Vote sends growth strategy 'down another road'

Sole opponent says TNRD shouldn't support rural clusters

Mike Youds / Kamloops Daily News
January 17, 2013 01:00 AM

Ronaye Elliott

Lawyers will be consulted by the TNRD after a lone vote on Thursday blocked amendments to a regional growth strategy.

The strategy, which has been under a two-year review, is a guiding policy document that articulates a vision of a sustainable future for the region with core principals.

Director John Sternig, representing Area P (Rivers and the Peaks), said he could not support the concept of fringe developments as expressed by the strategy.

"I don't think we should support that type of development," Sternig said. "We shouldn't be supporting rural clusters."

Most of the board felt that the strategy had received plenty of scrutiny and it was time to move on.

"It's been well documented; it's been time enough," said Ronaye Elliott, director for Savona.

A comprehensive review of the strategy would be prohibitively expensive, said Mayor Peter Milobar, adding that only minor changes are required. "I don't know what more we could accomplish."

"One of the strengths of this regional district is its approach to regional growth," said director Ken Christian. "If we let this thing get stale, we're going to forget our commitment to it."

Public consultation on the document garnered little public input, said administrator Sukh Gill.

"It might not be something gripping the public interest, but it does have a huge impact," said director Nancy Bepple.

"Due diligence is done," said director Tim Pennell. "I really don't think we need to beat this thing to death."

Sternig, however, stood his ground and voted against amendments that require unanimous support.

"The policy should conform to other regional districts," he added. "To me, it's an important document."

Gill said the hold-up could cost tens of thousands of dollars. He said he'd consult with TNRD solicitors before bringing the matter back to the board.

"It definitely does send us down a different road," said chairman Randy Murray.

"I feel I'd be failing my constituents if I supported it," Sternig said after the meeting.

He rejected a suggestion, made anonymously by one director, that his constituents foot the bill for delaying the document. That would set a precedent for others around the table who might oppose matters.

"That's laughable," he said.

A related fringe-area policy was hived off for further discussion by the board at a March workshop.

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