February 21, 2014 - 4:36 PM
VERNON - Elected officials are concerned the local health authority isn’t keeping the public’s best interests at heart.
Directors of the North Okanagan Regional District unanimously voted to lobby the Ministry of Health to add local representatives to the Interior Health Authority board, currently teamed by seven individuals appointed by the provincial government.
Mike Macnabb would like to see one elected official from each of the nine districts serviced by the health authority to have a seat at the table.
“If we represent the public then we should represent them on these types of boards that have a direct impact on them,” Macnabb says.
He says there’s no way to hold the health authority accountable if local representatives are shut out from the process and “biased” individuals are left to make all the decisions.
“We get a chance to look at the capital expenditures, but the antecedent to that is the operations. Just to look at the expenditures doesn’t give you the full picture.”
When the community’s tax dollars are at stake, Macnabb insists local representatives with an understanding of the community’s needs must have a say in how that money is spent.
“Accountability is a big issue these days. I think there’s a great deal of frustration from the public that Interior Health is above review. There is criticism out there,” Macnabb says.
The pressure is timely given the recent spotlight on Greater Vernon water. Taxpayers will go to referendum in November on borrowing $70 million for improvements ordered by the health authority, but Macnabb isn’t convinced the changes are needed. So far, he’s seen no scientific evidence condoning the work.
“Until there’s good science, don’t force it on us,” Macnabb says. “If we’re asked to do something beyond what is required we should be able to say no. We’re not on equal footing with IH... we’re dictated to follow Canadian water guidelines which IH has adopted as standards.”
The proposal will be reviewed at the next meeting of the Southern Interior Local Government Association, and if endorsed there, its next stop will be the Union of B.C. Municipalities.
To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at firstname.lastname@example.org, call (250)309-5230 or tweet @charhelston.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014