Yippeeee, some transparency!
Our local newspaper, The Morning Star, has seldom--if ever--reported on Greater Vernon Advisory Committee meetings, held at the Regional District.
The extent to which the area's print media covers the Regional District's monthly meetings remains limited to media releases.
That can be excused, to some degree, as media staffing levels simply do not allow coverage of this area's myriad administrations (think: amalgamation push). It could be argued that GVAC meetings are more important than individual Coldstream--or Vernon city--council meetings.
But that's obviously not a decision to be made by taxpayers.
There's never an idea how our rep--or any other community's, for that matter--voted on the advisory committee's topics, and only a glancing blow even refers to the topic--most often just by title followed by a brief phrase--in the community's regular council meeting minutes.
Historically that's led to a few surprises--chiefly among the public--at city and district council meetings, considering that reps from the North Okanagan's communities vote on issues that affect us all. But only the public is surprised; councillors aren't, as many items are discussed in-camera.
Probably more than should be.
While the voting veil remains made of steel, we do now have more transparency on GVAC topics. Proof is found in Coldstream's minutes of the February 11, 2014 council meeting.
To commemorate the District of Coldstream's willingness to Let It Be Known, the pertinent GVAC section is reprinted here from Coldstream's minutes:
REPORTS FROM COMMITTEES & COMMISSIONS
Regional District of North Okanagan
Councillor Dirk reported that at the recent meeting of the Regional District of North Okanagan Board the following items were discussed:
• the City of West Kelowna had won a legal challenge to their waterfront zoning bylaw and were awarded costs
• results of the recent Landfill Customer Satisfaction Survey had been received and comments were largely positive
• the Alternate Approval Process was underway for the re-establishment of the Starling Control function
Greater Vernon Advisory Committee
Councillor Kiss reported that at the recent meeting of the Greater Vernon Advisory Committee the following items were discussed:
• early budget approval was granted for a PRV 1 Pump Station 30 - separation of controls
• approval was given to apply to OBWB for 2014 Water Conservation and Quality Improvement grants for the Water Ambassador Summer Program, the Water Sustainability Educational Program, the North Kalamalka Lake Intact Protection Zone Storm Water Reclamation Project and Water Quality Monitoring in Cosens Bay
• the MWP Phase 1 Funding approval to borrow was approved to be conducted by referendum during the 2014 Local General Elections
• Various Arts, Youth and Cultural organizations were granted funding for programs/projects
• Juliette Cunningham was appointed to the Greater Vernon Museum and Archives Board
Councillor Kiss also noted that he had put forward a "Notice of Motion" to request a peer review of the Master Water Plan. "
Strange that the most important sentence was left for last.
But at least it's there!
The peer review of the Master Water Plan will garner considerable interest among residents. Good for councillor Kiss for putting the motion forward.
Now to find some peers...
Well, folks, isn't the RDNO/GVAC portion enlightening?
I think it is.
Very much so.
Alas, seemingly to prove silly season is not dead, this also from Coldstream's February 11th minutes:
"Vernon Law Days / 100th Anniversary of Vernon Courthouse
Council considered a request from the Vernon Bar Association to provide acknowledgement of the 100th Anniversary of the Vernon Courthouse during Law Week in early April as well as a financial contribution to assist with the serving of refreshments at the Vernon Courthouse Open House of Law day 2014....
THAT a grant to the Vernon Bar Association, in the amount of $200, be approved to assist with the serving of refreshments on Law Day during the Vernon Court House Open House;
AND THAT Councillor Enns attend the event to represent the District of Coldstream."
(all but one Councillor voted for it).
"To serve refreshments to Law Week attendees?" stutters Kia incredulously.
Advise lawyer Enns that he should take his own wine..and pay a corkage fee.