The Regional District of North Okanagan is accused of muzzling residents.
RDNO has turned down a request from the Riverfront Owners for Responsible Recreation to appear before the board July 20 to discuss boating regulations and the Shuswap River watershed sustainability plan.
“We’ve put in multiple applications (four) to be a delegation in the past year and they’ve all been denied,” said Mike Steiner, with RORR. “It’s a breach of their procedures.”
Under legislation, a delegation on a specific issue is not allowed because new information cannot be received after a public hearing.
The Electoral Area Advisory Committee held a public hearing on the Area F official community plan July 7.
“They (boaters) were there in full force and they were heard,” said Herman Halvorson, rural Enderby director, who insists RDNO’s process must unfold until delegations may be considered.
“The decision (by EAAC) has to be accepted by the board first.”
Steiner points out that the July 7 public hearing specifically dealt with the Area F OCP and he wants to talk to the board about boating regulations and the river sustainability plan.
“They’ve excluded all individuals who are opposed to this,” he said, adding that RDNO is focused only on those who want a boat ban and not riverfront owners.
David Sewell, RDNO chief administrative officer, says his staff were clear that boat regulations are not part of the OCP.
“They (boaters at the hearing) have said there is a link between boat regulations and the OCP and now we have said new information on the OCP can’t be received,” he said.
“We can’t let them appear at this time because the board needs to make a decision on the OCP.”
Steiner insists it’s important that the RDNO board hear from RORR.
“I believe that if I can get in front of these people and walk through the process, they will say, ‘You are right and the Shuswap River watershed sustainability plan should be tossed in the garbage,’” he said.
However, Sewell says RDNO is trying to ensure both sides of the regulations issue are heard and that will occur through a consultant.
“It’s not about who packs the board chambers the most,” he said.
“We want to have representation from all sides. We want reasonable discussion and dialogue.”