City of Vernon proposes block extensions

City of Vernon is proposing a block boundary extension of all properties adjacent to the city’s road and sewer infrastructure

The City of Vernon believes it has come up with a solution that will allow select residents to join the city’s road and sanitary infrastructure without ruffling Regional District of North Okanagan feathers.

The city is proposing a block boundary extension of all properties adjacent to the city’s road and sewer infrastructure.

“When septic systems fail, historically we have been asked to rescue it,” said Vernon Mayor Rob Sawatzky. “It’s a very uncomfortable position for us because we want to work with (electoral areas) B and C representatives.

“This is an attempt to bring clarity, and bring an end to an ongoing, endless trickle of people asking to join or annex with us.”

The city’s current policy regarding boundary extensions is to accept applications from property owners where the property meets certain criteria.This process, however, has shown to be lengthy, contentious and take up a great deal of staff time and resources.

In a comprehensive report to council, Kim Flick – the city’s director of community development – proposed that all properties immediately adjacent to a city road and sewer line be offered a one-time opportunity to participate in a block boundary extension process.

That would replace a property-by-property approach.

Flick said there are 77 RDNO properties adjacent to both the city’s road and sanitary sewer infrastructure, with most of the properties involved located along Silver Star Road, and are part of the rural protection area in the regional growth strategy.

The block annexation is proposed to only include these 77 properties.

“There are several properties that are adjacent to a sanitary main or have a sewer connection but are not adjacent to a city road,” wrote Flick. “In these cases, the city would have to take on increased costs related to road maintenance and life cycle replacement.”

Flick said the block extension process would involve input from all impacted property owners and adjacent residents, including those in the RDNO areas.

If the properties ultimately become part of the city, affected property owners would be made aware of any changes in their costs including taxation and utilities.

Vernon council will now forward the proposal to RDNO.

“We’ll wait and see what they think of our attempt,” said Sawatzky.

The motion to send the proposal to RDNO was unanimously supported, though councillors Brian Quiring and Catherine Lord were absent from Monday’s regular meeting.