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The four municipalities also agreed to collectively request senior levels of government to better coordinate illegal moorage. (Photo: Kelly Hayes)
The four municipalities also agreed to collectively request senior levels of government to better coordinate illegal moorage. (Photo: Kelly Hayes)

Mayors talk grow ops and rabbits

by - Story: 44964

Four Okanagan mayors are working at being good neighbours.

The Intermunicipal Advisory Board, comprised of Kelowna Mayor Sharon Shepherd, Penticton Mayor Dan Ashton, Vernon Mayor Wayne Lippert and West Kelowna Mayor Doug Findlater are working on common bylaws.

The four mayors, along with their city administrators, are moving forward on common bylaws addressing such matters as grow-ops, feral rabbits and good neighbours.

Mayor Dan Ashton says working together on common issues is an efficient way to deliver services and meet the needs of as many residents as possible.

“This collaborative approach will allow the four municipalities to partner for funding opportunities, share ideas and resources, as well as pass these along to the other many communities within our wonderful valley and, as a result, avoid cost and time delays,” says Ashton.

The intention is to enact the same bylaws if possible in all four municipalities, effectively ensuring the same rules apply in these jurisdictions.

Kelowna’s Nuisance Controlled Substance Bylaw has proven to be an effective tool to address residential grow-operations since it was adopted in 2005.

Vernon, Penticton and West Kelowna will also consider the enhanced bylaw to determine if it is appropriate for their respective communities.

Kelowna mayor, Sharon Shepherd, says staff estimates approximately 100 drug houses have been dealt with using this bylaw over the past few years.

“In addition to being unhealthy and unsafe, homes doubling as grow-operations often have a significant impact on the neighbourhood. This bylaw has helped Kelowna resolve some of these issues,” says Shepherd.

Vernon mayor, Wayne Lippert, says Vernon’s Good Neighbour bylaw consolidates a number of bylaws designed to enhance the quality of life for citizens, promote civic responsibility and encourage good relationships between neighbours.

“The Good Neighbour bylaw takes into account noise, unsightly premises and nuisance concerns. Covering panhandling, noise regulations, property maintenance and nuisance smoke under our Good Neighbour bylaw, makes it easier for our citizens to express their concerns and easier for City staff to investigate and enforce,” says Lippert.

The four municipalities also agreed to continue to investigate the feasibility of integrating transit between Vernon and Penticton, request a valley-wide status on air quality from the regional districts and to collectively request senior levels of government to better coordinate illegal moorage.

West Kelowna mayor, Doug Findlater, says this is an excellent opportunity for the new District of West Kelowna to benefit from the experience of other major cities in the Valley.

“As a new mayor, I was very pleased to attend the Intermunicipal Services Agreement meeting. This is an excellent forum for the Okanagan’s major municipalities to initiate discussions on common interest such as interregional transit, a common approach to municipal bylaws and air quality,” says Findlater.

The Board will request a meeting with Community Development Minister Kevin Krueger to discuss areas of common interest to all municipalities.

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