Should Sun Rivers residents have a say in major City of Kamloops decisions? That question has been raised by Sun Rivers resident L. Dawne Taylor in a letter to the Tk’emlups Indian Band, City of Kamloops, Sun Rivers Development, and the TNRD. The letter is on the agenda for tomorrow’s (Thursday, Feb. 18, 2016) TNRD board meeting, and I’ll post more on this subject after the meeting. Here’s the letter:
Dear Sirs and Madams:
I have owned a home and resided in Sun Rivers since 2010.
One of the first things I discovered in moving to Sun Rivers is that residents are unable to vote in Kamloops municipal elections, and instead vote for the Area P Director in the TNRD. This restriction is outlined in the Local Government Act which limits voting privileges in municipal elections to those who reside within the city boundaries, or who own property within the city boundaries. You are all probably more familiar with the legislation than I am, and the reasons for this restriction.
Unfortunately those of us who live in Sun Rivers identify more with the City of Kamloops and its concerns/issues than we do with those of the TNRD. Further a portion of our taxes paid to the TIB are forwarded to the city of Kamloops for services provided. In 2015, I believe $166,075 was paid to the City by the TIB to cover user fees for city services by Sun Rivers residents. This does not include the $575,000 paid to the city for fire fighting protection. As I understand it, no taxes are paid to the TNRD on behalf of Sun Rivers residents nor are any services provided by the TNRD to Sun Rivers.
On November 7, 2015 in the city-held referendum on borrowing costs for the proposed Performing Arts Centre, Sun Rivers residents were not allowed to vote. While one might make that determination based on the aforementioned provisions in the Local Government Act, I suggest that there would also have been reason for Sun Rivers residents to vote, given that the TIB pays for city services through our taxation. Certainly Sun Rivers residents are among those who support the arts and attend performances, just as Sun Rivers residents use the facilities and programs at the Tournament Capital Centre, the libraries, the city parks, Heritage House and other municipal properties, plus drive on city roads. I assume the use of the facilities and infrastructure is covered under the amount paid for the City of Kamloops through our taxes.
The point I am making is that Sun Rivers residents identify with the City of Kamloops and its activities. We make a monetary contribution to the operation of the City. Is there not a way that residents can have our voices heard on issues of concern to us? Is there not a provision that can be made for voting in referenda, without contravening the provisions of the Local Government Act? If not, is there a way that the Local Government Act can be amended so that we too have a say in what happens in Kamloops?
I certainly understand that the Sun Rivers community is located on Tk’emlups land, and I am grateful that the TIB had the foresight to develop this community. And I further understand that Sun Rivers and the City of Kamloops (and probably the TNRD as well) are located on unceded territory of the Secwepemc people. My intent is not to dispute land titles or ownership, but simply to ensure that those with an interest in what transpires in the City of Kamloops have the opportunity to be heard and make their concerns known. To me, that would be a fundamental right in a democracy, and something that ought not to be simply brushed off because of legislative restrictions…
Although each recipient of this letter may choose to respond to me directly, my nope is that the recipients together might discuss the contents of this letter, and jointly consider how the concerns identified can be addressed.
L. DAWNE TAYLOR