Service withdrawal a concern

Province considers changes that would allow municipalities to cherry-pick services such as water, parks or recreation

Coldstream officials are questioning a process that could allow jurisdictions to abandon part of a function.

The provincial government is currently considering changes to procedure that would sanction a municipality partially withdrawing from a service such as water or parks and recreation.

“With partial withdrawal, you will have a cherry-picking of services,” said Mayor Jim Garlick.

The primary concern is the partial withdrawal of one jurisdiction could leave the remaining partners absorbing more financial costs for that initiative.

“There is the possibility of it causing problems,” said Garlick.

The City of Vernon had attempted to withdraw from a portion of the regional water utility and go it alone with distribution. However, an  arbitrator decided that wasn’t possible.

“By throwing this into the mix, this complicates things again,” said Garlick of the possible change in provincial rules.

There is currently a memorandum of understanding between Greater Vernon jurisdictions on water.

Garlick says the draft document could allow Vernon to withdraw from distribution if the financial impact of all of the partners is considered first.

Coldstream will express its concerns about the provincial process by writing Community Development Minister Ida Chong and Premier Christy Clark.