Mayors meet over ongoing conflicts
Initial steps are being taken to ease tension in Greater Vernon.
Coldstream Mayor Jim Garlick and Vernon mayor-elect Rob Sawatzky met recently to discuss ongoing areas of conflict — water and parks and recreation.
“We spoke in general about the regional district and Greater Vernon — about the history of what’s gone on,” said Garlick.
“There was a general consensus to keep talking. We didn’t get into solving anything right there.”
Sawatzky says it was important for him to meet with Garlick although he doesn’t have an official role until he is sworn into office Dec. 5.
“The discussions were very preliminary and informal but I don’t think we will have any problem working together,” said Sawatzky.
“Time will tell but I have great hope. Both sides have expressed an interest in moving forward.”
The city has opposed individual jurisdictions taking over parks maintenance, and it has insisted that voting strength be linked to population, something Coldstream has objected to.
Sawatzky won’t speculate on whether those policies will change because he must speak to his new council first.
“We’re a group — seven minds working together,” he said.
Garlick believes progress can be made so the interests of all jurisdictions are accommodated.
“If we sit down and everyone understands the issues and dealing with them in an orderly fashion, that will be helpful,” he said.
Garlick is urging Sawatzky to keep his city council colleagues informed of issues occurring at regional district so they aren’t caught off guard when decisions are made.
“We need everyone aware of what’s happening,” said Garlick.
The meeting between Garlick and Sawatzky was held at the Coldstream municipal office.
“This is the first time a mayor of Vernon has come to us since I’ve been mayor,” said Garlick.