First off, thank you for your support and encouragement throughout my first term as Director of Central Okanagan West; I look forward to the same for a second term. In response to your concerns I had two issues to take to the RDCO Board table: Restore your voice in the community services delivered by the RDCO and ensure value for your tax dollars…that has been no easy task. Kelowna city councillors hold the majority of seats on the Regional Board and they make decisions on our local electoral area functions and services despite the fact that they neither pay for nor receive those services. In 2015 they changed the stakeholders voting privilege and allowed the whole Board of twelve to vote a significant water rate increase for electoral area water systems that only the electoral area representatives contributed to and drew water from.
Planning is another contentious issue – the RDCO Board denied the electoral areas an independent legal opinion on the Fringe Area Agreements that are grossly unfair to the residents that pay a large portion of the costs. What are those costs you ask? The total requisition for the Electoral Area Planning function is $436,156, of which Central Okanagan West’s “share” is a whopping $183,530! In comparison, other BC communities with like populations are paying $10 – 30,000.00 for planning. Furthermore, all legal costs for the Kelowna Mountain lawsuit have been assigned to this function and we in the West are paying the largest portion for an action we play no role in.
Addressing mudslides, drainage and flooding issues in Brent Road, Wilsons Landing, Traders Cove and the North Westside as well as Joe Rich on the East side is a high priority due to possible property loss and danger to residents. I have been speaking with Engineering and Planning at RDCO, fellow Board Members, EA West MLA’s Stewart and Ashton and the Okanagan Basin Water Board to gain support and funding for a study with the new LIDAR Mapping system using laser technology. I hope to use this report to lobby MOTI to take action before we have more serious consequences. I had a chance to bring this to senior MOTI management and the Deputy Minister of Transportation, who agree that a detailed report with the new mapping would place us at the front of a long line of communities with the same problems.
Ongoing issues critical to the communities in Central Okanagan West are Governance, drainage, flooding, utility rates, funding for asset renewal, transfer sites expansion, Brent Road pool/rink Tax and the very expensive and unfair Planning Function. The funding for the restoration of Killiney Beach is in place but contracts have not yet been awarded.
During my term there has been a consistent decrease in taxes every year varying from 5.10% – 20.17% (stats from RDCO Budget Documents & Web Site). I have made advancements in restoring our voice and communications within many levels of government. It is crucial that you continue to have representation at the RDCO Board table from someone who truly has a stake in the services delivered from the RDCO and the cost of those services.
My opponent resides on Westbank First Nations Territory and as such pays no taxes to the RDCO and receives no services directly from RDCO. The services and functions within the communities he lives in are provided by or through Westbank First Nations Council and are NOT discussed or brought before the RDCO Board Table, ever. I am a long-time resident and taxpayer in Central Okanagan West and pay for fire service, planning, both Regional and Community parks, solid waste and water utility, hospitals, the Directors salary and expenses, etc., whereas my challenger pays for none of these costs. As such, I believe that I am the best choice for continued representation. It’s about community! Please take the time to vote!
For info on the election and the last four years visit my website:
Electoral Area Director
Central Okanagan West