Residents reject RDOS plan to purchase Sickle Point

·2 min read

The residents of the Kaleden Parks and Recreation Service Area have rejected the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen’s (RDOS) proposal to borrow funds to purchase Sickle Point — an environmentally sensitive and culturally significant piece of waterfront property in Kaleden.

The RDOS was leading public consultation in early 2021 through the alternative approval process for a bylaw to borrow up to $3.5 million to purchase Sickle Point.

The consultation concluded on Feb. 8 and the regional district received 805 elector response forms from residents in the area. Only response forms in opposition of the borrowing bylaw were requested and sent in by residents. The alternative approval process required 10 per cent (182) or more of the qualified electors to sign and submit response forms in opposition to the proposed initiative to require the RDOS to obtain assent of the electors in order to proceed. Going forward, the regional district could still proceed to a referendum, or put the the borrowing bylaw on hold.

Results of the Sickle Point public consultation and potential next steps will be discussed at the Feb. 18 RDOS board meeting.

The regional district had a conditional $2.5-million offer accepted in January to buy the 4.8-acre piece of land on the Kaleden waterfront from Lanyard Investments, the holders of the previously defaulted mortgage. The Penticton Indian Band, along with MP Richard Cannings and MLA Roly Russell, have lobbied to keep the land free from development.

The Save Sickle Point committee has been aiming to keep the land free from private development for years, reportedly fundraising over $200,000 to go towards the purchase with the goal of raising the entirety of the purchase amount to relieve the potential burden on taxpayers.

However, that deal was conditional on Kaleden Parks and Recreation Service Area taxpayers approval of the RDOS borrowing up to $3.5 million for the purchase — and final consent from the Supreme Court of B.C. in the court-ordered bankruptcy sale. The service area includes Kaleden, Twin Lakes, and St. Andrews taxpayers.

Dale Boyd, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Times-Chronicle