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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.

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