Hospital, deer cull on the agenda

In response to reports that Penticton sent a higher number of delegates than other  cities to the Union of BC Municipalities convention, Mayor Garry Litke said there was a reason most of the council attended.

Primarily that the city wanted to be well represented when pushing for the expansion of the Penticton Regional Hospital.

"We were there to ensure that by this time next year, the business plan will be completed, so that we can get treasury approval, so that construction can begin," he said. "I think Minister of Health Terry Lake was taken aback by the show of support and we had a very productive meeting."

All of the councillors, with the exception of John Vassilaki, attended last week's Vancouver convention, along with the mayor and city manager.

In addition to the discussions on the hospital,  individual councillors had their own agendas from the lack of skill trades training in Penticton to cultural tourism and making the city even more of a cycling destination.

Litke said he was also pleased the UBCM backed the council's resolution on photo radar in school zones.

The resolution stemmed from problems with speeding at Parkway Elementary School, calling for better solutions.

Litke also participated in a meeting on urban deer, with other mayors dealing with the problem from Invermere , Cranbrook, Kimberley and Vancouver Island.

In that meeting with Premier Christy Clark, Litke said issues ranging from safety to devastation of the urban landscape by animals that have no desire to live in the wild anymore were discussed.

Foremost on the minds of many was the deer cull case in Invermere that is presently before the courts.

The problem in Invermere began in December of 2011,  when the city hired a contractor to move ahead with a cull and a group calling itself the Invermere Deer Protection Society got upset and sued the city, claiming emotional damage from the trauma of imagining the deer being killed.

"Invermere is facing huge legal costs and people around the world are sending hate mail to the poor young mayor," he said. "So we are asking the premier to assist with the situation, because it has grown bigger than any municipality can handle."

Penticton will continue to watch what happens with the case, in the meantime working on gathering data on alternative means of deer control such as hazing or contraceptives.

"The research will be assembled, because we are looking for a solution," he said. "And we are happy the premier was so receptive and willing to work on this. She was very empathetic to our plea to do something about this because it is a wildlife issue not a municipal issue." 









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