No decision on Okanagan Similkameen Conservation Fund
By Steve Arstad
June 17, 2016 - 11:30 AM
PENTICTON - Talk of establishing a conservation fund in the Okanagan Similkameen regional district will remain just talk for now.
Directors have failed once again to come to terms with a sub-regional agreement that would create the conservation fund.
The fund would require establishment of a regional service and need alternate approval process or a referendum in order to get public approval for the $10 per household levy proposed for participating municipalities and electoral areas.
The money would be used to make investments in regional conservation strategies, the projects to be decided by a technical advisory committee.
The City of Penticton, in a narrow 4-3 vote of council, last week decided not to participate in the regional district fund, but Naramata director Karla Kozackevich urged the board to defer the recommendation in order to give Penticton a chance to reconsider.
The Town of Osoyoos also expressed a desire to opt out of the regional fund. Osoyoos director Sue McKortoff said her council wished to consult the public to see whether they should join the regional program or put together one of their own.
Area “D” director Tom Siddon asked the board to consider the cost of having Penticton opt out noting, the funding loss that would occur without the household levy of Penticton residents.
Calling it “lunacy” to expect municipal councils to veto regional decisions, West Bench director Michael Brydon said the project was in jeopardy because directors felt they had to take the matter to their councils.
“You don’t. We are taking this to the people of the region, the people who will benefit,” he said.
The board deferred the decision to the July 7 regular meeting.
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