Annexation process complicated

Recently a Barker Road resident saw an application to the province to join the City of Vernon go unsupported at the RDNO.

Recently a Barker Road resident saw an application to the province to join the City of Vernon go unsupported at the RDNO. The application was supported only by the Vernon directors. This is not surprising as in all likelihood COV representatives knew the application fit the criteria for annexation to the city.

The property would have to be adjoining the city lands and perhaps annexation would relieve some hardship ie. replacement of a failing septic field by a hookup to Vernon’s sanitary sewer.

I am sure the Barker Road applicant must feel after RDNO’s decision that we may be a little over governed here in the sunny North Okanagan.

I agree with Director Macnabb as quoted by Richard Rolke. Piece meal annexations do create planning issues and that is why Vernon bundles such applications to be submitted annually to the province. To some measure it makes problem more manageable. These requests usually are to join Vernon not leave it.

Director Macnabb might not agree to a solution to this recurring problem of annexation requests that to many may appear obvious. Perhaps if some sort of boundary could be determined by the province that would delineate Vernon’s ultimate geographic area: an area that would allow for economic expansion within Vernon; an area that would respect the rural nature of much of Greater Vernon; or perhaps an area that could reduce the amount of governance in Greater Vernon.

Less government could translate into lower taxes overall, better planning and long range thinking. Let’s look at how our present level of governance treats a legal request of one of its residents.

The Barker Road application cites a failing septic system as a reason to join Vernon and hook up to its sanitary sewer system. It was greeted with incredulity as one of the RDNO directors expressed doubt about the veracity of the applicant’s claim of septic failure.

Another thought that sewage potentially lying around your property and/or leaching onto to your neighbour’s land is not sufficient reason to seek the best solution when it’s at your doorstep. All voted not to support the application except the Vernon representatives.

I understand that the electoral areas feel that their tax base is being eroded by annexations to the city. To some measure this may be the case. However It should be remembered of course that Vernon is not a black hole but remains a major contributor at the RDNO table. This citizen feels the debate over this most recent request to join Vernon, demonstrates the political unsustainability of municipal boundaries as they now stand.

When the children are not happy sometimes a parent needs to find a solution. Local governments are the children of the provincial government. That is why the fate of the Barker Road application rests with Victoria. Now I know for sure the Barker Road resident feels over governed.

Shawn Lee

former Vernon councilor

 

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