Tom Siddon and Alan Whitman await the start of Monday night's all-candidates' forum in Okanagan Falls. The two men are vying to representing Area D on the board of the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen.

Tom Siddon and Alan Whitman await the start of Monday night's all-candidates' forum in Okanagan Falls. The two men are vying to representing Area D on the board of the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen.

ELECTION 2014: Okanagan Falls governance debated

Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen Area F candidates debate Okanagan Falls governance at forum.

It didn’t take long for the issue of Okanagan Falls incorporation to come up at an all-candidates’ meeting in the community on Monday night.

About 100 people crowded into the local school gym to listen to incumbent Tom Siddon and challenger Alan Whitman, the two men seeking election Nov. 15 as Area D director on the board of the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen, spar over local issues, including a governance study for the community.

Siddon has asked the province to investigate whether the town’s current position under the jurisdiction of the RDOS is the best form of governance for residents, or if they’d be better served by incorporating and having their own mayor and council.

While the province hasn’t yet committed to that study, Whitman said in his opening statement that incorporation would require new staff and infrastructure and require property tax increases, so the plan should be stopped in its tracks. He noted Area D residents are also being asked to pony up to help fund the expansion of Penticton Regional Hospital and new transit service to Penticton.

“Incorporation would mean a third property tax increase, and nobody’s ever explained what, if any, benefits will come because of it,” Whitman said.

Siddon noted, however, that he’s not pushing for incorporation, but rather a study of the idea. And until that’s done, he continued, no one can say how much a self-governing Okanagan Falls would cost residents.

“It’s absolutely false when Mr. Whitman stands here and tries to tell you that incorporation means higher taxes,” said Siddon.

“It’s just preposterous. It’s a head-in-the-sand approach to say: ‘We don’t want to have an answer to that question.’”

Both men seem to agree on other issues like the need for sewer extensions to Kaleden and Skaha Estates, revitalization of the Okanagan Falls town centre, and a resolution to concerns about the Twin Lakes aquifer.

Whitman and Siddon were also scheduled to square off Tuesday night at a forum in Kaleden. Advanced voting for Area D is at the RDOS office at 1010 Martin St. Nov. 5 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Nov. 8 and 9 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Just Posted

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 Penticton-area men charged with Kamloops brothers’ double homicide

Brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May in Naramata

(File photo)
Penticton not holding Canada Day activities out of respect for Indigenous people

Cities across B.C. are cancelling the holiday after an increased spotlight on Canada’s dark history

Fruit farmers in the Okanagan and Creston valleys are in desperate need of cherry harvesters amid COVID-19 work shortages. (Photo: Unsplash/Abigail Miller)
‘Desperate’ need for workers at Okanagan cherry farms

Fruit farmers are worried they’ll have to abandon crops due to COVID-19 work shortages

JAK's Liquor Store in Penticton will be donating 10 per cent of its sales on Saturday, June 19, to the Penticton Salvation Army Food Bank. (Photo from
Stock up your liquor cabinet and support the Penticton food bank

Jak’s beer and wine store is donating a portion of sales to local food banks Saturday

The illegal open fire above Naramata continues to smoke on Friday, June 18. The fire was left to burn itself out by BC Wildfire. (Monique Tamminga - Western News)
Illegal open burn in Naramata will be left to smoke

BC Wildfire could not confirm whether the property owner had been fined

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Earls On Top at 211 Bernard Avenue in Kelowna. (Google Maps photo)
Downtown Kelowna’s Earls ordered closed after COVID-19 transmission

Earls on Top on Bernard Avenue will be closed from June 18 to June 27

A motorycle crash has been reported on Westside Road. (Google Maps)
UPDATE: Westside Road reopened following motorcycle crash near Vernon

AIM Roads advises drivers to expect delays due to congestion

Dereck Donald Sears. (Contributed/Crimestoppers)
Murder charge laid in relation to suspicious Kelowna death

Dereck Donald Sears is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Darren Middleton

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Most Read