District council might benefit from a brief pause

There are times when a pause is necessary to put one’s house in order, and for the District of Sicamous, this might be one of them.

There are times when a pause is necessary to put one’s house in order, and for the District of Sicamous, this might be one of them.

Earlier this month it was announced that Sicamous council had terminated the district’s contract with former administrator Alan Harris. This coincided with the announced retirement of district corporate services manager Mary Geall. Last week we learned that community planner Steve Noakes has also given notice.

This thinning of administration has left district financial services director Ruth Walper acting as interim chief administrative officer (CAO) and corporate officer – all of which are mandatory municipal positions under the Community Charter, to be filled by one or more persons. Not to doubt Walper’s capabilities, but this is a substantial increase in workload given that it’s also budget time.

But the plight of existing administrative staff is not as concerning as the predicament council and, in particular, Mayor Darrell Trouton are now facing.

A community planner and CAO are intimately familiar with zoning bylaws and the official community plan, and typically provide guidance for council, assuring these critical foundations of municipal process are adhered to.

Then there’s a matter of public perception. During the recent municipal election, accusations were made publicly that Trouton was in the running to forward his own project, an affordable housing development that seemed perpetually stuck in the mire of political process. After the election, it was one of the first major development projects on the agenda for council’s committee of the whole.

Though positive change is good, so is trust and accountability.

The district and council is now scrambling to hire an interim CAO, to be followed with an assessment of corporate operations. Another positive step might be for council to defer all development decisions, or at least those related to the mayor’s development, until a new CAO is in place and up to speed. Though this will be frustrating to some, it may help alleviate public concern for potential conflicts of interest.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Salmon Arm demonstrators show unity with Black Lives Matter movement

Participants speak out against systemic racism and targeting of vulnerable populations

RCMP seek to identify person of interest in Salmon Arm arson investigation

Police believe a June 4 residential garage fire was deliberately set

Revelstoke, North Okanagan RCMP team up to nab Alberta man, stolen BMW

Helicopter, dogs used in North Okanagan highway arrest

Salmon Arm West bridge construction expected to begin in fall 2020

Budget for Highway 1 project up $20 million over intial 2016 estimate

No active confirmed COVID-19 cases in Interior Health: BCCDC

Numbers from the BCCDC’s dashboard show 193 of the 195 COVID-19 cases in the region have recovered

March dental conference key to many of B.C.’s COVID-19 cases

Early infections from China, Iran were quickly contained

Penticton Search and Rescue respond to six calls in less than a week

Two hikers rescued in early morning search near Greyback Lake latest in series of searches

Regional District of Kootenay Boundary rescinds all Grand Forks-area evacuation orders

Evacuation alerts for 1,136 Boundary properties remain in effect as officials monitor forecasts

MAP: Dr. Henry reveals which B.C. regions have seen most COVID-19 cases

B.C. health officials release a first look at how the novel coronavirus has reached all corners of the province

In photos: Modified, yet traditional graduation gives Penticton graduates a sense of normalcy

Students around Penticton take part in pre-recorded graduation ceremonies

Filming to resume safely later in June: Okanagan Film Commission

Film commissioner Jon Summerland said they want to start filming again later in June

Kelowna RCMP investigate woman’s sudden death

Criminality is not suspected at this time, according to RCMP

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation woman, 26, fatally shot by police in Edmundston, N.B.

Police were conducting a well-being check at the time of the incident

Most Read