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.


Just Posted

Video: Sicamous Museum gifted with model of historic CP Rail hotel

Calgary family with ties to the area commissioned intricate model for museum

Crash disrupts Highway 1 traffic west of Chase

Reports indicate crash took place near Planter Road intersection

Firefighters respond to bus fire on Highway 1

Smoke in coach bus reported to have been caused by overheating, driver and passengers safe

Update: Washed out South Okanagan road temporarily closed for assessment

A portion of Eastside Road, south of Penticton, appears to be crumbling into Skaha Lake

Caravan Farm Theatre holds outlaw themed fundraiser

Caravan Farm Theatre hosts its western outlaw themed fundraiser, Hands Up! June 1

‘Teams that win are tight’: B.C. Lions search for chemistry at training camp

The Lions added more than 50 new faces over the off-season, from coaching staff to key players

Growing wildfire prompts evacuation of High Level, Alta.

Chuckegg Creek fire has been burning for several day, but grew substantially Sunday

Top women’s hockey player Natalie Spooner coming to B.C.

Natalie Spooner special guest at annual Grindstone charity weekend in Kelowna

Our history in pictures: Early four-way stop in Salmon Arm

This photo was taken at the four-way stop where Wharf Road intersects… Continue reading

Column: Parallel parking surveys and precedent

In Plain View by Lachlan Labere

Woman in hospital after being thrown off horse

She was airlifted to Kelowna General Hospital from Okanagan Falls

Okanagan art gallery releases their theme

Fine arts painting will be the point of focus for this year’s event

South Okanagan search and rescue help injured climber

Search and rescue called on the assistance of a helicopter to help retrieve an injured hiker

Okanagan nature centre fundraiser goes western

Allan Brook’s Nature Centre Wine and Wild West Fundraiser is on July 6

Most Read