Regional district bypasses environmental study

Why not adhere to the guidelines excepting minor changes before wasting time, tax dollars and taxpayer frustration

Why did the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen bypass a $400,000 study for the protection of the valley’s environment, air and water to move forward with the development request at Vaseux Lake?

Penticton paid 40 per cent of the costs of that study.

Presently there is a plan for a development at Twin Lakes which has gathered considerable protest. Was Twin Lakes part of that study?

When comparing this study to the Penticton OCP: Penticton council has had little hesitation in giving precedence to developers over OCP zoning requirements. Time, effort, tax dollars, multi-year studies, sound management practices and protesting taxpayers receive little consideration.

While there are exceptions to every case, if taxpayers pay $400,000 for a study, why not adhere to the guidelines excepting minor changes before wasting time, tax dollars and taxpayer frustration on hearings and public consultation? Zoning is a pretty fundamental plank in the OCP and RDOS growth strategy.

On Dec. 10, Abbotsford council voted to abandon its proposal to withdraw from the Fraser Valley Regional District.

Ida Chong, minister of community, sport and cultural development, last spring refused permission, giving them only the alternative of forming a new regional district. Establishment of the regional system has allowed the province to download their rural costs and responsibilities to the local level.

Abbotsford’s bold move to reject the FVRD resulted in that regional district restructuring costs with a 28 per cent tax cut for Abbotsford in 2011. Expected tax savings to their taxpayers is $715,736. Abbotsford believed going solo would produce a further $760,000 annually.

Abbotsford is now looking at regional transit and solid waste programs within the FVRD to see what benefits and/or economies of scale can be achieved.

Penticton taxpayers should be expecting similar cutbacks and savings at the RDOS and a zero tax increase this year. While time tracking previously accepted by other regions has been implemented, the recent scandals over poor operating procedures at the landfills throws doubt on their voluntary internal core services review which was likely self-serving.

It is curious, while the RDOS claims their selection for chairperson was part of the democratic process, it refused to reveal which directors voted for the re-election of Mayor Dan Ashton.

As Penticton councillor remuneration significantly increases by sitting on this board at the pleasure of the mayor; is it reasonable to assume that the Penticton director/councillors voted in favour of Ashton as chair?

Is doubt enough reason why the vote should not be secret?

Elvena Slump



Penticton Western News