Posted by Colin Heggie on Oct 20, 2020
City of Vernon Councillor & former Mayor, Akbal Mund, was hosted by Calvin Reich.  Akbal provided an update & answered questions on a variety of topics.  About 80% of taxpayers have made their property tax payments on schedule, despite Covid-related problems, & the City has reserves which may be used to cover revenue shortfalls.  Among businesses, he thinks retailers, especially clothing stores, are suffering most.  Many restaurants are adapting well to take-out.  Discussions among stakeholders are proceeding for a re-opening of recreation facilities, & planning is underway for both the “Active Living” & Cultural Centres, as well as the former Civic Arena site.  At the end of this year, loans for the original Kal Tire Place & Performing Arts Centre will be repaid.  Construction will start soon on a new Search & Rescue facility on PV Rd.  A new sewer main along Okanagan Landing Rd is underway, prompted & partially paid for by Okanagan Springs Brewery.  Water rates have been set for the next four years – reflecting increases for agricultural users, who use about 50% of the water, but provide under 5% of the revenue.  Akbal pointed out though, that agricultural users are the ones who originally obtained water licences & built our water systems.  Real estate sales are booming, & Ontarians are prevalent among buyers.  Rail Trail plans & improvements are proceeding well, with new paths through Polson Park & town underway, plus parking & washrooms.  As well, there’s only about 150m of Grey Canal access left to be negotiated, it won’t be long before hikers & bikers are well-served in Vernon.