October 20, 2015 - 9:00 PM
PENTICTON - Environmental projects and programs within the city could soon be funded by a conservation program, if council can come to an agreement with the regional district.
Penticton City Council was invited to participate in the 'unique opportunity' during a presentation by Bryn White of the South Okanagan Similkameen Conservation Program yesterday, Oct. 19.
White was seeking city interest in participating in such a fund in time for the 2016 budget and had previously introduced the idea to the regional district board in February 2015. The board agreed to spend $55,000 this year to assess public support for the development of a fund, with the prospect of going to referendum on the issue in 2016.
White approached Penticton city council Monday to explain the fund and noted the regional district would like to see the district’s member municipalities participate in a regional fund based on a percentage of property value.
She suggested a threshold amount in the order of $10 per household to launch a city-based fund and noted the city is not required to go to taxpayers for approval of a conservation fund, unlike the regional district.
A conservation fund is set up to provide funding for environmental projects within a municipality or regional district that don’t fall within the mandate of other government levels. It could be used to fully fund initiatives like the Penticton Creek restoration project master plan, White told the board, noting eligible projects would be up to the community to decide and each local government can custom design their fund to address their own goals.
Council was concerned about the prospect of money raised in Penticton being spent outside the community and what administration fees would be required by the South Okanagan Similkameen Conservation Program. White assured council under terms of reference the fund would be a city-funded service, costing a small administration fee to operate.
Council agreed to discuss the fund with regional district officials at the end of the month. If council agrees to go ahead with the fund, no tax requisition would take place prior to 2017.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015