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Residents hope to scratch away North Okanagan mosquito control

Residents and property owners in rural Enderby can defeat bylaw plan using alternate approval process
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Regional District of North Okanagan directors have unanimously agreed to let the Alternate Approval Process decide if they can create a bylaw for a mosquito control service establiment bylaw in electoral Area F, rural Enderby. (Black Press Media file photo)

Rural Enderby residents have a chance to swat away a Regional District of North Okanagan mosquito control service bylaw.

The Alternate Approval Process (AAP) is now in place for the bylaw, with three readings of the proposal passed unanimously by the RDNO board. The AAP was unanimously agreed upon by the RDNO board.

This means 10 per cent of eligible voters in Electoral Area F must be opposed to the bylaw and let the RDNO by Dec. 18.

The RDNO estimates eligible voters in the area at 3,871, so 388 votes against would be needed to defeat the bylaw before it’s adopted.

It was created to establish a service to control mosquito larval habitats within specific areas of the Shuswap River floodplain to prevent the spread of mosquitoes.

RDNO is requesting $289,000 or $0.17 per 1,000 of net taxable land and improvements in the service area. Based on an average residential assessment of approximately $591,000 in 2023, the average residential tax impact would be a nickel short of $100 per year, starting in 2024.

Area F director Allysa Hopkins tried to explain to her colleagues that the proposed bylaw was a community-led initiative when a man in the gallery at the RDNO regular meeting Nov. 15 yelled out, “Not true.” He was warned by directors that any further outburst would result in his being ejected from the meeting.

“The nuisance mosquitoes have been affecting our area,” said Hopkins upon resuming. “It’s impacted multiple sectors, including agriculture with farmers not able to keep workers on their fields. It’s affected tourism, with bed and breakfasts having to refund guests, and it’s affected the general lifestyle. People have not been able to spend time outside.”

Hopkins said an information session at Mara Community Hall drew more than 50 people, plus she had received “lots of emails and requests in support of the bylaw.”

“It was published locally and shared through all social media platforms,” said Hopkins.

In a letter to Black Press, Mara resident Peter Vander Sar said there had been no consultation with constituents, and no communication on the subject by Hopkins, despite repeated requests.

“Implementation of the proposed service by the regional district would be detrimental to wildlife, provide significant benefit to few if any area F residents, yet subject all of them to a significant tax increase,” said Vander Sar.

If you are opposed to the adoption of the mosquito service control establishment bylaw, you can sign and submit an Elector Response Form (at rdno.ca) if you qualify as an elector of the participating service area.

All Elector Response Forms must be received in the office of the RDNO no later than the deadline of 4 p.m., Monday, Dec. 18. If you are submitting your form by mail be advised that postmarks will not be accepted as the date of submission.

Submissions can be sent to: RDNO, 9848 Aberdeen Road, Coldstream, B.C. V1B 2K9; Email: corp@rdno.ca; Fax: 250-550-3701.

If you’re not opposed, you don’t have to do anything.

Eligible people include those who live in Area F or who own property in the area. You can only submit one form.

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Roger Knox

About the Author: Roger Knox

I am a journalist with more than 30 years of experience in the industry. I started my career in radio and have spent the last 21 years working with Black Press Media.
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