District Municipality of Westside, British Columbia

District Municipality of Westside, British Columbia

The Westside District Municipality is a new local government incorporated in December 2007 in British Columbia's Okanagan. So-named because it encompasses the west side of Okanagan Lake directly across from the larger city of Kelowna, the area under the new district municipality's jurisdiction includes the town of Westbank, which comprises just under half of the total population, along with several other communities closer to Kelowna, including Casa Loma, West Kelowna Estates, Shannon Lake, Glenrosa, Rose Valley and Lakeview Heights. The population is presently estimated as 28,793

Embedded within the Municipality of Westside are two self-governing reserves of the Westbank First Nation, Tsinstikeptum #9 and Tsinstikeptum #10 Approximately 7,000 non-natives live on the reserves.

The municipality is the second-largest component of the Kelowna-based Regional District of Central Okanagan.

Formation of Westside Municipality

The Municipality of Westside came into existence on December 6, 2007, following a June 16, 2007, referendum in which Westside residents voted to incorporate by a margin of 5,924 votes to 5,582. The other choice was amalgamation with the City of Kelowna, with a previous question on the ballot offering the option of remaining unincorporated within the regional district's electoral area J. The vote was split along highly geographic lines with voters from Westbank and other areas farther away from the city of Kelowna more often voting to incorporate and voters living closer to Kelowna much more likely to vote for amalgamation.

On November 17 2007, Westside residents elected Rosalind Neis as the new mayor. Her election platform consisted of promising to disincorporate the new city, and join the city of Kelowna. However, five of the six newly elected city councilors disagree with Neis's platform. Disincorporation would require (1) a resolution of the city council, (2) 60% of all voters in the municipality to sign a petition to that effect and (3) a new referendum. As a result, it is seen by most observers as unlikely.

Development and Growth

Demographically, the Westside has been growing almost geometrically. Between 2001 and 2006, the population of the area grew by 11.4%

Traditional shopping areas on the Westside have been downtown Westbank, the Lakeview Heights Shopping Centre and in other small centres. However, in the 1990s, Canadian federal grant money allowed the Westbank First Nation to bring in water supplies from Okanagan Lake which has allowed them to open their reserves to major development. Starting with a shopping centre at the juncture between Westbank and I.R. #10, right next door to "downtown" Westbank, the Westbank First Nation has begun building major commercial developments all along Highway 97 as it passes through the reserve. In the fall of 2006 'big-box' shopping centre was opened on Westbank First Nation land. This new shopping area is called the "Hub Centre" in honour of the former occupant of the site, a hub cap shop. Nearby developments include the 18-hole Two Eagles Golf Course and attendant housing, other major on-reserve housing developments, and another major shopping centre on the other side of the highway.

Schools

The Westside is part of School District 23 Central Okanagan. Lakeview Heights is home to the centrally located Mount Boucherie Secondary School As well, the Westside includes two Middle schools; Constable Neil Bruceand Glenrosa Middle schools. There are many well situated elementary schools serving the Westside like Hudson Road and Rose Valley Elementaryand Glenrosa Elementary

Recreation

Alongside Mount Boucherie Secondary School is the Mount Bouceherie Multiplex Centre housing Mount Boucherie Community Centre, Jim Lind Arena, home to the BCHL team the Westside Warriors, and Royal Lepage Place.

References

External links

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