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Many issues prompting regional district amalgamation
The province wants the three Okanagan regional districts to think about amalgamating in a big way.
Minister’s Ida Chong and Rick Thorpe gave some insight at the recent Union of British Columbia Municipalities convention on the purpose of a governance review and what the objectives that a review should meet. They include:
• The province expects Okanagan population growth to surpass that of Victoria’s Capital Region in the next 20 to 25 years.
• A review now is timely to prepare for the growth.
• Westside incorporation has played a roll in initiating the review.
• The current system can be enhanced.
• The province is serious about developing a process and establishing a dialogue with the regional districts.
• No strong evidence exists to delay the governance review.
• The review should consider streamlining governance and determining what shared services could be delivered in a seamless way.
• Valley wide issues including transportation, water and air shed management, 911, emergency planning and economic development would be better addressed through a new governance structure.
• A new Okanagan model could serve as a pilot project and be exportable to other regions in the province.
• The process should be driven by the regional districts, not the ministry.