concerned,” he said.

Ministry staff will provide information to the RDCO board Nov. 28.

“I will put forward a motion at that time for board support for a governance study,” said Wayne Carson.

The North Westside Communities Association welcomes Fassbender’s clarification of a study and its scope.

“We have received fantastic news from Minister Fassbender,” said Michelle Carson, association vice-president.

Currently, North Westside, with a population of 1,000 to 1,500, has one director at the 12-member RDCO board table.

Many North Westside residents have indicated that current structure doesn’t represent their needs because the area is quite a ways from the RDCO office and service costs are growing.

A 700-name petition calling for a study was received by RDCO.

Source: http://www.vernonmorningstar.com/news/401193375.html

Blue Divider Line

Fight over pole on Okanagan beach raises governance questions
Global News - November 10, 2016 - By Megan Turcato

The Regional District of Central Okanagan installed this power pole on Killiney Beach in 2014.

The issue may seem small to some people: in 2014 a single power pole was installed by the Regional District of Central Okanagan (RDCO) on a beach along the northwest shore of Okanagan Lake.

However, to those who live in the area of Killiney Beach, the fight over the location of a power pole is a strong example of why they need a local government more responsive to their needs.

North Westside Communities Association (NWCA) would like to see the power pole moved.

“The pole is very intrusive,” said president Bob Andrews.

“We would like that beach space cleared up for the community.”

The regional district says because of those complaints, it is reviewing whether it should move the pole and how much it would cost. However, so far, the district appears to be leaning towards leaving the pole in place.

“At this point we don’t see any justification for moving the pole. It’s an almost one hectare waterfront park. The pole doesn’t affect access to the park in anyway,” said regional district spokesman Bruce Smith.
The RDCO argues a move might have hidden environmental costs because of endangered trees in the area.

“It cost about $7,000 to install the pole in the first place. In order to get it compliant and legal it cost us about $6,800 dollars. That’s why we are in the process of getting accurate cost estimates,” said Smith.

However, those who want the pole moved aren’t impressed that the regional district has spent thousands legitimatizing it. NWCA vice president Michelle Carson has argue the district has been “fighting … the expressed wishes of the community.”

Read More: Rural Okanagan residents seek new governance model
http://globalnews.ca/news/2035345/outvoted-rural-okanagan-resident-seek-new-governance-model/

For some who live in the area it is just another example of why they don’t feel the regional district is responsive enough to their needs.

Their one local area director is easily outvoted on a regional district board dominated by representatives from Kelowna and other municipalities.

“This is just a very blatant example of them not listening to our concerns or addressing our concerns,” said Carson, who is married to local regional district area director Wayne Carson.

They’ve been calling for a provincially funded study to look at the way the North Westside area is governed.

“Having a different form of government that is local is more important than anything,” said Andrews.
The province is expected to make a presentation to the regional district board about a governance study later this month.

However, the province says for funding to be provided for a study the regional district would have to request it.

In the meantime, the regional district argues it is responding to concerns by reviewing the location of the embattled pole.

Source: http://globalnews.ca/news/3061191/fight-over-pole-on-okanagan-beach-raises-governance-questions/

Blue Divider Line

November 2, 2016

To Community Services Minister:

I am concerned about Regional District Chief Administrative Officers having all control over operational matters in a Regional District and that Directors can't even discuss operational matters at Regional District Board meetings as is happening in the Regional District of Central Okanagan.

I wish my Director to be able to discuss and vote on Regional District operational matters at Regional District Board and Governance and Services Committee meetings.

I wish my Director to have more control over Regional District Chief Administrative Officers and Chairs as well.

North Westsider

Blue Divider Line

BEYOND THE HEADLINES: Give residents the time
by Richard Rolke - Vernon Morning Star - Nov 2, 2016

Richard Rolke is a columnist and senior reporter with The Morning Star. - Morning star file photo

Anyone who has gone bleary-eyed as meetings drag can appreciate the urge to keep agendas moving.

After all, very few meaningful decisions generally come after hours of back-and-forth, particularly when the focus becomes the clock or grumbling stomachs.

However, the Regional District of Central Okanagan may be navigating that fine line between streamlining the process and the perception that interaction with the public is unwanted.

Case in point, the North Westside Communities Association is upset that two requests to talk to the board about a power pole at Killiney Beach Park have been shot down.

“It says to me that they aren’t interested in what our residents want. They have no interest in our opinion,” said Michelle Carson, NWCA vice-president.

When confronted about the request denial by director Wayne Carson (Michelle Carson’s husband) Oct. 13, chairperson Gail Given cited policy.

“Board agendas should be filled with governance type items and not operational matters,” she said.

Given also added that the NWCA can provide information about the power pole to individual board members.

Once again, every attempt in the world should be made not to bog agendas down, but a blanket policy against operational matters is too rigid.

Following basic democratic principles, if a resident has concerns about day-to-day operations, in this case parks, and they aren’t satisfied with the response from staff, they should have the right to go before their elected officials and state their case.

It is interesting to note that Given suggests the North Westside association can provide power pole information directly to individual directors. But what’s the point of doing that if operational matters aren’t part of the board agenda? What are the directors supposed to do with those details?


Now Given describes the power pole issue as being operational, but a strong argument can be made that it’s evolved into a governance-type item to use her own words.

And the reason for that is the community association first opposed the placement of the power pole on the beach in 2014 — two years ago.

“We wrote a nice, polite letter asking them to relocate the pole to the original place. But the regional district stated it had all of the permits and the pole wouldn’t be removed,” said Michelle Carson.

Spinning wheels with the bureaucracy, the association filed Freedom of Information requests in an attempt to get a better sense of the behind-the-scenes actions regarding the placement of the pole. And on top of this, the power pole has sparked (pun intended) considerable frustration among rank-and-file residents and a growing interest in shifting from RDCO governance to possibly forming a municipality. The bottom line is there is little faith among some that the regional district is representing the public’s best interest.

So as RDCO’s reputation continues to take a beating, it would make sense for the board to ease up on its procedures and invite the communities association to the table. The pole may ultimately stay where it is, but communication and transparency will have occurred.

As stated before, endless meetings aren’t a good idea but directors can spare a few minutes for their constituents.

Source: http://www.vernonmorningstar.com/opinion/399545141.html

Blue Divider Line

Court Order Likely Needed for Pole Relocation
1075kiss.com - 11/1/2016 - by Ron Manz

The fight over re-locating a controversial power pole and guy wire owned by the Central Okanagan Regional District on a portion of Killiney Beach might end up in the courts.

Ever since it was erected in January of 2014, local residents and the North Westside Community Association have argued it needs to be moved for safety reasons and because it is below the high water mark.

CORD has refused and Association Vice-President Michelle Carson says when Andy Otter with the Ministry of Forest, Lands and Resources in Kamloops granted it tenure, it meant the pole became unmovable unless a judge orders it.

"I was told that he does not have the power to rescind that the tenure order. He's already given them that and he said the only people who can overturn that statutory decision he made would be a court."

Carson feels they have run out of options other than suing the District to move it.

"They have said they are not going to move the pole. So I don't think there is anywhere else we can go. We wanted to work this out with them. We wanted to work with them and have the pole relocated and they have refused to do that every step of the way."

Carson says suing to have it moved is a last resort.

"We have not discussed that as a Board, taking the legal route, number one because I don't believe we have the money to pursue that option and number two I don't know what the feelings of the Board would be on that because we have not discussed that option."

The Central Okanagan Regional District has refused to allow the Association to make any presentations to it's Board over the matter.

Bruce Smith, spokesman for the regional district, says they don't think the pole needs to be moved, but because the concerns have been raised again, staff are reviewing the site.

"Right now there is no justification for moving the pole as far as the regional district is concerned. We're looking at getting a cost estimate for how much it would cost if the pole were to be moved, and staff is reviewing the matter because it's an operational issue. It really has nothing to do with the board itself," Smith tells Kiss FM.

Smith says the pole was initially installed to provide a reliable electrical source to power the boat lift that's in the North Westside Fire boat house to achieve insurance accreditation for the boat.

Source: http://www.1075kiss.com/top-news-stories/2016/11/01/court-order-likely-needed-for-pole-relocation

Blue Divider Line

Regional district defends handling of North Westside concerns
by Richard Rolke - Vernon Morning Star - Nov 1, 2016

Gail Given, Regional District of Central Okanagan chairperson, says board meetings can't cover every topic.

The Regional District of Central Okanagan insists it’s not ignoring North Westside concerns.

The North Westside Communities Association is upset that two requests to appear before the RDCO board to discuss a power pole on a beach have been denied.

However, Gail Given, board chairperson, says process is simply being followed.

“By definition, the prime role of the governing body, RDCO board is governance versus operations,” she said.

“Our prime focus must be on policy setting, strategic planning, and the budget setting. The board’s opportunity to provide guidance on individual services comes through our rotation of service reviews and through the budget setting process.”

Given added that operational matters are the primary role of staff and concerns from residents should be directed through staff.

“They are the subject matter experts,” she said.

“As an alternative to a scheduled presentation, citizens do have the option to forward their concerns or presentations to individual board members. This current and historical practice is in support of clear roles and responsibilities.”

Given also says there is a lot before directors when they gather.

“Meetings are frequently running well past the scheduled times and occasionally items are being deferred to subsequent meetings due to time constraints,” she said.

The North Westside Communities Association says a power pole was installed in the wrong location at Killiney Beach Park and it wants the pole relocated.

However, RDCO staff have stated that the pole will remain in its current location.

Source: http://www.vernonmorningstar.com/news/399481901.html

It would be nice to have one email address that goes to all board members.

Blue Divider Line

North Westside fight needs attention
Vernon Morning Star Editorial - Oct 30, 2016

There’s no question that bad blood exists among many North Westside residents and the Regional District of Central Okanagan.

Strongly worded letters and e-mails between both sides are numerous and disagreements have broken out at board meetings between North Westside director Wayne Carson and chairperson Gail Given.

The bottom line is there appears to be little trust among some North Westside residents that the regional district is representing their best interests.

As an example, the North Westside Communities Association’s request to appear before the board as a delegation has been denied twice because Given insists that the subject — a power pole on a beach — is an operational matter and not something directors should be involved in.

And then there is the concern among some residents that RDCO is standing in the way of a study that would consider governance options for the area.

With all of this animosity, there is a genuine concern that the ability of the regional district administration and board, the residents and Carson to work co-operatively on key issues, such as parks, water and other services, is seriously hampered.

A way beyond the conflict must be found, and that may very well mean RDCO allowing the North Westside to see if other governance options exist.

But to find some middle ground, all players need to be at the table.

It’s time for a third party, whether it’s the provincial government or a representative from another regional district, such as North Okanagan, to act as an intermediary and bring everyone together.

Source: http://www.vernonmorningstar.com/opinion/399059661.html

Blue Divider Line

Governance study on hold
Castanet.net - by Wayne Moore - Oct 26, 2016 - Story: 179228

A decision on whether a governance study will be undertaken for the North Westside Fire Protection Area has not yet been determined.

In a letter sent to the Regional District of Central Okanagan, the provincial ministry responsible for such studies, said a governance review may not be the way to go in this particular situation.

Peter Fassbender, Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development made the statement in the letter after meeting with members of the board and staff at the recently concluded Union of BC Municipalities Convention.

Fassbender reiterated in his letter there are many approaches to governance and service issues.

"As you know, depending on the nature of the community, the concerns it is facing and the interests of the local government, studies of governance and service issues vary significantly," said Fassbender in his letter.

"For some communities, an incorporation focus makes sense, for others, approaches within the existing regional district electoral area structure are more appropriate."

Fassbender said, for the size of the community of Killiney Beach, he suggested the latter.

"I believe a small-scale review, with a focus on local decision making and input into the regional district services, would be the best starting point to determine whether and where to focus any next steps."

Regional board chair Gail Given said she does not know what that type of study would entail.

She said the board will get a better idea when Local Governance Structure director Marijke Edmondson addresses the board at a later date.

The region, which includes Westshore Estates, Killiney Beach, Fintry and Caesar's Landing, has a population between 1,000 and 1,500.

Source: http://www.castanet.net/news/West-Kelowna/179228/Governance-study-on-hold

Blue Divider Line

Governance Study Still A Sticky Issue
1075kiss.com - 10/26/2016 - by Ron Manz

Efforts to get a governance study for the North Westside region accomplished is turning into a real battle for residents.

The Central Okanagan Regional District has turned down the request using a letter from Community Development Minister Peter Fassbender as the reason saying it recommends against a self-governance study.

Regional Director Wayne Carson says the over-bearing attitude of the regional board and to listen to North Westside residents concerns is at the heart of this issue.

"We just want to be equal at the Board level and that's what we're looking for, nothing special, no special deals, none of that stuff. We just want the same things as other members of the Board and we want to have a real say in our local affairs and how our tax dollars are spent."

Carson says the Ministry letter referred to Killiney Beach requesting the self-governance study, when in fact it was all of North Westside.

Carson adds his Board and staff at CORD knew of the discrepancy but didn't point it out to the Ministry and he believes it's because they don't want North Westside striking out on their own.


"I'm actually quite pleased with how the Ministry has been handling with this. It's my own Board that I'm upset with. I know when Lake Country and West Kelowna incorporated, they got full support from the Board. I can't get the time of day out of them."

Carson concludes the Board simply doesn't want to listen to what area residents are demanding.

"If the staff at the Regional District didn't know that that letter was factually incorrect, then it shows that there is a problem at the Regional District as far as them addressing electoral area issues."

Carson is hoping a meeting the end of November with Ministry staff will result in a study in fact being ordered for North Westside paid for by the Province.

Source: http://www.1075kiss.com/top-news-stories/2016/10/26/governance-study-still-a-sticky-issue

Blue Divider Line

.pdf icon October 24, 2016 Highlights of the Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting

North Westside Governance Letter
The Regional Board has received a letter from the Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development regarding a meeting held during the Union of BC Municipalities annual meeting at which North Westside Governance was discussed. Peter Fassbender says given the size of the community at Killiney Beach and lack of similar requests from other communities within the electoral areas, he believes a small-scale review with a focus on local decision making and input into the regional district services would be the best starting point to determine whether and where to focus any next steps. He adds the Ministry would assist should the Regional Board request support for such a review. The Minister indicates the Director of Local Government Structure and Regional District staff continues to work to arrange a meeting to explain the governance review process and possible options for the North Westside.

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio October 24, 2016 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (224 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files October 24, 2016 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Item 5.1 Minister Fassbender Letter - Oct 13, 2016 - Governance  - .wma (6.72 MB)

.pdf icon October 24, 2016 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting Agenda

.pdf icon Item 5.1 Minister Fassbender Letter - Oct 13, 2016 - Governance

*Note* Please click link above for entire content

October 13, 2016

Ref: 168929

Gail Given, Chair and Members of the Board
Regional District of Central Okanagan
1450 KLO Rd
Kelowna BC V1W 3Z4

Dear Chair Given and Board Members:

As Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development and Minister responsible for TransLink, it was my pleasure to meet with your delegation during the 2016 Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) Convention, recently held in Victoria. I appreciated the opportunity to discuss, in person, the matters of importance to your community, in particular governance and service issues.

As I expressed in the meeting, there are a range of approaches to examining governance and service issues. Selecting the right approach can be critical to achieving an outcome that is sustainable and satisfactory both for the community and the local government. I am therefore pleased that the Regional District Board is giving due consideration to questions of process and scale with respect to the interest expressed by the Killiney Beach community group.

As you may know, depending on the nature of the community, the concerns it is facing and the interests of the local government, studies of governance and service issues vary significantly. For some communities, an incorporation focus makes sense; for others, approaches within the existing regional district electoral area structure are most appropriate. Given the size of the community at Killiney Beach and the lack of similar requests from other communities within the electoral areas, this study falls into the latter category.

Therefore, I believe a small-scale review, with a focus on local decision making and input into the regional district services, would be the best starting point to determine whether and where to focus any next steps. Should the Board request support for such a review, the Ministry would be happy to assist.

I understand that you have invited Marijke Edmondson, Director, Local Government Structure, to speak with you about the process and key considerations in the design of effective studies based on experience and work with other communities going through similar challenges. I trust that your staff will continue to work with her to determine a mutually convenient time and agenda for such a meeting.

It is always valuable to hear directly from local governments regarding the challenges and opportunities in your communities. I look forward to continuing a productive dialogue over the coming months.

Chair Given and Board Members. Thank you again to your delegation for taking the time to meet with me.

Sincerely,
Peter Fassbender
Minister

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio October 24, 2016 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (224 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files October 24, 2016 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Item 5.1 Minister Fassbender Letter - Oct 13, 2016 - Governance  - .wma (6.72 MB)

.pdf icon October 24, 2016 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting Minutes

Minutes of RDCO Board meetings are not usually posted to RDCO's website until after the following meeting which would be November 10th.  If the minutes are not posted here yet, you can check RDCO's website to see if they are posted there yet.  If you want a copy of the minutes before then, contact RDCO who will have a copy of the minutes at their office within 7 days after you request a copy of the minutes.  This is in accordance to Local Government Act Procedure Bylaws and Enforcement section 794 (5) and Community Charter Other records to which public access must be provided section 97 (2)

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio October 24, 2016 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (224 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files October 24, 2016 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Item 5.1 Minister Fassbender Letter - Oct 13, 2016 - Governance  - .wma (6.72 MB)

Blue Divider Line

Minister Peter Fassbender:

You must be mistaken about what kind of feasibility study the North Westside Road area wants.  Just so you know, we want an incorporation study and not the type of study you are suggesting.

It is a conflict of interest when someone from West Kelowna or Peachland or where ever is using the same service (dog control) and votes against another area also using the same service, because the West Kelowna or Peachland or whatever is happy with their service so they don't want that to change do they?  We get no dog service while they get all the dog service.

I don't see how that ain't a conflict of interest harmful to another area.  Areas should be able to vote for what is in their best interest without others voting against them dragging them down.

I feel my Provincial Government is stifling innovation and services and letting a bunch of bullies like RDCO ruin my area.  I shouldn't have to listen to barking for the last 7 years and you know it!!!  You need to change this.

Please reply and tell me how you are going to fix this conflict of interest problem and how we can incorporate without RDCO's approval.  I don't need no study, I am willing to pay a lot more to get away from the RDCO so I can have some service and not be dragged down by jerks.

Right now I am not allowed to communicate with RDCO and I get no bylaw enforcement for 3 months.

I think I am going to start protesting that we don't need a government to terrorize us.

North Westsider

cc: Director Wayne Carson

Blue Divider Line

North Westside residents demand meeting with regional district
by Richard Rolke - Vernon Morning Star - Oct 28, 2016


A power pole at Killiney beach Park has created a conflict between the North Westside Communities Association and the Regional District of Central Okanagan.— Image Credit: Photo Submitted

The Regional District of Central Okanagan is being accused of ignoring its residents.

The North Westside Communities Association has now had two requests denied to speak to the RDCO board about a power pole at Killiney Beach Park.

“It says to me that they aren’t interested in what our residents want. They have no interest in our opinion,” said Michelle Carson, NWCA vice-president.

At an Oct. 13 meeting, chairperson Gail Given indicated that operational issues are not discussed at the board table.

“Board agendas should be filled with governance type items and not operational matters,” she said.

Given also added that the NWCA can provide information about the power pole to individual board members.

The power pole was installed in the park in January 2014, not far from Okanagan Lake and below the high water mark.

“We wrote a nice, polite letter asking them to relocate the pole to the original place,” said Carson, adding that the pole is an obstruction for those using the beach.

“But the regional district stated it had all of the permits and the pole wouldn’t be removed.”

The Ministry of Forests initially issued a removal order, but ultimately RDCO was given permission to maintain the pole where it is.

Frustrated with the situation, the NWCA filed Freedom of Information requests with the ministry and the regional district.

Carson says the documents show RDCO spent about $6,500 on reports as to why the pole shouldn’t be relocated.

She also points to staff time directed towards the issue at the ministry and RDCO.

“This added up to more than the invoice.”

NWCA inquiries indicate that it would cost about $2,000 to relocate the pole.

The communities association is still pushing to appear before directors.

“We hope the board will give some direction to staff to work on behalf of their residents,” said Carson.

“It’s a really messy situation that could have been resolved a couple of years ago.”

At the Oct. 13 RDCO board meeting, chief administrative officer Brian Reardon stated he would discuss the matter with his staff.

“We can provide all background information to the board,” he said.

Michelle Carson is married to Wayne Carson, North Westside’s RDCO director.

Source: http://www.vernonmorningstar.com/news/399021461.html

Blue Divider Line

North Westside director slams provincial ministry
by Richard Rolke - Vernon Morning Star - Oct 26, 2016

North Westside’s director insists Victoria isn’t telling the full story about governance.

The Regional District of Central Okanagan board received a letter Monday from Community Development Minister Peter Fassbender about a recent meeting to discuss a possible governance study.

“It is factually inaccurate,” said director Wayne Carson of the letter.

“They talk about a Killiney group. A Killiney Beach group was never mentioned.”

Carson says the discussion with Fassbender revolved around the entire North Westside — LaCasa to Westshore — considering a municipality.

“We’re not just Killiney Beach. We’re talking about 1,100 to 1,500 people. That would put us about half way down the list of municipalities (by population) in B.C.,” said Carson.

In the letter, Fassbender says studies of governance and service issues vary in communities.

“For some communities, an incorporation focus makes sense. For others, approaches within the existing regional district electoral area structure are most appropriate,” said Fassbender.

“Given the size of the community at Killiney Beach and the lack of similar requests from other communities within the electoral areas, this study falls into the latter category.”

However, Carson says a majority of residents are opposed to remaining as an electoral area and they want autonomy as a municipality.

Largely, he added, there are concerns that North Westside issues aren’t taken seriously by RDCO.

“When Lake Country and West Kelowna moved towards incorporation, they got fully support from our (regional district) board. Why aren’t we getting fully support?” he said.

Carson says Fassbender’s letter needs to be clarified.

“I want a proper letter that reflects both times we met with the minister,” he said.

When asked about Carson’s claims about Fassbender’s letter, the Ministry of Community Development stated it, “Will continue to support the Killiney Beach community area residents and the Regional District of Central Okanagan to develop a collaborative process to examine regional district services in their community and make informed decisions about governance.”

Source:  http://www.vernonmorningstar.com/news/398674581.html

====================

COMMENTS

Wayne Carson Okanagan, British Columbia
It is not the Ministry or the Minister that is the problem here. The Minister has been very supportive in the meetings I have attended with him. The letter, received by RDCO on Oct 13 but not released to myself until Oct 24 by the RDCO Board was factually incorrect and the CAO and Board Chair did nothing to address the inaccuracies that should have been obvious to them over that ten day period prior to presenting it to the Board for information. After acknowledging that there were errors and factual inaccuracies the Board Chair still insisted on receiving the letter and got support from the appointed Directors to do so, THAT IS THE PROBLEM. As there were inaccuracies not addressed by RDCO Staff I requested to be party to further discussions and clarification to the Ministry and was denied AGAIN by the Board Chair. Why is it that Lake Country and West Kelowna (3-4 times) got automatic and immediate response to their efforts in the past for local governance yet North Westside receives opposition and delays from the Board that is supposedly there to speak for us??
Like 2 Oct 26, 2016 11:06am

Blue Divider Line

Power pole a lightning rod for North Westside unrest
Kelowna Daily Courier - Tuesday, October 25, 2016 - by Ron Seymour


Wayne Carson of Killiney Beach leans against a power pole erected at the beach by the Regional District of Central Okanagan in this Aug. 25 photo. Installation of the pole just a few feet from Okanagan Lake, and the regional district’s refusal to move it, has angered local residents.

The curious placement of a power pole on a public beach isn’t something regional officials want to keep discussing.
A group of North Westside residents has been denied permission to address the Central Okanagan regional district board about the pole, erected just a few feet from the shore of Okanagan Lake.
“It’s crazy that the regional district would put a power pole like this smack dab in the middle of a public beach,” North Westside Communities Association vice-president Michelle Carson said Tuesday.
“But what’s even more disturbing is how much money the regional district has spent fighting to keep that pole there. And now they’ve said they won’t even talk to us about it anymore,” Carson said.
The regional district sent an email to the NWCA in late September saying representatives of the group could not attend a future board meeting to talk about the power pole.
“As this is an operational matter, the delegation request is denied,” Mary Jane Drouin, the regional district’s manager of corporate services, writes in the email.
The provincial Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations initially issued a trespass notice against the regional district after the pole went up, according to documents obtained by the NWCA under a freedom-of-information request.
Invoices contained in those documents, Carson said, indicate the regional district spent $5,200 to get a report from a consultant that the pole should be left where it was placed.
“Then there’s all the staff time the regional district and the ministry would have devoted to this one issue,” Carson said. “None of it makes any sense, because we have an estimate that it would have cost only about $2,000 to simply move the pole farther away from the beach.”
The pole carries electricity to a boathouse owned by the regional district. Its placement so close to the waterline interferes with the public’s enjoyment of the beach, Carson said, and symbolizes what some North Westsiders say is the regional district’s indifferent approach to providing responsive local government services to the relatively remote community, home to about 1,100 people.
“They’d never try something like this on a beach closer to Kelowna,” Carson said. “They just plopped it here where it was cheapest to put it and thought we’d never notice. Well, we did notice, and we’re not happy about it.”
The province has now granted the regional district tenure for the land on which the pole sits, rendering its relocation unlikely.
Nevertheless, the pole has become a rallying cry of sorts for hundreds of North Westsiders who have signed a petition asking that the province fund a study looking at the possibility of the area being incorporated.
At the Oct. 13 regional board meeting, tensions rose as directors offered varying recollections of a conversation held on the topic with Peter Fassbender, the minister of community, sport and cultural development.
Board chairperson Gail Given, a Kelowna councillor, said Fassbender’s comments were that a provincially funded governance study for the North Westside would depend on a resolution asking for one from the regional board, which is dominated by Kelowna politicians.
But Wayne Carson, who represents North Westside, said Fassbender indicated such a study would be funded. And Mark Bartyik, representing the Ellison-Joe Rich area, also challenged Given’s description of the conversation with Fassbender.
Given responded in a loud voice: “You better not be calling me a liar right here and now because I’m going to lose it.”
Bartyik then said: “I was there. You can call me a liar if you like.”

Staff from the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development are expected to attend a future board meeting to discuss the possibility of a governance study for the North Westside area.
For his part, Fassbender sent the regional board a letter in mid-October that doesn’t offer much support for the idea of a large-scale governance study for North Westside.
A better approach, Fassbender suggests, would be a “small-scale review” of how local decision-making might be enhanced within the existing regional district system.

North Westside consists of communities such as Westshore Estates, Killiney Beach, Valley of the Sun and Fintry, as well as homes along Westside Road from north of La Casa resort to the Okanagan Indian band boundary.
It takes about an hour to drive from the North Westside down Westside Road to the regional district office on KLO Road in Kelowna, or 90 minutes going the other way through Vernon.
Among other things, North Westsiders are concerned about the lack of information on how their local tax dollars are spent, rising costs for water and the lack of amenities in parks.
“We’re as far away from the regional district as you can get, emotionally and physically, and it feels that way,” NWCA president Bob Andrews said in August.
“Many of us don’t believe we get the local government we should, and we’re interested in seeing if we can do better on our own,” Andrews said.


Source:  http://www.kelownadailycourier.ca/news/article_cbbeb41a-9b37-11e6-a940-1fc03753f199.html?mode=story

I for one, don't want to be part of the corruption that I feel is going on by RDCO in regards to the North Westside.

North Westsider

Blue Divider Line

North Westside process clarified
by Richard Rolke - Vernon Morning Star - Oct 23, 2016

The governance process for the North Westside is being clarified.

The Regional District of Central Okanagan board will receive a letter Monday from Community Development Minister Peter Fassbender about recent comments he made about a potential governance review for North Westside.

“I believe a small-scale review, with a focus on local decision making and input into the regional district services would be the best starting point to determine whether and where to focus any next steps,” writes Fassbender.

“ Should the board request support for such a review, the ministry would be happy to assist.”

Wayne Carson, North Westside director, says the letter doesn’t reflect discussions he had with Fassbender. at the Union of B.C. Municipalities conference.

“I need a definition of what’s part of the review. The community asked for a study on governance and my understanding was we’d get a study on governance,” he said.

“We want some autonomy, some self-government.”

In the letter, Fassbender says studies of governance and service issues vary from community to community.

“For some communities, an incorporation focus makes sense. For others, approaches within the existing regional district electoral area structure are most appropriate,” said Fassbender.

“Given the size of the community at Killiney Beach and the lack of similar requests from other communities within the electoral areas, this study falls into the latter category.”

Source: http://www.vernonmorningstar.com/news/397972221.html

Blue Divider Line

.pdf icon October 13, 2016 Highlights of the Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting

Director Travel Request and Leave
The Regional Board has denied a request from the Central Okanagan East Electoral Area Director for travel outside the region later this month. Patty Hanson asked the Board to approve funds for her to attend SILGA educational sessions in Kamloops October 26th while a similar session is also scheduled the next day in West Kelowna.
In addition, the Regional Board brought forward a previous in-camera resolution, pursuant to Section 204 (2) of the Local Government Act, extending a leave to Director Hanson for a 60 day period ending October 21, 2016.

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio October 13, 2016 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (301 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files October 13, 2016 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Chair Given understanding of governance meeting with Minister Fassbender and Director Bartyiks recollection of the meeting were different and Chair Given states that Director Bartyik better not be calling her a lier  - .wma (4.07 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files October 13, 2016 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Director Findlater stating that Ministry staff would help clarify the process when they come, and that the grass roots movement should be listened to - .wma (1.44 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files October 13, 2016 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Item 13 adjourn in-camera - .wma (135 KB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files October 13, 2016 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Item 11.1 Director Hanson - Request to Travel to SILGA Educational Session - .wma (5.20 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files October 13, 2016 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Item 11.3 Rise & Report from Governance & Services Committee Meeting 3 resolution in regard to Director Hanson's leave of absence - Oct 13, 2016 - .wma (581 KB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files October 13, 2016 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about denying Director Hanson travel to Kamloops to attend a SILGA educational meeting - .wma (2.90 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files October 13, 2016 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Director Bartyik still considers Director Hansen the Director of the area - .wma (443 KB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files October 13, 2016 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Director Bartyik speaking about 2 directors being paid and about 3 fire managers being paid - .wma (1.91 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files October 13, 2016 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Director Bartyik stating that a Director can order a special meeting - .wma (1.0 MB)

.pdf icon October 13, 2016 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting Agenda

.pdf icon Item 11.1 Director Hanson - Request to Travel to SILGA Educational Session

.pdf icon Item 11.3 Rise & Report from Governance & Services Committee Meeting - Oct 13, 2016 (nothing there under Board Agenda)

*Note* Please click links above for entire content

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio October 13, 2016 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (301 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files October 13, 2016 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Chair Given understanding of governance meeting with Minister Fassbender and Director Bartyiks recollection of the meeting were different and Chair Given states that Director Bartyik better not be calling her a lier  - .wma (4.07 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files October 13, 2016 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Director Findlater stating that Ministry staff would help clarify the process when they come, and that the grass roots movement should be listened to - .wma (1.44 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files October 13, 2016 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Item 13 adjourn in-camera - .wma (135 KB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files October 13, 2016 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Item 11.1 Director Hanson - Request to Travel to SILGA Educational Session - .wma (5.20 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files October 13, 2016 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Item 11.3 Rise & Report from Governance & Services Committee Meeting 3 resolution in regard to Director Hanson's leave of absence - Oct 13, 2016 - .wma (581 KB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files October 13, 2016 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about denying Director Hanson travel to Kamloops to attend a SILGA educational meeting - .wma (2.90 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files October 13, 2016 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Director Bartyik still considers Director Hansen the Director of the area - .wma (443 KB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files October 13, 2016 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Director Bartyik speaking about 2 directors being paid and about 3 fire managers being paid - .wma (1.91 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files October 13, 2016 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Director Bartyik stating that a Director can order a special meeting - .wma (1.0 MB)

.pdf icon October 13, 2016 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting Minutes

Minutes of RDCO Board meetings are not usually posted to RDCO's website until after the following meeting which would be October 24th.  If the minutes are not posted here yet, you can check RDCO's website to see if they are posted there yet.  If you want a copy of the minutes before then, contact RDCO who will have a copy of the minutes at their office within 7 days after you request a copy of the minutes.  This is in accordance to Local Government Act Procedure Bylaws and Enforcement section 794 (5) and Community Charter Other records to which public access must be provided section 97 (2)

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio October 13, 2016 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (301 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files October 13, 2016 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Chair Given understanding of governance meeting with Minister Fassbender and Director Bartyiks recollection of the meeting were different and Chair Given states that Director Bartyik better not be calling her a lier  - .wma (4.07 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files October 13, 2016 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Director Findlater stating that Ministry staff would help clarify the process when they come, and that the grass roots movement should be listened to - .wma (1.44 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files October 13, 2016 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Item 13 adjourn in-camera - .wma (135 KB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files October 13, 2016 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Item 11.1 Director Hanson - Request to Travel to SILGA Educational Session - .wma (5.20 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files October 13, 2016 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Item 11.3 Rise & Report from Governance & Services Committee Meeting 3 resolution in regard to Director Hanson's leave of absence - Oct 13, 2016 - .wma (581 KB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files October 13, 2016 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about denying Director Hanson travel to Kamloops to attend a SILGA educational meeting - .wma (2.90 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files October 13, 2016 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Director Bartyik still considers Director Hansen the Director of the area - .wma (443 KB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files October 13, 2016 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Director Bartyik speaking about 2 directors being paid and about 3 fire managers being paid - .wma (1.91 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files October 13, 2016 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Director Bartyik stating that a Director can order a special meeting - .wma (1.0 MB)

Blue Divider Line

North Westside governance gains momentum
by Richard Rolke - Vernon Morning Star - Sep 30, 2016

Director Wayne Carson is confident a governance study will proceed for the North Westside area.

A review of North Westside governance appears to have a high-level endorsement.

Director Wayne Carson sat down with Community Development Minister Peter Fassbender at Thursday’s Union of B.C. Municipalities conference in Victoria.

“He says he supports a governance study and the government will fund it,” said Carson.

“There was no conversation. He had already made up his mind.”

Fassbender’s pledge comes despite the Regional District of Central Okanagan board not acting on Carson’s request for a resolution backing a study. Instead, the board says it wants more information from the ministry.

“I’m six inches off the ground. He’s giving us all of the support we could ask for,” said Carson.

Carson hopes a study could occur in 2017.

Currently, North Westside, with a population of 1,000 to 1,500, has one director at the 12-member RDCO board table.

Many North Westside residents have indicated that current structure doesn’t represent their needs because the area is quite a ways from the RDCO office and service costs are growing.

A 700-name petition calling for a study was recently presented to RDCO.

Also at Thursday’s meeting with Fassbender were Gail Given, RDCO chairperson.

“He’s indicated that he’s willing to do a preliminary study,” said Given.

“They are as interested in residents having full information as the board is.”

It’s expected that ministry staff will be before the RDCO board some time this fall to discuss study options.

The board would also have to adopt a resolution supporting a study before the process could proceed further.

The Ministry of Community Development says Fassbender looks forward to receiving an application for a review affecting the North Westside area.

Source: http://www.vernonmorningstar.com/news/395462341.html

Blue Divider Line

Thank you so very much Director Wayne Carson, and also thank you so very much Minister Fassbender!!!

Message from Director Carson

COMMUNITY UPDATE - North Westside Governance Study Request


L to R - Director Carson, Minister Fassbender, Director Bartyik

It was an extremely busy week for me as the elected representative for Central Okanagan West. On September 23, I and Central Okanagan East Director Hanson and her alternate Director Bartyik met with Minister Fassbender and staff of the Provincial Ministry of Community, Sport & Culture to discuss Electoral Area Governance within the Central Okanagan Regional District. I presented the case for the North Westside Communities and Directors Hanson & Bartyik spoke for their areas.

Our planned 30 minute meeting went for 45 minutes and I presented the North Westside Petition and supporting documentation to the Minister and his staff. I then requested support from the Minister for the Governance Study the North Westside Communities Association and their Governance Committee had requested through me. Minister Fassbender thanked us for the information we provided and told us that they would read all documents and talk to the Regional Board before a decision is made.

On Thursday September 29 at the UBCM conference in Victoria I met with Minister Fassbender and his senior staff, Chair Given, CAO Reardon and Director Bartyik where we received his decision. Minister Fassbender stated that he is approving the Governance Study for the North Westside to the RDCO Board Delegation. In addition, he stated that the Ministry will provide Provincial funding for the study and once underway his staff will consider expanding that study to other areas as per the request from Central Okanagan East. Chair Given asked if the RDCO Board still needed to provide a resolution in support of the Study. Minister Fassbender responded that he was sending a senior staff member, as requested by the RDCO Board, as soon as possible (I'm hoping for the October Governance & Services Board Meeting on October 13) to answer any questions they may have and that they could "proceed with the Resolution of Support at that time ... If that was the will of the Board".

I am extremely pleased with the support we have received from Minster Fassbender and his staff and have thanked them on behalf of the residents of the North Westside Communities.

Wayne Carson
Electoral Director, Central Okanagan West
wayne.carson "at" cord.bc.ca
250-801-4859
www.waynecarson.ca

Blue Divider Line

.pdf icon September 19, 2016 Highlights of the Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting

North Westside Governance
The Regional Board has received an update to a request from the North Westside Communities Association that it provide a letter of support in its plan to ask the Province for a Governance Review Study. The Board has agreed to write a letter to Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development Peter Fassbender, advising it is aware of the Association’s desire for a provincially-funded study; that a petition is being circulated by the Association and hopes that Ministry staff can attend a future Board meeting this fall to explain the Province’s role and options available for a governance review. The Ministry was not able to provide a presentation prior to the UBCM conference which takes place the week of September 26th as staff are preparing for that conference.

