Vernon a no-show at municipal conference

Municipal officials have been discussing issues of concern this week without Vernon at the table.

No one from the city went to the Southern Interior Local Government Association conference, which began Wednesday and ends today in Merritt.

“We didn’t have any issues we needed to bring up,” said Mayor Wayne Lippert.

“We didn’t see the value in going this year.”

In the past, Vernon has sent one or two council members to the annual event, which includes information sessions and a chance for  politicians to consider common topics.

“We’ve done the networking before and we know people,” said Lippert.

“It’s easy to get together with others if we need to.”

Delegates also consider resolutions on a variety of topics that are used to lobby senior government.

Lumby has sent two representatives to SILGA, while there are three from Spallumcheen, three from the North Okanagan Regional District, three from Coldstream, one from Armstrong and six from Enderby.

Lippert doesn’t believe Vernon’s absence indicates a lack of interest in SILGA.

“We aren’t the only ones who don’t have representation there,” he said.

The city will also save some money by not participating in the conference.

Early-bird registration was $320 per person, while it was $360 after March 11.

On top of that, there are hotels and travel.

“Everyone is doing budgets and mindful of budgets so you have to decide where you want to spend your money,” said Lippert.

“Going to Victoria to meet with provincial cabinet ministers or meeting with the valley mayors one-on-one is more effective.”

SILGA includes municipalities and regional districts from the Okanagan, Similkameen, Shuswap, Thompson, Nicola and Columbia regions.