A bit of history: above headline was a Provincial Government OIC dissolving the SO Lands Irrigation District in 1989.
Mayor Buckendahl was away in December of 1989 – and I was the acting Mayor. We had no administrator/manager/CAO. Corporate Officer (Secretary Treasurer) Debbie McGinn summoned myself and Vic Casorso to a meeting to do preliminary work on a special election for two Water Councillors.
To make a long story short – election held and Rick Machial and Mike Garrish were elected. Within a year it was pointed out that Mike Garrish may not be living in the rural water district and a second election held with Andre Miller elected.
Machial and Miller have served continuously for about 28 years!
Move to the present – a recent in-camera meeting decided that a friendly arrangement of governance would end because the Town had asked for and obtained a legal opinion on whether or not these two gentlemen should sit with council at all meetings and sometimes comment on a matter that was not about “water” or a “water matter” as mentioned in the OIC.
More background – Osoyoos was covered by same OIC and that group decided on a narrow focus of community and water councillors were allowed only limited access to info from the Town Council and staff. Very short meetings on “water matters”.
A long letter with a key phrase that bears repeating: “Given that purpose, its seems reasonable to construe the phrase “water matters” as referring to the types of functions previously performed by SOLID, as opposed to any function whatsoever that has any relation, however tangential or indirect, to the Town’s water service.”
Okay… now to a few notes of interest on this matter.
I have always strived with 18 years of municipal service to stress the word community in discussions with the OIB, the rural area and all of government working in our back yard. Oliver is not a jurisdication – Oliver is home for many from Vaseux Lake to Osoyoos Lake. We share so much we need a “body” like Town Council to speak to fire, water, sewer and planning issues. The RDOS has only limited power and does not run our planning, our water, our sewer, our fire fighting capabilities.
So lets get to the rub. A 28 year old arrangement/policy has been killed by one person. Who is that person? – Please step up and state your case.
Unfortunately the sheep all followed that person and now ALL smeared with the tar.
I could identify the person – but the decision to end an arrangement that has worked so well has to be shouldered by all 7 members of council.
One more time – the Town of Oliver is in the middle of a rural agricultural community with strong indigenous peoples leadership on the east and farming, vineyard, cattle ranches to the south, north and west. We have so much…. that we often forget what we have and who worked to improve it in the last 50 years and on and on..
Now one person, with one idea ( that I personally think is vindictive and the work of a bully ) has ended all of that.
I have even stated to myself – it could be my fault because I left council. I doubt this would have happened if I had remained in my chair.
I sign this Jack Bennest – (still working for community ever day of the week).