North Westside residents consider governance options

Residents on the North Westside of Okanagan Lake are considering changes to their local government model.

There appears to be interest in pursuing possible governance options for the North Westside.

About 120 people attended an open house at the Killiney Beach Community Thursday, May 26, on the current governance model under the Regional District of Central Okanagan and whether changes are needed.

“I heard a lot of frustration,” said Wayne Carson, director.

“The same theme reoccurs. They say we have lost our voice in local government and there is no say over their tax dollars.”

The North Westside has one director at the 12-member board table, and Carson says he is often outvoted by his counterparts from Kelowna, Lake Country, West Kelowna and Peachland.

A governance committee is lobbying the provincial government to initiate a study that will determine if the existing RDCO system works for the North Westside or if other governance options should be considered.

Among the options are the North Westside forming its own municipality or forming a municipality with Ellison-Joe Rich, which is north and east of Kelowna.

Those at Thursday’s meeting were asked if they want a governance study.

“It was overwhelming. No one objected to the process,” said Carson, who admits that any review will be lengthy and there is no guarantee governance will change.

“We want to find out how much it will cost in a proper study.”

Carson will discuss the issue of governance with Community Development Minister Peter Fassbender and Christy Clark, Westside-Kelowna MLA and premier.

“I’m hoping they will be sympathetic,” he said.