Tension clouds North Westside process

Tension clouds North Westside process

Regional District of Central Okanagan backs terms of reference for services study

A review of North Westside services is proceeding, but not without ongoing tension.

The Regional District of Central Okanagan board has adopted the terms of reference for the North Westside services and community issues review process.

“I will reluctantly support this,” said Wayne Carson, North Westside director.

Carson’s willingness to back the terms of reference came after lengthy debate and his initial opposition to the document.

“This is a stab in the back to the North Westside,” he said at the beginning of the discussion.

Carson’s primary concern was with what he saw as a limited scope for the terms of reference. It does not include a technical or financial audit of current services and governance, options on changes to the existing governance model and the impact of change to current governance in the review area.

“This is not the study that was offered to the North Westside. I have been excluded since the process began Nov. 28. I have not been involved in the terms of reference.”

Carson also blamed RDCO staff for the situation.

“Government staff at the ministry (of community development) were manipulated.”

However, chief administrative officer Brian Reardon insists his office had no influence over the process.

“The ministry has determined what is out of scope. It has been clear that this is not a governance study. This is a services review and a community issues review,” said Reardon.

Carson also took aim at directors from Kelowna, Lake Country, Peachland and West Kelowna voting on the terms of reference.

“You’re not responsible or liabel for any of this. This is just a tyranny of the majority,” he said.”

As staff and directors discussed the matter, chairperson Gail Given prevented Carson from interrupting.

“If you want to debate the CAO, you will wait your turn,” she said.

Given added that the services review could ultimately lead to a full-scale governance study for the North Westside.

“If we don’t take the first step, you (Carson) won’t get where you want.”

A final report on the review is expected by late October and input will be sought from the North Westside Communities Association and residents.

“They will want to have their say in the study,” said Carson.