"If we go to sewer than the City will take us over".
Here is my take after reviewing the City of Penticton's Official Community Plan updates and speaking with members of the City's OCP Task Force and City staff.
Penticton is in the process of updating its own Official Community Plan. There is an Official Community Plan Task Force (volunteers) to help direct the plan. I talked with three Task Force members and two City staff and asked if West Bench or Sage Mesa had been mentioned in their OCP meetings or was on the City's radar for amalgamation (take over). The answer from all was 'no'.
The City has put all of the OCP information and updates on the City managed site called Shape Your City. I've taken a very good look. I also attended the September 22nd public open house. Below is a screenshot of a map that was on display at the open house and available online here. You will notice that our area is not colour-coded which means it is not part of the City's Future Land Use Plan.
It is important to understand that the City can not take over any part of Area F without consent from Area F residents.
This right is protected for all British Columbia municipalities, including Regional Districts, in of the Community Charter, section 279. Section 279 was reaffirmed by resolution at the 2016 UBCM Conference.
Could the City change direction and reconsider West Bench and Sage Mesa?
Sure, they could. But from everything I have read, the City's plan is to densify the downtown and develop within their own boundaries, including the recently purchased 300 acres near the Wiltse area. See photo at the end of this post for map. Even more importantly, see below B2 No Forced Amalgamations
Could the City put together a proposal for sewer service to the Greater West Bench and include amalgamation as one of the conditions?
Yes, that could be part of a potential proposal that we as an Area would have to review and then decide upon. There is no such proposal in existence right now. The City can grow and meet their resident's needs without the Greater West Bench area.
This means, we can safely explore ideas and work with our neighbours without giving up autonomy. As an Area, and if elected as your Director, I feel it is very important that we be open to reviewing any proposal that comes our way and see if it makes sense for us.
Thanks for reading and as always, please let me know if you have any questions or comments.
PS - another photo or the City's new land and a quick thought on the 2016 letter from the Mayor to the Minister.
Here is the photo of the area of those 300 acres. Note, there is one owner of this land and that own has agreed to the proposal and utility service is already at the area's boarder. I believe half of the land will be donated back to BC as park.
I know of the letter from the Mayor to the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development. It was an idea sent to the 2016 UBCM, most likely one of many, that did not stick with the Minister. In fact, the screen shot of the resolution above includes the response from the same Minister in the same year. If you are keen to read more, here is a link to the Community Charter. Or reach out and I would be happy to discuss further.