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio September 19, 2016 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (260 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files September 19, 2016 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Item 6.2 North Westside Communities Association Request for a Letter of Support - Governance Review Study - .wma (24.1 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files September 19, 2016 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Director Baker's motion in regard to letter to be sent to Minister saying that RDCO is aware of Item 6.2 North Westside Communities Association Request for a Letter of Support - Governance Review Study - .wma (2.63 MB)

.pdf icon September 19, 2016 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting Minutes

6.2 North Westside Communities Association Request for a Letter of Support - Governance Review Study (All Directors - Unweighted Corporate Vote - Simple Majority - LGA 208.1)

Staff report dated September 12, 2016 provided an interim report regarding the request for a Letter of Support from the North Westside Communities Association for a governance review study.

At the August 22, 2016 meeting the Association presented to the Board. The Ministry's Governance and Structure Branch responded to the invitation to attend a Board meeting but confirmed staff would not be available to attend prior to UBCM. It was noted that the RDCO has not yet received a copy of the petition from the Association. Director Carson presented a copy noting signatures are still being sought. Staff has just begun reviewing the implications of a governance change to the RDCO and the residents of the North Westside Fire Protection Area.

STACK/BAKER
THAT the Regional Board receive the CAO report dated September 12, 2016 for information.
CARRIED Unanimously

BAKER/SIEBEN
THAT a letter be sent to Minister Fassbender outlining a chronology of events in regards to the request by the North Westside Communities Association for a governance study; and confirm that the Regional Board has heard there is interest for a governance study by some residents of the North Westside; and that a copy of a petition circulated by the North Westside Communities Association was provided to the Regional District on September 19rh; and further that the Board supports Director Carson having a meeting with the Minister on September 23rd; and further that the Board looks forward to receiving a delegation by Ministry staff to outline the Province's role and options for a governance study."
CARRIED Unanimously

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio September 19, 2016 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (260 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files September 19, 2016 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Item 6.2 North Westside Communities Association Request for a Letter of Support - Governance Review Study - .wma (24.1 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files September 19, 2016 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Director Baker's motion in regard to letter to be sent to Minister saying that RDCO is aware of Item 6.2 North Westside Communities Association Request for a Letter of Support - Governance Review Study - .wma (2.63 MB)

Blue Divider Line

MY GOVERNMENT SUCKS THE LIFE RIGHT OUT OF ME, AND BY THE LOOKS OF IT, ALSO MY COMMUNITY!!!

RDCO move disappoints North Westside director
by Roger Knox - Vernon Morning Star - North Westside - Sep 23, 2016

The North Westside Communities Association continues to seek a provincially funded governance study. - nwcaonline.ca

A provincially funded governance study for North Westside remains in the works.

The North Westside Communities Association requested the study and the Regional District of Central Okanagan (RDCO) staff was instructed to prepare a report on North Westside governance.

At its regular meeting Monday, RDCO agreed to write a letter to Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development Peter Fassebender “advising it is aware of the (North Westside Communities) association’s desire for a provincially funded study; that a petition is being circulated by the association and hopes that ministry staff can attend a future board meeting this fall to explain the province’s role and options available for a governance review.”

“That’s not what I was looking for,” said a disappointed Wayne Carson, North Westside RDCO director.

“I was seeking a resolution of support for the study. To me, it should have been rubber stamped.”

Carson said the staff report requested by the association to be prepared by RDCO staff prior to Monday’s meeting was not done.

Carson was surprised by the result considering his colleagues asked a ton of questions of the association for about 90 minutes after their presentation requesting the study.

Currently, North Westside has one director – Carson – at the RDCO board table, which also includes Kelowna, Lake Country, West Kelowna, Peachland and the Central Okanagan East electoral areas.

North Westside residents have expressed concerns that the current governance doesn’t represent their needs because the area is quite a ways from the RDCO offices and service costs are growing.

Carson presented a 700-name petition to the board stating there was no opposition for a provincially funded governance study.

He is slated to meet with Fassbender today ahead of next week’s Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) convention in Victoria.

Source: http://www.vernonmorningstar.com/news/394499491.html

Blue Divider Line

.pdf icon September 8, 2016 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting Minutes

12. Director Items
• Director Carson noted that the two electoral area directors have a meeting booked with Minister Fassbender on September 23 to discuss governance.

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio September 8, 2016 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (28.2 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files September 8, 2016 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Director Carson meeting with Minister Fassbender Sept 23, 2016 - .wma (270 KB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files September 8, 2016 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Findlater and meeting with Minister Fassbender - .wma (877 KB)

Blue Divider Line

Big enough to self-govern?
Castanet.net - Wayne Moore - Aug 30, 2016 | Story: 174688

Central Okanagan West director, Wayne Carson

Can the tiny area known as the North Westside Fire Protection Area on the west side of Okanagan Lake become self-sufficient?

That's what a group of residents, including regional district director Wayne Carson wants to find out.

They recently made a presentation to the Regional District of Central Okanagan, asking for support for a governance study.

The board asked staff to come back with more information before making a final decision.

"They (board) are looking for a staff report responding to some of the concerns raised and also feedback from the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development," said RDCO board chairwoman Gail Given.

From the presentation, Given said three issues came up. Location of a power pole, price of water and an interest in lower taxes.

She said they also seem to be looking for more self-determination.

"The board to date has been quite focussed on making sure their decisions are evidence-based. They want to make sure there is broad-based community support for this, before they make a recommendation to the ministry."

Given cautioned this is a governance review and not an incorporation study. She said this is a report that identifies what the problems are and what the potential solutions are.

Initially, there was talk of all communities within both Central Okanagan East and West joining in a governance study. However, Carson said, at the present time only the North Westside region has the appetite.

When Wilson's Landing and Traders Cove decided not to join in, Carson said the North Westside region decided to go it alone.

"There is a sense of community in the North Westside that isn't really at the same level in other areas within Okanagan West," said Carson.

"They are starting to operate as a community. They have Canada Day and Easter egg hunts, and it's North Westside."

Despite a population estimated at between 1,000 and 1,500, Carson believes they are big enough, and definitely have the backing of the majority of people in the region.

He said there are nearly 600 signatures on a petition, which is unheard of for an area which usually only sees a few hundred turn up to vote, he said.

The region includes Westshore Estates, Killiney Beach, Fintry and Caesar's Landing.

Source: http://www.castanet.net/news/West-Kelowna/174688/Big-enough-to-self-govern

Blue Divider Line

Governance study is imperative
Vernon Morning Star - Jul 24, 2016

In response to Richard Rolke’s Beyond the Headlines column in The Morning Star. I do acknowledge that I rightfully earned the “colourful” remark in regards to my relationship with the Regional District but it is by reputation more than fact.

The current administration has only been present for a very short duration of my time dealing with RDCO. That being said the “new” management has extremely thin skin for bureaucrats.

For the record I believe I did no more than any fire chief would do to build and enhance community safety through the department they serve. Councils and regional boards do not offer funding because it’s the right thing to do; they give it up when presented with a strong financial case and perseverance, mainly perseverance. Those same tax dollars spent on a local fire department represent regional district jobs and projects that RDCO wants to spend on regional parks, administrative overhead, engineering projects, dog control, noxious weeds and on and on that build their staff and empire. This is a matter of priorities and our thoughts/concerns should matter here, not just our wallets.

When I joined North Westside Fire in the early 1990’s they had one two-bay hall, shared office space with the seniors group and their library, two apparatus (one “new” heavily financed engine - one ancient oil patch water tanker), no training facilities or programs, old used turnout gear and equipment and a $135,000 debt.

I did not believe this most essential community service was getting its deserved share and I was determined to change that.

The acquisition of the Shorts Creek Hall, light attack snuffer unit, Engine(s) Replacement Referendum, introduction of the Medical First Responder Program, auto extrication, slope rescue, structural protection sprinklers, responsible boundary extension, Canada's first fireboat rated as a water supply platform to meet fire underwriters municipal water supply standard reducing insurance costs to hundreds of properties – are all projects that I fought for and acquired in my tenure as fire chief.

Yes I made them mad and yes I was a pain in the ass … but I got what was needed and I did it while eliminating the fire department capital debt and never spent beyond the communities and/or department's safety needs or ability to pay.

Currently as the elected representative for Central Okanagan West I believe that restoring a voice for the community in their local service levels (planning, water, fire, solid waste and community parks) and their costs is essential; ensuring the best bang for tax dollars collected is my No. 1 priority. That’s what I heard from the residents in the 2014 election, they want the voice they lost over the past years and value for the taxes they pay.

Taxation without representation is the heart of the problem and as an electoral area the RDCO board is both the problem and source of any possible solution. In my attempts to provide governance through policy and direction as is my elected authority and right, I have instead been rebuffed and outvoted on very occasion by RDCO board representatives that do not contribute or participate in the services and functions in question. That is not democracy by anyone’s standards.

Just as when I was fire chief my goal as regional director is to fight to get as much of our tax requisition dollars as possible to actually be spent on behalf of and to benefit those that pay the tax bill. A governance study is imperative to determine a better future for our residents and the delivery of their local government and services. This effort will help to put us on a path for “a more constructive relationship” between RDCO, myself and the residents I represent.

Wayne Carson, Regional Director,
Central Okanagan West

Source: http://www.vernonmorningstar.com/opinion/letters/387979282.html

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.pdf icon August 22, 2016 Highlights of the Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting

North Westside Governance
The Regional Board has received a presentation from the President of the North Westside Communities Association requesting support from the Board in asking the Provincial Government for a formal Governance Study. The association says more than 550 residents have signed a petition and there was overwhelming support from over 100 people attending an information meeting to request Board support for a formal review of governance options. Staff will review the request and information and provide a report to the Board at a future meeting on implications and request a presentation from the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development.

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio August 22, 2016 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (311 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files August 22, 2016 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Item 5.1 Delegation North Westside Communities Association President Bob Andrews - Governance Study Committee - .wma (39.4 MB)

.pdf icon August 22, 2016 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting Minutes

5. DELEGATION

5.1 North Westside Communities Association - Governance Study Committee, Bob Andrews - President (All Directors - Unweighted Corporate Vote - Simple Majority - LGA 208.1)

Bob Andrews, President of the North Westside Communities Association presented the Association's view on governance in the North Westside area of Central Okanagan West Electoral Area. Mr. Andrews is also the Chair of the North Westside Communities Governance Committee, a group of seven residents. The past accomplishments of the Association were highlighted.
Due to dissatisfaction being voiced by some community members on governance regarding lack of transparency, lack of accountability, feeling of alienation and indifference, and increasing water-related costs the Association decided to take action to review governance in the area. Examples of the issues of concern were highlighted.

The Committee requests a letter of support for the Province to review the governance options available to the residents of the North Westside.

Discussion:
• Governance studies and incorporation studies are two different issues.
• The Committee's draft Terms of Reference was presented. The request for $50,000 in funding is to the Province. The Committee petitions the Province to determine if they will consider a study. The Province makes the decision not the Regional District.
• It was noted that $30,000 was included in the RDCO Electoral Area budget for 2016 for 'governance'. Director Carson noted this funding is for 'service related' issues not for a governance study. There will be a cost to the RDCO for staff resources should a study be approved by the Province.
• Other communities within the electoral area will be impacted should a change in governance occur.
• The question was raised if the Province could attend a future Board meeting to clarify their role in such a study.

FORTIN/STACK
THAT the presentation by the North Westside Communities Association regarding a governance study be received for information;
AND FURTHER THAT staff report to the Board, prior to UBCM Convention, outlining the implications of a governance study to the Regional District.
CARRIED Unanimously

OPHUS/BAKER
THAT staff request the Province attend a Board meeting, prior to UBCM Convention, to outline the Province's role and options for a governance study.
CARRIED (opposed Carson)

It was noted that although a letter of support is requested, it is premature as the Board needs an opportunity to review the information presented including the potential impact to the Regional District.
CARSON/BAKER
THAT the Board resolve to support a governance study by the North Westside Governance Committee for the North Westside Road Fire Protection Area.
DEFEATED (Carson in support)

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio August 22, 2016 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (311 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files August 22, 2016 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Item 5.1 Delegation North Westside Communities Association President Bob Andrews - Governance Study Committee - .wma (39.4 MB)

Blue Divider Line


click for a larger copy

North Westside fights back
by Richard Rolke - Vernon Morning Star - Jun 8, 2016

Civil unrest is breaking out in the North Westside area.

Many residents are increasingly fed up with the Regional District of Central Okanagan and the perception that their interests aren’t taken seriously.

“They say we have lost our voice in local government and there is no say over their tax dollars,” said director Wayne Carson of his constituents.

Now to understand the current situation, you need to look at RDCO’s history.

When the district formed in 1967, it had eight electoral areas and the municipalities of Kelowna and Peachland. But through annexations and incorporations, there are only two electoral areas now and four municipalities.

RDCO’s population in 2011 was 179,830. The two electoral areas only make up about 5,700 people (not including the Westbank First Nation), with Westside Road from Trader’s Cove to Westshore Estates consisting of between 1,500 and 2,000 people.

Quite simply, the North Westside has been negatively impacted by demographics, urbanization and political trends.

On top of this, the area is geographically some distance from the rest of RDCO and is more closely associated with Vernon for mailing addresses, schools and shopping.

Carson insists he is increasingly outvoted by the municipally dominated board.

“I got 71 per cent of the vote (in the last election) but it means nothing to them.”

This is the exact opposite of the Regional District of North Okanagan where the five electoral areas have often been accused of having too much influence compared to their municipal counterparts.

Part of the difference is that RDNO, unlike RDCO, has an advisory committee that handles issues of concern in the rural areas. All decisions must still be ratified by the RDNO board, but the committee gives the electoral areas a sense of ownership.

As an example, the full RDNO board votes on how federal gas tax funds will be dispersed in electoral areas, but it’s a rubber-stamp. The municipal directors generally respect the concept of rural directors knowing what is best for their area.

Carson says he has no control over gas tax money and RDCO administration determines that it should primarily go to water projects instead of parks.

“There’s a lack of true governance for the electoral area.”

Now it should be pointed out that RDCO is full of a lot of good people who work hard and have the best of intentions. That aside, a very real perception exists that the North Westside is taken for granted and not considered a priority.

Adding to the conflict is the strained relationship Carson had with many RDCO officials when he was on the payroll as fire chief. There’s no question that has coloured the current situation and the inability of both sides to work together.

It’s difficult to know what the answer is but it’s obvious that a more constructive relationship between RDCO, Carson and North Westside residents needs to develop.

That may mean RDCO embracing an electoral area committee structure similar to RDNO’s, or Westside Road considering governance options like forming a municipality and sitting at the regional table as an equal.

And for those who say the North Westside is too small to go it alone, consider that Lumby has 1,731 people, Enderby’s at 2,932 and Nakusp’s population is 1,574. Anything is possible if you are willing to take the chance and, of course, pay for it.

Source: http://www.vernonmorningstar.com/opinion/382140901.html

Blue Divider Line

North Westside furor continues
by Richard Rolke - Vernon Morning Star - Jun 3, 2016

Frustration over governance continues to fester in the North Westside area.

On Monday, the Regional District of Central Okanagan board received a report outlining the use of federal gas tax funds in the electoral areas over the past nine years.

“I’m not a happy person,” said Wayne Carson, North Westside director.

“I got the distribution list two days before the meeting. I had asked for it in January.”

Carson asked that the report be deferred so he could review the contents, but he only got support from Patti Hanson, Central Okanagan East director.

“The Kelowna councillors shot it all to hell,” he said.

From 2006 to 2015 the Central Okanagan West electoral area, which includes the North Westside, has received $2.6 million in gas tax funds. About $1.6 million has been spent, another $174,723 is committed to projects and $1.3 million remains in reserve for future projects.

Carson objects to the 10 municipal board members determining where the money is spent in the two electoral areas.

“It should only be electoral area directors voting on this.”


About 75 per cent of the money has gone to three North Westside water utilities, but Carson says funds should also be directed to parks and recreation.

“I want to be more equitable with the funds.”

Carson says neither he or the community have any direct say over where money goes and the ultimate decision is left up to RDCO administration and the board.

“There’s a lack of true governance for the electoral area,” he said.

“I got 71 per cent of the vote (in the last election) but it means nothing to them. They operate on their own.”

Gail Givens, RDCO chairperson, defends the board’s involvement with gas tax funds.

“All budget items under the Local Government Act are voted on by the whole board,” she said.

“The director does get an opportunity to make recommendations. Some of the items recommended by the director were included.”

Carson and a citizens’ committee are pushing for a review to determine if other governance options are possible for the North Westside beyond the electoral area model.

“There is an opportunity for them to explore other governance options. It’s a process they need to go through,” said Givens.

Source: http://www.vernonmorningstar.com/news/381683541.html

Blue Divider Line

Outvoted: rural Okanagan residents seek new governance model
Global Okanagan - By Megan Turcato - June 3, 2015

NORTH WESTSIDE – It’s only about a hour drive from Kelowna but some believe the North Westside is far removed from decision making at the Regional District of Central Okanagan (RDCO).

“What it boils down to is our elected representatives are always outvoted. We’ve lost our local governance,” says president of the North Westside Community Association, Bob Andrews. “Because of that we don’t have fair representation for our tax funds.”

On the regional district’s board, the two directors from rural electoral areas are far outnumbered by the ten directors form municipalities like Kelowna and West Kelowna. Feeling they can’t be effectively represented, some residents areas are speaking out.

“We have specific issues that are quite unrelated to issues of people in the city,” says Gary Blidook, a resident of the Central Okanagan East Electoral Area.

A regional district spokesperson points out voting structures haven’t changed and says residents can always bring their concerns to directors.

“The municipal and electoral area directors can bring those concerns at any time to their regional district staff or board table for discussion,” says RDCO spokesperson Bruce Smith. “The regional district board is an open forum, it is transparent.”

Electoral area director for Central Okanagan West, Wayne Carson, acknowledges directors can put local issues in front of the regional district board, “but it is difficult because there are only the two representatives from the electoral areas [and] the other ten representatives are from the municipalities.”

A number of possible solutions have been floated, including creating new municipalities in the electoral areas, amalgamating the electoral areas into existing municipalities or creating an electoral area committee.

Source: http://globalnews.ca/news/2035345/outvoted-rural-okanagan-resident-seek-new-governance-model/

Yeh but what is the use in bringing issues to the Board table Bruce Smith, when Chair Gail Given always shoots Directors down stating its an administrative issue and isn't to be discussed at the Board table?

Blue Divider Line

North Westside governance reviewed
by Richard Rolke - Vernon Morning Star - May 29, 2016

There appears to be interest in pursuing possible governance options for the North Westside.

About 120 people attended an open house at the Killiney Beach Community Thursday on the current governance model under the Regional District of Central Okanagan and whether changes are needed.

“I heard a lot of frustration,” said Wayne Carson, director.

“The same theme reoccurs. They say we have lost our voice in local government and there is no say over their tax dollars.”

The North Westside has one director at the 12-member board table, and Carson says he is often outvoted by his counterparts from Kelowna, Lake Country, West Kelowna and Peachland.

A governance committee is lobbying the provincial government to initiate a study that will determine if the existing RDCO system works for the North Westside or if other governance options should be considered.

Among the options are the North Westside forming its own municipality or forming a municipality with Ellison-Joe Rich, which is north and east of Kelowna.

Those at Thursday’s meeting were asked if they want a governance study.

