Council debates animals, amphibians

Frogs and dogs continue to dominate debate at Vernon city hall

Frogs and dogs continue to dominate debate at Vernon city hall.

Two weeks after a lengthy discussion about spadefoot toads and dogs being off-leash, the discussion resumed among council Monday.

Coun. Scott Anderson voted against adding the parks master plan to the official community plan because the document doesn’t identify an off-leash area for dogs along Vernon Creek, near Marshall Field.

The plan designates the area as on-leash only to protect spadefoot toad habitat.

“The toad habitat will be attacked by giant machinery,” he said of the long-term proposal to expand the adjacent airport runway.

While Anderson says he received an e-mail from a resident wanting off-leash access for dogs, that was dismissed by Coun. Juliette Cunningham.

“Just because we get an e-mail, are we going to unravel the parks plan?” she said.

Adding the parks plan to the official community plan was approved by council with Anderson and Coun. Bob Spiers opposed (Coun. Brian Quiring was absent).

Provincial flag

missing

There’s a flag flap in downtown Vernon.

Concerns have been raised that Alberta’s flag is missing among the provincial and territorial flags in Cenotaph Park.

“We should take a look at that,” said Coun. Catherine Lord.

One theory is the Alberta flag may have been removed a few years ago when a new territory – Nunavut – was formed in Canada, and space was needed for Nunavut’s flag.

City staff will investigate the matter, including possibly installing an additional flag pole.

Tax exemptions granted

There are winners and losers when it comes to property tax exemptions in Vernon.

City council has approved 2016 exemptions for a number of properties.

“They are pretty straight forward,” said Coun. Bob Spiers.

They include a 100 per cent exemption for the heronry in north Vernon, 100 per cent for John Howard Society property on 24th Avenue and 100 per cent for Kindale property on 35th Avenue.

Tax exemption requests were denied for the North Okanagan Childcare and Montessori Preschool, Catherine Gardens and the Vernon Elks Club. The Vernon Muslim Association was also denied because its 17th Avenue building is not being used as a place of worship.