Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Taxpayer writes - Mayor Garlick (also Director of GVAC) responds.

Local Government Priority Spending

There has been a lot of media attention around local government priority spending lately. Our community is in need of a track and field facility, a new art gallery, museum, public parks and greenspace, trails and environmental protection of wildlife habitat and eco-systems and last but not least domestic water quality and quantity.

The public and government should recognize the need to spend our tax dollars wisely, in priority sequence that best benefits our health, the natural environment and our community’s economy, culture and lifestyle.

As for the latest debates over spending and referendums, Sports Complex at Okanagan College for $ 8M when we don’t have a track at the new VSS (a hi- school track could costs less than $ 2M). If the College needs their own sports facility I think the Provincial Government should pay for it. The Art Gallery and Museum both need new facilities and both want to be close to the City Hall in the downtown core. Combining the facilities will enhance and support each other and cost less to build.

Our community needs to consider the health of our 4 main creeks (Upper & Lower BX Creeks, Vernon Creek and Coldstream) for the sake of the fish and wildlife that depend on them, as well as the lakes that they discharge into (Swan, Okanagan, Kalamalka). We also want more parks, greenspace and trails to encourage a healthy lifestyle. If government focuses their spending on acquisition of lands that encompasses sensitive habitat i.e. creeks, wetlands, lakeshores, ravines, grasslands, etc., the community will have most of the parks and greenspace that it will need for decades to come.

With our continuing population growth, our need for more water for domestic and agricultural use will be more of a challenge. Our domestic water sources need to be clean and our agriculture use needs to be efficient. If the drinking water source is not naturally suitable, we either need to find natural solutions (not simply and expensively treat and filter that water) or find a better source. As for the agricultural industry that consumes the largest percentage of available water, needs to find methods of irrigation that are more efficient and water conservative.

Brad Foster

Hello Mr Foster

I forwarded your email to Gyula Kiss and Bob Flemming who also sit on GVAC in making these decisions.

I agree with you on the land purchase for parks and this may come to be. The inclusion of the art gallery and museum in one building is a problem due to the size requirements (height) on the land provided but it may be possible to have them in close proximity with the pieces of  land now being considered.

The sports facility is a local public facility that the province would only fund in part as a possible grant to us. This is being hoped for but not likely at this time. The college is no different than our schools and is not a provincial government facility directly. They have their own challenges with their facility to care for with limited budgets. I see this as a partnership as has taken place in Penticton and Kelowna with OC and UBCO to enhance those institutions in those centres. Schools in the area were considered but face problems due to removing existing needed facilities and lack of space for facility and parking. The price of the facility does need work as it has climbed significantly since this started. We need to look at how we can reduce it back to something more reasonable.

Thanks for taking the time and giving your input.

Jim Garlick


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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.