EDITORIAL: Victoria stalls local concerns

The speed-dating sessions only highlighted the inadequacies of the provincial government

Local politicians spent last week in Vancouver at the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention, and the key component was sitting down with provincial cabinet ministers.

But instead of being useful, these speed-dating sessions only highlighted the inadequacies of the provincial government when dealing with communities.

First off, the Regional District of North Okanagan continues to be stalled in its attempt to hold a borrowing referendum for a new ice sheet in Greater Vernon. The reason is the Ministry of Community Development won’t sign off on the process.

“The paperwork appears to be on someone’s desk,” said director Akbal Mund.

A primary factor appears to be staff changes within the ministry.

“We have things before them, so what happens now?” said director Mike Macnabb.

On another front, local leaders met with the Ministry of Transportation on a variety of concerns, including the fiasco that is Stickle Road. Instead of listening to the majority of residents and businesses who want a traffic signal at the Highway 97 intersection, the ministry is expected to bring forward another concept after the last two were shelved due to public furor.

And when it comes to busing cuts in Cherryville, the education ministry passed the buck, saying the Vernon School District has the ability to set its budget. That may be true but limited resources from Victoria have forced the district to take drastic action to make budgets balance.

In the end, hopefully the lobbying from municipal and regional district politicians will be successful. But given the lukewarm response from the province, don’t hold your breath.