Petition refusal draws protest

There are concerns that a component of democracy has been cast aside at Vernon city hall.

Coun. Patrick Nicol wanted to give a resident the ability to present a 1,670-name petition on the future of Okanagan Landing firefighters. But  a majority of his colleagues denied the request Monday.

“We’ve always received petitions,” said Nicol, adding that residents should have the right to appear before their elected officials.

The issue arose after Mayor Rob Sawatzky decided that a resident could not present the petition Nov. 26.

The petition calls for the reversal of a decision to cancel a service contract with the Landing firefighters.

Sawatzky stated the petition dealt with in-camera matters of labour and legal contracts and permitting a presentation would leave people with the false impression that they can overturn a council decision.

“It is poor policy to allow contractors to stir the public and bring forward petitions that influence decision makers and staff,” he said.

That argument didn’t go over well with Nicol.

“We’ve been influenced by so many benefitting parties over the years,” he said.

Coun. Juliette Cunningham supported Sawatzky’s original move not to allow a delegation.

“I looked through the signatures and many were not city residents. Many did not know what they were signing,” she said.

Once again, Nicol protested the discussion.

“We had people giving input who didn’t live in the city and we accepted it,” he said of the last official community plan review.

Nicol only garnered support from Coun. Bob Spiers.

“I see nothing wrong with receiving the petition of an interested party. We’ve received them before. We should have received this one,” said Spiers.

Coun. Mary-Jo O’Keefe was absent Monday.


We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.

You might like ...

Vernon makes push for governance review
Conservation forced to destroy deer
Ferries to be converted to use LNG
Bloom win trumps travel woes
Summerland man dies after being hit by transport truck
RDCK sends ministry a message over recycling
No injuries as truck crashes at McDonald’s in Summerland
Sex assault suspect sent for psychological evaluation
First chair at Fernie Alpine Resort

Community Events, September 2014

Add an Event

Read the latest eEdition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Sep 21 edition online now. Browse the archives.