Parks Devolution

 
 

Mayor’s Letter to the Editor of the Morning Star

Mr. Mitchell

 

I am writing in the hopes of clarifying some reporting by the Morning Star. The new publisher to the Morning Star, Mr. Weatherington, was quoted in a recent article as saying that he looked forward to providing the community with information. I hope this is possible in the future. This has not been the case with some of the opinionated and manipulative reporting on the issue of the parks review and the draft proposal put forward by the facilitator, Mr. Nielson-Welch, to this review.

 

It should be pointed out that the reporter, Mr. Rolke, who seems to have taken up a campaign to abandon the parks review, did not attend the last meeting in which the draft proposal was put forward by the facilitator. If he had attended he would have heard the concerns around changes to the governance and operations of the Rec Centre and Civic Arena along with other points contained in the draft proposal. He woulds also heard discussion in support of some changes. Mr. Rolke’s articles give the impression that the various parties have accepted the direction provided in the draft proposal with no thought or investigation into the consequences. I want to make it clear that this is not the approach being taken.

 

The District of Coldstream financial officer is working with Regional District staff to provide the appropriate information on costs and liability to Coldstream council in order to make decisions on providing service for our parks in Coldstream.

 

Any changes to taking responsibility for land will be accompanied by a covenant ensuring the continued use as parkland for the area.

 

Coldstream council would like to see Kal Beach and parking lot be a sub-regional park and explore the possibilities of including it in the parks inventory or zoning as park.

 

The City of Vernon voted to include the Rec Centre and Civic Arena in the service as it is now. Coldstream is agreeable. Electoral Areas B and C raised no concerns to this point at our last Greater Vernon Committee meeting. This will most likely make the suggestion in the draft proposal to change these facilities a moot point.

 

A separate Arts and Culture and Youth Service is being considered to provide the groups involved a higher profile.

 

Service reviews such as this one we have undertaken are legitimate review processes under provincial legislation. This review was brought forward first by the City of Vernon as one of 19 in January 2007 and subsequently dropped. It was then reinitiated in June 2007 by Electoral Areas B and C. It then sat dormant for 2 years. Coldstream asked that the partners complete the outstanding review to address parks service levels, the budgeting process, arts and culture issues, and servicing contracts, as well as provide closure to the process. This review has been open to the public. The documents from the review are also public.

 

The partners have been working cooperatively to get through this service review and make informed decisions. We do not always agree. There are shortcomings to the existing service but there is no appetite to tear the service apart or "throw any babies out with the bath water". We may decide to make some changes. This service has seen changes since its inception almost 40 years ago. To say otherwise would be misleading and uninformed.

 

 

Jim Garlick

Mayor

District of Coldstream

Email jimgarlick@msn.com