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.


Just Posted

Vernon Vipers shut out Penticton Vees in first game of home-and-home

James Porter Jr. stopped all 42 shots, Seiya Tanaka-Campbell scored his first BCHL goal Friday night

Conservation officers on the hunt for North Okanagan moose poachers

Officers execute search warrant Friday morning, investigation continues

Vernon Montessori students re-gift to raise funds

Holiday Gift Shop fundraiser supports Project Christmas Elf, teaches sustainability

Sagmoen’s lawyer argues ‘abuse of power’ in police search

The trial of Curtis Sagmoen continued at the Vernon Law Courts on Friday

Vernon’s All Saints Church sets table for less fortunate

Fifth annual Festive Street Lunch will take place at All Saints’ Church tomorrow

‘Where the miracles live’: Shane Koyczan narrates powerful KGH Foundation video

‘There is more to being alive than just our data plans… there’s our plans’

Prince George RCMP use bait packages to catch porch pirates over the holidays

First-in-Canada program with Amazon looks to combat parcel theft

WATCH: Fire destroys Big White Ski Resort chalet

The fire was reported around 2 a.m. Saturday morning

UPDATE: Highway 1 reopens after vehicle incident near Boston Bar

Initial reports of a jack-knifed semi truck had closed both directions of the highway

Nanaimo mechanical engineer creates thief tracking program

Nanaimo Thief Tracking lets users plot and share information about thefts online

Mayor wants B.C. to institutionalize severely mental ill people who are homeless

Those suffering from mental health conditions, such as schizophrenia, need specialized care, mayor says

Five things of note from Trudeau’s mandate letters to his ministers

Some marching orders come from the Liberal Party’s campaign, while others are new additions

Scheer’s resignation tips party into internal war over school tuition payments

The Conservatives have a Toronto convention already scheduled for April

Most Read