Area residents shared their fondest memories of the Oyama Library and what the branch means to them in a video filmed Sept. 28, 2021, by Alison Beaumont. (YouTube)

Lake Country seeks provincial support for RCMP, doctors, library and safety

District passes resolutions for SILGA

Lake Country is bringing four resolutions forward to the Southern Interior Local Government Association (SILGA).

Cost sharing for RCMP population thresholds is at the top of the district’s concerns.

The province is responsible for 90 percent of the share of the RCMP costs in communities with more than 15,000 residents and for 70 percent of the costs in communities with less than 15,000 residents.

“The cost of an RCMP police member has increased drastically in the years since this negotiation was completed,” said Reyna Seabrook, director of corporate services, of the 1992 agreement. “These costs may now be too big a burden for those thresholds to bear. It may be timely to consider increasing the thresholds or adding additional thresholds for the sharing of policing costs in B.C.”

Public safety is also on the district’s agenda, as it is pushing for winter tires to be mandatory on rental vehicles.

“Most rental vehicles are only equipped with all season tires rather than winter tires,” Seabrook said.

Lake country is requesting the Union of B.C. Municipalities request the province make winter tires mandatory on rentals during winter months.

Family doctors are another concern as people across the province continue to struggle to access primary care.

The district said the province offers limited alternatives with limited funding to the fee for service model for physician compensation which needs to be changed.

Lake Country is asking the B.C. government to consider implementing and adequately funding alternative physician compensation models to replace the fee for service model to “better support continuity of care and encourage doctors to practice family medicine.”

Long-term sustainable funding for public libraries is also being sought, after Oyama lost its library last year.

“Provincial library funding has remained stagnant for the past 10 years,” Seabrook said.

“Public libraries are central to communities, providing equitable access to vial resources, including Internet, computers, digital library tools, and in-person services from expert staff,” her report reads. “Public libraries provide British Columbians with low-barrier services, that support job seekers and small businesses, that increase literacy in communities, that advance reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, and that promote equity and inclusion.”

The City of Vernon is set to endorse the same library recommendations at its Feb. 28 meeting.

The 2022 SILGA AGM takes place April 26-29 in Salmon Arm.

READ MORE: Chapter closes on Oyama library

READ MORE: 6.12 per cent tax hike on tap for Lake Country


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