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Vernon council briefs: Fire funds, cannabis complaints, and more

O’Keefe and Carnival grant request accepted, new planning manager, Roster expansion
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Vernon Fire Rescue Services will be receiving a new electric vehicle, after their request was accepted at a recent Vernon Council meeting. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)

Upgrades to Vernon Fire Rescue Services (VFS)

Council approved the request from VFRS for a new electronic vehicle, at a cost of up to $69,000. Additionally, VFRS will also be receiving fire suppression equipment (up to $80,000), specifically made for electric vehicle (EV) fires.

“It’s a blanket that is pulled over the vehicle to help contain the heat and the gas from the fire,” said fire chief David Lind. “And the other tool we need actually hooks up to water. We place it under the vehicle and we lift it up into the area where the battery boxes are located and then flood that area with water.”

Lind mentioned how fires from EVs use a considerable amount of water, more so than a gas vehicle fire.

“With a gas vehicle, we can essentially just use water from our fire truck reservoir, not even needing a hydrant,” Lind added.

A tethered heavy duty drone, made to reach distances as high at 200 feet, was also accepted by council, for use by VFRS.

The drone would be able to be flown into controlled airspace’s during emergencies, like the recent McDougall Creek Wildfire.

“This specific drone is in use at other emergency services communities,” Lind explained. The heavy price tag, up to $50,000 was initially questioned by Coun. Kelly Fehr, before the explanation by Lind.

All funds for VFS will be discussed at the 2024 budget deliberations.

Cannabis smell update

After a resident brought forth a petition demanding enforcement of the cannabis odour control act at the previous council meeting, council has seemingly listened.

The company, Avant Ventures has seen 44 complaints levied their way by Bylaw Compliance. However, Health Canada is responsible for action upon these complaints and since its federally regulated, there has not been any changes.

Council approved a new motion, to write a letter to Health Canada requesting that they expedite the review of Avant Ventures, to be looked at at the next council meeting.

“I think we also send them (Health Canada) the number of complaints to them and continue to write them letters until the issue is dealt with,” said Coun. Kari Gares.

“Our hands are tied,” said Coun. Brian Quiring. “We can do our best to work with the business owner but we can’t force compliance and Health Canada has a responsibility. It should happen sooner rather than later, as the residents are being impacted.”

The letter will also be distributed to MP Mel Arnold.

Roster Sports Club upgrade

An application to increase the occupancy load at Roster’s Sports Club, from 95 to 140 patrons, was approved without any discussion.

Two residents who lived near the club submitted emails expressing concern for the proposal, out of the 136 property owners who were contacted. Roster believes that the structural change “is not anticipated to have it be operated in a manner that is contrary to its primary purpose of a sports club.”

Funds for Carnival and O’Keefe

Grant funding requests from both the Vernon Winter Carnival and O’Keefe Ranch Interior Heritage Society were both accepted by council.

Carnival is seeking $10,000 in what is a “continuation” of funding, according to a city report.

“Since 2009, the City of Vernon has provided the VWC a grant in the amount of $10,000 to assist with its annual carnival. The grant is provided for annually in the budget, and for 2024, the tourism department has already agreed to be a sponsor for the society, and the city paid $10,000 for that sponsorship in August 2023.”

The request for $10,000 is in addition to the sponsorship amount and the funds have been included in the 2024 budget. Deliberations on the funds will be had in December when council dissects the upcoming budget.

O’Keefe is seeking $150,000. The city already annually includes $50,000 for the society, funded by taxation.

Council’s recommendation is to prepare a service level adjustment for the 2024 additional grant funds of $100,000 requested by the society.

3-figure planning manager approved

The re-establishment of a current planning manager within the planning and development team in the city was approved by council.

The anticipated cost for the position is expected to be $151,000, which will be brought forth at the 2024 budget deliberations.

The full meeting minutes can be found at vernon.ca/council-meetings.

READ MORE: Brief reprieve for Vernon citizens on ALC tax hike

READ MORE: 2 Vernon societies seeking grant money from the city



Bowen Assman

About the Author: Bowen Assman

I joined The Morning Star team in January 2023 as a reporter. Before that, I spent 10 months covering sports in Kelowna.
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