“It was overwhelming. No one objected to the process,” said Carson, who admits that any review will be lengthy and there is no guarantee governance will change.

“We want to find out how much it will cost in a proper study.”

Carson will discuss the issue of governance with Community Development Minister Peter Fassbender and Christy Clark, Westside-Kelowna MLA and premier.

“I’m hoping they will be sympathetic,” he said.

Source: http://www.vernonmorningstar.com/news/381157221.html

Blue Divider Line

Westside governance debated
by Richard Rolke - Vernon Morning Star - May 25, 2016

The future of the North Westside Road area is uncertain.

A open house will be held Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Killiney Beach Community Hall to get the public’s feedback on possibly initiating a governance study.

“We want to see if we can support ourselves. We need that information,” said Bob Andrews, North Westside Communities Association president and a member of the North Westside Governance Committee.

The North Westside is part of the Central Okanagan West electoral area in the Regional District of Central Okanagan and has one director at the 12-member board table.

“It’s our only form of governance and because our director is always outvoted by the municipal directors, there is no representation,” said Andrews.

Wayne Carson, Central Okanagan West director, says the current situation at RDCO is frustrating for him and Patty Hanson, who represents Central Okanagan East (Ellison-Joe Rich).

“There is a lack of local voice in the governance and how are taxes are spent,” said Carson.

“We put a significant amount of money into the regional district. Our local services are not getting the attention we deserve.”

As an example, Andrews says a utility pole was installed on a public beach at Killiney Beach against the wishes of residents.

“It is our understanding that almost $6,000 has been spent in an effort to keep a pole no one wants,” said Andrews.

The governance committee is lobbying the provincial government to sanction a study that will determine if the existing RDCO system works for the North Westside or if other governance options should be considered.

Among the options are the North Westside forming its own municipality or forming a municipality with Ellison-Joe Rich, which is north and east of Kelowna.

Andrews hopes North Westside residents will attend Thursday’s meeting.

“We want opinions our director can express to the community development minister,” he said.

RDCO is saying little about a possible governance study on the North Westside.

“The regional district board is aware of the initiative by the residents,” said Bruce Smith, RDCO communications officer.

Source: http://www.vernonmorningstar.com/news/380705801.html

Blue Divider Line

Video of May 26, 2016 North Westside Road Communities Association Governance meeting at Killiney Beach Hall


click image for larger copy


click image for larger copy

May 26, 2016 the North Westside Communities Association held a meeting to talk about governance in Central Okanagan West and East. This is video of the President of the Communities Association speaking at the beginning of the meeting.
https://youtu.be/XBoyODUVvOs

May 26, 2016 the North Westside Communities Association held a meeting to talk about governance in Central Okanagan West and East. This is video of the President of the Communities Association asking the Community for a show of hands of who are interested in a Governance Study
https://youtu.be/F-A_Ete8QFU

May 26, 2016 the North Westside Road Communities Association held a meeting to talk about governance in Central Okanagan West and East. This is video of one of the residents asking 3 questions and getting answers from Director Carson.
1. How much will a governance feasibility study cost?
2. How long will it take to do a feasibility study?
3. Will we get co-operation from RDCO?
https://youtu.be/zuTHLhqiCUQ

May 26, 2016 the North Westside Road Communities Association held a meeting to talk about governance in Central Okanagan West and East. This is video of one of the residents asking if any water grants for Killiney Beach would be affected by a feasibility study. Director Carson replied saying no, he already has the cheque.
https://youtu.be/mC8HJu6jyoM

May 26, 2016 the North Westside Road Communities Association held a meeting to talk about governance in Central Okanagan West and East. This is video of Director Carson stating that he wants to take community support for a feasibility study to the RDCO Board.
https://youtu.be/GaGDp_5-FL4

May 26, 2016 the North Westside Road Communities Association held a meeting to talk about governance in Central Okanagan West and East. This is video of a resident asking COW Director Carson if there are enough people to support a governance feasibility study for Central Okanagan East and West?
https://youtu.be/9_D_0joao0o

May 26, 2016 the North Westside Road Communities Association held a meeting to talk about governance in Central Okanagan West and East. This is video of a resident asking COW Director Carson if the RDCO will somehow block the Community from moving forward with a governance feasibility study.
https://youtu.be/HgsXs8F33N0

May 26, 2016 the North Westside Road Communities Association held a meeting to talk about governance in Central Okanagan West and East. This is video of a resident asking how Director Carson can sell this idea of a feasibility study to the rest of RDCO Board members. The video camera ran out of disk space to record anymore so we were unable to record Director Carson's answer.
https://youtu.be/RaVF6KVaMwU

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files April 25, 2016 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Director item - Carson - Governance Study (Given says it took Cultus Lake 10 years for a governance study, and she went on to explain how incorporation is different) - .wma (4.86 MB)

We had a look at the number of signatures on the governance feasibility study petition that was at the back of the Killiney Beach Hall at the meeting May 26, 2016, and there were a lot of signatures.  The North Westside Road Communities Association website also has a link to the governance feasibility study petition if you are interested to sign the petition from there instead.

Blue Divider Line

.pdf icon April 25, 2016 Highlights of the Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting

Nothing was mentioned in the Highlights about about the audio links below

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio April 25, 2016 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (189 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files April 25, 2016 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Carson and Hanson having a meeting with Community and Sport Minister Fassbender - .wma (959 KB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files April 25, 2016 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Director item - Carson - Governance Study (Given says it took Cultus Lake 10 years for a governance study, and she went on to explain how incorporation is different) - .wma (4.86 MB)

.pdf icon April 25, 2016 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting Agenda

.pdf icon Nothing was mentioned in the Agenda about governance because this was a Director item

*Note* Please click links above for entire content

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio April 25, 2016 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (189 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files April 25, 2016 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Carson and Hanson having a meeting with Community and Sport Minister Fassbender - .wma (959 KB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files April 25, 2016 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Director item - Carson - Governance Study (Given says it took Cultus Lake 10 years for a governance study, and she went on to explain how incorporation is different) - .wma (4.86 MB)

.pdf icon April 25, 2016 Regional District of Central Okanagan Regular Board Meeting Minutes

10. NEW BUSINESS
10.1 Electoral Area Governance
Director Carson requested approval for travel expenses for himself and Director Hanson to meet with Minister Fassbender to discuss electoral area governance.
CARSON/BAKER
THAT the Regional Board authorize travel expenses to Victoria for Director Carson and Director Hanson to meet with Minister Fassbender to discuss electoral area governance.
CARRIED (opposed Ophus/Findlater)

Further, Director Carson requested support from the Board for a governance study in the two electoral areas. In discussion, it was noted that a written report is required for the Board to consider what is being asked. First, the Province needs to determine if a governance study is feasible. The Directors are to report back to the Board after their meeting with the Province.

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.mp3 file icon - click here for help with audio April 25, 2016 audio of entire RDCO Board meeting - .mp3 (189 MB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files April 25, 2016 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Carson and Hanson having a meeting with Community and Sport Minister Fassbender - .wma (959 KB)

Click this Windows Media Audio icon for help with audio files April 25, 2016 audio of RDCO Board meeting only about Director item - Carson - Governance Study (Given says it took Cultus Lake 10 years for a governance study, and she went on to explain how incorporation is different) - .wma (4.86 MB)

Chair Given had to mention that it takes 10 years to incorporate to get that dig in, didn't she!!!  Chair Given seems to be loving it!!!

Blue Divider Line

Dec 2009

Article about Governance in the North Westside Road area published in the North Westside Road Community News.

Blue Divider Line

DID YOU KNOW THAT YOU ONLY HAVE 2 MONTHS TO NOTIFY A REGIONAL DISTRICT BY LETTER, IF YOU ARE TAKING A REGIONAL DISTRICT TO COURT, AND THAT YOU HAVE TO EXPLAIN EVERY DETAIL?

AND DID YOU KNOW YOU ONLY HAVE 6 MONTHS TO START COURT ACTION?

THERE ARE SOME CASES WHERE MORE THAN 6 MONTHS CAN PASS IF YOU HAVE A GOOD EXCUSE

FOR EVERYONE ELSE YOU HAVE 2 YEARS TO TAKE THEM TO COURT!!!

MUNICIPALITY MEANS REGIONAL DISTRICT
Local Government Act
[RSBC 1996] CHAPTER 323
Part 24 — Regional Districts
Division 1 — Interpretation

Application of other provisions
774 In the application of the other provisions of this Act or the Community Charter to regional districts, references are to be read as follows:

Reference To be read as
municipality............................... regional district

council...................................... board
mayor....................................... chair
councillor.................................. director
municipal officer........................ regional district officer

(We believe that Municipality means Regional District)

===================================

Local Government Act
[RSBC 1996] CHAPTER 323
Part 24 — Regional Districts
Division 6 — General

Legal proceedings and enforcement
847 (1) The following apply to a regional district and its board:

Division 2 [Proceedings against Municipality] of Part 7;

================================

Local Government Act
Part 7 — Legal Proceedings
Division 2 — Proceedings against Municipality

Limitation period for actions against municipality
285 All actions against a municipality for the unlawful doing of anything that

(a) is purported to have been done by the municipality under the powers conferred by an Act, and

(b) might have been lawfully done by the municipality if acting in the manner established by law,

must be commenced within 6 months after the cause of action first arose, or within a further period designated by the council in a particular case, but not afterwards.



Immunity unless notice given to municipality after damage
286 (1) A municipality is in no case liable for damages unless notice in writing, setting out the time, place and manner in which the damage has been sustained, is delivered to the municipality within 2 months from the date on which the damage was sustained.

(2) In case of the death of a person injured, the failure to give notice required by this section is not a bar to the maintenance of the action.

(3) Failure to give the notice or its insufficiency is not a bar to the maintenance of an action if the court before whom it is tried, or, in case of appeal, the Court of Appeal, believes

(a) there was reasonable excuse, and

(b) the defendant has not been prejudiced in its defence by the failure or insufficiency.

IT SAYS THERE IS EXCEPTION TO THIS IF THERE WAS REASONABLE EXCUSE. YOU CAN FIND CASES IN THE BC COURT JUDGEMENT DATABASE

SMALL CLAIMS COURT AND PROVINCIAL COURT JUDGEMENTS DATABASE

SUPREME COURT JUDGMENTS DATABASE

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.pdf icon Governance & Services Committee Meeting Minutes - July 9, 2009

3.3 Reg Volk - Computerized balloting

Withdrawn from the agenda - Mr. Volk unavailable to attend.

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Local Government Act
[RSBC 1996] CHAPTER 323
This Act is Current to December 2, 2009

Part 24 — Regional Districts

Division 6 — General

Local community commissions

838 (1) A board may, by bylaw, establish in an electoral area one or more local communities to be administered by local community commissions.

(2) A bylaw establishing a local community, or a bylaw amending or repealing such a bylaw, has no effect unless it receives the assent of the electors in the area of the local community and is approved by the inspector.

(3) As an exception to subsection (2), the minister may waive the requirement for assent of the electors to a bylaw that amends or repeals a bylaw establishing a local community.

(4) For the purposes of obtaining the assent of the electors as required by this section, Part 4 applies and the voting area is to be the proposed local community or the local community, as applicable.

(5) A bylaw establishing a local community must do the following:

(a) name the local community;

(b) establish the boundaries of the local community;

(c) establish the time and manner of holding annual general meetings of the commission;

(d) establish either

(i) that elections for commissioners are to be held every 3 years at the time of the general local election, or

(ii) that elections for commissioners are to be held each year at a time specified in the bylaw.

(6) A bylaw establishing a local community may do one or more of the following:

(a) establish the manner of holding elections for commissioners, if this is to be different from that provided by the application of Part 3;

(a.1) provide that the number of elected commissioners is to be 6;

(b) [Repealed 1998-34-186.]

(c) set terms, conditions and restrictions on activities of the commission.

(7) A bylaw under subsection (6) (a) must be adopted at least 8 weeks before the general voting day for the election to which it first applies.

(8) The commission for a local community consists of

(a) unless the bylaw provides otherwise under subsection (6) (a.1), 4 elected commissioners, and

(b) the director for the electoral area in which the local community is located.

(8.1) A commissioner must have the qualifications to hold office as a director.

(9) Except as provided by a bylaw under subsection (6) (a), Part 3 applies to the election of commissioners.

(10) The term of office for elected commissioners is to be

(a) 3 years or until their successors are elected, whichever is later, if the bylaw establishing the local community specifies that elections are to be held every 3 years, or

(b) one year or until their successors are elected, whichever is later, if the bylaw establishing the local community specifies that elections are to be held each year.

(11) At each annual general meeting, the commissioners must elect a chair and a vice chair.

(12) [Repealed 2000-7-116.]

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Regional Governance Study

Directors Robert Hobson, Graham Reid, and Patty Hanson will join appointees from the North Okanagan and Okanagan Similkameen Regional Districts. The group will look into common services and functions that could perhaps be provided by an amalgamated, single Regional District model.

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Regional District of Central Okanagan Governance and Services Committee Agenda October 9, 2008

UBCM has a Regional District task force that will be looking at Regional Governance. (pg 1)

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A,B,C's of annexation
By Jennifer Smith - Vernon Morning Star - Published: October 23, 2008

The last time I checked, things seemed to be running relatively well in the electoral areas such as BX, rural Enderby, Trinity Valley, et al.

So why is it that these residents (of which I am in the BX category) are now facing an uncertain future – one that is being suggested by the provincial government and the City of Vernon?

Doesn’t anyone believe in that old saying anymore: “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it?”

Now obviously, not everything is rosy in the rural areas, but then again, where is it?

But without any major problems, one has to wonder why the North Okanagan Regional District is pressuring the B.C. government to complete a restructuring study in the first place?

And why NORD is sending questionnaires out to electoral area residents this week?

Even community services minister Blair Lekstrom has said he’s interested in healing the rural and urban situation.

Since when were we broken?

Don't get me wrong, I honestly think it’s a good idea to get an opinion reading from the residents. Because maybe they’re really not happy with how things are going. Maybe I’m the only one who thinks things are just dandy.

But not having heard any major complaints, rallies for change, etc. I can’t help but think this is all part of a plan for single governance for Greater Vernon. And that Vernon is the big push behind this.

It makes sense why Vernon would want to see the status quo re-examined, because ultimately, the city would like to take over a majority of the surrounding lands (check out the Official Community Plan boundary extensions).

It wasn’t that long ago that Vernon consumed the Okanagan Landing area – formerly known as Area A. Now if you follow the alphabet, what comes after A?

OK, now look at what the electoral areas are.

BX Swan Lake – Area B

BX Silver Star – Area C

After A, comes B and C....get my drift.

But that’s just my own theory.

The fact is there could be a lot of benefits for the electoral areas becoming part of Vernon. So joining Vernon or changing governance isn’t my main concern here.

What concerns me is Vernon’s reputation for dealing with annexation.

Alan Hill, the former Area A director, spelled it out nicely to BX residents Tuesday that the city cannot be trusted.

Just one example is how residents were promised free sewer. Instead, Hill’s sewer connection costs were just shy of $20,000.

All the broken promises he alluded to leave me with little trust that Vernon would keep any promises to anyone else (hint, hint B and C).

It’s a sad day when someone’s promises can’t be trusted. Instead the only thing we can trust are bylaws, and possibly something referred to as ‘letters patent.’

And for those of us who love the rural atmosphere, larger lot sizes and not living next to large developments and commercial spaces, Hill reminds us that the beauty of the Landing has been destroyed since being consumed by the city.

So now, we electoral area residents are being asked to re-examine our governance options. Do we want the status quo, to form our own municipality individually or with another electoral area, or to amalgamate with the city?

Personally, I once again go back to the old saying: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

But that's just my theory, the decision will be up to you.

I'm just throwing out some food for thought, hoping you will chew on it for a bit.

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Residents asked to explore governance
By Jennifer Smith - Vernon Morning Star - Published: October 23, 2008

Rural residents have three options.

1. Remain as status quo, as an electoral area under the North Okanagan Regional District.

2. Incorporate as a municipality, whether that be individually or as a joint incorporation with one or more electoral areas.

3. Amalgamate by joining an existing municipality – Vernon.

All of NORD’s electoral area residences should be receiving a questionnaire pertaining to these options this week.

“It’s not a vote. It’s for information only of the rural directors,” said Greg Betts, NORD electoral area services general manager.

“They wanted to get a sense of what their residents wanted in terms of governance.”

Betts explained the situation to approximately 100 BX Swan Lake residents who turned out for an informational meeting Tuesday at BX Elementary.

The BX/Swan Lake Community Association organized the meeting to shed some light on what the future could hold for Area B and Area C.

The meeting was specifically sparked from the City of Vernon’s Official Community Plan, which was recently adopted with future boundary plans to extend into the rural communities.

“While it encompasses most of area B and C, it doesn’t encompass it all,” said Ray Ivey, association president.

With these plans, plus the provincial government’s initiative to look into governance options for rural areas, the BX meeting was called in hopes of providing some information.

Kim Flick, Vernon’s manager of planning and building, says that if the city does not receive timely direction from the provincial government, it will start looking at the situation on its own.

In doing so, the city has two annexation policy goals: 1. complete a study of phased amalgamation and 2. define the process for consideration of amalgamation.

That will include examining the cost of servicing new lands (of which the foothills has been targeted as a development area), looking at the urban/rural interface and consulting property owners and residents.

The city is also working on a policy for no net loss of agricultural lands and it does not want to see apartment buildings on the east boundary of the city.

“There are no plans for annexation. But we have a plan to respond to requests of annexation,” said Flick, as annexation is motivated by individual property owners.

NORD has now requested, for the second time, a restructuring study, which is an extensive process.

Betts admits that without completing a restructuring study there are many questions left unanswered.

“Why can’t you tell me which option I should choose? Why can’t you tell me if my taxes will go up or down?” said Betts.

Ivey adds: “These options are not black and white. There’s many things to explore.”

Alan Hill, the former Area A (Okanagan Landing) director, warns that the city isn’t always fulfilling of its promises.

In the early ‘90s, Hill says his area was the first target in Vernon’s plans to make one government for all of Greater Vernon.

At first, a majority of residents were against the idea and defeated a democratic resolution, says Hill.

“So the field guns were brought out and the carrots were brought with them,” said Hill, as the city promised sewer at no cost, taxes at a rural rate for 10 years, and more.

When the vote came up, a majority of residents voted to amalgamate.

“You know donkeys go for carrots,” said Hill. “There were too many donkeys in the Landing at the time.”

Despite the promises, and even a letter from the mayor saying access to trunk sewer lines would be provided at no cost, Hill says the city failed to keep their word.

Ivey reminds BX residents that promises are not legally binding unless they are voted on and become a bylaw. “Don’t bank on promises and letters.”

Hill goes on to say that the Landing has seen urban sprawl at its worst form and the beauty of the area has been destroyed.

“Are we happy? Well, you guess.”

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Valley-wide governance still on table
By Richard Rolke - Vernon Morning Star - Published: September 19, 2008

The concept of valley-wide governance may not be dead.

The chairmen of the Okanagan’s three regional districts met recently and part of the discussions focused on the process that was launched late last year and then tabled by the provincial government for further review.

