You spoke- we listened.
This fall, residents of Area “G” were asked to weigh in on whether or not to create a parks service bylaw for the entire region.
The process used to guide our decision making is known as an “AAP” or Alternative Approval Process. This form of citizen engagement is regularly used by local governments when we think we know the direction most citizens want to go. It is the least expensive way to decide whether to move ahead with a bylaw. If 10 per cent of the citizens do not want the service, and they indicate it before a given deadline, then the bylaw will be abandoned.
You told us that you do not support the creation of parks in Area “G”, and we will abide by that. It is important to realize that your voice drives the decisions we make in government, and the opportunity you have exercised is an important part of our civic process in Canada. Thank you for taking the time to provide your input.
Regional districts are complicated forms of government and many people misunderstand the possibilities when they have lived in municipalities before moving to electoral areas.
The fact is, unless a regional district has a service/bylaw and a tax for that service, it is not able to participate in that service. What that means for Area “G” is that we now have an obligation to abandon any parks service and not undertake any further parks development.
For the residents in Olalla who wanted a park, it will take renewed efforts to get further community buy-in before we can make headway.
For the residents of Hedley who want to take their park back from the RDOS, we will work with you to make sure that you are able to achieve your goals. We know that the executive of the Community’s Club is adamant about wanting to have control of their park again without interference from the RDOS. We want you to know that we are listening and responsive.
In rural Keremeos, we will continue to be challenged by transients camping in areas beyond regional district and municipal authority. Without a parks bylaw, the regional district continues to be unable to move forward in a proactive manner. At best, tax dollars will be spent cleaning up the mess but not preventing it.
We faced many questions “Why not a referendum?” and the answer is that a legal referendum is an expensive process. The tax dollars we were proposing to raise were only going to total $10,000 for the entire region. To spend $4,000 to $8,000 to conduct a referendum outside an election would eat into it and be fiscally irresponsible. Again, we thank all of you who took the time to let us know your thoughts.