Parks fight draws advice

Victoria is wading into Greater Vernon’s parks dispute.

Victoria is wading into Greater Vernon’s parks dispute.

Community Development Minister Ida Chong has presented two options to Coldstream so it can to remain in parts of the parks and recreation function while going it alone with some services.

“We’ll be looking at it and proceeding cautiously,” said Mayor Jim Garlick.

The first option would see a majority of the Regional District of North Okanagan board removing Coldstream as a participant of the function.

“A service establishment bylaw could then be passed by the regional board for community parks with the City of Vernon and Areas B and C as the participating areas,” said Chong in a Sept. 12 letter.

The second option is to leave the function in its current form but change the maintenance contract  so Coldstream is responsible for maintaining its own parks.

“One implication for this option is the district would still continue to pay its portion of the costs to maintain the parks in the other participating areas,” said Chong.

Maintenance of all parks is currently done under contract by the City of Vernon.

Garlick says Chong’s letter has been provided to the City of Vernon and RDNO.

“We’re not going to jump in and do anything right away,” he said.

“We want to talk to the city about this. We don’t want to do anything rash.”

Garlick says Coldstream’s goal is to maintain a Greater Vernon structure over parks and recreation where it makes sense and to initiate changes where desired.

He is hopeful that an agreement can be reached among all participants.

“We’re not looking for a fight over this. We need some realization that on the part of one partner, changes are needed,” he said of Coldstream wanting some control over local parks.

Beyond individual communities being responsible for local parks, Garlick suggests RDNO should possibly create a regional parks function that involves all jurisdictions.

“Look at the Enderby Cliffs trails. People from all over use those,” he said.