Vernon’s support for starling control has taken flight.
Council has agreed to provide $13,000 in 2013 for the valley-wide initiative that attempts to control the invasive bird species.
“It’s devastating,” said Coun. Mary-Jo O’Keefe of the damage starlings causes to fruit crops as well as at cattle feed lots.
However, the city wants the Regional District of North Okanagan to review how the cost of the program is allocated to member jurisdictions.
Currently, Vernon pays the most because it has the largest population within RDNO.
“The starling program is affecting farmers and we have very little farming,” said Coun. Catherine Lord.
Starlings are also known to be an urban pest, nesting on building ledges and in warehouses, dryer vents and birdhouses.
Development moves ahead
Vernon council has given two readings to bylaws that would allow for a 214-unit residential complex at 6468 Okanagan Landing Road.
Officials say the mix of townhouses, four-plexes and apartments supports the waterfront plan and will support the provision of infrastructure for the area.
“It’s smart growth,” said Coun. Brian Quiring.
“It’s a variety of housing types. It’s a win for the community because they will be preserving the wetland there.”
Eighty-eight of the units will have the sale price set at 15 per cent below the appraised value to encourage attainable housing.
A public hearing will be held at a future date.
City pursues park’s future
The City of Vernon will represent the interests of residents wanting to save a park.
Some residents recently lobbied council to maintain Heritage Park because there is the possibility the Vernon School District could sell the Bella Vista site.
“It should come up at our board to board discussions,” said Coun. Mary-Jo O’Keefe of an upcoming session between council and the school district.
The school district purchased the land years ago as a potential school site but it’s never been developed and has been leased to the regional district for park. The school district recently designated it surplus.