“We are still interested in pursuing local government reform and there may be opportunities after the civic elections in the fall to keep the topic before the minister,” said Jerry Oglow, North Okanagan Regional District chairman.

Last last year, then- community services minister Ida Chong initiated a process to look at how services throughout the Okanagan could be provided.

But despite a committee of politicians recommending one single regional district or special authorities for water and other issues, Chong decided in May not to move ahead so her staff could look at the costs and benefits of alternative governance structures in the Okanagan.

Chong is no longer involved, and the matter is now in the hands of the new minister, Blair Lekstrom.

“We don’t want the report sitting on some shelf collecting dust,” said Oglow.

Oglow isn’t sure if the options proposed earlier this year would still be on the table or if other possibilities could surface. He says that will depend on the wishes of Lekstrom and the politicians in place after November’s elections.

The three regional district chairmen have also looked at a new co-operative agreement between Vernon, Kelowna, Westside and Penticton.

“We commend the municipalities for doing that and they are well on the way to local government reform,” said Oglow.

The agreement allows for cities to work together on issues such as affordable housing, global warming, sustainable development, transit and harmonization of regulations.

There will also be an advisory board, consisting of the mayors and chief administrative officers.

Oglow believes that the initiative launched by the valley’s four largest cities could be expanded to embrace the regional districts.

“It may be logical to create co-operative relationships,” he said.

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Four mayors ratify new relationship
Vernon Morning Star - Published: September 18, 2008

Four Okanagan mayors gathered in Kelowna Tuesday for what they called an historic day — the signing of an agreement that formalizes the four municipalities working together on regional issues.

“This is the first agreement of its kind on the province,” said Westside Mayor Rosalind Neis. “It’s wonderful to be involved with something so simple and so powerful.”

“Sometimes, you just have to do something that makes sense,” added Vernon Mayor Wayne Lippert. “It will help us move things along that will really affect the day-to-day lives of those who live in the valley.”

Back in the 1990s, Penticton Mayor Jake Kimberly initiated meetings between the region’s mayors to talk about common issues. Then, when the provincial government began looking at amalgamating regional districts — something they have since backed away from — the region’s mayors began looking at working together more on a municipal level, said Kelowna Mayor Sharon Shepherd.

Those discussions culminated Tuesday in the signing of agreements, called Intermunicipal Service Agreements, which establish the “mechanics” needed for Kelowna, Westside, Vernon and Penticton to begin working together on issues such as affordable housing, global warming, sustainable development, transit and harmonization of regulations.

The agreements also establish an Intermunicipal Advisory Board, made up of the mayors and chief administrative officers from the four communities, which will provide direction to the municipalities’ councils and advise on issues for partnership.

Other small municipalities in the Okanagan are also invited to join, if interested, said Shepherd.

Initially, the fledgling municipality of Westside will benefit most from the ability to share bylaws and best practices with established municipalities, but Neis is hopeful they will also contribute ideas to the other cities.

“I do hope that in time the Westside can also be a big contributor, so that we’re not just the recipient of the benefit, but as time goes on, we can bring forward other things to help the municipalities as well,” said Neis.

Also benefiting from the agreement, noted Kimberly, are the taxpayers, as it is expected municipalities will be able to trim costs as they work together on bylaws of common interest.

“It’s not another level of government, it’s working within the means that we have and recognizing that we’ve always cooperated between municipalities in the valley and this just assures us that will continue,” said Shepherd.

While there are a number of issues the advisory board could focus on, they haven’t determined yet what the first projects will be, said Shepherd.

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Highlights of the Regional Board Meeting– November 19, 2007
Okanagan Valley Governance Committee
The Regional Board has agreed to an expansion of the committee of appointed political representatives looking at valley-wide governance options. The Board has approved adding Kelowna Mayor Sharon Shepherd to the committee. Ministry of Community Services Minister Ida Chong has agreed that the Mayors of Kelowna and Penticton be added to the governance study committee. As the Mayor of Vernon is already a member of the committee, the Regional District of North Okanagan will appoint an additional representative.

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Highlights of the Regional Board Meeting– October 1, 2007
Regional Governance Study
The Regional Board has appointed three representatives to a working committee exploring growth management and governance options in the Okanagan Valley. Directors Robert Hobson, Graham
Reid, and Patty Hanson will join appointees from the North Okanagan and Okanagan Similkameen Regional Districts. The group will look into common services and functions that could perhaps be provided by an amalgamated, single Regional District model. The Minister of Community Services has asked the committee to conclude its work by the spring of 2008.

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Regional District Regular Board Meeting Minutes – February 13, 2006 (Pg. 2)
3. CORRESPONDENCE
3.1 Ministry of Community Services re: Restructure Planning Grant Approval
The Ministry of Community Services confirmed approval of two additional restructure planning grants. These are in addition to the previous three restructure grants totalling $100,000 for Phase 2-Stage 1 of the Westside Governance Study.
#62/06 DINWOODIE/NOVAKOWSKI
THAT the January 27, 2006 letter from the Ministry of Community Services regarding approval of two additional restructure planning grants of $40,000 and $10,000 be received.
CARRIED

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Highlights of the Regional Board Meeting–Dec 10, 2001
Board Hears from Westside Residents
Recent discussions about governance on the Westside have Westside Road residents requesting more information from the Provincial government. The Board received a copy of a petition from Westside residents sent to Minister George Abbott.

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BC Electoral Boundaries Commission

Public consultation

- Killiney Beach should be with Vernon, not Kelowna

- The area north of Fintry should remain with its present district and Summerland should be affiliated with Penticton.

- Do not go so far down Westside Road towards Vernon. (page 13)

bc-ebc.ca/files/pdf/General/Public_Recommendations_111006.pdf  (link no longer works) so here is a replacement

http://www.llbccat.leg.bc.ca/ipac20/ipac.jsp?index=BIB&term=407299#focus

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Cabinet shuffle praised
By Richard Rolke - Vernon Morning Star - June 24, 2008

It shouldn't be a complete a surprise but there are few tears being shed over Ida Chong.

On Monday, Premier Gordon Campbell shuffled Chong from the ministry of community services to technology, trade and economic development.

"I am very pleased," said a gleeful Barry Beardsell, a Vernon councillor, of Blair Lekstrom being named the new minister responsible for B.C.'s municipalities and regional districts.

"I hope he is more decisive than she was and will add more strength to the portfolio."

All of this comes just two weeks after Beardsell pushed council to demand that Campbell fire Chong over her handling of the Okanagan governance review. Beardsell's bid failed, but council did write a letter to the premier indicating disappointment in Chong not making changes to how the valley operates.

This wasn't the first time that Beardsell had set his sights on Chong. He believes she bestowed too much power on the Union of B.C. Municipalities and that she mishandled a previous review of governance at Silver Star.

"I'm still trying under Freedom of Information to get that full report," said Beardsell of the ski resort.

Beardsell isn't the only local politician glad that Chong is gone.

"She was not acting in the best interest of the City of Vernon," said Coun. Pat Cochrane referring to the valley-wide governance review that Chong launched last fall.

"It took up a lot of time and money and she went nowhere with it."

But before you think this is sour grapes just on the part of Vernon, think again. There was virtually widespread concern about Chong.

"No one ever told us why were going ahead with this review. Nobody seemed to know what this was about," said Herman Halvorson, director for rural Enderby and an advocate of keeping regional districts as they are.

Even when Chong was asked directly about what was wrong with the current system of governance, a direct answer was never provided.

“With all of the work that has been done, there should be an expectation that things could be done differently,” she said during a recent interview.

But what did that mean? What was it about the current system of regional districts that led to scrutiny within a short period of time? Nobody still knows.

When asked to comment on Chong's tenure as minister, North Okanagan Regional District chairman Jerry Oglow stated, "She didn't do a bad job." Where I come from, that's not a ringing endorsement.

And perhaps the reason for that is Oglow was among the group of 12 elected officials who spent months responding to Chong's edict for a governance review.

In the end, they met her designated deadline and presented two possible options to her for consideration. Instead of sanctioning one of them, we all know that Chong opted to do nothing.

"I wasn't happy with her decision to delay the valley-wide process until after the provincial election," said Oglow.

Oglow isn't sure if a new face in the minister's chair will reignite the process, but he is hopeful.

"The issues have not gone away. Valley growth will continue," he said of the need to address issues like transportation, water and air quality.

Lekstrom is a former mayor and councillor of Dawson Creek, and that has local elected officials optimistic about how he will perform as minister.

"It sounds like he has good municipal background," said Cochrane.

And that may be true, but keep in mind that Chong is a former councillor in Saanich.

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A response
June 13, 2008 - Vernon Morning Star - Letters

Unfortunately, your editorial on the Okanagan governance model (Chong drops the ball, June 1, 2008) misses the mark by failing to mention the Task Force recommended the ministry conduct further analysis after the group was unable to agree on how to move forward.

The Okanagan Valley is one of B.C.’s fastest growing regions, and is facing serious climate change, water supply, traffic management and air quality challenges. The Task Force consultation showed that each regional district had different perspectives on these issues, as well as their own unique challenges. With a lack of agreement from the Task Force, the complexities of the issues affecting individual areas in the valley and the need for First Nations consultation, clearly more time is needed for more detailed work.

It should also be understood that positive action has come from the Task Force’s work. There is now better understanding of the issues within specific communities; new relationships have been forged, like the Memorandum of Understanding between Vernon, Kelowna, Westside and Penticton; and there is more awareness of the challenges facing the region at all levels.

We look forward to building on this work so that we can identify a governance model that will meet the needs of residents now and in the future, and help realize the immense potential of one of B.C.’s most dynamic regions.

Ida Chong,
Minister of Community Svs.

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Officials spar over Chong’s decision
By Richard Rolke - Vernon Morning Star - June 04, 2008

Stalling potential governance changes in the Okanagan is drawing both acceptance and hostility.

Community Services Minister Ida Chong will not proceed with any amendments to governance structure despite a committee recommending either a single regional district or maintaining the existing three districts but with authorities handling issues like water and transportation.

“It’s time that she resigned,” said Barry Beardsell, a Vernon councillor.

“She put all of those people (committee) to the trouble and set timelines, and then she waffles. It’s the most useless thing I’ve seen in my life.”

Chong has stated that more information is required before the process resumes, but Beardsell disagrees.

“She set all of the parameters for the committee so it’s either a phoney excuse or an indication of her incompetency as a minister,” he said.

Will Hansma, Spallumcheen mayor, is also upset with Chong.

“I’m disappointed because we went through an extensive process and jumped through hoops for them. I thought there would be an outcome,” said Hansma.

At the other end of the spectrum was Eugene Foisy, Cherryville director.

“It’s the best decision she’s made in a long time — one of the few good ones,” he said.

Foisy’s constituents were among the most vocal against governance changes, saying it would threaten their rural lifestyle.

“It makes sense to leave things alone,” said Foisy.

Eric Foster, Lumby mayor, believes Chong should have allowed the process to continue.

“I would have liked the committee to still work on it, so in a year we’d have something concrete — whether it’s stay where we are or making changes,” he said.

Stan Field, BX-Silver Star director, isn’t surprised that Chong backed off making governance changes.

“The task force was rushed into doing things and there weren’t enough deliberations,” he said.

“She also realizes that First Nations weren’t brought into the process.”

Cliff Kanester, BX-Swan Lake director, claims no concrete reason was ever given for changing governance.

“There was no idea of what the cost would be,” he said.

Rick Fairbairn, rural Lumby director and governance committee member, believes Chong’s decision is the first step towards maintaining the status quo of three regional districts.

“I’m glad that she listened to the electoral areas,” he said of their concerns about rural values being pushed aside by those of large cities.

“Valley-wide governance, as it proceeded, wasn’t ready for a change.”

Sue Phillips, Enderby mayor, insists that Chong made the right decision.

“It (process) happened very quickly and the public consultation was missed,” she said.

“Had it gone through, it wouldn’t have been thought out well.”

Noreen Guenther, a Lake Country councillor, is demanding that regional co-operation on water, air quality and transportation move ahead.

“I hope the information gathered won’t be disregarded. A lot of people put time and effort into it,” said Guenther.

Jim Edgson, North Westside Road director, anticipates the matter will be resurrected after next spring’s provincial election, and he says that gives his rural area a chance to look at how to preserve its interests,

“We need to protect what we have while working with the municipalities as neighbours,” he said.

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Chong drops the ball
June 01, 2008 - Vernon Morning Star - Opinion

Community Services Minister Ida Chong’s announcement Thursday has confirmed that the entire valley-wide governance review was a waste of time.

Chong launched the process out of the blue last fall, insisting that there was a need to come up with new ways of governing the Okanagan. She deemed the issue to be so important that she only gave a committee of politicians until the end of March to come up with recommendations.

But what was a hot, burning issue has now fizzled.

Chong has decided that there will be no change to governance structure now, partly because there will be municipal elections in the fall. But it should have come as no shock to the minister that there would be elections in November. It happens every three years.

Chong goes on to say that her staff will continue to analyze the situation. But don’t expect anything will happen after that because there will be a provincial election next spring, and the government won’t want to upset voters.

There is nothing wrong with looking at new ways of governance, but all Chong’s process did was waste time and money. It also led to considerable unnecessary anxiety and frustration as residents feared they would have no say over any changes, and that forced amalgamations would occur.

Chong says she is still interested in a governance model that works for the Okanagan, but she still has never identified what is exactly wrong with the system we have now. What is it about regional districts that she finds problematic?

Until Chong can answer that question in a clear and concise manner, the concept of governance changes should be abandoned.

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Chong pushes reform
By Richard Rolke - Vernon Morning Star - June 01, 2008

Community Services Minister Ida Chong isn’t backing off governance reforms for the Okanagan.

Chong has decided not to pursue any valley-wide changes at this time, but she insists there is a need to address the issue in a rapidly growing region.

“There is a model out there that will still work for the Okanagan. The structure in place can be improved upon,” she told The Morning Star.

Chong, who would not get into specifics about what isn’t working with regional districts, doesn’t believe status quo is an ultimate option.

“With all of the work that has been done, there should be an expectation that things could be done differently,” she said.

Chong struck a committee last fall that looked at governance options for the Okanagan.

In its March report, the committee recommended either forming a single regional district or maintaining the current three regional districts but forming authorities to look after water, air and other common issues.

Chong said there wasn’t a clear consensus among Okanagan politicians on how to achieve change and more time is required.

Ministry staff will now take over the process and analyze the costs and benefits of governance models, as well as representation and financial authority.

With civic elections set for November, Chong doesn’t expect anything happening until after then, which would delay the development of any possible legislation. She also admits next May’s provincial election could also impact the timeline.

“The First Nations will also need to be consulted and that work will take place.”

Chong is also waiting to see how a new co-operative relationship between Vernon, Kelowna, Westside and Penticton unfolds, as well as suggestions from electoral area directors on how to protect rural interests.

Chong wasn’t surprised that the committee’s activities led to widespread speculation, including that municipalities would be amalgamated and electoral areas scrapped.

“People are much more comfortable with the status quo,” she said.

But Chong stands behind the process, and believes the information gathered by the committee will prove beneficial.

“What was started was a good exercise and it gave local officials an opportunity to come together,” she said.

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Status quo for valley governance
By Richard Rolke - Vernon Morning Star - June 01, 2008

Proposed governance changes in the Okanagan have been shelved, and that’s generating considerable debate.

Community Services Minister Ida Chong says there won’t be any structural changes at this time, despite a committee of politicians recommending two options.

“It was an expensive process that didn’t accomplish anything,” said Herman Halvorson, rural Enderby director and committee member.

In a letter to communities, Chong states she is waiting for details from electoral area representatives on how to protect rural values, and to see how a new co-operative relationship between the four large cities unfolds.

“Follow-up work is also required by the ministry, as I am still interested in a governance model that works for the Okanagan and Similkameen areas as a whole.

“Therefore, over the next several months, the ministry will be undertaking work to analyze the costs and benefits of alternative governance structures, representation and voting structure, financial authority and authority to make and implement critical decisions.”

The committee was formed by Chong last fall and it presented a report by the end of March as mandated. It called for a single regional district, or keeping the three existing districts with special authorities looking over matters like water.

Jerry Oglow, Armstrong mayor and committee member, is disappointed by Chong’s decision.

“The ministry has done a 180-degree turnaround,” he said.

“They were anxious to look at regional district reform and they haven’t made it a priority today. We are losing sight of why we went on this task — to meet the needs of a growing population.”

Halvorson predicts the issue could be on hold for at least a year.

“There’s a provincial election next May and they need the involvement of the people,” he said.

Halvorson believes his rural constituents will be happy that no changes are occurring.

“They were concerned that we could be dictated to by the larger centres,” he said.

Wayne Lippert, Vernon mayor and committee member, believes the door is still open for reform.

“At least she has not just tossed it out and she is looking at the models. It’s not dead,” he said.

Lippert expects any further discussions on governance will depend on the relationship between the large cities and service reviews in Greater Vernon.

“She believes in everyone trying to sort things out on their own and this process reinforces that,” he said.

Gary Corner, Coldstream mayor, has his theories as to why the governance timetable has been slowed.

“A fair number of areas were not happy with what was being proposed and pressure was put on the ministry,” he said.

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B.C. election could impact timeline
June 01, 2008 - Vernon Morning Star - News

With civic elections set for November, Chong doesn’t expect anything happening until after then, which would delay the development of any possible legislation.

She also admits next May’s provincial election could also impact the timeline.

“The First Nations will also need to be consulted and that work will take place.”

Chong is also waiting to see how a new co-operative relationship between Vernon, Kelowna, Westside and Penticton unfolds, as well as suggestions from electoral area directors on how to protect rural interests.

Chong wasn’t surprised that the committee’s activities led to widespread speculation, including that municipalities would be amalgamated and electoral areas scrapped.

“People are much more comfortable with the status quo,” she said.

But Chong stands behind the process, and believes the information gathered by the committee will prove beneficial.

“What was started was a good exercise and it gave local officials an opportunity to come together,” she said.

Blue Divider Line

Few governance changes anticipated
By Richard Rolke - Vernon Morning Star - May 30, 2008

No radical changes in Okanagan governance are expected.

It’s anticipated that Community Services Minister Ida Chong will provide a response by Saturday on the valley-wide governance report completed in March.

“The minister will be contacting the communities in the timeline previously committed — by month’s end,” said Marc Black, with the ministry’s communications branch.

But some North Okanagan politicians anticipate the announcement will be a non-event.

“I’ve heard she’s going to say nothing until after the provincial election (spring 2009),” said Rick Fairbairn, the rural Lumby director who sat on the governance task force.

“If there is a plan, they (ministry) aren’t saying anything.”

The task force recommended to Chong that there either be a single regional district for the Okanagan or that the three current regional districts remain with new authorities created to oversee common issues.

Wayne Lippert, Vernon’s mayor, also doesn’t expect an announcement until after the provincial election.

“They don’t want to upset the electorate any more than they have to,” said Lippert, who was also part of the task force.

“They are starting to get ready for the election and it (governance changes) is not a top priority.”

Lippert expects that Chong’s ability to make a decision was made difficult because there wasn’t a single recommendation, and because of political lobbying.

“She is feeling the pressure from electoral areas,” he said.

