North Westside governance gains momentum

Community development minister Peter Fassbender interested in governance study

Director Wayne Carson is confident a governance study will proceed for the North Westside area.

Director Wayne Carson is confident a governance study will proceed for the North Westside area.

A review of North Westside governance appears to have a high-level endorsement.

Director Wayne Carson sat down with Community Development Minister Peter Fassbender at Thursday’s Union of B.C. Municipalities conference in Victoria.

“He says he supports a governance study and the government will fund it,” said Carson.

“There was no conversation. He had already made up his mind.”

Fassbender’s pledge comes despite the Regional District of Central Okanagan board not acting on Carson’s request for a resolution backing a study. Instead, the board says it wants more information from the ministry.

“I’m six inches off the ground. He’s giving us all of the support we could ask for,” said Carson.

Carson hopes a study could occur in 2017.

Currently, North Westside, with a population of 1,000 to 1,500, has one director at the 12-member RDCO board table.

Many North Westside residents have indicated that current structure doesn’t represent their needs because the area is quite a ways from the RDCO office and service costs are growing.

A 700-name petition calling for a study was recently presented to RDCO.

Also at Thursday’s meeting with Fassbender were Gail Given, RDCO chairperson.

“He’s indicated that he’s willing to do a preliminary study,” said Given.

“They are as interested in residents having full information as the board is.”

It’s expected that ministry staff will be before the RDCO board some time this fall to discuss study options.

The board would also have to adopt a resolution supporting a study before the process could proceed further.

The Ministry of Community Development says Fassbender looks forward to receiving an application for a review affecting the North Westside area.