Parks plan clarified

The City of Vernon insists it has no interest in looking after its neighbours’ parks.

The City of Vernon insists it has no interest in looking after its neighbours’ parks.

In response to a Morning Star article, city officials state a proposal is based on lowering administration costs for operating parks and not maintaining parks in Coldstream and the electoral areas to generate revenue.

“The City of Vernon wishes to focus on parks in Vernon,” said Will Pearce, chief administrative officer.

“There is no interest in bidding on the operation of local and sub-regional parks in the electoral areas and Coldstream.”

Sub-regional parks are part of the overall Greater Vernon collective because of broad-based use.

Pearce says each jurisdiction will be able to determine how best to maintain and operate sub-regional parks  within their boundaries.

The city’s proposal calls for each jurisdiction to handle administration costs (also known as overhead charges) within their own existing governance structure. Another option is for the Regional District of North Okanagan to handle administration for all sub-regional parks, with each jurisdiction paying  RDNO to do so.

If the city looked after its own administration of sub-regional parks in Vernon, that could save it $313,849, reducing a potential 2014 tax increase from 3.7 to 2.8 per cent.

Jim Garlick, Coldstream mayor, is reviewing both administrative options.

“If we (Coldstream) look after our own overhead, there could be cost savings,” he said.

Going it alone on administration could possibly save Coldstream $70,000, according to city figures.

Mike Macnabb, BX-Silver Star director, is seeking more information on both options and is more interested in who actually does maintenance in his area.

“I’d like to go to the market so we can maybe get some efficiencies. I also want the ability to possibly hire Venture Training or use volunteers,” he said.

If the electoral areas administered parks on their own, as suggested by the city, they could possibly save $60,000.

While Vernon says it doesn’t want to look after sub-regional parks in the other jurisdictions, one exception may be Kal Beach in Coldstream.

“If the District of Coldstream invites us to show  an interest in Kal Beach, we will sit down and discuss it with them,” said Pearce.

Garlick says there may be merit to that proposal as Vernon has the necessary equipment to clean beaches.

The options for administering parks maintenance will be discussed further Oct. 9.