Herman Halvorson, rural Enderby director and task force member, believes an announcement now would be premature.

“There wasn’t enough information to make a decision. No one knew what it would look like and the First Nations weren’t involved,” he said.

“I think things will remain with the three regional districts because of the elections this fall (civic) and in the spring (provincial).”

Jerry Oglow, Armstrong mayor and task force member, isn’t predicting any dramatic actions from Chong because research is needed on governance options, including costs.

“There needs to be more work done to make an informed choice and I hope her recommendation will say that,” he said.

But if the process continues, Halvorson insists it needs to be different than the first phase which provided little opportunity for residents to be directly involved.

“If there is a phase two, we need more involvement from Joe Public,” he said.

At press time, there were no details on when Chong will make an announcement.

Blue Divider Line

No decision yet on valley process
By Richard Rolke - Vernon Morning Star - May 04, 2008
 
  COMMUNITY SERVICES Minister Ida Chong speaks to the Southern Interior Local Government Association at the Prestige Inn Friday.
Photo not published.

Okanagan politicians are still left wondering what, if anything, may happen to valley-wide governance.

Community Services Minister Ida Chong did not raise the issue while speaking to the Southern Interior Local Government Association Friday, but she did handle several questions on the issue from local media.

“I continue to receive input on that,” she said when asked of the status of the process that was started last fall.

It’s expected that Chong will announce her recommendations at the end of May on the report that was presented to her in March by a valley-wide group of politicians.

The group recommended that there either be a single regional district for the Okanagan or that the three remaining regional districts remain with new authorities created to oversee common issues like water and air.

Chong would not comment on what option she may favour.

“There have been some good ideas but there are some divergent views. People would like to see a change but they are not sure what change will best meet their needs,” she said.

Prior to addressing SILGA delegates at the Prestige Inn, Chong met with the North Okanagan Regional District’s five electoral area directors about their concerns about governance.

“We reiterated that we want to retain rural values, lifestyles and representation,” said Rick Fairbairn, rural Lumby director.

The directors also asked Chong to study the implications and costs of any potential governance changes.

“We also want our residents to have a vote on any changes,” said Fairbairn.

Chong’s appearance at SILGA came on the same day that the Okanagan’s four largest cities announced they are pursuing bylaw changes that would lead to inter-municipal collaboration.

“I’m always interested in how local governments and municipalities can work together,” said Chong.

However, she added that she would have to look at the details of the cities’ initiative before determining if it will impact her decision on Okanagan governance.

Mayor Wayne Lippert denies that the agreement between Vernon, Kelowna, Westside and Penticton is a way to circumvent the valley-wide process.

“It’s a separate issue because this is just looking at ways to work together,” he said.

The four cities have previously expressed concerns about the valley-wide governance review, saying it was too focused on the interests of rural communities.

In a release, the municipalities state that a co-operative mechanism could allow them to partner for funding opportunities, share ideas and resources.

“Additionally, the inter-municipal services initiative would enable municipalities within the Okanagan Valley to harmonize their regulations, creating continuity, a level playing field and a cohesive approach that helps communities avoid developing regulations that simply shift a problem from one jurisdiction to another.

“Examples could include bylaws related to drug houses, hillside development regulations, business licensing and building regulations.”

Blue Divider Line

Four Okanagan cities come to collaborative agreement
May 02, 2008 Kelowna Capital News

At a meeting during this week’s Southern Interior Local Government Association annual convention in Vernon, the mayors of the four largest Okanagan municipalities instructed senior staff to draft a bylaw that would facilitate inter-municipal collaboration on pressing issues impacting the entire Okanagan Valley.

This is a concept that has been considered in the past but due to the complexity and cost in providing municipal services to these city’s citizens, this concept and the implementation thereof has become more compelling.

The provincial government’s Climate Action plan initiative prompted the mayors to determine the most cost effective way to accomplish these objectives was through cooperation.

The mayors recognized that a cooperative approach is also the best way to address affordable housing, sustainability, economic development, water and air quality and transit—some of the major issues impacting all four jurisdictions—and cooperation will result in efficient action and a potential savings to taxpayers.

The mayors have instructed their respective chief administrative officers to begin work on a mechanism that would result in an action-oriented, transparent and “ultra-light” approach—one that makes use of existing resources rather than creating another level of bureaucracy and an additional burden for taxpayers.

The four chief administrative officers were instructed to identify how their jurisdictions and the valley as a whole would benefit from this type of collaboration and to present their findings to the mayors’ committee.

A collaborative approach would allow the four municipalities—as well as any other local governments interested in participating—to partner up for funding opportunities, share ideas and resources and, as a result, avoid the cost and time delays associated with reinventing the wheel since cities facing similar pressures will likely be required to deal with them in similar ways.

Additionally, the inter-municipal services initiative would enable municipalities within the Okanagan Valley to harmonize their regulations, creating continuity, a level playing field and a cohesive approach that helps communities avoid developing regulations that simply shift a problem from one jurisdiction to another.

Examples could include bylaws related to drug houses, hillside development regulations, business licensing and building regulations.

The initiative would also allow for inter-municipal services such as transit.

An Inter-Municipal Service and Regulation Bylaw that would give the cities of Kelowna, Penticton, Vernon and Westside the authority under the Community Charter or Local Government Act to work together to provide inter-municipal services, address environmental and other issues of mutual concern, and harmonize their regulations will be developed.

Later this month the four mayors will take this bylaw to their respective councils for consideration and approval in principal.

Blue Divider Line

Lippert loses confidence in valley process
By Richard Rolke - Vernon Morning Star - April 11, 2008

Vernon’s mayor is increasingly convinced that big city concerns about governance are being ignored.

Wayne Lippert says he was disappointed with a meeting Wednesday that he and the mayors of Kelowna, Westside and Penticton held with Community Services Minister Ida Chong in Victoria.

“There seems to be a lot of will to protect the regional districts,” he told The Morning Star.

“I’m not confident that our concerns will be truly addressed.”

The four mayors requested the meeting with Chong to express hesitation about a governance report that was presented to Chong by a task force made up of politicians, including Lippert.

The task force recommended an investigation of two potential options — a single regional district or maintaining the existing three districts and creating separate authorities for common issues such as water and transportation.

Lippert opposes authorities, claiming they wouldn’t be accountable to taxpayers and costs would increase.

While he has previously indicated support for a single regional district, Lippert says he would back the status quo as long as sub-regional issues are addressed such as the provision of services across boundaries and how municipalities and electoral areas interact.

“The rules they work under are different than the rules municipalities work under and that causes friction,” he said.

“Each electoral director is mayor and council unto themselves. They act independently.”

Lippert denies that he wants electoral areas forced into municipalities.

“It doesn’t matter if they are incorporated (as separate municipalities) or amalgamated.”

Chong didn’t state which governance option she favours.

“The minister was quite cautious and wouldn’t commit. She will announce what she will do in May,” said Lippert.

Some politicians have questioned why the mayors of the valley’s four largest cities met with Chong.

“They are doing their thing and trying to change her ideas,” said Stan Field, BX-Silver Star director.

“Are these the type of games going on in the valley?”

But Jerry Oglow, North Okanagan Regional District chairman and task force member, isn’t concerned.

“It’s such an important issue that those making the decisions need as much information as possible,” he said.

Blue Divider Line

Residents must be heard
April 09, 2008 - Vernon Morning Star

The Ministry of Community Services mandated a review of the present governance structure of the Okanagan’s regional districts.

On the table are a number of alternatives including the option for Areas B and C to be amalgamated into the City of Vernon.

This review is occupying the minds of politicians, administrators and residents of Areas B and C alike.

So, the ministry must be unhappy with the present structure (apparently). But why and what's wrong? I cannot find it stated anywhere, including in the Okanagan governance task force manual for a joint regional board workshop held in Vernon Jan. 11. But are the residents of B and C unhappy with their present lot? If so, I haven't heard it said. The logical question then should be asked, what has prompted the ministry's unhappiness? There is also talk of air quality, water management and valley-wide transportation improvements, but I fail to see why these goals cannot be pursued or achieved under the present structure.

By now almost every Morning Star features articles and statements of the various parties staking out their claim.

In the meantime, I cannot help but come back to the question — what's wrong with the present structure? Maybe Richard Rolke's article 'Governance dominates meeting' gets closer to the real reason behind the government's push, when he writes, “She (Ida Chong, minister of community services) is interested in the City of Vernon's position to amalgamate rural electoral areas into municipalities.” And why would the City of Vernon want to push for such amalgamation? Undoubtedly for gaining unfettered access to the land outside present city limits to satisfy the desire for "a bigger tax base,” and the utopian dream that bigger is better, solving present and future financial woes.

But what about the residents in this take-over scenario? Has anyone bothered to sample our opinion? Looking at the government's hurried time line of March 31, I failed to see any provision to sample the opinions

Read the City of Vernon's mission statement. It says, "To preserve and enhance our unique environment and lifestyle on behalf of the people of Vernon.”

How foolish I feel in my naive interpretation of “unique environment and lifestyle.”

Obviously, the city is not referring to green and open spaces, or a connection with a rural environment and it's roots and values

What it is turning out to mean is a sea of bedroom communities, in whichever direction the view takes you, most lacking basic amenities or services, forcing their residents into their automobiles for every possible need or whim. In the meantime, many of the available fill-in and or sub-standard

But let's get back to Areas B and C. Residents wake up and protect what you have, of what is making this area unique.

Take action. Let our voices be heard especially by the minister, Ida Chong, before we find ourselves incorporated into a Kelowna-style mega city.

Dieter Godt

Blue Divider Line

Misguided mayors
By Richard Rolke - Vernon Morning Star - April 09, 2008

To listen to the mayors of the Okanagan’s four largest cities, you’d think they were so hard done by.

In a letter to Community Services Minister Ida Chong, the mayors of Vernon, Kelowna, Westside and Penticton claim they were ignored during the valley-wide governance review.

“Although our collective municipalities represent approximately 80 per cent of the population of the Okanagan-Similkameen, what quickly became apparent is the representatives of the rural constituency, a majority of the task force membership, also dominated the meetings,” the mayors write.

But if you do the math, the claim doesn’t add up.

Of the 12 people sitting on the task force, five were from the large cities in question (including the mayors of Vernon, Kelowna and Penticton). Only four were directors from the rural electoral areas while the remainder represented small to medium-sized municipalities.

The mayors may argue that two of the members from Kelowna and Penticton are also the chairmen of their regional districts. But if they do so, are they suggesting these individuals are not capable of wearing two hats and representing the interests of their cities? And if that is the case, Kelowna and Penticton’s mayors have the authority to simply remove them as appointees to the regional boards.

Beyond this, the mayors’ charge that task force proceedings were dominated by the rural politicians is almost too hard to believe.

All members of the task force had an equal opportunity to speak and participate and perhaps the rural directors just did a better job than their urban counterparts in expressing their views. If the mayors felt dominated, they only have themselves to blame.

Perhaps what is most troubling about the mayors’ letter is the heavy-handed tone.

By pointing out that the four cities make up 80 per cent of the valley’s population and pay 50 per cent of the three regional districts’ budgets, are they suggesting their interests should be considered more important by Chong than those of the rural areas or small municipalities?

All the mayors do by throwing their weight around is reinforce the perception that they want to take over outlying jurisdictions against the wishes of many rural residents.

Ultimately, regional governance, no matter the model, will only work if it’s based on co-operation and equity, and not bullying.

It is also interesting to see the four mayors ask for an independent review of governance options because the task force’s report to Chong was composed by the administrators of the three existing regional districts.

“How can a regional district truly review itself on restructuring? How can they look at it without bias?” said Wayne Lippert, Vernon mayor, during a recent interview.

Those concerns may be valid, but consider that Lippert, as well as the mayors of Kelowna and Penticton, were members of the task force. Lippert is also a director on the North Okanagan Regional District board. He is a key part of the very institutions he is slamming.

The mayors wrap up their letter to Chong by saying, “we are committed to building a vibrant and sustainable Okanagan by working with all local governments to create a new valley-wide partnership.”

But that could prove highly unlikely based on their ‘we’re better than you' attitude.

Blue Divider Line

Governance options passed on
By Tyler Olsen - Vernon Morning Star - March 28, 2008

A report on the future of governance in the Okanagan is now in the hands of the Ministry of Community Services.

A task force of three regional district representatives, including North Okanagan Regional District Chairman Jerry Oglow, asked Community Services Minister Ida Chong Tuesday to take a closer look at two possible scenarios for valley-wide governance.

Chong will now look at the options and get back to the group by the end of May, although she cautioned, “That’s not to say I will decide on which one will be the best option.”

Rather, she may come back and ask for more investigation.

The two options left on the table are the creation of one valley-wide region to deal with overarching concerns of municipalities and, alternately, the creation of authorities that would operate above the regional district level and oversee priorities such as transit.

Asked to select from three scenarios, the group eliminated one option but left two on the table, which they asked Chong’s ministry to consider further.

“I think she was hoping we, the taskforce, would end up with one recommendation,” said Oglow.

Nevertheless, Oglow said Chong appeared impartial to both recommendations discussed.

“Minister Chong did not have a leaning one way or another; she never has since the process started.”

Chong said that the valley is facing, and will face in future years, a host of new challenges, from climate change to increasing demands on the water supply.

“There is one thing that’s pretty clear to everyone and that is the Okanagan Valley as a whole is one of our fastest growing regions,” she said, pointing to the expansion not only in the number of people but of the economy as well.

The mayors of the valley’s four larger cities have recently expressed concern about aspects of the process and Chong said she is willing to meet with those mayors, which may delay a decision.

“At the end of the day we do need to come up with a model that will satisfy the majority of people in the area.”

 

Report off to Victoria
By Richard Rolke - Vernon Morning Star - March 21, 2008

The final stage in the valley-wide governance process is drawing near.

The Okanagan’s three regional district chairmen will present the final report of the governance task force to Community Services Minister Ida Chong in Victoria Tuesday at 1 p.m.

“We will hopefully get some indication of how receptive she is to the recommendations,” said Jerry Oglow, North Okanagan Regional District chairman.

Oglow will be pushing Chong for timelines on how she will officially respond to the report.

He isn’t sure if there will be an answer from her Tuesday.

“I am sure she will want to read it but she has had a senior staff member at our (task force) meetings,” said Oglow.

“She has been kept in the loop so what we are recommending shouldn’t come as a surprise.”

Chong initiated the governance review last fall and had given the task force until the end of March to come up with a report.

Besides Oglow, also meeting with Chong will be Robert Hobson, from the Central Okanagan Regional District, and Dan Ashton, from the Okanagan-Similkameen Regional District.

 

Valley’s mayors claim process is ‘flawed’
By Richard Rolke - Vernon Morning Star - March 23, 2008

The leaders of the Okanagan’s largest cities are suggesting an independent review of governance options may be required.

Wayne Lippert, Vernon mayor, discussed a report into valley-wide governance with his Kelowna, Westside and Penticton counterparts Thursday.

Depending on what Community Services Minister Ida Chong does with the report, the mayors believe there may be a need for someone independent to get involved.

“They could put forward ideas on governance structures that could work,” said Lippert.

The report is a product of a valley-wide task force that has been meeting since last fall and it was drafted by the administrators of the three regional districts.

“We think that possibly the task force is flawed because we’re asking regional districts to review themselves,” said Lippert.

“Can that be unbiasedly done?”

The task force will present the report to Chong Tuesday in Victoria, and the four mayors are expected to provide her with a summary of their thoughts on the document.

“She’s requested that the cities have some input,” said Lippert.

“We want the minister to be aware of our take on things as the larger cities.”

The report urges Chong to approve a second phase to the task force’s mandate so it can further investigate two possible governance models — a single regional district for the Okanagan or inter-regional authorities on issues such as water, air quality and transportation.

Lippert, who sat on the task force, admits more details are required.

“The report is not a bad report but the financial implications have to be known for the big cities,” he said.

While the four mayors discussed the two options, no decision was made on which one was preferable.

“We’ve asked our staff to put together information so we can take a further look at it,” said Lippert.

Previously, City of Vernon officials have indicated that they favour a single regional district for the Okanagan Valley.

 

Governance options drive debate
By Richard Rolke - Vernon Morning Star - March 21, 2008

The potential options for Okanagan governance changes have been whittled down to two.

The task force pursuing valley-wide governance endorsed a report Wednesday that calls for a single regional district and an inter-regional authority to be investigated in more detail.

“There is no clear consensus on either option and further analysis is needed before people can make a choice,” said Jerry Oglow, North Okanagan Regional District chairman and task force member.

Community Services Minister Ida Chong will be asked to sanction a second phase to the review so the two options can be looked at more closely.

Among the issues that must be clarified are the potential costs of the two options, legislative issues and how communities would be represented under the new systems.

“We also want a more definitive statement from the province on how they will financially participate in a new model and what authority will be granted to this new model,” said Oglow.

Wayne Lippert, Vernon mayor and task force member, voted to accept the report Wednesday.

“It caught all of the essence of what’s been discussed,” he said.

Rick Fairbairn, rural Lumby director and task force member, insists the report should not be the conclusion of the process.

“It’s a good starting point and it’s left the door wide open,” he said.

Fairbairn is waiting to see how Chong handles the report.

“There’s always been an underlying suspicion that there’s already a deal in place. The ball’s in her court,” he said.

Oglow is undecided on what option is preferred to the current system of three districts.

“I want to see the template for each option first. It’s important to look at the cost benefits,” he said.

Many rural residents have stated that they don’t want a change in governance because they fear being amalgamated into nearby municipalities.

While status quo is not part of the report, it would continue in some form if inter-regional authorities are formed to oversee water, transportation and other issues.

“At least with that option, we would have the existing three regional districts,” said Herman Halvorson, task force member and rural Enderby director.

If governance changes proceed, rural politicians are demanding that there be separate votes in each jurisdiction to garner public support.

And for Fairbairn, that is important if a single regional district is to be blocked.

“If constituents have a vote on any changes, that’s our protection,” he said.

Halvorson insists residents have been shut out of the governance process to date.

“It’s been poorly presented to the public,” he said.

The City of Vernon, for the most part, supports the concept of a single regional district.

Lippert is pleased to see that proposal still on the table despite opposition from rural politicians.

“I hope there will be some efficiencies from it and it would be a regional district that deals with policies. We could have district municipalities to handle local issues,” he said.

Lippert discussed the report with the mayors of Kelowna, Westside and Penticton Thursday to see if it meets the needs of the Okanagan’s large cities.

“We are 80 per cent of the population, he said.

 

Governance decisions looming
By Richard Rolke - Vernon Morning Star - March 19, 2008

Okanagan residents may have a better idea today on how governance could change.

The task force pursuing valley-wide governance options will review its draft report during a meeting in Penticton at 1 p.m.

“We’ve had a lot of input over the last several months and we’ve heard several opinions and concerns,” said Jerry Oglow, a committee member and Armstrong mayor.

“Now to collate it all is a bit of a challenge.”

The draft report is being compiled by the chief administrative officers of the Okanagan’s three regional districts.

The City of Vernon has suggested the report may be biased towards maintaining regional districts as is.

“We will need to go through the report and see what effect there will be on the cities,” said Mayor Wayne Lippert, who sits on the task force.

