Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Local Politicians Weigh-In On Amalgamation

Written by Glen Morrison  107.5 KISSFM Monday, 09 September 2013 18:10 
Coldstream's mayor isn't sure amalgamation is an answer for Greater Vernon. Jim Garlick was commenting on a citizen led petition that's been initiated on the issue. "I can see benefits to certain areas where you have efficiencies and economies of scale, and I think we've actually tried to do that in the North Okanagan around water." Garlick isn't sure about the validity of an online petition process, but says it's too early to jump on either bandwagon at this point. "In Coldstream we pay less of a percentage of our policing because we're a smaller community. Now you move up to that next tier in size, you're going to pay a larger percentage of those policing costs."  Vernon Mayor Rob Sawatzky doesn't have a problem with the campaign. "I think it's healthy that the community gets to discuss and debate those things. I think that's very healthy and I wouldn't comment on it anymore at this point," Sawatzky tells Kiss FM. Sawatzky says his opinion on the issue could be misconstrued by people because he has a role in the current governance. Vernon councillor Mary Jo O'Keefe feels amalgamation should be put to a vote in the future. "I think many people don't believe they're a citizen of one particular, parochial area, that they believe they are a citizen of this region, and we should be able to say let's have that type of governance. O'Keefe says people are frustrated with the current governance. "I don't think it's any individual politician's fault. The system itself isn't functioning well," says O'Keefe.

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