City wants an end to downloading

Vernon politicians have backed away from a concept that could have sanctioned government downloading.

Council has decided not to endorse a resolution from the Union of B.C. Municipalities that necessary water projects be exempt from needing voter assent.

“If we do that, it makes it easier for the provincial government to download responsibility for a Ministry of Health directive on to a local government,” said Mayor Rob Sawatzky.

“They should either fund it or give us the ability to fund it. The motion would have made it easier for the province to manage their downloading of projects.”

The Greater Vernon Advisory Committee will ask voters in November to approve borrowing up to $70 million for phase one of the master water plan. Most of the plan, including filtration on the Duteau Creek treatment plan, has been ordered by the Interior Health Authority.

“This set of expensive capital projects is imposed by an arm of the provincial government and if they are going to impose provincial responsibility on to local government, the tool (required) is funding,” said Sawatzky.

Vernon council was unanimous in turning down support for making water infrastructure exempt from voter approval.

For Coun. Bob Spiers, the motion also goes against democratic principles.

“It gives the politicians another tool not to go to the public,” he said.


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