BEYOND THE HEADLINES: Setting priorities

Spallumcheen officials have no problem with being big spenders.

Spallumcheen officials have no problem with being big spenders.

They have declared servicing the Swan Lake corridor along Highway 97 as their No. 1 priority for $4.2 million in gas tax revenue that is sitting in the Regional District of North Okanagan’s vault.

“To service that properly with a liquid waste management plan would result in a better utilization of that corridor,” said Mayor Will Hansma last week  of the push for sewer.

However, one thing township officials have neglected to point out is that the corridor is within the boundaries of the BX-Swan Lake electoral area of RDNO.

Knowing that, one may ask why Spallumcheen politicians care about what goes on in a neighbouring jurisdiction.

For an answer, you need to look back to the spring of 2009 when council adopted the southeast sector plan.

The sector includes more than 800 acres above Atlantis Waterslide, north to the aggregate pits near Eagle Rock Road, and bordering Silver Star Provincial Park.

“This means the township can accept applications to do some development in that area,” said Hansma in 2009.

“There seems to be a desire to have small holdings in country residential properties. There are very few of those properties available.”

But the southeast sector can’t evolve without sewer and that’s why the Swan Lake corridor is so critical.

However, there are a few pieces missing to this puzzle.

Beyond building a stand-alone sewer treatment facility, the only way of getting lines into Swan Lake is the City of Vernon, which would have to agree to add capacity to its plant.

But there’s a long-standing policy that any land outside of Vernon wanting sewer must annex into the city. As much as some property owners in the Swan Lake corridor may want sewer, they may be less than enthusiastic about  joining Vernon and the prospect of higher taxes.

The other component of this is that even if sewer does go into the Swan Lake corridor, the lines may not head north into the township. For that to happen, Spallumcheen would have to enter into a service agreement with Vernon, just as the city has with Coldstream.

And given  the deteriorating relationship the city has with its Greater Vernon partners over water and parks and recreation, it may not readily turn handstands to enter into another deal.

Sewer does make sense for the Swan Lake corridor as there are a number of businesses already there, and the area continues to face development pressure because of its proximity to Vernon and the great Highway 97 access.

Obviously any growth there will benefit the economy.

However, Spallumcheen council needs to be up front and admit it’s No. 1 priority isn’t driven by regional co-operation. It has a vested interest in ensuring lands within its mandate can  develop. With an election coming up in November, officials have to be seen as doing something.

What could ultimately dash Spallumcheen’s plans is every other community in the North Okanagan wants a piece of the $4.2 million. There isn’t enough to go around.

Richard Rolke is the senior reporter for The Morning Star

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just Posted

Long awaited Kelowna murder trial is scheduled to begin Monday

Stephen Pirko is charged in the killing of Christopher Ausman in 2014

Arrest made in off-road Vernon park detour

RCMP air services helps track down 36-year-old suspect

O’Keefe Ranch animal pen relocation project gains grant

Okanagan Basin Water Board supports the project, gives $5,182 grant.

Rising Vernon MMA star wins Canadian amateur

Rylie Marchand, 17, nearly slept through first bout; recovered to win national championship

VIDEO: Large dust devil swirls through downtown Chase

Residents look on as column climbs about 90 feet into the air

Second dump site of Dungeness crab discovered in northern B.C.

DFO confident new site related to larger April 2 dump

Spot the danger before you play

LETTER: War Amps sends Playsafe message

Garden wine tasting event offers flash sale for Mother’s Day

Better Earth Wine, Cider & Spirits Tasting and Garden Party will be held May 11

Okanagan College bring hot bats to beat Dinos

The Coyotes now top the league

Northern B.C. high school student reaches 100,000 followers on YouTube

Voice actor, animator, Jericho Fortune has more than 30-million views on his channel GTAGAMER222

Let the city govern the city

LETTER: Vernon applauded for getting IHA to re-examine OPS

University mourns student who died in B.C. canoeing accident

Andrew Milner, 19, was in his second year with the University of Calgary’s basketball program

Most Read