September 25, 2015 - 2:30 PM
PENTICTON - It’s been a busy week for South Okanagan municipal politicians as they vie for the attention of provincial ministries and agencies.
The regional district directors and members of Penticton city council report progress in bringing local concerns to the attention of delegates at this year’s Union of B.C. Municipalities Convention wrapping up in Vancouver today, Sept. 25.
South Okanagan-Similkameen Regional District directors say progress was made regarding environmental issues at the Campbell Mountain landfill. After meeting with Environment Minister Mary Polak, she acknowledged a willingness to cooperate with the regional district in their search for a method to address methane gas at the landfill.
Polak also discussed actions the ministry will be taking to address the invsive zebra and quagga mussels issue, which is a highly discussed topic at the convention this year.
Annual concerns regarding itinerant campers habituating the Similkameen River floodplain near Keremeos were brought to the attention of the Ministry of Lands, as well as concerns expressed by Electoral Area E director Karla Kozakevich about itinerant campers on Okanagan Lake near Naramata. The ministry has agreed to work with the regional district towards a solution to the issue.
Discussions regarding funding of an assisted living facility for Okanagan Falls was initiated with Housing Minister Rich Coleman.
Regional district representatives also met with officials with the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations to discuss orphan dikes, the Kettle Valley Railway Trail through Vaseaux Lake and wildfire mitigation. The ministry acknowledged support of KVR trail expansion through the South Okanagan and agreed to work with the regional district to gain access to the trail west of Vaseaux Lake.
City of Penticton representatives had conversations with provincial officials regarding stable and consistent capital funding, affordable housing and legislative restrictions.
They met with staff at the Ministry of Community Sport and Cultural Development to discuss the difficulties involved in long range planning without funding certainty. The City of Penticton proposed regular capital funding should flow from the province if a municipality has implemented an assets management plan.
Penticton is also looking for amendments to the Community Charter that would create more flexibility in providing economic incentives. The city would like to see more incentives for communities who have businesses investing in their companies without triggering a large scale building permit, as well as some economic incentives for the placement of such minor amenities as bike racks.
City officials also met with staff from the Ministry of Natural Gas Development to discuss affordable housing and a local housing strategy. A lack of affordable housing has been identified as a negative factor in attracting and retaining workers by several large employers in the area.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015