Solution sought to parks dispute

This and other news briefs from the latest general meeting of the Regional District of North Okanagan.

There will be another attempt to hammer out peace among Greater Vernon’s jurisdictions.

The Regional District of North Okanagan board has approved staff re-establishing discussions between Vernon, Coldstream and the electoral areas over parks and recreation.

“We will bring it back as one more attempt for a negotiated settlement,” said administrator Trafford Hall.

“We’re not hiring consultants or mediators. This will be done within ourselves.”

Previous attempts to resolve the governance and operation of the parks and recreation function have failed.

Future discussions will involve new participants because of the civic election.

Project Costs Questioned

One politician is questioning the accuracy of projected costs for upgrades to Greater Vernon’s water utility.

Director Mike Gavinchuk voted against early budget approval of $5.8 million for the west Swan Lake separation project.

“We really don’t know what the cost will be,” said Gavinchuk, adding that figures could change based on tenders received.

However, Regional District of North Okanagan staff say a pre-design study led to the estimates.

“We need a budget to go to tender and if it goes over tender, we’d have to come back (to the board),” said Zee Marcolin, acting general manager of engineering.

The project will see agricultural water users separated from 358 homes, which will get water from Duteau Creek instead of the current Goose Lake.

Besides providing higher quality water to residents, the project will ensure the poorer quality water is available for agricultural activities during peak periods.

Rail Line Still Pursued

The Regional District of North Okanagan is still trying to secure a rail line for community interests.

RDNO will meet with Blair Lekstrom, B.C.’s transportation minister, Jan. 11 to discuss preservation of the rail tracks between Spallumcheen and Grindrod.

Canadian Pacific’s contractor, Okanagan Valley Railway, ceased line operations in August 2009, impacting businesses.

The Canadian Transportation Agency is determining a value for the corridor.

CP has sought to abandon the line.