Society seeks dialogue with local politicians

Amalgamation proponents are frustrated that local politicians aren’t entering into a discussion

Amalgamation proponents are frustrated that local politicians aren’t entering into a discussion.

There has been no direct contact from civic leaders since the Society for the Future Governance of Greater Vernon launched a petition campaign Sept. 8.

“We are just reading their comments in the paper,” said Peter Moore, society director.

“It disappoints us. We would have liked to have directly heard the politicians’ opinions.”

Until Oct. 31, the society is circulating a petition asking local and provincial authorities to develop a plan to combine Vernon, Coldstream and Areas B and C into a single entity to provide a more efficient use of taxes.

The goal is to have a referendum on the ballot in each jurisdiction during the 2014 civic elections in regards to governance.

The petition is being published in The Morning Star and is available at www.greatervernongovernance.ca. A door-to-door campaign will also begin this week and it is also available at the Schubert Centre.

Presently, about 1,200 people have signed the petition.

“They’re coming from all areas of Greater Vernon which we’d anticipated,” said Moore, adding that 20 per cent of the signatures are from Coldstream, with the remainder from Vernon and Areas B and C.

However, Moore admits that there are a number of duplicate signatures on the petition, and he says they will be removed once the petition is completed.

Vernon Mayor Rob Sawatzky has stated that the petition is a healthy example of democracy in action, but he has also said the jurisdictions co-operate well and disputes have been addressed.

But Moore disagrees with that view.

“It’s unfair for the mayor to say that infighting has been eliminated. If it’s reduced, that’s positive, but it still exists and duplication of service still exists,” he said.

Moore also says that there is a major misconception about what his group is trying to achieve.

 

“We are looking for a new municipality and not just an absorption by Vernon of the other jurisdictions.”