No A-word on Spallumcheen ballot

No A-word on Spallumcheen ballot

Notice of motion to put amalgamation with Armstrong defeated by Spallumcheen council

The topic of amalgamation between Spallumcheen and Armstrong will not appear on the township’s ballots for the Oct. 20 municipal election.

Spall Coun. Ed Hanoski put forward a notice of motion that amalgamation be placed on the ballot for the electorate and if passed or approved by a majority of voters, that it be a binding agreement by both of the elected mayors and councillors during the next four-year term to look at all the issues confronting the communities.

The motion, which was defeated at the table after nobody seconded Hanoski’s motion, also asked that a firm amalgamation process for the benefit of both the township and city, for the delivery of services, be established in the upcoming term.

“One of the councillors that would have seconded the motion (Andrew Casson) was absent, and the others felt no reason to go forward,” said Hanoski. “They said nobody had been talking to them about amalgamation. Well, nobody’s been talking to me about it, neither, but I can see it’s time for it. I talked to some people in town after they read the articles and they were in favour of it.”

Coun. Christine LeMaire was also absent from the vote.

“I would have seconded his motion. I talked to him about it,” said Casson. “I didn’t agree with the way the motion was written, but I did agree about the idea of asking people how they felt about it.

“My approach is, if there’s an opportunity to use the forum we have to have input from Spallumcheen residents, it’s not a bad thing to do. I wouldn’t have said I wanted it to be binding, I would have just said, ‘Hey let’s see if this is something people still free strongly about, it should be considered in the future, then start to look at what a plan could be that brings our communities into a single municipality down the road.’”

RELATED: North Okanagan councillor talks amalgamation

Coun. Joe Van Tienhoven said amalgamation is not a topic that anybody is wanting to discuss.

“Anybody in Spallumcheen I’ve spoken to is not interested,” said Van Tienhoven. “I don’t think there would be a big cost saving. You’re still going to need the same amount of staff. Councillors are the smallest portion of the expense.”

Van Tienhoven said the township and city are two distinct municipalities.

“You’ve got one — us — that’s just strictly farming,” he said. “No retail, no commercial to speak of. When it comes to grant funding, if both communities are working on a joint project, they can both apply for grant funding. If you’re one community, you don’t get that opportunity.”

Hanoski was not at all discouraged by lack of seconder for his motion.

“That’s why I wanted to put it out to the people, let them decide,” he said. “It also helps them get more active in what’s going on in the community, and if they’re talking about it, there might be other things that need to be discussed.

“If we put it on the ballot, the people will have a chance to voice their opinion as to what’s going on.”

Said Casson: “I think it would generate more interest in the local election. It’s sometimes difficult to get people out to vote and it could be a discussion item. It is a discussion item now. It’s valuable anytime you can have input from the community.”

Spallumcheen and Armstrong, together, oversee the fire commission, parks and recreation and cemetery as joint councils.

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