Patrick Davies (left)

Amalgamation not on candidates’ agenda

Vernon and Coldstream mayoralty candidates discuss amalgamation at Chamber of Commerce forum

There appears to be little desire to bring Greater Vernon’s jurisdictions under one roof.

Vernon and Coldstream mayoralty candidates were asked to take a stand on amalgamation during a Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce forum at the Schubert Centre Wednesday.

“It would assist a lot in our governance structure,” said Wayne Lippert, Vernon’s incumbent mayor, adding, that the focus should be the electoral areas either joining the city or Coldstream and he isn’t convinced the municipalities should come together.

“We work very well and we have agreements in place for community policing, economic development and water.”

Rob Sawatzky, who is also running for Vernon mayor, says a change in governance can only occur if there is consent from all parties and the public is involved.

“Politicians in individual areas should not be pushing from within,” he said.

Patrick Davies, a Vernon candidate, says communications are key to any relationship with or without amalgamation.

“We have to make sure it’s not forced from Vernon on to Coldstream and vice versa,” he said.

Coldstream Mayor Jim Garlick told the crowd of more than 150 people that the jurisdictions can align on common issues while maintaining individual identities.

“Kelowna had amalgamation with Rutland but not with  the water system. We’ve amalgamated services for efficiencies,” he said of the shared water utility.

Dave Hrabchuk, who is seeking the Coldstream mayor’s job, doesn’t want to force a governance change.

“It should be up to the people. It should be mutually agreeable. I’m not sure it’s necessary at this point,” he said.

The candidates were also asked what would be their big ticket spending items if elected to office.

“Our community has demonstrated a need for a sports facility. If people are willing to pay for it, I’d support it,” said Hrabchuk.

Garlick says his focus is improving infrastructure.

“Roads are important — keeping them to a standard so they don’t fail on us,” he said.

Davies says he will push for an airport runway extension to encourage people to live here.

“We need to open up Vernon as a bedroom community for the oil patch,” he said of flights to northern Alberta and B.C.

Lippert believes there is a need to continue with the city’s infrastructure strategy and any future cultural and sports facilities must go to referendum.

“It’s your tax dollars. We need to give you the opportunity (to decide on them).”

If elected, Sawatzky says his first priority will be an external audit of how the city operates, including staffing levels and spending activities.

“We need to know what the (financial) situation is before we commit to other things,” he said.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

First win for longtime New Westminster skip

Donna Mychaluk wins BC Senior Women’s Curling crown after five runner-up finishes

Vernon protest draws close to 40 people

Earth Strike Vernon holds peaceful rally in support of Wet’suwet’en people and land

North Okanagan Knights drop playoff preview

Kelowna Chiefs hold on for 3-2 KIJHL victory; best-of-seven series starts Friday in Rutland

Vernon gas station lowers price nearly 20 cents/litre

Super Save Gas at 25th Avenue and 43rd Street selling regular gasoline at $1.09.9

Vernon’s Fulton Maroons fall in Valley final; earn berth to B.C.’s

Princess Margaret Mustangs of Penticton beat Fulton in Senior Boys AA Basketball final

VIDEO: 2020 BC Winter Games wrap up in Fort St. John as torch passes to Maple Ridge

More than 1,000 athletes competed in the 2020 BC Winter Games

First win, fifth win highlight BC Senior Curling finals

Donna Mychaluk wins first title after finishing second five times; Wes Craig takes fifth crown

Still six cases of COVID-19 in B.C. despite reports of Air Canada passenger: ministry

Health ministry wouldn’t comment on specific flight routes

Violent ends to past Indigenous protests haunt Trudeau government

Trudeau adopted a more assertive tone Friday, insisting the barricade must come down

Kelowna Firefighters douse suspicious hedge fire

A 30’ section of cedar hedge burned prompting an RCMP investigation.

Kelowna RCMP make arrest in fatal stabbing of 16-year-old Elijah Beauregard

An 18-year-old woman is in police custody facing a manslughter charge.

HIGHLIGHTS: Day one and two at the 2020 BC Winter Games

Athletes had sunny – but cold – weather to work with in Fort St. John

Most Read