North Westside addresses concerns with governance study

North Westside residents have indicated that current structure doesn’t represent their needs

Not everyone is thrilled with the idea of the North Westside going it alone.

Some residents are questioning a move by director Wayne Carson and the North Westside Communities Association to have a governance study and possibly move towards municipal status.

“Not everyone is as interested in changing things,” said Lynne Findlay, a resident of the North Westside for eight years.

“People have said, ‘It will cost us money and if it costs money, I’m not interested.’”

Many North Westside residents have indicated that current structure doesn’t represent their needs because the area is quite a ways from the Regional District of Central Okanagan office in Kelowna and service costs are growing.

A 700-name petition calling for a study was presented to RDCO.

“Somebody brought the petition to our home but even then, we were comfortable with the regional district as it’s set up at this point,” said Findlay, adding that parks are maintained, the transfer station runs well and the water system needs to be a focus.

“There needs to be a positive review on our community. Everything I see is negative.”

Currently, North Westside, with a population of 1,000 to 1,500, has one director at the 12-member RDCO board table.

“You can always ask questions but you may not get the answer you want,” said Findlay.

“Even if we become a municipality, we’re still going to be part of the regional district.”

Findlay wants Carson and the communities association to slow down on the governance issue and consult with residents.

“There should be another way to canvas the community to see if there are enough of us who truly want a change,” she said.

Carson says residents with concerns about a governance change need to come forward.

“I’d like to hear from everyone. Everyone has a right to have a say,” he said.

However, Carson says he and the communities association have actively sought input from residents, including at public meetings.

“The petition showed overwhelming support for a study,” he said.

“We want to find what’s best for the majority of the residents.”

Carson also points out that there is no guarantee that governance will change.

“We’re just asking for a study,” he said.