Economic development fund and transit service approved by South Okanagan regional district - InfoNews

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Economic development fund and transit service approved by South Okanagan regional district

FILE PHOTO - A BC Transit bus stops at the Kaleden Community Centre in June, 2015 in efforts to generate discussion regarding a regional transit service. The regional district board passed a bylaw creating the service last week.
November 24, 2016 - 9:00 PM

PENTICTON - The South Okanagan has a regional transit service after several bylaws were passed by the regional district board last week.

Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen board of directors gave final adoption to both a regional transit service and an economic development service Thursday, Nov. 17.

The alternate approval process for elector response to regional transit service bylaw passed on Oct. 17 with only two response forms collected out of a total of 1,596 needed to force the bylaw to referendum. The service will be funded through the Town of Oliver, Electoral Areas 'A,' 'C,' and 'D' and the Town of Osoyoos

Opposition to a regional economic development bylaw was slightly stronger, but at 50 responses, still a long way from the 7,089 necessary to force the bylaw to referendum. The service will be funded by all municipal and electoral area members of the regional district, and is intended to provide a more transparent means for the board to fund the Okanagan Film Commission.

A bylaw to provide a funding mechanism for the Loose Bay Campground also passed, specific to residents of Area 'C.'

The alternate approval process has also been implemented for some other regional distict electoral area-specific bylaws, with a deadline of Jan. 6, 2017 for submitting response forms. The process was initiated for a bylaw allowing additional taxation for increased library hours at the Keremeos library for the Village of Keremeos, and Electoral Areas 'G' and 'B.' 

A funding mechanism bylaw to provide a way for rural areas to contribute to administration costs for the area’s Victim Assistance Services was also put before the public using the alternate approval process last Thursday, for Areas 'A,' 'C,' 'D,' 'E,' and 'F.' Residents will have until Jan. 6, 2017 to oppose the adoption of the bylaw in each area.

Chief administrative officer Bill Newell said there is currently no way for rural residents to contribute to the administrative cost of the Victim Services Program, which costs between $3,000 and $5,000 annually, even though many residents use the service. The Penticton and Summerland areas currently have 1.5 full-time Victim Services coordinators, while the Oliver and Osoyoos areas have a part-time position.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Steve Arstad or call 250-488-3065 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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