The District of West Kelowna wants to be a city.
And this time, unlike when it asked the province for city status five years ago, it appears Victoria is ready to listen.
According to a letter from Community Minister Coralee Oakes, with a population of over 30,000, West Kelowna could already be seen as a city to some.
Oakes wrote to West Kelowna Mayor Doug Findlater to tell him that the government has determined it is in the public interest to grant the District of Maple Ridge’s request for reclassification as a city and could do the same for West Kelowna.
And the same could happen to West Kelowna.
“I am aware that West Kelowna has previously expressed interest in reclassification as a city,” wrote Oakes. “While the population and settlement pattern of Maple Ridge is quite different from that of West Kelowna, I also acknowledge that with a population over 30,000, West Kelowna may be seen as a municipality of city proportions.
“If the issue of municipal classification remains of interest to West Kelowna, I would be wiling to consider the feasibility of a reclassification after the local (government) elections in November.”
The letter prompted West Kelowna council to quickly pass a motion at this week’s council meeting saying yes, it is still interested and it will investigate further.
Findlater said when West Kelowna incorporated seven years ago, it became a district municipality because the local government rules at the time in B.C. based municipal classifications—city, district, town, village—on the population as it related to the land-size of the municipality. He said a few years after incorporation, district officials contacted the ministry with a request to become a city and were turned down flat.
“But this minister (Oakes) seems to want to change some things,” said the mayor, adding the issue came up for discussion when he met with Oakes at the recent Union of B.C. Municipalities convention and Oakes seemed supportive.
Meanwhile, West Kelowna’s chief administration officer Jim Zaffino said he has already reserved several Internet domain names that could be used by the municipality if West Kelowna becomes a city.