Kelowna backs off boundary extension

The City of Kelowna will not be expanding its boundaries any time soon.

Saying "certain conditions have changed since council first asked staff to review options," Mayor Walter Gray stated that council now has decided not to proceed, at this time, with any boundary moves.

"Now that a study is potentially going to occur in the Regional District about the various options, we thought it kind of sidelined our original motive and we thought there was no damage done," says Gray.

"It's not like our discussions with Lake Country need to be completed in a month or two months so we will press on with that discussion at the appropriate time if they are still willing to do that."

Gray says people have not been banging down the doors of City Hall asking to join Kelowna, so council decided to set the issue aside and come back to it when the current situation sorts itself out.

In July, the city indicated it had received a boundary request from Lake Country to discuss a boundary relocation for 13 industrial properties along Beaver Lake Road currently paying taxes to Kelowna.

At the same time, the city indicated it had received inquiries from areas within the Okanagan East Regional District to join the city.

Last week, Okanagan East Director, Patty Hanson, indicated she was attempting to initiate an incorporation or governance review of her area with an eye toward incorporating.

Gray says the announcement by the city is not a reaction to Hanson's goal of seeking a boundary review but rather a decision to let the process play out.

"Rather than us blaze away with ours we'll just let it take its root and not compete with that or try to steer it," says Gray.

"Feedback at City Hall is that some people think this is a city motivated thing - that we want to expand our boundaries."

The mayor admits that whether the city gets bigger or not is the least of council's concern.

"It's a pretty big job to maintain what we have. We are, after all 101 square miles anyway. It's not like we need to be bigger for some strategic reason," added Gray.

"So, we are going to stand by and let the parade go by and revisit the thing, potentially at another date."

Gray says if a governance study does go ahead, and the city feels it is also about them, then they may get involved in that study.

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