Plan B for referendum

Greater Vernon officials must meet Ministry of Community Development requirements for ice sheet vote

Greater Vernon officials have been sent back to the drawing board.

Community Development Minister Coralee Oakes told a delegation Wednesday that she will not approve a referendum for a second ice sheet that would be owned by the City of Vernon but the Regional District of North Okanagan would borrow the funds.

“Plan B is what they can work with,” said Akbal Mund, Vernon mayor.

The strategy being pursued now is one where RDNO would borrow the funds and own the expansion to Kal Tire Place, but it would be operated by the city, which runs the other recreational facilities.

“They seem fairly optimistic they can craft language for a bylaw that can work,” said Bob Fleming, BX-Swan Lake director, of the ministry’s process.

Because a number of details must still be worked out, including establishing a borrowing service at RDNO, a referendum won’t be held any time soon.

“Given the circumstances, we could be talking this fall but that’s just speculation,” said Fleming.

And for the referendum to be successful, Mund insists there will be a need to educate the public as to why Civic Arena is no longer suitable as an ice sheet.

“I’m not sure about the timeline for a referendum and what will work,” he said.

Besides Mund and Fleming, the delegation to Victoria included RDNO chairperson Rick Fairbairn and Vernon Coun. Catherine Lord.