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  • Writer's pictureRiley Gettens

Community Centre Contribution - Penticton Herald

I thought I would fill in some of the gaps in today’s Penticton Herald article, ‘History book missing a chapter on West Bench pool contributions’

It is an interesting piece of history because the referendum question is not accurately reflected in the 1979 bylaw (which would not happen today). I first heard about this from a past Area “F” Director M. Murton who graciously took the time to do some further research. I’ve attached her findings below.

In November 1978, the referendum question was:

Do you support contributing to the construction and operation of a new community centre in Penticton for up to 25 years?

Between the referendum passing and Bylaw No. 488, 1979 being adopted, the 25-year cap was removed. The original file is still at the RDOS but no one who currently works at the RDOS was involved in passing the bylaw in 1979. All that can be referenced is the paperwork in the file which doesn’t explain why the cap was removed.

Regardless, in 1998, the 1979 bylaw was converted (superseded) and the service area (taxable area) expanded from just the lower West Bench to include Sage Mesa, Westview and Husula. This most recent bylaw is what governs the board. The current 1998 bylaw doesn’t have an end date.

Here is what I wrote to Joe Fries, Penticton reporter, on this issue.

Greater West Bench is one of the best places to live in the Okanagan. This is, of course, due to the community itself but also because we have great neighbours - Summerland to the north, PIB to the west, and the City of Penticton to the east.

Penticton and Greater West Bench benefit from working together. One partnership is the ‘Electoral Area “F” Community Centre Local Contribution Service (the bylaw we are chatting about today). And, while the history of the bylaw is interesting, citizens in GWB have not shared complaints with me about contributing to this service – I believe citizens in West Bench see the value.

Each property in GWB also contributes to the Penticton fire protection service and water is purchased from the City for those on the West Bench Water System. It makes better sense for both the City and Greater West Bench to work together than have Greater West Bench invest in a separate community centre, a volunteer fire department, or a new water treatment facility.

Partnership with neighbours is, in part, what makes living in the South Okanagan amazing. We are definitely stronger, and we all benefit when we work together.

Joe Fries asked if I thought that no one is complaining because GWB citizens are not aware of the tax. To that question I responded that the tax is a line item on our property tax bill called, “Community Center” and given that we don’t have a community centre in Greater West Bench, I think the citizens know.

For interest sake, on my family's property tax we paid

  • $36.16 for the Community Centre fund.

  • $673.03 for Fire Protection (who, by the way, I was very relieved to see at this week's grass fire)

  • Police Tax (RCMP) $76.04 (which seems low to me)

  • Okanagan Regional Library $122.30*

* GWB is part of the Okanagan Regional Library service, there is an agreement that provides financial support to the Penticton Library from the Okanagan Regional Library for every Greater West Bench citizen who use the facility.

If you have any questions, please let me know.

Happy August Long Weekend – stay cool out there!



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