Parks victory may be premature

EDITORIAL: Hard work may actually just be starting in parks process

There was a lot of celebrating around the Regional District of North Okanagan board chambers  Wednesday.

A memorandum of understanding was inked between Vernon, Coldstream and the two electoral areas on a restructured parks system. Obviously optimism is natural as a dispute has waged for years, diverting resources away from other  issues.

But declaring victory may be premature as a number of critical steps must occur first.

Specifically, Vernon and Coldstream councils must ratify the tentative agreement, and it’s anticipated that the city could prove challenging.

Already some councillors are questioning plans to revert ownership of Kal Beach from the city to the regional district, while others are unsure about the city taking on 10 RDNO lots on Lakeshore Road because some could ultimately be developed instead of being preserved as beach.

Vernon representatives were at the negotiating table but they must now convince their council colleagues that the compromises made are in the best interest of their constituents.

If one municipal council demands changes to the MOU, the whole process may unravel and the conflict could heat up again.

And even if all parties sign the MOU, a legal process will follow to amend bylaws so they reflect the new service model. Anything could possibly happen once the firm details are exposed.

Considerable work has gone into resolving this matter and everyone at the table deserves praise for their willingness to come together.

But the hard work may actually just be starting.