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Ok Falls still looking at incorporation

There seems to be renewed willingness on the part of the B.C. government to entertain the idea of helping Okanagan Falls become a stand-alone municipality, according to the local politician responsible for the community.

Tom Siddon, area director for the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen, told colleagues at a board meeting Thursday that the province wants to see evidence of community support before it agrees to study the issue. A public meeting has tentatively been set for Oct. 16.

“They’re going to want to get some sense of how enthusiastic people are in Okanagan Falls about incorporation,” Siddon said.

The issue has largely laid dormant since 2010, when former RDOS director Bill Schwarz began to push the province to study the issue.

“We weren’t really turned down,” Siddon said, but nothing happened either.

“Now we have officials coming to meet with us,” he continued, but “before they initiate the study, they want to see full evidence at a public meeting of public support for this course of action.”

Siddon added that Schwarz, who could not be reached for comment, has offered to lead a citizens’ committee help with the study, which would look at the costs and benefits of incorporation.

“What we’re looking at is not upsetting everything around this regional district,” Siddon noted, “but to do merely what Oliver does so we can have our own town council representative at this table.”

Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development spokesperson Gillian Rhodes could only confirm Friday that staff had spoken with the RDOS  to “discuss the possibility of attending a public meeting and some additional meetings in Okanagan Falls in October.”

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