Posted on: September 27, 2017

West Kelowna Meets with Ministers at UBCM

September 27, 2017

At this week’s meetings with BC Government representatives, Mayor and Council pressed for support from the Province on a number of local issues including rural policing levels, transportation improvements, expanded health services in West Kelowna and the need for a secondary power source for the community.

Mayor Doug Findlater and members of West Kelowna Council are attending the Union of BC Municipalities convention in Vancouver this week and are provided with short face-to-face meetings with BC cabinet ministers. The West Kelowna delegation met with:

  • Hon. Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General
    • The delegation highlighted West Kelowna’s request that the ministry honour its agreement with the City to review rural police service levels to determine if core service levels must be updated. The City’s population has increased 10.30% since the agreement was signed, and the unincorporated areas that are also within this policing mandate have increased 15.69%. West Kelowna has increased its municipal policing contingent and now wants the Province of British Columbia to review its rural policing contingent.
    • West Kelowna also discussed its interest in bringing photo radar back in an effort to help control speeding in the community. West Kelowna is requesting the province provide the option of photo radar to BC communities who wish to employ it.
    • Regulation and enforcement of cannabis was raised by West Kelowna, with city representatives emphasising the need for early and meaningful collaboration with respect to establishing the regulatory framework for the legal sale of cannabis in advance of the Federal legislation expected in summer 2018.
  • Hon. Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development
    • The delegation discussed the city’s interest in a review of the 2017 flood which impacted the community. West Kelowna has requested the review take into account the timing of the spring freshet in relation to the release of waters from Okanagan Lake system at various dams, the need for additional data collection stations related to weather, snow pack and stream flow, climate change impacts and freshet management, fishery needs, building flood plans, upland logging impacts, the banning of power boats during times of declared states of emergency and the capacity of municipalities and first nations to respond to emergencies.
    • The city also raised the ongoing interest in maintaining Jackpine Forest Service Road as a secondary evacuation route out of the Glenrosa community.
  • Hon. Adrian Dix, Minister of Health
    • The city discussed its interest in getting a commitment from the ministry for improve access, awareness and transportation to health services in West Kelowna.
  • Hon. Clair Trevana, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure
    • The delegation discussed the Central Okanagan Planning Study, which has identified the need to reconfigure the Highway 97 couplet through Westbank Centre. The City wants additional meetings to discuss Highway 97 issues and the prioritisation of projects to improve transportation on this key corridor.
    • The delegation also raised the issue of the Jackpine Forest Service Road evacuation route with Minister Trevana.
  • Representatives of the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources and BC Hydro
    • The city wanted to ensure BC Hydro’s commitment is maintained to construct a second transmission line serving West Kelowna.
  • Representatives of BC Transit
    • The delegation discussed improvements needed for West Kelowna’s transit service.

“These meetings are very beneficial, I believe, although we don’t get firm commitments on our concerns at this time,” says Mayor Doug Findlater. “The big thing is it’s a new government with all new faces including all senior staff. It’s important to get in front of them and to build a relationship now and for the future. That’s what we’re doing here.”

Mayor Findlater and the delegation from Regional District of Central Okanagan will be meeting with Hon. George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, to discuss the management of biosolids. Currently RDCO hauls biosolids from the Westside Regional Wastewater Treatment Plan out of the province due to uncertainly around BC’s management of biosolids.

Mayor Findlater will also join the delegation for the Okanagan Basin Water Board as they meet with Hon. George Heyman regarding the threat of Quagga and Zebra mussels entering BC waters.

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