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RDCO Board Chair asked to resign

Some discontent has surfaced within the board of the Regional District of Central Okanagan.

Central Okanagan East Director, Patty Hanson has asked for the resignation of both board chairman Robert Hobson and Development Services Director, Dan Plamondon, saying she and the board have been misled and provided inaccurate information about the Kelowna Mountain project.

Hanson stated her position in a news release issued late Monday afternoon then re-iterated those statements to an unsuspecting board Monday night.

"As many of you know, my frustration level around governance and decision making around Electoral Area "E" (Central Okanagan East) has been steadily rising. For 10 years my area that I represent has seen no growth, even though all other areas within the Regional District have been steadily growing," Hanson told the board.

"Decisions that are made negatively impact my constituents on a regular basis. And now, when every small community is crying out for economic growth, most recently this major new development of Kelowna Mountain would not only benefit my constituents in terms of taxes but the whole region in terms of jobs and economic impact."

Hanson says both staff and board chair Robert Hobson have "deliberately misled the board."

"I have been told that applications for rezoning cannot be made during an OCP (Official Community Plan) process. I asked for a legal opinion on this and I was denied," stated Hanson.

"The ministry has confirmed that this is not accurate. At the previous board meeting, the board was told that the Kelowna Mountain project would not have to go through a dual process. I believe Director (Andre) Blanleil had asked that question yet the letter from staff to the applicant says the opposite."

She further states that, as Area Director, she has not been copied on any correspondence, something she feels is "extremely irresponsible."

Hanson says she believes the only way for Kelowna Mountain and her constituents to be properly represented is for Hobson and Plamondon to step aside.

"It is not appropriate for these two men to hold key roles in this organization if they are going to use their power to advance what appear to be personal agendas," added Hanson.

"Finally, I wish to add that if I cannot get proper representation by this board and Regional District for my constituents, I will be forced to look elsewhere for support."

Hanson wouldn't elaborate.

Hobson wouldn't comment on Hanson's position.

"I don't think I have any comment because I have to read the material," says Hobson.

Acting Regional District CAO, Paul Macklem, says any discussion should take place another day.

"My only comment at this point is that we are talking about personnel decisions and decisions that don't involve the potential resignation or asking for resignations, as the CAO, that would be my decision and we'll talk about that another day," says Macklem.

"Perhaps in camera would be more appropriate."

Both Macklem and Hobson went into a meeting after leaving Monday's board meeting and were unavailable for further comment.

Kelowna Mountain is at the end of Lakeshore Road and is part of the Okanagan East area which also includes parts of Ellison and Joe Rich.

According to developer Mark Consiglio, Kelowna Mountain would be a $2 billion project which would create a couple thousand construction jobs and 500 permanent jobs.

The Regional Board has given first reading to the South Slopes OCP, an area around Kelowna Mountain.

The Kelowna Mountain project is not included in the South Slopes OCP but identifies the area properties as a ‘Resort Study Area’ indicating a secondary planning process is required prior to consideration of any future change in land use.

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