A member of Lake Country council is raising issues with the recent restructuring and says the public has a right to question the moves the district is making.
Coun. Lisa Cameron says she is concerned about the district eliminating positions when it is in fact the fastest growing community in the Okanagan.
“My concern is about capacity when we are a growing community,” said Cameron.
“We’re losing talent and in terms of savings from this phase of restructuring, that will only be realized if no one else is hired in 2015 or 2016.”
Cameron says one of the district’s hardest hit departments is the arts and culture department which she says has just one person remaining to work with community arts groups.
“Without a dedicated team and budget it will be difficult for all of our community groups to work with the municipality,” said Cameron.
“I don’t wants arts and culture to get lost in the shuffle.”
The final phase of Lake Country’s restructuring plan is currently underway with three positions being eliminated for a total of 9.5 staffing cuts dating back to 2012.
While earlier phases of the restructure had unanimous support of council, the most recent phase was approved only by a majority of council at an in-camera (not public) meeting.
“I fear we aren’t going to be able to support our community groups that do so much for us,” said Cameron. “This only leaves one person in arts and culture.”
Lake Country administrator Alberto De Feo says the recent cuts make the district as lean as it could possibly be and strong growth in the community may trigger hiring to deal with capacity issues, something he says would be a nice problem to have.
“We hope this happens as we are putting a lot of effort into attracting new development and investment in the community,” said De Feo, adding that arts groups will still have a primary contact within the district but it will be someone new.
For Cameron she says she wants the district to continue to grow and work with its community groups but she can understand why some members of the public are questioning the district’s restructure moves.
“Any question about where taxpayers money is going is fair game,” she said.
“We have to look at this critically and I think there is value in questioning where we are spending our money.”