Letter: Cutbacks to district staff of ‘grave concern’ to former councillor

One staff member is responsible for commercial inspections, secondary suite inspections and new residential inspections.

To the editor:

I have remained very silent on the decisions made by Lake Country mayor and council for the past three years as I believe new councils should have the opportunity to learn the ropes before the public takes them to task too harshly.

However, I now feel obligated to comment on some issues that I find deeply concerning that are occurring in the Lake Country municipal operations.

Council has reduced the building inspection department to one staff member. This decision does not make sense especially on the heels of the mayor attending a press conference about the economic benefit of the Lakestone development and the expected number of units that are now being built. In addition, housing starts are up 16 per cent over last year in the Central Okanagan and are expected to continue to rise in 2015.

The one staff member responsible for commercial inspections, secondary suite inspections and new residential inspections is entitled to holidays and sick days. How can the day-to-day business requirements of the community be managed?

I also raise concerns with Mayor James Baker’s comments in The Vernon Morning Star about staff members needing a can-do attitude to remain with the district. The staff member he is referring to served the organization faithfully for nine years and played a large part in securing millions of dollars in grant funding to provide our community with such amenities as the improvements to the Winfield Arena, the new tennis courts and the improvements at Swalwell Park, just to name a few.

I have also heard rumours that our community will be reduced to one statutory officer to oversee our community funds and budgets. This is a very dangerous situation and the risk and lack of oversight of our public funds is of grave concern to me.

For those who may feel that my comments may be pre-election posturing, at this time, I have other projects and am not considering running for Lake Country council. However, I hope my comments give some members of council an opportunity to reflect and reconsider their decision-making and do the right thing and try to back the train up before our community heads down the track on a collision course with disaster.

If they can’t, myself and other community members may be obligated to step up to the plate and try to repair the damage in November.

Noreen Guenther,

former Lake Country councillor