January 29, 2014 - 9:26 AM
VERNON - The City of Vernon refuses to put the question of amalgamating Greater Vernon to rest just yet.
The councillors voted not only to support the Greater Vernon Governance Society’s request for a study on the matter, but also to put the question on the 2014 municipal election ballot. They are also encouraging the rest of Greater Vernon to do the same.
“There seems to be enough interest in our whole region in exploring this and taking a look at least,” Coun. Catherine Lord said.
The Governance Society gathered 2,930 signatures from across Greater Vernon and insists it's enough to prompt a review.
Lord believes putting the question of whether or not council should pursue the study on the municipal ballot would involve more people in the discussion.
“It’s not going to cost anything to put that question on the ballot and we’re laying it to rest once and for all,” Lord said.
Coldstream council and Regional Distirct directors from Areas B and C have said they are against the study, which would investigate the pros and cons of uniting Greater Vernon’s four jurisdictions under one governance structure. MLA Eric Foster has said the province needs the support of at least two jurisdictions to proceed with the study.
Electoral Area C director Mike Macnabb thought the matter had been putt to bed when the District of Coldstream and Areas B and C said no to the study.
“I’m just wondering to what end this will be. Some people say let's answer the question once and for all. The question comes up every five years. So really, it will never be answered—doesn’t matter how many studies there are,” Macnabb said.
Coldstream councillor Maria Besso disagrees with asking the province to fund a study on amalgamation. While the province would pay for the review, local staff would still have to do the work, Besso said. And that would mean taking resources away from other projects.
“You will have to be involved...” Besso said. “The province will not do that work for you.”
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