Neither non-native residents nor newspapers will be getting any kind of free ride in West Kelowna if resolutions proposed by the District of West Kelowna are accepted by the province.
Two resolutions being brought forward by West Kelowna to the Southern Interior Local Government Association will include an equivalent school site charge for native land residents and an appeal to change the requirement for municipalities to provide notice of bylaw changes or public hearings in local newspapers.
Coun. Rosalind Neis said West Kelowna and all other municipalities are given the opportunity to submit resolutions that they feel would affect the community and the rest of the province.
Resolutions approved at SILGA go to the Union of B.C. Municipalities annual conference. Those resolutions give municipalities a chance to affect provincial legislation.
Neis said the district is asking that if the school site charge is implemented on West Kelowna developers, that UBCM lobby the provincial community and education ministries to establish a system to collect funds from non-native residents on band land.
Neis said there is no onus on the non-native population living on Westbank First Nation land to contribute in any way to school site development costs, although their children may use the public school system.
The second resolution involves a Local Government Act and Community Charter requirement for municipalities to provide notice of bylaw changes and other business in area newspapers.
Neis pointed out West Kelowna has limited print media and advertising forms a big part of the district’s budget.
The resolution asks UBCM to lobby for permission for local governments to determine bylaw requirements for using public media in their communities.
City clerk Tracey Batten said the current Community Charter requires that public notice must be done in a newspaper, a minimum requirement that must be followed.
She noted the resolution suggests that in different communities, there may be a more effective way to reach residents than through a newspaper.
The resolution could let communities decide for themselves what that method is.
Batten pointed out that currently, West Kelowna uses its website, many different public notices and meeting boards to communicate with the public.
“I guess where this resolution is going is, we have to meet those newspaper deadlines. It does in some ways restrict you for timing and that sort of thing,” she said.
Neis said even if municipalities do everything correctly and submit material to local media for print, if for some reason the media miss a release or there is an error in transcription, everything could go off the rails.
“This would allow more flexibility at the local level, rather than having regulations imposed on us at the provincial level.”
West Kelowna spent approximately $18,500 last year in advertising.