Communities working in unison

Mayor James Baker (left)

In the world of politics getting things done is all about making one’s voice heard. With so many competing interests it’s easy for an individual voice to be lost in the din. One tactic politicians use to overcome this problem is to identify common issues and rally together around them. The effect is a stronger unified voice when pushing for change in governmental policy.

An active example of this strategy can be found in the Southern Interior Local Government Association (SILGA) of which Lake Country is a member. The organization is made up of elected representatives from 37 communities and 6 regional districts in the area of the province that its name corresponds to. In fact, Coun. Noreen Guenther was recently elected President of the organization at its annual convention earlier this month.

The issues that SILGA chooses to put its weight behind are decided upon at the annual convention. Member municipalities identify problems facing their communities and present them as resolutions to be voted on at the convention. If a resolution receives support from the majority of members then SILGA will press the issue with provincial and federal governments.

At this year’s convention Lake Country brought three resolutions to the table, all of which received the support of SILGA.

Two of Lake Country’s resolutions are aimed at protecting water resources.

The first of these resolutions expresses concern over wording regarding the trading of water rights in the Province’s Water Sustainability Act. Guenther says the language in the legislation is very general in nature. With the adoption of the resolution, SILGA is expressing strong reservations against the use of water rights as an economic trading instrument.

“We want to make sure that water rights don’t become a commodity,” says Guenther.

Lake Country’s second water-related resolution dealt with groundwater regulation. Under current legislation groundwater extraction is not regulated. The consequence is unpredictable stream flows that are problematic for farmers. By endorsing the resolution SILGA is supporting the creation of a groundwater regulation mechanism and the establishment of an agricultural water reserve.

The final resolution presented by Lake Country deals with development permit infractions and seeks to improve the tools available to municipalities in the event that they need to take legal action against development permit contraventions.

A number of other resolutions were brought forth from other communities that Guenther says are of considerable importance to Lake Country as well.

From Kelowna came a resolution advocating increased funding for the agriculture industry. Guenther says B.C. spends just 3.3 per cent of its GDP to support agriculture. The national average is 16.4 per cent of GDP and SILGA wants to see the Province match that level of spending.

Coldstream brought a resolution encouraging the Province to review the list of primary agricultural products (PAP). The PAP list is used to determine an agriculturalist’s eligibility for farm status and impacts allowable property uses within the agricultural land reserve. By supporting the resolution the SILGA communities feel that the list is too restrictive. SILGA will push for the PAP list to include greater opportunities for value-added products, the introduction of new products, and horse-related activities.

Another resolution supported by SILGA calls for the restoration of gaming grants and their eligibility criteria to 2008-2009 standards.

Just Posted

Three UBC Okanagan students awarded women in tech scholarships

Computer science and math students hope the award will inspire others

Missing Kelowna woman, Cassy Miller found dead

Miller went missing Nov. 6 and was found 10 days later

Rockets break four game losing streak in Edmonton

The Rockets defeated the Oil Kings 3-1

Okanagan Floral Design students create elaborate Christmas arrangements

The students are making the floral arrangements as part of the Homes for the Holidays tour

Reduce, reuse, recycle: Repair cafes gaining popularity in Kelowna

The Regional District of the Central Okanagan’s cafe was held at Okanagan College Saturday

REPLAY: B.C’s best video this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at the replay-worth highlights from this week across the province

Canadian dead more than a week after plane crash in Guyana: Global Affairs

Global Affairs said it couldn’t provide further details on the identity of the Canadian citizen

Children between 6 and 9 eligible for $1,200 RESP grant from province

BC Ministry of Education is reminding residents to apply before the deadline

Victoria spent $30,000 to remove John A. Macdonald statue

Contentious decision sparked controversy, apology from mayor

South region forestry workers nearly in legal strike position

Talks broke down between USW and IFLRA, resulting in booking out of provincial mediator

Privacy concerns over credit card use for legal online pot purchases

Worries follow privacy breaches at some Canadian cannabis retailers

NEB approves operating pressure increase to repaired Enbridge pipeline

The pipeline burst outside of Prince George on Oct. 9, now operating at 85 per cent

B.C. VIEWS: Setting speed limits in a post-fact political environment

Media prefer ‘speed kills’ narrative, even when it fails to appear

Controversy erupts over Japanese flag in B.C. classroom (updated)

Online petition demanding removal has collected more than 5,700 signatures

Most Read