Local politicians have reached a deal on changes to improve the operation and management of parks within the Greater Vernon area.
Vernon, Coldstream, and Regional District of North Okanagan Electoral Areas ‘B’ and ‘C’, have endorsed an agreement that will see the sports fields and beaches within Greater Vernon transferred to and operated by the municipality in which they are located.
“This authority will include the future planning and improvement of those parks, along with the responsibility for long term planning and acquisition of any new sports fields and beaches,” says an RDNO release.
Photo L-R – Jim Garlick, Coldstream Mayor; Mike Macnabb, Area ‘C’ RDNO Director; Bob Fleming, Area ‘B’ RDNO Director; Juliette Cunningham, Vernon Councillor; Akbal Mund, Vernon Mayor.
Vernon mayor Akbal Mund says facilities like the DND grounds and Marshall Fields will be transferred from RDNO to the municipally where they’re located.
“It makes it easier for us to manage when there’s an issue, rather than picking up the phone and calling the regional district and then having them call the City of Vernon. These lands that are in the City of Vernon, are now controlled by the City of Vernon,” Mund tells Kiss FM.
Mund says it should lead to better managed facilities, and cost savings for all the partners.
Vernon councillor and Greater Vernon Advisory chair Juliette Cunningham says local sports fields and beaches are well used, and help to generate a significant portion of our sport and destination tourism.
“It’s important that they continue to be well maintained so that they adequately reflect the values of our community,” says Cunningham.
Transferring with the sports fields and beaches is the funding that had been ear-marked for improvements in 2017.
“It was important to all of the partners that the commitment to making improvements was retained, and that the municipalities had the resources they needed to make those improvements” says Bob Fleming, Electoral Area ‘B’ Director and RDNO Chair. “The intention of this transaction is to promote increased local autonomy of the sports fields and beaches by the municipalities, allowing for improved operating efficiencies.”
The two electoral areas will continue to financially support the transferred parks and beaches, at their current level, through an annual grant.
Coldstream Mayor Jim Garlick says the signing of the agreement marks a new era in the delivery of parks in the Greater Vernon area.
“We will continue with what has been working, keeping natural areas and trails with the Regional District, and improve upon it by assigning the responsibility for sports fields and beaches to the municipalities, who are able to be more responsive to their local community’s needs.”
The agreement applies to the following sports fields and beaches:
Vernon Fields / Beaches:· DND Grounds, Marshall Fields, Paddlewheel Park, and Kin Beach.
Coldstream Fields / Beaches: Creekside Park and Kal Beach
The work required to complete the transfer will be undertaken through 2017, with the agreement to be in full affect by January 1, 2018.