Township develops strategic plan

Spallumcheen’s mayor is looking forward to a great 2013

She was born on Sept. 13 so Janice Brown has no qualms, concerns or superstitions about the upcoming year containing the number 13.

In fact, Spallumcheen’s mayor is looking forward to a great 2013.

“Our No. 1 priority is to develop a strategic plan moving forward to use as a guide to assist council in setting annual priorities and long-range objectives to deal with issues,” said Brown.

Among the issues the township will be looking at for its strategic plan are water, and the potential development of the township’s southeast sector which currently has two major applications before council.

The water issue, said Brown, is complex and complicated with huge financial implications. Case in point, Interior Health has put a number of water districts within Spallumcheen on notice that they can’t continue to serve non-potable water.

But it’s the southeast sector applications that, if carried through, have the potential to change the entire face of the township.

“We need to check the financial impacts of growth and development,” said Brown.

“We need to check the impact on policing, fires, on schools.”

Both applications require financial cost recovery analyses, which is the township’s way of making sure the applications aren’t going to hit taxpayers hard in their collective wallets.

“It’s huge,” said Brown of the applications.

“There’s really nobody around us (in Spallumcheen). We’re going to have to rely on the experience of our planners and of the regional district (of North Okanagan).”

Elected as mayor of the township in 2011, after serving numerous years as a councillor, Brown’s first full year in office provided some challenges, which included the dismissal of eight-year administrator Lynda Shykora, who was replaced on an interim basis by former regional district CAO Greg Betts.

But Brown said 2012 also had many positives.

“We were able to successfully negotiate our policing and we were able to receive three officers,” she said.

“And, of course, we had our 120th birthday celebrations for which we received $75,000 from the government and we put it back in the form of grants into the community.”

Brown’s first council is made up of three incumbents – Todd York, Andrew Casson and Christine Fraser – and three rookies in Rachael Ganson, Ed Hanoski and Joe Van Tienhoven. And it’s a group Brown refers to as “keen.”

“With this council, I can see 2013 being that much better,” said Brown.

“We had some hard decisions to make but we’re moving forward, full-steam ahead. Everybody is keen to finish the jobs we have going.”

One of the first priorities besides the strategic plan in 2013 will, of course, be budget deliberations.

Brown has vowed to keep any potential tax increase as low as possible.


Vernon Morning Star