Vernon council focused on youth health

The long-term health of our youth is a growing concern for local officials.

Vernon Mayor Rob Sawatzky and Coun. Juliette Cunningham will attend the provincial Cities Fit for Children Summit in Kamloops May 10 and 11.

The conference will bring together people  involved in policy decisions to design and build healthy and safe communities for children and families.

For Sawatzky, a major issue is childhood obesity and the need to get children active.

“It’s a huge epidemic,” said the retired doctor.

“We could be the first generation to outlive our children.”

Tax breaks bolster revitalization

Enticements for developers are moving ahead.

On Monday, Vernon council gave third reading to tax exemptions that will encourage projects in the city centre district and the Lakeshore Road waterfront area.

“This will really revitalize the areas and it allows people to be entrepreneurs,” said Coun. Patrick Nicol.

In both areas, a 10-year tax exemption is possible for redevelopment but that will start to decline annually after the fifth year.

The exemption will be based on the difference between the assessed value before and after the project is completed.

As an example, a property assessed at $500,000 may be valued at $1.5 million after redevelopment. That means the tax exemption will be $1 million.

The tax exemption bylaws still require adoption from council.

Schubert struggles with signs

The City of Vernon may be causing roadblocks for a cash-strapped seniors organization.

Coun. Juliette Cunningham recently learned the Schubert Centre thrift store is unable to place a sign along 30th Avenue.

“Apparently everything west of the roundabout is considered residential (use),” she said, adding that city staff needs to reconsider the situation.

“A sign doesn’t have to be obtrusive and it would help them with fundraising.”

The centre has a debt load in excess of $100,000, and the city recently provided a $15,000 grant.

Speeders a sign of spring

Okanagan Landing roads have become race tracks again.

Coun. Mary-Jo O’Keefe says she has received public complaints about vehicles ignoring posted speed limits since the warm weather arrived.

And she is demanding that city take action.

“I’d like to see some enforcement go on in those areas.”



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