Friday, July 29, 2011

Dispute Is Fueling Amalgamation Talk - and a response.

Written by Peter McIntyre 107.5 KISSFM Tuesday, 26 July 2011 15:15

Vernon mayor and G-VAC chair Wayne Lippert says Coldstream's change of stance on Greater Vernon Water won't do anything to solve the local governance issues. In fact, he says all the disagreements between the regional partners, have led to more talk of amalgamation. "People are getting frustrated with the Regional District of the North Okanagan, and Greater Vernon, and since I first became mayor (six years ago) to now, not just in the city of Vernon but in the BX and Coldstream, people that earlier didn't want to talk about amalgamation, are now coming to me saying, 'How can we make that happen?" Lippert says Coldstream's about-face on the water issue has happened a number of other times in discussions. "It just shows they can't hold to an agreement, so if you can't hold to an agreement with someone, what kind of partnership can you expect to have?" Lippert says Coldstream seems to be willing to talk lots, but with no action.
Oh, the omnipotence of Mayor Lippert. He can make amalgamation happen! If you do not agree with Mayor Lippert, then you are wrong and he has the power to extinguish your democratic right to debate issues. He repeats his flawed arguments so often that he now probably believes them himself. However, some facts he conveniently neglects to mention.

One of these facts is that it was the City and Mayor Lippert who requested an amazing nineteen (19) service reviews in 2006. These requests swamped RDNO staff and left them with little time for any other business.

Among these requests was the water function: The City expressed its desire to withdraw from the distribution part of the agreement (the famous DEVOLUTION) and, if that could not be done, to withdraw from the entire function. As the water function was an agreement between the three partners, Vernon, Coldstream and RDNO’s Electoral Areas B” and “C”, it appears that it is Vernon that “can’t hold to an agreement”.

Service reviews are very involved processes and generally only used when one or more partners consider withdrawing from a service. Is it reasonable to believe that the City contemplated withdrawing from all those services or was it political posturing? You make the call.

As a result of Vernon’s desire to withdraw from the distribution part of the water agreement an arbitrator was appointed to rule on the City’s request. The arbitrator ruled that based on the legislation he had no power of granting the partial withdrawal the City desired. The City challenged this ruling in court and in order to avoid a court case negotiations were initiated to try to find an out of court solution. These negotiations apparently stalled, thus, Coldstream Council reaffirmed its stance in supporting the original water agreement (see attached Press Release).

The other conveniently ignored fact by Mayor Lippert relates to the facilitated negotiations between Vernon, Coldstream and Electoral Areas “B” and “C” concerning the Parks and Recreation service review. These negotiations were conducted for nearly a year, a final report was prepared by the facilitator and Vernon backed out in the 11th hour, an “about face”!

It appears Mayor Lippert subscribes to the principle that “an attack is the best defense” regardless of the facts.

Disclaimer: the foregoing represent my personal opinion and it is not necessarily the official position of Coldstream Council.

Gyula Kiss




Anonymous said...

Well said Mr. Kiss! Too bad the mainstream media seems to be unwilling or unable to publish the facts.

Maria Besso said...

I am in total agreement!

very well said !

Maria Besso
Coldstream Councillor

Anonymous said...

Total agreement with the comments,
good for you Mr. Kiss.

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The opinions expressed by "Coldstreamer" are strictly his own and do not represent the opinions of Coldstream Council!

Because I value your thoughtful opinions, I encourage you to add a comment to this discussion. Don't be offended if I edit your comments for clarity or to keep out questionable matters, however, and I may even delete off-topic comments.

Gyula Kiss;


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About Me

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I have been a resident of Coldstream since 1976. I have had 15 years of experience on Council, 3 years as Mayor. As a current Councillor I am working to achieve fair water and sewer rates and to ensure that taxpayers get fair treatment. The current direction regarding water supply is unsustainable and I am doing all I can to get the most cost effective water supply possible.