Vernon has called on Kelowna, Westside and Penticton to join it in possibly presenting a separate governance report to the provincial government.

“The four largest communities have 80 per cent of the population. From a cost perspective, there are implications for the cities,” said Lippert, who has indicated that a single regional district may be the best option for the valley.

Task force officials will be in Victoria March 25 to present the final report to Ida Chong, community services minister.

“We will meet the timeline for the final report because we’ve been directed (by Chong) to meet the timeline,” said Herman Halvorson, committee member and rural Enderby director.

Despite that, Halvorson believes the process, which began last fall, has been too tight.

“It’s being pushed too quickly. Many of my residents say they haven’t been involved,” he said.

A common view within the North Okanagan’s five electoral areas is that existing regional districts remain unchanged.

“My residents are unanimous against one regional district in the valley,” said Halvorson.

Oglow insists that the report being presented to Chong may just be the beginning of the process, not the end.

“I want to see a recognition of a phase two. There are several issues that haven’t been addressed such as the costs and benefits of one option over another. We also need to look at how communities would be represented with any change,” he said.

 

Vernon vies for voice in governance report
By Richard Rolke - Vernon Morning Star - March 12, 2008

A substantial rift could be developing over the valley-wide governance process.

The City of Vernon wants the mayors of Vernon, Kelowna, Westside and Penticton to submit their own report to Community Services Minister Ida Chong because it has little faith that the governance task force’s report will actually reflect the views of the four large cities.

“I don’t want us to come across as bullies but we need to look after our taxpayers,” said Mayor Wayne Lippert.

The city’s primary concern is that the task force’s draft report will be authored by the chief administrative officers of the three existing regional districts and a ministry representative.

Coun. Juliette Cunningham questions whether employees of the regional districts can objectively look at other governance models.

“They are in a conflict. At our North Okanagan Regional District table, that CAO wants to preserve the status quo,” she said.

Lippert goes on to say that Central Okanagan Regional District’s administrator is retiring and the Okanagan-Similkameen Regional District has an interim administrator.

“I am not sure if the depth is there to put a good report together,” he said.

The perception of Vernon council is the task force’s report may only reflect the view of electoral areas and small municipalities.

“We need to separate ourselves from this report. I don’t know how we can represent our taxpayers if anything remotely close to status quo remains,” said Coun. Pat Cochrane.

Coun. Barry Beardsell insists the four largest cities have not had a chance to put forward their views.

“This whole thing has been manipulated from a regional perspective,” he said.

Most members of Vernon council favour a single regional district for the entire Okanagan Valley.

Cochrane was among the most vocal to support the four cities taking a united position.

“Their report would represent 80 per cent of the population in the area. At some point, the majority must have its say,” he said.

But the governance task force’s vice-chairman disputes the City of Vernon’s concerns.

“There is nothing preventing any separate segment of the region from providing input. But to suggest our employees are not capable of putting forward an unbiased report is not correct,” said Jerry Oglow, NORD chairman and Armstrong mayor.

“What it (task force report) looks like, what it says is presumptuous on the City of Vernon’s part. I believe the CAOs and the ministry representative will collate the facts and simply outline what the consensus is of the majority of people who provided input during the process.”

And while the CAOs will develop the draft report, Oglow points out that the task force — made up of elected officials — will have the final say on its content.

 

Politicians prefer select valley-wide governance
From the Vernon Morning Star - March 12, 2008

An inter-regional authority to take action on select issues is preferred by civic politicians over an amalgamation of the three regional districts in the Okanagan and Similkameen.

In an informal vote taken by some of the civic leaders meeting in Kelowna last week, nearly twice the number voted in favour of that option over a single regional district, and very few voted in favour of the third option, an inter-regional alliance.

Just over half the politicians from councils and regional districts from Enderby to Osoyoos and west to Princeton met to discuss the three options for changing the current system of three regional districts, and listed the pros and cons of each of the three possibilities.

They also added a few additional ones, such as a phasing in from the inter-regional authority to a single regional district; creating two instead of three regional districts; uploading the common issues to the province; and getting rid of the 40-year-old regional district system in favour of district municipalities which would include rural areas with the nearest urban centre.

However, there was considerable frustrated at the lack of information they had on which to base decisions on the options.

A complete lack of information about the potential costs of each option was an issue brought up repeatedly, but they were also concerned about how each option would actually work and be structured and how rural areas would be represented.

Central Okanagan Regional District chairman Robert Hobson, who is chairman of the steering committee said there are only two meetings left, so there’s no practical way to send their final report around to all jurisdictions, then include their comments and concerns, but he said there will be opportunities for that after Community Services Minister Ida Chong has the report by her deadline of March 31.

More work will need to be done after she receives the report, although it’s not known who will be spearheading it, he said.

In addition to the politicians, a few staff attended the meeting, including executive-director for the Okanagan Basin Water Board, Anna Warwick Sears, who commented at the end of the day, “It’s kind of a messy process, but it is an opportunity to look at what works and what doesn’t.”

Even if nothing changes, she said it’s been a worthwhile process for people to look at the current system and grapple with what needs to be changed about it.

While urban-rural issues are of local concern, the province seems more concerned about the issue of growth management, she noted.

The last meeting of the steering committee is March 19 in Penticton, then a final report will be presented to the minister in Victoria March 26.

 

Governance dominates meeting
By Richard Rolke - Vernon Morning Star - March 05, 2008

IDA CHONG (left), community services minister, meets with Dawn Lasby, with the Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce, in Vancouver last week.

Potential changes to Okanagan governance are fuelling a rare meeting of most politicians in the valley.

Every mayor, councillor and electoral area director has been invited to participate in the so-called council of councils Friday at 9 a.m. at the Capri Hotel in Kelowna. If everyone shows up, there could be 120 people.

“I have been in local government for 24 years and I have never experienced that before so it’s unprecedented,” said Jerry Oglow, Armstrong mayor and member of a committee looking at governance options for the valley.

The meeting will begin with an address from Community Services Minister Ida Chong, who initiated the governance review late last year.

“All of the assembled participants will be listening to what she is saying and what she might be suggesting,” said Oglow.

There will also be a presentation on recent feedback garnered from municipalities and regional districts about the potential changes to governance.

“The people assembled will be broken out into smaller groups and there will be issues to contemplate and discuss,” said Oglow.

“We will try and see if there is any consensus or any questions that need to be answered before definitive decisions can be made.”

The committee is supposed to present a final report to Chong by the end of March.

But while Chong has indicated that timeline is written in stone, it’s anticipated there may be future discussions.

“There may be a need for more detailed work especially on a cost benefit analysis on any of the governance options,” said Oglow.

Governance was raised during a meeting last week between Chong and Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce officials in Vancouver.

“Chong stated she would be disappointed if no progress had been made, and that she was eager to see any recommendations coming from the report,” said Dawn Lasby, the chamber’s general manager in a release.

“She plans to be in Kelowna on Friday and is interested in the City of Vernon’s position to amalgamate rural electoral areas into municipalities. The subject is also being discussed with the city and the GVCC on Thursday in their bi-annual meeting.”

 

Councils meet at private session
By Richard Rolke - Vernon Morning Star - March 05, 2008

Coldstream and Vernon politicians met behind closed doors Monday, but some details are coming out.

Vernon council first met in-camera at city hall at 6:30 p.m. and then travelled to Coldstream’s municipal office for a meeting at about 7 p.m.

Most politicians contacted refused to divulge details because of in-camera legislation, but some were willing to comment.

“It was about governance in general but basically water,” said Glen Taylor, Coldstream councillor.

The city has notified the provincial government that it wants to withdraw from the Greater Vernon Services Committee’s water utility, and specifically water distribution.

“We had a discussion about water and the reasons we want to withdraw,” said Wayne Lippert, Vernon mayor, of the session with Coldstream council.

“We wanted to reassure them that we want to work with Coldstream and Areas B and C on water supply issues. We want them to come back to the table and sort this out.”

When contacted, Coldstream Mayor Gary Corner was unwilling to get into the specifics of the meeting between the two councils.

Taylor is questioning why Monday’s meeting wasn’t public, especially when the city issued a press release last week on its reasons for withdrawing from the water utility.

“If they’ve put that information out already, what we discussed shouldn’t have been in-camera,” he said.

Lippert also admits that going in-camera was debatable.

“We probably didn’t need to be, but we weren’t necessarily sure where discussions would go,” he said.

Corner defended the confidential nature of the meeting, stating that labour and legal matters are required to be in-camera under provincial legislation.

“This could very well affect people’s jobs,” he said of the city’s actions.

 

Council ponders changes
By Tyler Olsen - Vernon Morning Star - March 02, 2008

Armstrong council isn’t sure the options being discussed for valley-wide governance reform will be any better than the current situation.

After speaking to consultant Allan Nielson-Welch Friday, council passed a motion Monday reiterating its desire to see less government come out of the current process.

“Armstrong council fully endorses the principle that no new level of governance be created as a result of changes to the existing local governance model,” Coun. Pat Hudson read from the motion.

Council said a single regional district is worthy of consideration if sub-regional and local governance issues are also resolved.

“In this respect Armstrong council believes that alternative models that have been previously dismissed by the province may be worthy of reconsideration,” the motion finishes.

Mayor Jerry Oglow said the options presented to council didn’t address how the process would reduce the amount of governance.

And he expressed concern that the province wasn’t addressing what should be done with local functions that would not be dealt with on a valley-wide basis.

“We need to look at the whole picture, not just the broad, valley-wide things,” said Oglow.

 

Process raises concerns
Vernon Morning Star letters article February 29, 2008

Regarding the proposed valley wide governance restructuring, I have several concerns.  When I first was made aware of this initiative through the local media, statements were made that the "status quo" was not an option.  NORD chairman Jerry Oglow was quoted as saying that was the directive from government and community services minister Ida Chong.  No reason was given why a change was required.  Also, quite concerning to me was that a quick time line was required to have a report on how changes could be made to accommodate this directive.

It seems to me that cabinet ministers and government in general are elected representatives of the people and have no business dictating what should or should not be done by local government.  Giving reasons for change and some direction to accomplish this over a period of time, not by March 31 of this year, would seem to be much more reasonable.

The general public appears to not be part of this process.  I attended a so-called "open to the public" meeting in Vernon at the Best Western Lodge on Jan. 11.  While we were allowed into the meeting, those of us who were the "general public" sat at the back and could observe only.

In his address to the working group, MLA Tom Christensen was careful to not say the current governance model was not an option, but his message was pretty clear. 

It was also clear to me that the chair of the committee formed to deal with this matter, the mayor of Kelowna and Oglow all have an agenda that is leading for wholesale change.  None have given valid reasons why. 

For those of us who live in the rural areas, it is easy to envision our issues and concerns being pretty small potatoes to many city folks and their representatives.  There was no information on how this may impact our property taxes.

Mayor Shephard of Kelowna and some other local representatives are obviously pushing for a valley wide severe restriction on open burning and wood stove usage which is a huge issue for many rural residents, ranchers, farmers and owners of acreages. 

Touting the availability of chipping, free land fill dumping at certain times is not a viable option for any amount of woody debris. 

Pushing for commonalities for public transit using road, air and water as briefly discussed at the meeting is of course something to look at. 

However, living in rural Enderby or Lumby, how is water transport for the Okanagan any kind of viable alternative?  As far as public transit, there isn't going to be any outside of the cities, so one's own vehicle will still be the main option. 

Commonalities regarding our water supply is an issue certainly, but for those of us in the Shuswap drainage, we're not a part of the Okanagan water basin.

I was pleased to see a letter in the media from our rural NORD directors voicing concerns.  Why Oglow would express "disappointment", saying it was pre-mature is beyond me. 

He perhaps needs to reflect that a message is being sent his way.  No doubt some restructuring, better communication and some efficiencies should be reviewed, I don't have an argument with that. But, let’s stand up if you do not agree with the way this review is being conducted.

We don't have to bow and say "yes sir" just because someone said so.

Dale Fennell

 

City land and tax grab of Joe Rich/Ellison
February 27, 2008 Kelowna Capital News

To the editor:

My worst fears began to come true when I read the article “Keeping Kelowna at Bay” in your Sunday, February 24 issue. As a resident of Ellison for about 20 years, I have long suspected that Kelowna has been eyeing a take-over of Ellison, even though the city has on a number of occasions publicly stated the contrary.

Kelowna City Councillor Barry Clark has been stating emphatically that Ellison should be part of Kelowna, because the residents use the city’s facilities. What a feeble excuse for a land and tax grab.

Perhaps Mr. Clark should also insist that Lake Country and Westside/Westbank be part of the city too, as many of their residents also use the facilities and have employment within Kelowna. Oops! Westside chose to go its own way. I wonder why?

On this matter, I fully support our regional district representative Patty Hanson. How ironic that she is the only voice representing Ellison/Joe Rich on the regional district board that’s made up almost exclusively of Kelowna city councillors. I’ve always thought there has been a conflict of interest when it came to making decisions affecting the district—decisions made by those same Kelowna reps—as was exemplified by the city’s grab of the Country Rhodes subdivision in Ellison because of the connection to the city’s sewer system.

They could have chosen to accept an agreement similar to that with Sunset Ranch Golf Club and Scotty Creek subdivision, but instead they refused because they knew they were going to get a nice sum of taxes from the subdivision residents, whose taxes I’m sure have increased dramatically since joining the city.

Kudos to Patty Hansen for standing up to Mr. Clark. My impression is that Mr. Clark comes on like a bully, which is not very conducive for good relations. I, for one, will never agree to join Kelowna.

I’m sure the majority of Ellison residents…moved here to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city, the city politics, the high taxes, the noise. If amalgamation is inevitable in the future, my vote goes to joining Lake Country.

At least that municipality is not frothing at the mouth with development.

Residents of Joe Rich should also be careful what they wish for. Should they eventually be taken over as well, chances are their municipal services, or lack of them, will remain the same while their taxes will jump sky high.

It’s not within Kelowna’s interest to extend sewer and other services in that direction. The taxes collected from there would not be enough to justify the cost.

Jack Fonseca, Ellison

 

Councillors favour one region
by Richard Rolke
Councillors favour one region article from the Vernon Morning star
(click article to read larger print or read below)
From Vernon Morning Star Feb 24, 2008 page A5

Councillors favour one region
By Richard Rolke - Vernon Morning Star - February 24, 2008

Some Vernon politicians are more than willing to embrace a single regional district for the Okanagan.

There was strong interest in replacing the current three regional districts with one entity as city council met with governance consultant Allan Neilson Welch Friday.

“It’s time to think regionally and co-ordinate efforts,” said Coun. Buffy Baumbrough.

A 12-person committee is currently looking at governance options for the Okanagan as part of a process initiated by the provincial government.

One of the options identified is combining the three existing regional districts into one that would focus on valley-wide issues such as water, air quality and transit.

Services to electoral area and sub-regional services, such as parks, would be provided through sub-regional committees with full decision-making authority.

“We will still do our local autonomy issues and the regional issues should be at a regional board,” said Coun. Jack Gilroy, who insists the current system is not working.

Coun. Barry Beardsell also favours one regional district as long as measures are taken to off-set Kelowna’s large population when votes are taken.

“It’s by far the preferred option,” he said.

The primary source of reluctance came from Coun. Patrick Nicol.

“The larger you make government, the less accountable it is,” he said.

Nicol believes the North Okanagan Regional District has done some positive things, and he will have questions about any new model until details are worked out such as voting strength for each jurisdiction and the costs.

“I don’t want money just dumped into bureaucracy,” he said.

Four members of the public attended Friday’s meeting, although only one came from within Vernon.

Speaking to council, BX resident Chub Down said the governance review is disconnected from residents.

“There’s no input to this and you are literally going to form another bureaucracy,” he said.

“Judging by the lack of public turnout, there’s not a lot of support for it.”

But BX resident Sheila Sperling spoke about her previous dealings with NORD.

“I don’t feel like I have a voice with NORD and it’s time for a change,” she said.


The valley-wide governance committee must submit a final report to Community Services Minister Ida Chong by March 31.

It’s been suggested that the provincial government has already made a decision on governance changes, and that theory surfaced Friday.

“These are all good ideas as long as there’s not a presupposed plan behind the scenes,” said Nicol.

 

Suspicions rise over governance
Suspicions arise over governance article from the Vernon Morning star Feb 24, 2008
(click article to read larger print)
Vernon Morning Star article Feb 24, 2008 page A7

Suspicions rise over governance
By Richard Rolke - Vernon Morning Star - February 24, 2008

Many rural residents appear suspicious over the motivation for possible changes to valley-wide governance.

Close to 20 people attended a presentation by consultant Allan Neilson-Welch to the Electoral Area Services Committee Thursday about the current review of governance options for the entire Okanagan Valley.

“I’m suspicious about what’s going on. What’s behind it?” said Clint Whitecotton, from Cherryville.

The review is being pursued by a committee of 12 politicians from up and down the valley, but it was initiated by the provincial government.

“Why is the province taking such a keen interested in this?” said Sean Ardis, also a Cherryville resident.

Mike Gavinchuk, from BX-Swan Lake, was concerned that despite the consultation process, a decision on governance has already been made.

“I want some assurance that making one unit (one regional district) is not already in place,” he said.

Everyone that spoke favoured maintaining the North Okanagan Regional District as it currently is.

“The farther the people are from where the decisions are made, the less democracy there is,” said Joan Crebo, from Cherryville.

Demands were also made that any changes be left up to the public to decide, and aren’t imposed.

“The individual areas need a vote so Vernon and Kelowna don’t steamroll the entire valley,” said Ken Burgess, who lives in BX-Silver Star.


In terms of why the provincial government initiated the process, Neilson-Welch pointed out that Victoria is responsible for municipalities and regional districts.

“They see this as a big region that will get more crowded and they want to get ahead of the curve,” he said of growth issues such as transportation and water.

Neilson-Welch stated that the governance committee is not interested in changing boundaries for municipalities and electoral areas. But Cliff Kanester, BX-Swan Lake director, believes, Victoria will ignore the entire process.

“Is this a matter of getting some input and they will do what ever the hell they want?” he said.

Mike MacNabb, BX-Silver Star alternate director, says residents are concerned their rural jurisdictions may disappear, especially when Vernon says it would accept amalgamation.

“We don’t have any sense of whether Areas B and C will be here because of regional governance?” he said.


During their meeting with Neilson-Welch, all five of the North Okanagan’s electoral area directors indicated they favour keeping the three regional districts in the valley.

“It’s very clear that we want status quo,” said Herman Halvorson, rural Enderby director.

Kanester shot down suggestions that the valley’s three regional districts aren’t working together.

“There’s already co-operation on the Okanagan Basin Water Board and air quality. What else do we need?” he said.

Eugene Foisy, Cherryville director, doesn’t support the review process.

“This isn’t coming from the grassroots. It’s coming from the government. Who the hell are they to tell us our system isn’t working?” he said.

 

More government?
Vernon Morning Star Letters article February 22, 2008

Having lived through a “consolidation of services,” I must warn people, you will only get more politicians, more governance, red tape, excuses, etc.

