Transportation corridor in works

Vernon is the latest community making sure future transportation options don’t disappear.

Council has instructed staff to prepare an official community plan amendment bylaw to designate the rail line in Vernon as a transportation corridor.

“This will recognize any future possibilities whether it’s rail or rail and a trail beside it,” said Mayor Wayne Lippert.

Lumby, Spallumcheen and other communities have taken similar steps to ensure companies can’t sell rail lines for non-transportation uses.

Lippert says that the land used for rail lines is too important for the community’s economy to be  lost.

“This (bylaw) keeps it protected as a transportation corridor.”

Development Incentives Considered

The City of Vernon will investigate whether economic incentives are needed to encourage development.

Coun. Mary-Jo O’Keefe says the city should look at a program in Penticton where development cost charges vary in certain neighbourhoods to promote investment.

“I’m thinking of our waterfront plan which has been stagnant,” she said.

“It could drive business into areas that we want. With the downtown, a developer may be anxious to come to town, so to jump-start things, it wouldn’t hurt to provide benefits.”

City Wants Out Of Function

The City of Vernon doesn’t want to participate in the North Okanagan Regional District’s economic development function.

The purpose of the service is to provide grants to economic development initiatives like the recent cross-country World Cup at Sovereign Lake.

The function’s annual budget is $10,000 and Vernon contributes $5,200.

“Since the function has been reduced to a granting function at NORD and economic development is a substantial and costly department at the City of Vernon, it seems reasonable to put any of the taxpayers money in our Vernon budget,” said Coun. Bob Spiers.

Armstrong has already initiated a process to withdraw from the function.

Full House for Emergency Services

More jurisdictions are now part of the emergency operations services provided by the City of Vernon.

The North Okanagan Regional District’s five rural electoral areas have entered into a contract with the city.

“They see the benefits the others have,” said Mayor Wayne Lippert referring to all of the region’s municipalities already participating in the service.

“There are economies of scale and it’s a very necessary service.”