Question of the Day
Should RDNO allow the Okanagan Rhythmic Gymnastics club to remain operating in a building on East Vernon Road?==========================
NEWS RELEASE January 2, 2016
VERNON— Vernon Councillor Scott Anderson joins Mayor Akbal Mund in urging Regional District of North Okanagan (RDNO) area directors to reconsider the closure of the Okanagan Rhythmic Gymnastics Facility at 2515 East Vernon Road. Anderson also encourages supporters of the facility to attend the RDNO meeting to show their support.
RDNO area directors will take a final vote on closing the facility at 4pm on Wednesday, January 4, 2017, in the RDNO board room at 9848 Aberdeen Road. A majority of the directors have already voted in favour of closure at an Advisory Committee meeting on December 15, 2016.
The issue stems from a single health and safety complaint by one individual in early 2015, and the facility has since been cleared of all health and safety concerns. Although the business has worked diligently with the district and has met all health and safety conditions set out by the district, a new issue has arisen because the size of the building is slightly too large for its permitted use within the Agriculture Reserve (AR).
"The building was there when the business owner purchased it in 2009, and the RDNO was consulted as to its proposed use (see backgrounder)," said Anderson. "It has passed all fire and health and safety inspections and has been cooperative with the RDNO throughout this exhausting two year process, and now, because of a minor technicality that can be fixed with the stroke of a pen, it faces closure."
"It is one of several businesses operating in the AR that may not strictly conform to regulations. Are we going to shut them all down because of a technicality? If this facility is singled out for closure on the basis of a technicality, it will be a gross injustice not only to the owners but to the youth of the North Okanagan. Especially considering that the business owners have worked in good faith with the RDNO staff to resolve every issue."
"The Okanagan Rhythmic Gymnastics club is a high profile organization that takes part in many community events. It contributes to local tourism though competitions and training camps, it contributes to local arts and culture through classes, and it shines at a fall show at the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre attended by around 4000 people. It even creates several part time jobs. But most importantly, it supplies a wholesome venue for young people, and offers world class training by a former Olympian. Many parents on social media even credit it with helping form their children's character (https://www.facebook.com/groups/140653032750258/permalink/727526134062942/?comment_id=728564413959114&reply_comment_id=728583187290570¬if_t=group_comment¬if_id=1483155024351266). It's a boon to both Vernon and the area around Vernon. Why in the world would we shut it down because of a simple bureaucratic hurdle? The very idea defies reason."
Area directors have the power to set aside the problem through designating the business "home occupation use," and by issuing a variance to deal with the building size. Such measures are used frequently in municipal and regional governments.
"Under current economic conditions we should be bending over backwards to help businesses survive in the North Okanagan," said Anderson. "And this gymnastic club goes beyond being a mere business. It is not only one of the few venues available to youth, but as an added bonus it is actually self-sufficient, and has cost tax payers nothing. There is absolutely no reason for the directors not to save this important facility."
Anderson says that the response on social media has been overwhelmingly in favour of saving the club. He encourages supporters of the facility to take BOTH of the following measures:
1) Contact each of the area directors below and make your wishes known. The more of you who do it, the more effective it will be. Make it short, concise, respectful and convincing...remember that you're writing to someone who is trying their best to do the right thing.
2) Attend the next RDNO meeting, where this will be decided:
4pm, Wednesday January 4th, 2017
RDNO board room, 9848 Aberdeen Road (corner of Aberdeen and Hwy 6)
- Walk in the front entrance and the board room is immediately to your right.
Michael Macnabb email@example.com
Rick Fairbairn firstname.lastname@example.org
Bob Fleming email@example.com
Hank Cameron firstname.lastname@example.org
Herman Halvorson email@example.com
Director phone numbers are at this link: http://www.rdno.ca/docs/2016_Directors-Alts_Publically_Released.pdf
For more information:
Vernon Councillor Scott Anderson
250 540 2333
See media reports: