Councillor opposes new annexations into city

Vernon officials are currently reviewing how they handle annexation applications

Vernon’s firm policy on absorbing parts of neighbouring jurisdictions may be softening.

The city has rarely turned down applications from property owners in Areas B and C to be annexed into Vernon, but that occurred Monday when a bid from a Pleasant Valley Road resident died in a tie-vote.

“I will not support any further annexations even for sewer,” said Coun. Catherine Lord.

“The people who built out there knew they were outside city boundaries (and did not have access to sewer).”

Lord’s actions are directed only towards new applications and not annexation proposals that are already being processed by the city.

The Regional District of North Okanagan’s electoral areas have insisted that individual annexations into Vernon undermine their tax base and ability to provide services to constituents. They also claim that the electoral area’s sense of community is also impacted.

“The electoral areas have made it clear that it erodes their base,” said Lord, adding that the electoral area directors have asked for annexations to cease.

“Until we can get agreement with the regional district, I will agree with what they want.”

Lord also isn’t convinced that there is a need for the City of Vernon to expand its land base.

“We have identified a lot of empty space (within the city) for future growth,” she said.

The city is currently reviewing how it handles annexation applications, largely because of the opposition that has come from adjacent jurisdictions.

“It’s a reflection of the uncomfortable position we’ve found ourselves in,” said Mayor Rob Sawatzky.

“We want a more cohesive and coherent policy. We want to help people with failed septic systems but on the other hand, there are services we provide with the electoral areas and we want to co-operate with them.”