School, policing issues raised at UBCM

School funding and rural policing were top of the list for the regional district at the Union of British Columbia Municipalities this week.

The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen

School funding and rural policing were top of the list for the regional district at the Union of British Columbia Municipalities this week.

The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen expressed concern about the process used over the last year for the potential closing of four schools in the area.

“While we understand and respect the role of the school board, the regional district believes that schools also have an economic and social sustainability factor that should require that the local government be included in the discussion,” the RDOS board said in a press release.

Mark Pendergraft, board chair, reported that the Minister of Education advised that the province is working diligently to improve the process prior to the end of the two-year reprieve for West Bench, Trout Creek and Osoyoos schools that had been identified for closure in 2016 and that the RDOS suggestions would be taken into consideration.

At previous UBCM conferences the RDOS expressed a need for additional rural policing as they fall under the provincial policing contract and the province has not increased resources for several years.

There are eight officers for the eight electoral areas in the South Okanagan-Similkameen while many of those districts are facing growth. This includes the new correctional facility and additional administrative duties for RCMP officers.

The RDOS said they made the case at UBCM to the Solicitor General and were advised the effect on the South Okanagan Correctional Facility will be watched closely and that “other options to address policing concerns” will be identified.

With increasing pressure to consult First Nations on development and land use applications on private or community lands, the RDOS asked the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs to consider establishing a provincial position on First Nation referrals to gain consistency across the province and provide support for local government in negotiating any agreements that may be required.

The RDOS had the opportunity to meet with the Minister of Health to discuss several areas of interest to the South Okanagan-Similkameen.

The continual issues with Sage Mesa Water System was brought up. The system is privately held, but was seized by Interior Health Authority because of “poor management.” The province has contracted with the RDOS to manage and operate the service on their behalf. IHA currently has a order against the owner of the system due to the rapidly deteriorating infrastructure which causes continual boil water notices. The RDOS reported to the Minister of Health that IHA seems reluctant to pull the trigger on enforcement and the problem continues to exacerbate.

Other topics the RDOS touched on were youth mental health programming and planning for an ageing population.

Just Posted

Talks continue on structure of regional fire departments

Okanagan-Similkameen directors heard under the current structure the CAO’s title would need to change

PRICK! sees increase in patients

The rainbow friendly service offers STI and HIV screening monthly

First Things First evoking the power of song and play

Environmental group educating through entertainment

Super blood wolf moon fills Okanagan skies, to photographers’ delight

Photographers had a rare chance Sunday to capture a rare lunar eclipse

Keremeos cannabis shop waiting on provincial approval

Quantum 1 has applications in with the province to open seven stores including one in Keremeos

UPDATE: B.C. legislature managers accused of excessive travel, personal expense claims

Clerk Craig James, security chief Gary Lenz call allegations ‘completely false’

B.C. man fined $10,000 after leaving moose to suffer before death

Surrey man was convicted last week on three Wildlife Act charges

Man charged in 7-Eleven fire in Shuswap granted bail

Accused facing arson charges released with 23 conditions including a 7 p.m. curfew

‘Blue Monday’ isn’t real, but depression can be

CMHA encourages people to prioritize their mental health

Anti-pipeline group wants NEB to consider impact of emissions, climate change

Stand.earth filed NEB motion asking to apply same standard to the project as it did with Energy East pipeline

Parole granted for drunk driver who killed B.C. RCMP officer

Kenneth Jacob Fenton will be able to attend alcohol abuse treatment, nearly three years after crash that killed Const. Sarah Beckett

B.C. man charged in 2014 snake venom death of toddler

Henry Thomas was taking care of the North Vancouver girl the day before she died

B.C.’s largest public-sector union wants inquiry into money laundering, drugs

Union officials say Premier John Horgan and Attorney General David Eby have not ruled out the possibility of a public inquiry

Teen in confrontation with Native American: I didn’t provoke

Nick Sandmann of Covington Catholic High School said he was trying to defuse the situation

Most Read