Summerland municipal staff will send a letter to the province, asking that land decisions made by local governments be respected.	(John Arendt - Summerland Review)

Summerland municipal staff will send a letter to the province, asking that land decisions made by local governments be respected. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)

Summerland council offers Penticton support in dispute with provincial government

4-3 resolution comes after province overturns Penticton council decision

The municipality of Summerland will send a letter to Premier John Horgan and Housing Minister David Eby, requesting the provincial government respect the municipality’s traditional responsibility for land use planning matters.

At the municipal council meeting on April 26, Coun. Doug Holmes brought forward the resolution in response to the provincial government’s decision to overrule a Penticton City Council decision to deny a one-year extension for a temporary housing shelter.

READ ALSO: Penticton council holds closed meeting on legal action after letter from BC Housing

READ ALSO: Penticton council unanimously rejects BC Housing Victory Church shelter extension a second time

Holmes said the province’s decision sets a dangerous precedent, as it could result in other local government decisions being overruled by the province.

“It goes against the very purpose of local government and I think it undermines local democracy,” he said.

Others on council, including Coun. Marty Van Alphen and Coun. Richard Barkwill, both supported the decision.

Coun. Doug Patan said it is important for municipal councils to have the right to make their own decisions about land matters.

“There is due process in the municipal government world,” he said.

Coun. Erin Trainer said a similar resolution also arose at the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen board meeting, where it was narrowly supported.

Coun. Erin Carlson said there is a history that led to the recent dispute between the province and Penticton’s council.

Summerland Mayor Toni Boot said the issue needs to be discussed between the province and Penticton council.

“I am not in favour of writing a letter to the premier. I think we should let the lead actors in this situation sort things out for themselves,” she said.

The resolution to send the letter was carried in a 4-3 decision with Boot, Carlson and Trainer opposed.

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