Consultant considers rural area annexations

Annexation of rural areas into municipalities is  coming under scrutiny.

The Electoral Area Advisory Committee has selected a consultant to proceed with the $25,000 phase one study into the impact of annexation.

“It will set the framework for how annexation takes place,” said Mike Macnabb, BX-Silver Star director.

Phase one will consider municipal annexation policies, services provided by the Regional District of North Okanagan, services provided by other agencies, property taxes, local political representation and land use planning.

The consultant will also evaluate annexation application activity.

“It will look at what annexation costs to electoral areas and the economic impact,” said Rick Fairbairn, EAAC chairperson and rural Lumby director.

“Right now, if a property is annexed, the electoral areas have no input and they lose a part of their tax base. What does it do for those people remaining in the electoral area that pay for services?”

It’s expected that phase one will be completed this year, and then a decision will be made on the next stage of the process.

Phase two could lead at a specific case of annexation, such as Okanagan Landing going into Vernon.

“In the Landing, the study could look at the negatives and the benefits. Who won, who lost?” said Macnabb.

“There is a cost for both sides. Municipalities take on roads, policing and other services.”

The RDNO board must still approve the hiring of a consultant.



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