Downtown Vernon Association to appear before council

Organization invited to update council on its mandate after being lambasted in Vernon meeting

Vernon council will get a refresher course on the mandate of the Downtown Vernon Association, and the organization is happy to provide one.

Council passed a motion at its last regular meeting Jan. 21 to have the DVA present at an upcoming meeting following a 30-minute discussion over two letters the organization wrote to the city, creating quite a stir.

“The DVA Board will be pleased to attend as a delegation to a future council meeting as suggested by Councillor (Akbal) Mund, and we appreciate the opportunity to present information directly to mayor and council regarding the DVA’s mandate and guiding values,” said Selena Stearns, volunteer chairperson of the DVA’s board of directors.

The DVA originally wrote a letter expressing concern over comments made about the organization during the Jan. 7 regular meeting by Couns. Scott Anderson and Kari Gares.

Prior to the next regular meeting Jan. 21, four councillors, including Gares and Anderson, met with the DVA, and the association wrote to the city, thanking the councillors for meeting with them and, essentially, smoothing things over.

“The DVA’s requests for clarification of context of comments made by Councillors Gares and Anderson during the January 7th regular council meeting were addressed quickly and to the satisfaction of the DVA Board on January 17th,” said Stearns.

“Despite this resolve, there remained a great deal of discussion among council during the January 21st regular council meeting regarding the DVA’s activities and mandate.”

Anderson was upset that Mayor Victor Cumming had brought the letters onto the regular agenda, and outlined a number of issues about the DVA brought to him by downtown business owners.

Gares said her original comments had been taken out of context by the DVA in its first letter.

Coun. Brian Quiring said downtown issues are council’s problems, not that of the DVA, though he sided with Anderson and felt the letters should not have been included on the public agenda.

Mund made the motion to have DVA present on its mandate at an upcoming meeting.

The DVA is a Business Improvement Area (BIA) representing more than 620 businesses and organizations in Vernon’s downtown core.

“The DVA is a committed community builder that works to promote downtown Vernon as a unique and dynamic destination for entertainment, goods and services,” said Stearns. “The DVA is focused on stimulating and strengthening the economic vitality of downtown Vernon for BIA members.”

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