Current Conditions


Annexation of properties on the fringe incites heated debate

North Okanagan politicians debate the annexation of properties into the City of Vernon.
Image Credit: City of Vernon
November 22, 2013 - 3:31 PM

VERNON - There’s concern that communities are shrinking as properties bordering Vernon are annexed into the city.

Some North Okanagan politicians voiced concerns at a Regional District of the North Okanagan meeting Wednesday night as directors eyed a motion on the annexation of 13 properties. It’s up to the City of Vernon to accept or deny annexation requests, but applications come to the regional district board for input before a decision is made.

“Unfortunately, the electoral areas from which the properties are being annexed have no role in the process, other than to comment,” area B director Bob Fleming said, adding the province essentially “rubber stamps” the applications that come in from the city.

“We haven’t seen one rejected yet,” Fleming said.

The motion on the table was for annexation applications to not be supported for the 13 properties, something are C director Mike Macnabb wholly endorsed. He said “fringe-feeders”—developers on the perimeter of the city—seek annexation for the benefit of their own pocket-books. It’s sometimes cheaper to buy property outside city limits, something developers know and do with the intention of annexing the land into the City of Vernon to raise its property value.

“At some point it will no longer be viable to have an electoral area,” Macnabb said, noting taxpayers are lost every time property is annexed into the city.

Other directors were quick to point out that financial gain isn’t the sole motivator for annexation. Director Rob Sawatzky, Vernon mayor, said many properties seek the city’s superior sewage system.

“We really don’t see... how we can refuse these (requests),” Sawatzky said.

Director Mary-Jo O’Keefe, a City of Vernon councillor, agreed it’s hard to deny the applicants what they’re asking for.

“It’s private property and they see it as necessary or they wouldn’t ask,” O’Keefe said.

The motion to not support the annexation passed by a slim margin, but as a symbolic decision only, it won’t bar the properties from joining the City of Vernon.

The discussion came on the heels of a recent review on the pros and cons of annexation, conducted by a third party. The report is phase two of the Electoral Area Annexation Impact Study. It may help guide future discussions on the matter.

“I think it’s going to be a good tool to clear this dialogue,” Fleming said of the study.

To contact the reporter of this story, email Charlotte Helston at, call (250)309-5230 or tweet @charhelston.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013
InfoTel News Ltd

  • Popular kelowna News
  • Comments
  • How Vernon residents are spreading community spirit one painted rock at a time
    VERNON - Located on a nondescript side street in Vernon sits a landmark known by all the neighbourhood kids as ‘The Wishing Tree.’ A little wooden sign describing it as such has
  • Police seek missing North Okanagan teen
    VERNON – RCMP are looking for the public’s help finding a missing 16-year-old North Okanagan girl. Ebony Holmgren was last seen on June 16 in the 11000 block of Tassie Drive in C
  • Depp's 'assassin' comments the latest in celebrity anger
    NEW YORK - Johnny Depp apologized Friday for joking about assassinating Donald Trump during an appearance at a large festival in Britain, the latest example of artists using violent imagery when d
  • Heat wave expected across Interior this weekend
    The Interior is going to be hit by a heat wave. Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement warning about hot weather across the Southern Interior, including the South Thompson
  • Okanagan cherry season is underway
    KELOWNA - Nothing quite says summer in the Okanagan than eating ripe, juicy cherries until your hands are stained red and your stomach is aching it’s so full. Lucky for us, that time is now.
View Site in: Desktop | Mobile