West Kelowna wants more police and power

At today’s meetings with provincial representatives at the 2018 Union of BC Municipalities convention in Whistler, Mayor Doug Findlater and West Kelowna Council continued to lobby for a review of provincial policing levels and sought confirmation that the West Kelowna Transmission Project continues to be a provincial priority.

The contingent met with Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General to discuss rural detachment policing levels. West Kelowna is concerned that the province’s contribution towards rural policing is not adequate and is asking for a review of services by the province. “A condition of our Municipal Policing Agreement with the Province to conduct reviews of service levels has not been met. Council is hesitant to entertain hiring more officers, particularly since it will mean a large tax increase for taxpayers, without a solid understanding of provincial policing out of the West Kelowna detachment,” says Mayor Findlater. “We don’t want West Kelowna taxpayers paying for policing other areas and we need to be sure that isn’t happening.”  Findlater said Minister Farnworth indicated E-Division has new staff who could do the analysis that is necessary.

Thr group also met with the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources to discuss the City’s ongoing interest in ensuring BC Hydro construct a second transmission line into the community. Currently, there is only one power source which distributes power to West Kelowna, Westbank First Nation, Peachland, parts of the Regional District of Central Okanagan and as far south as Summerland. A commitment was made by BC Hydro to construct the second power source, but a final route has not been determined. 

Mayor Findlater indicated that ministry staff said the project is advancing and it is expected BC Hydro will have shovels in the ground by 2023 with a projected completion date in 2025.