Amalgamation a community issue

Premier Christy Clark insists Greater Vernon residents must determine their own destiny

B.C.’s premier insists Greater Vernon residents must determine their own destiny.

During a visit to Kal Tire’s corporate office Friday, Christy Clark was asked by the media if the provincial government would force amalgamation between Vernon, Coldstream and the two electoral areas.

“No, we will not,” she said in response.

The citizen-based Society for the Future Governance of Greater Vernon is circulating a petition that asks local and provincial authorities to develop a plan to combine Vernon, Coldstream and Areas B and C into a single entity.

“This is a community issue. Those decisions need to come from the bottom up,” said Clark.

“I am not interested in forcing a decision from the top down.”

Clark added that she has discussed the current petition campaign with Vernon-Monashee MLA Eric Foster.

Foster recently stated that any demands for a governance restructuring study or a referendum must come from local municipal leaders. On Friday, he reiterated the process that must be followed.

“We do not force amalgamation,” said Foster, adding that it is up to residents to provide input to their municipal councils and regional directors on the issue.

“If there is a large groundswell of support for this, it will be important for local government to take it seriously.”

The society hopes to collect 4,000 names by Thursday.