The Keremeos public are having a hard time finding solutions to the transient issue this year – the same as any year, possibly, but this year added incentive was placed on local and regional agencies to do something as a result of the recent petition put to village council.
It’s a matter where fingers could be pointed in several directions, when it comes to assessing blame – but upon closer examination, it’s really pretty difficult, and unfair – to blame any one organization.
Both local governments – the village and the regional district claim jurisdictional impediments when it comes to enforcing bylaws.
Mark Woods, Community Services Manager for the Regional District Okanagan Similkameen, said the RDOS sees the transient issue as one separate from trails, and feel it would not be in the best interests of the public to make the trail section beyond the cement plant accessible to vehicles for a number of reasons, including wildfire fire safety.
So what about garbage receptacles and porta potties to mitigate environmental damage in the meantime?
Regional district staff say they can’t offer the service, without a service area to tax from.
Sentiment in the village appears to suggest garbage left on the Similkameen River flats is not a problem for village taxpayers, and we agree.
That leaves one other jurisdiction in the area to wag a finger at- Area “G”of the regional district.
The itinerant campground and the transients themselves should really be a concern of Regional District’s Area “G” government – rural Keremeos, since the campground is in Electoral Area “G”, as are a number of the agriculturalists who tap into transient labour.
Citizens need to see that something is being done in the near term to alleviate their concerns.
Perhaps it’s time for Area “G” Director Angelique Wood to step up to the plate in the matter of dumpster and porta-potty funding. She has discretionary funds that we believe could be applied in this case.
After all, let’s face it, we’re only talking about a few hundred dollars here.
Keremeos has borne the brunt of the issues created by the transient problem – they have also been bearing a disproportionate share of costs involved in having transients on their doorstep. It’s time they had some help, and some financial support from their neighbouring jurisdiction.