As 2023 budget deliberations approach, the District will be publishing a series of “You Asked” articles to better explain key challenges our growing community faces. 

It’s no secret that Lake Country’s population has been progressively climbing. Between the two most recent census years (2021 and 2016), the population increased by 22.4% from 12,922 to 15,817 (source: 2021 Census Statistics Canada).  

Consumer Price Index also known as CPI, is used to measure the average cost change over time in the prices paid for goods and services and is an indicator of inflation. The latest 12-month average % change for B.C. CPI is 6.4% (source: Statistics Canada). As a result, there has been large increases on most goods and services costs in addition to wage and benefit increases. CPI impacts services all residents expect like snow clearing and garbage pickup, only to name a few. These costs continue to increase as our community grows.   

While it is true that as the community grows, new construction adds to the tax base and allows the District to spread costs out over more properties, however the District also acquires more expenses in providing services to new buildings and residents.  

The biggest impact to the 2023 budget, due to crossing over the 15,000-population threshold, is the cost for RCMP in Lake Country. Up until 2022, the District paid 70% of RCMP cost with the Federal government covering the remaining 30%. Because the population in 2023 is over 15,000, as per the RCMP cost-sharing ratio under contract policing, the District now must pay 90% and the Federal government portion is reduced to 10%. In addition to the change in cost-sharing ratio, as a 15,000-person community there are a number of costs the District is now directly responsible for, such as vehicles and major crime investigations. Council will also be considering increasing the authorized strength from 18 members to 19 members to address growth and the additional responsibilities. While the District has been planning for this change over many years and has been proactive by building a Policing Reserve Fund to help smooth the impact on taxpayers, funding the additional 20% and added direct costs beginning in 2023, will result in an increase that simply can’t be avoided.  

Traffic and road incidents account for the highest case volume in Lake Country. Currently there is a dedicated RCMP member who is responsible for traffic services as traffic and speed are clearly an issue that requires attention in our community.  A second member is assigned as the school/youth liaison officer, which benefits and supports our local youth, families and education professionals in the community. Compared to neighbouring communities, statistics show that Lake Country is simply one of the safest communities in the Okanagan to live. Now the challenge is to keep it that way.  

As the RCMP detachment increases, so does the need for additional office space. The District is evaluating options to increase the RCMP building footprint, to better accommodate growth and properly serve the community.  

Get Involved!

There are lots of ways to get involved with the 2023 budget process: 

  • January 26th, 2023 - Council will deliberate the five-year financial plan at 1st reading. Attend in person or watch live on-line.
  • January 31, 2023 – Council will be hosting the 2023 Town Hall via Facebook Live and Streaming technology. Plan to attend in person or from home. 
  • Let’s Talk – Lake Country will be updated as the budget process progresses. Visit often for up-to-date information and to ask a question. Pose your questions in advance of the January 31 Town Hall to hear the question discussed at the meeting.  
  • Late February 2023 – Council will give the five-year financial plan 2nd and 3rd reading after incorporating any changes from deliberations and after receiving public input prior to adoption in March 2023.