I lived in a small community (Binbrook) outside of Hamilton. The change from municipal to “regional” government, resulted in three layers of government, municipal, city and regional all fully staffed with politicians, us paying more taxes to pay for these politicians. Yes we had one representative thus one vote on the regional committee, one of 27 votes. Not much came our way.

An example:

Our local town yard could be called if our road needed snow plowing and “George” would give you a time of when the trucks would be there. Now the same scenario, except we must call a “central dispatch.” Here is an excerpt of the conversation:

Hi, I live in Binbrook and….

Dispatch:  Excuse me where is that?

Oh yes, you changed our town’s name from Binbrook to Glanbrook, don’t know why.

Dispatch: Oh yes,

As I said I live in Glanbrook on the West town line…

Dispatch: Where is that?

Oh ya, you also changed our road’s name, which had been known as the “town line” for centuries, to “Westbrook Rd.” Don’t rightly know why, but you did.

Dispatch: Still don’t known where that is, besides we took all your trucks to plow the city streets, we will get to your road soon, click…

Never did see any improvement, but we did get the landfill site, with 400 trucks a day coming and going. Guess when they did vote on this, our one vote representative was not effective. We did fight this landfill site and had the support of the ministry engineers as the water table was too high and would result in contamination of all the wells in the area. Now 20 years later, guess what, the regional engineers are now saying there is a major leeching problem, doh…

So all this “regional government” always flexed its muscle and forced their decisions even to the detriment of the small outlying communities.

I now live in Coldstream and just recently the “people” voted against a “sport park.” If you had a “regional government,” I am sure it would have been a different outcome. I love this community and would hate to see us lose our right to govern.

Let’s reverse all this and look at our Community Services Minister Ida Chong and her office and see if it’s redundant or effective.

I agree with your editor’s statement: “Not once has Chong stated what is wrong with the current system and why change is required” Perhaps this is just an exercise in futility to “make work” for her and her staff to show she is doing “something.”

Allan Jones

 

Government imposes change
Vernon Morning Star letters article February 20, 2008 page A9

I am writing to express my concern with the process that the government has instigated with regard to the governance review of the three regional districts in the Okanagan and Similkameen.

I recall that Minister Ida Chong arrived in Vernon some time ago under a cloak of secrecy. We all knew there was a plot afoot, but all was hidden. After a period of time, the provincial government instigated a governance review, and we were told that the status quo is not an option, the key word being "told.” Surely a review would look at the present governance arrangements first, before dismissing it outright, for reasons as far as I know have not been made public. Yes, more secrecy.

I want us to examine some of the basic concepts that are relevant in this situation (with apologies to the real political scientists). First we have the idea of liberalism. The Webster’s Dictionary defines liberalism as "a political orientation that favors progress and reform.” This sounds good. We can agree with that but "if the wheel ain't broken...? Webster’s tells us that democracy is "a political system in which the supreme power lies in a body of citizens who can elect people to represent them.” Interesting this point. Lastly, we look at dictatorship which Webster’s tells us is "a form of government in which the ruler is an absolute dictator (not restricted by a constitution or laws or opposition etc.).

Okay, so we are not living under an extreme form of dictatorship here in B.C. as in some parts of the world, but the B.C. government's insistence that the status quo is not an option smacks strongly of intolerance which Webster’s defines as "unwillingness to recognize and respect differences in opinions or beliefs.”

Yes, here we have it. The B.C. Liberal Party, as led by Premier Gordon Campbell, is intolerant and has the political muscle to get what it wants.

How unfortunate that we have been landed with this crew. Perhaps, wiser minds will prevail and we can look at the issue of governance without a predetermined and limited agenda.

The bets are on. However, I go for certainties and in this case, I know the outcome already.

Gordon Harris

 

Public must be involved
Public must be involved article from the Vernon Morning Star Feb 20, 2008
Article from the Vernon Morning Star Feb 20, 2008 pg A8
click article for larger print

There's even more indication that any change in Okanagan Governance will likely be imposed and not truly reflect the wishes of residents.

There will be no opportunity for residents to ask questions or provide their thoughts. All they can do is just sit and watch.

The exception apparently will be Armstrong, where council has decided to provide residents with a chance to have their day.

 

 

 

Valley-wide governance input sessions on tap
By Richard Rolke
Valley-wide governance input sessions on tap article from the Vernon Morning Star Feb 20, 2008
Article from the Vernon Morning Star Feb 20, 2008 pg A5
click article for larger print

The governance options being considered are one single regional district; a voluntary inter-regional alliance, a mandatory inter-regional authority and maintaining the existing three regional districts in the Okanagan.

“In Armstrong, we will give the public an opportunity to provide their thoughts,” said Oglow, adding that he isn’t sure how other councils will handle public participation.

 

Armstrong residents invited to council meeting
By Tyler Olsen - Vernon Morning Star - February 15, 2008

A committee looking into the matter has identified three possible governance options.

They are one single regional district; a voluntary inter-regional alliance and a mandatory inter-regional authority.

The committee has stated that maintaining the three existing regional districts in the valley is also an option.

 

Review raises concerns
If governance of the Okanagan changes, Lake Country officials want assurances that small communities will continue to have a voice at the table. source: Vernon Morning Star article

 

In search of a reason
Letters article from the Vernon Morning Star February 13, 2008

I have been following the new decree from Community Services Minister Chong with great interest.

I don't know what it is lately that the provincial government and/or individual ministers feeling they have to poke their noses into every aspect of our lives. Maybe there is a number of influences on their thinking processes; global warming messing with their brain waves, the bureaucrats justifying their existence, El Nino/La Nina causing changes to their water supply affecting their reasoning powers or.....is it just power?

Beware, we all know what has happened to health care and education and a bigger mess was certainly created there, where were the stars aligned when all those decisions were made.

I have an idea maybe we should have several huge mergers, such as this proposed nightmare theory. Maybe that would give us four or five, say the size of Nova Scotia and perhaps New Brunswick. We would then have to say, wow, these are big enough regions to stand as provinces on their own. Hurray! I love that concept, eh! No more Victoria and a little less befuddled thinking.

Are we in the North Okanagan really ready to be swallowed up by Kelowna? Not! One should try to relate to the smaller communities and rural areas concerns, the old adage about walking a day in their shoes.......

Yes, there are small problems with the present system and I'm sure we all have our theories as to why. We must demand our local politicians work a little harder at solving the problems and think at the level of the present Regional Board for our areas rather than total turf protection mentality, otherwise we will all be lost in the shuffle.

I do agree with some concepts. There are some issues that are valley wide; air, water, transportation.

I do feel that each community should involve their public as the process proceeds and a couple of options be presented to the electorate of the Valley to be voted on.

The provincial government should not dictate to the people, this has happened in the past and look at our service sector.

One thing for sure all municipal politicians should check the water they're drinking and how it is affecting their thought processes or we could end up with decisions like those made in Victoria.

Elinor Turrill

 

North Westside area contemplates future
by Richard Rolke
North Westside area contemplates future newspaper article January 13, 2008 from the Vernon Morning Star
click article to read larger print
article is from Vernon Morning Star Sunday January 13, 2008

President of the North Westside Ratepayers Association Allastair Fergusson is leaning towards joining Spallumcheen if governance has to change. "We are a rural district and so is Spallumcheen," he said, adding that the township has a council and administrative structure already in place.  He is not keen on the North Westside becoming a municipality because it has just over 2,000 residents.  "I hesitate to go that way because our taxes would probably triple by the time we are done," he said.

Spallumcheen Mayor Will Hansma says his council has not discussed the prospect of extending its borders along Okanagan Lake.  "But it's not an unreasonable request," he said.  "It would be an additional source of tax revenue which is not a bad thing."

Letter from Spallumcheen Mayor
We are convinced that there should be one "valley-wide" commission-type model to replace the three valley regional Districts. We are no in favour of having a cumbersome bureaucracy over the level of local government to replace regional districts.

Central Okanagan West director Jim Edgson points out that he has had discussions with the provincial government about a governance review for the North Westside, but isn't willing to take sides.  "I want to get all of the information on all of the options available so residents can make a decision," he said.
Central Okanagan West not included in the Working Committee list - website no longer working.  http://www.valleygovern.ca/background.aspx

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Public must have a say
Oct 10, 2007 Vernon Morning Star Article By Richard Rolke

It is increasingly clear that the Okanagan’s destiny is not its own. That the future is in the hands of politicians and bureaucrats in Victoria.

The provincial government — under the lead of the Ministry of Community Services — believes there is a need to review governance in the Okanagan Valley. So a process has been established to consider options, including a single, valley-wide regional district that looks at major issues such as water and transit.

In speaking to local officials, I have got the impression they’ve been shoved into a corner.

Rural Lumby director Rick Fairbairn recently said, “I’d sooner have an opportunity to have input instead of having something imposed.” It’s not a ringing endorsement for the process.

And while a committee of Okanagan politicians will consider alternatives and garner public input, some are already suggesting Victoria has a game plan in mind.

“The province probably does have some idea of what it wants,” said Wayne Lippert, Vernon mayor.

And that’s what’s concerning me. Based on previous arbitrary actions of the government, I wonder if Okanagan residents will actually have any say in determining the governance model best for them or if it will be at the whim of Victoria?

We all remember the fiasco a few years ago when the provincial government, and a small clutch of like-minded people, decided in private to scrap Okanagan University College and turn it into two new institutions. The decision was made and the public was told later.

More recently, the province informed the Comox-Strathcona Regional District on Vancouver Island that it is being separated into two because of perceived inefficiencies. I don’t know all of the details, but the impression I get from media reports is this move had very little advance involvement of local politicians.

Of course the big question is why is the provincial government making Okanagan governance such a major priority — and it must be, because the committee must have a report in the hands of Community Services Minister Ida Chong by March 31.

Among the reasons is the rapid growth in the Okanagan, and as someone who’s family has been in the valley for almost 100 years, I can agree things have changed. But is going from three regional districts to one the best route? Won’t governing such a large population base over such a vast geographical area be challenging? And while we share the same water and air, the specific needs of the North Okanagan may conflict with those to the south.

Another trigger mechanism appears to be Westbank’s recent decision to incorporate as a municipality. That has severely impacted the Central Okanagan Regional District, which has provided services to the community for years.

The conspiracy theory out there is that the province is pushing valley-wide governance so all of those CORD employees can keep their jobs and the regional district directors there can hold on to some of their power.

I don’t know if that’s the case, but I certainly am concerned that a single governance structure in the Okanagan could leave the populous Kelowna/Westbank corridor dominating the rest of the valley.

Ultimately, it doesn’t hurt to look at governance and if a more efficient way can be found to provide services, great, but the final decision should be left in the hands of rank-and-file Okanagan citizens and not be force-fed by Victoria.

 

Directors express concerns
From Vernon Morning Star January 11, 2008

This letter is directed to all residents of the electoral areas in the Regional District of North Okanagan.

Since November 2007, the three regional districts in the Okanagan and Similkameen have been taking part in a governance review initiated by the provincial government.

The rural directors from the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen have indicated their concerns in a letter to the editor on the impact to the rural lifestyles of their residents if the end result is a single regional district serving the entire Okanagan Valley.

We agree with their concerns that such a change in governance structure could result in a reduction in the voice and representation for rural residents as their electoral area director is their only directly elected representative. 

Specifically, decisions would be made at a centralized level without the appropriate opportunity to fully consider the needs, goals, services and community values of our rural residents, and representatives of urban areas could control the votes.

This would not reflect the best interests of rural residents.

There will always be a need to review governance and how services are delivered, and we are always open to this type of discussion.

We further recognize that the current structure is not perfect and we are not opposed to considering other alternatives, however, all options should remain on the table. 

We have grave concerns that the governance review currently underway does not provide, in our opinion, for complete and comprehensive public consultation and also, that the province has imposed a timeline that does not allow for meaningful public consultation.

Our further concern is that to date, there is no initiative underway to gather and analyze the costs and benefits of possible changes to rural or urban areas.

It is our view that, prior to any change, a comprehensive study of all potential options should be undertaken and complete information be provided to the affected residents for their consideration and also, that residents be given the opportunity to vote or voice their opinions in a timely manner.

We will do our utmost to represent you as equal shareholders in this governance review and we will strive to have our voices heard.

However, all rural residents are important stakeholders in this process, and we urge you to let your provincial MLAs Tom Christensen (Tom.Christensen.MLA@leg.bc.ca) and MLA George Abbott (George.Abbott.MLA@leg.bc.ca), as well as Community Services Minister Ida Chong (CS.minister@gov.bc.ca) and Premier Gordon Campbell (premier@gov.bc.ca) know directly how you feel.

Cliff Kanester, Area B,

Stan Field, Area C,

Rick Fairbairn, Area D,

Eugene Foisy, Area E

Herman Halvorson, Area F

Source: Vernon Morning Star

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Okanagan Life assembled a panel of 10 experts and important players for a round table forum on what's in store for the Valley ... and what we can do about it. Read or listen to segments, take in the full discussion, watch video interviews with participants, and above all, join in the debate on Okanagan Life's new blog The Futurology Exchange.

http://www.okanaganlife.com/

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When you belong to any Association your vote, if its a yes or a no vote, can change depending on what the majority of the Association votes.  If the majority vote yes, then your vote becomes a yes, and if they vote no, then your vote becomes no.  Belonging to an Association can be used against you.

If you would prefer to have your vote remain what you voted, either yes or no, then check out this concept about direct democracy or pure democracy.

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Okanagan Similkameen Valley Governance Working Committee
c/o 1450 KLO Road
Kelowna, B.C.
V1W 3Z4

You may also contact us by phone during our regular office hours (8:00 am to 4:00 pm weekday, excluding holidays) at 250-763-4918.

http://www.valleygovern.ca/ website no longer working

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INDEX WR ] INDEX ALL ] Advis. Plan Comm ] Alt Approval ] Ambulance ] Argo Road Maint. ] BC Hydro ] Budget 2010 ] Budget 2011 ] Budget 2012 ] Budget 2013 ] Budget 2014 ] Budget 2015 ] Building Inspect ] Build Laws - BC ] Build Laws - RDCO ] Building Violations ] Bylaw Anon ] COW Elect. 08 ] COW Elect. 11 ] Director Edgson ] Dogs ] Easement Rds ] EDC ] Elect. Boundary ] Environ. Advisory ] ESS ] Finances ] Fintry Develop ] Fintry Park ] Fire Anon ] Fire Boat ] Fire Bylaws ] Fire Dept. ] Fire Dept FOI ] Fire Hydrants ] Fire Minutes ] Fires  House ] FOI Act ] Friends Fintry ] Garbage ] Garbage Area ] Garbage Bylaws ] Garbage Com 08 ] Garbage Contracts ] Garbage Finance ] Garbage FOI ] Garbage FOI ] Garbage LaCasa ] Garbage Locker ] Garbage Minutes ] Garbage NOWESI ] Garbage Ombudsman ] Garbage Prob ] Garbage Secret ] Garbage Solution ] Garbage Survey ] Garbage Traders ] [ Governance Wide ] Government ] Grants-in-aid ] Helicopters ] History ] Killiney Beach Park ] Killiney Hall ] LaCasa ] Motorized Rec. ] NWCA ] NWCA FOI ] NW OCP ] NW Parks ] OKIB ] OKIB Logging ] OKIB Road ] OKIB Tax ] Peacocks ] Police Tax ] Property Tax ] RDCO ] RDCO Dog Minutes ] RDCO Jokes ] RDCO Policy ] RDCO Regs ] Report Animals ] Residents Network ] Septic Systems ] Subdiv. History ] T. Mnt After Fire ] Terrace Mount. Fire ] Trench Burner ] Vote Boxes ] Water Budget 08 ] Water Budget 09 ] Water Budget 10 ] Water Bylaws ] Water Construct ] Water FOI ] Water Grants ] Water Judgement ] Water L Fintry ] Water Laws ] Water Meters ] Water Minutes ] Water Rates ] Water Right-of-Way ] Water Survey ] Water System ] Water Systems ] Water VOS ] Water VOS Pics ] Water Wells ] Water Well Data ] Westshore Playgrnd ] Westshore Sports ] Westside Rd. ] WR Development ] WR Incorporation ] WR Overpass ] WRIC ] Zoning Bylaw 66 ] Zoning Bylaw 81 ] Zoning Bylaw 871 ]

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Westside Road Gossip
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Adv. Plan Comm. ] Alt. Approval ] Ambulance ] Argo Road ] BC Hydro ] Budget 2010 ] Budget 2011 ] Budget 2012 ] Budget 2013 ] Budget 2014 ] Budget 2015 ] Building Inspection ] Build Laws - BC ] Build Laws - RDCO ] Building Violations ] COW Elect 08 ] COW Elect. 11 ] Director Edgson ] Dogs ] Easement Roads ] EDC ] Elect. Boundary ] Environ. Advisory ] ESS ] Finance ] Fintry Develop ] Fintry Park ] Fire Boat ] Fire Bylaws ] Fire Dept. ] Fire Dept FOI ] Fire Hydrants ] Fire Minutes ] Fires House ] FOI Act ] Friends Fintry ] Garbage ] Garbage Area ] Garbage Bylaws ] Garb Comment 08 ] Garbage Contract ] Garbage Finance ] Garbage FOI ] Garbage FOI ] Garbage La Casa ] Garbage Locker ] Garbage Minutes ] Garbage NOWESI ] Garbage Ombudsman ] Garbage Questionaire ] Garbage Secret ] Garbage Solution ] Garbage Survey ] Garbage Traders ] Governance Wide ] Government ] Helicopters ] History ] Killiney Hall ] Killiney Park ] La Casa ] Motorized Rec. ] NW OCP ] NWCA ] NWCA FOI ] NW Parks ] OKIB ] OKIB Logging ] OKIB Road ] OKIB Tax ] Peacocks ] Police Tax ] Property Tax ] RDCO ] RDCO Dog Minutes ] RDCO Jokes ] RDCO Policy ] RDCO Regs ] Report Animals ] Septic Systems ] Subdiv. History ] T. Mtn After Fire ] Terrace Mnt. Fire ] Trench Burner ] Vote Box ] Water Budget 08 ] Water Budget 09 ] Water Budget 10 ] Water Bylaws ] Water Construct ] Water FOI ] Water Grants ] Water Judgements ] Water Laws ] Water Meters ] Water Minutes ] Water Rates ] Water Right-of-Way ] Water Survey ] Water System ] Water VOS ] Water VOS Pics ] Water Well Data ] Water Wells ] Westside Road ] WR Development ] WR Incorporation ] WR Overpass ] WRIC ] Zoning Bylaw 66 ] Zoning Bylaw 1981 ] Zoning Bylaw 871 ]

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In Other Towns

INDEX ALL ] Boucherie Rd ] Kaleden ] Kelowna ] Naramata ] Oyama ] Peachland ] Penticton ] Summerland ] Vernon ] West Kelowna ] Westside Road ] Winfield ]

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Index

Boucherie Road ] Kaleden ] Kelowna ] Naramata ] Oyama ] Peachland ] Pentiction ] Summerland ] Vernon ] West Kelowna ] Westside Road ] Winfield ]

You will find local North Westside Road BC businesses, services, free classifieds, local arts and crafts, vacation waterfront rentals, plus much more located near and around Okanagan Lake. We will be adding to this site, so come back and check it often.

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