Open Letter to City of Vernon regarding Greater Vernon Recreation Facilities Grant-In-Aid Agreement Negotiations

Public Notice

On July 27, 2023, the District of Coldstream and Areas 'B' and 'C' of the North Okanagan Regional District (RDNO) submitted the following letter to the City of Vernon in regard to the Greater Vernon Recreation Facilities Grant-in-Aid Agreement Negotiations:

Thank you for your letter of response to our proposal and invitation to attend a meeting to further discussions regarding an agreement for the District of Coldstream and the Electoral Areas ‘B’ and ‘C’ of the Regional District of North Okanagan providing a grant-in-aid to the City of Vernon in support of Recreation Services.

While we are disappointed in the City’s decline of our invitation to have further discussions, we recognize Vernon’s autonomy to undertake a direction that best meets its goals and objectives.

For the District of Coldstream and the Electoral Areas ‘B’ & ‘C’, we strongly feel that we have made a compelling offer – significantly more than was provided in 2023, significantly more than CPI and significantly more than will be achievable through a two-tiered fee structure. However, we also have to balance the desire to reach an agreement with our other objectives of financial stewardship and the demands of all the other services that we provide to our public.

The 2014 restructuring of Recreation Services provided the City of Vernon with sole control of the identified recreation assets including their operation. While we continue to support those principles, the 2014 restructuring also provided the autonomy for Coldstream and Electoral Areas ‘B’ and ‘C’ to determine their level of financial support. Unfortunately, it appears that there is a divergence between the City of Vernon’s recreation objectives and ours.

Collectively, Coldstream and Electoral Areas ‘B’ and ‘C’ remain open to providing financial support for recreation within the Greater Vernon area. However, we strongly feel that this support has to be cognizant of the fiscal realities that we operate within (asks for increases in excess of 25% are not achievable in this environment) and need to be the result of mutual agreement arising from continued dialogue.

Coldstream and Electoral Areas ‘B’ & ‘C’ will be undertaking an assessment of our respective communities' recreational needs and how we may best meet those going forward.

If there is an interest in further discussions, please let us know and we will be flexible in accommodating a time for our Councils and Electoral Area representatives to meet.

In all scenarios, we respect the differences in viewpoints and support each jurisdiction undertaking the actions they feel necessary to best meet the wants and needs of their citizens.

Signed by:
Ruth Hoyte, Mayor
District of Coldstream
Bob Fleming, Director
Electoral Area 'B' RDNO
Amanda Shatzko, Director
Electoral Area 'C' RDNO