Concern is rising over the potential for a repeat of some controversial decision-making in Coldstream.
Some district staff and politicians have suggested that work on upgrades to the municipal works yard may go ahead, even if residents vote against borrowing funds for the project in November’s referendum.
An estimated $1.05 million borrowing referendum coincides with the municipal election for construction of a new mechanics shop, restructuring of the Quonset and site grading of the works yard.
“We have to ask for permission to borrow this money,” said Mayor Jim Garlick.
But one resident insists the referendum is a waste of time if the district is just going to go ahead with the work regardless of what the residents say.
“History doesn’t have to repeat itself,” said resident John Hegler. “This building (municipal hall) was built against the taxpayers’ wishes.”
Garlick confirms that some of the work will have to be carried out regardless in order to meet work safety requirements.
There are also issues around security of equipment that may need to be addressed.
Coldstream has already approved spending $78,500 for a partial design and construction estimate, which Hegler also protests.
“You’re putting the cart before the horse here.”
Meridian barricades targeted
Some Vernon road design work is driving neighbouring concerns.
Changes are proposed in the 2800 block of 30th Avenue this summer with a centre median to prevent left turns (both from 28th Street and on to 28th from 30th).
But also 28th Street just happens to be home to Vernon’s new Okanagan Regional Library, currently under construction.
“It’s an issue,” said Coldstream Coun. Maria Besso who is a director on the ORL board. “I know that the library wasn’t pleased about that.
“It was brought up and it surprised everyone during the charrette (planning) process in October.”
Vernon businesses and citizens have also raised concerns with the median.
“I have a concern that the design of the project will impact the Vernon Winter Carnival parade and the flow of commercial truck traffic,” said Vernon resident George Serhan.
Vernon engineering staff say turns can easily be made by all vehicles, including large floats, transport trucks and fire engines.
Coldstream’s mayor is defending increased water rates after a Coldstream resident opened the flood gates of frustration.
Residential water rates in Greater Vernon were bumped 20 per cent, and that increase in uncalled for, said resident John Hegler.
“Our water bill in the summer is higher than Lumby’s bill for the year,” said Hegler, blaming his local politicians for not standing up to the increase.
“You are supposed to be a voice, an advocate for the District of Coldstream, not a rubber stamp,” said Hegler. “There’s only one person (Coun. Gyula Kiss) on council here who tackles this water issue.”
Coldstream Mayor Jim Garlick says the increase is necessary with Interior Health forcing the Greater Vernon water utility to implement a $20 million filtration system at the Duteau Creek treatment plant.
He says increased filtration will eventually be forced on all water utilities, but the bigger ones are being targeted first.
“We are the second largest water utility now in the province,” said Garlick. “They (IH) are choosing to pick on the bigger ones first.”
Increased rates are also necessary to cover infrastructure upgrades in the near future, says Garlick.
“In this community, it’s been decades since money was put into the infrastructure.”