Thursday, May 05, 2016

Few changes proposed to Greater Vernon water plan

KISS 107.5 POLL:  Results 

Do you agree with the Greater Vernon master water plan review recommending the current system remains the way it is?


by Richard Rolke - Vernon Morning Star posted May 5, 2016 at 10:00 AM
Greater Vernon’s master water plan appears to be largely unchanged. The Greater Vernon Advisory Committee was told Thursday that a stakeholders advisory committee is recommending Duteau Creek and Kalamalka Lake be maintained as drinking water sources and that two treatment plants remain. “The majority is satisfied all feasible options have been considered,” said Juliette Cunningham, GVAC chairperson who also sits on the SAC. A bulk of the SAC also agreed that partial separation of agricultural land from treated water should occur. Jim Garlick, GVAC director and SAC chairperson, supports having two water sources because of the flexibility it provides. “If there is an emergency or repairs that need to be done, we can take care of that more easily,” he said. Terry Mooney, a SAC member, is blasting the actions of most of his colleagues. “The majority wanted to rubber stamp what the consultant recommended,” he said, adding that he wasn’t the only member opposed to a strong of recommendations April 21. “All of our objections were shot down. There is no consensus.” Mooney insists total separation of agricultural land from treated water should occur. “Duteau should be strictly for irrigation. All domestic water should come from the Mission Hill treatment plant (Kal Lake) and eventually Okanagan Lake,” he said. Gyula Kiss, a Coldstream councillor, isn’t surprised by the outcome of the process. “They wouldn’t allow me to get on to the committee and then they eliminated me from GVAC,” he said. “So any input from an opposing view was eliminated.” Garlick says all information was provided to the SAC and the group was not forced to maintain the status quo with the master water plan. “They didn’t allow themselves to be pushed around. They chose their own path,” he said. A 2014 referendum to borrow $70 million for the water plan was shot down by residents, and Garlick isn’t sure what would be borrowed now. “We have reserves and there could be other money to tighten it up,” he said. The stakeholders advisory committee will meet May 19 to discuss its final report, which will then go to GVAC for consideration.
Review Supports Current Water Plan
Posted on 5/5/2016 3:00 PM by Pete McIntyre 107.5 KISSFM

A review of Greater Vernon's master water plan has reaffirmed the current direction. An 18 member stakeholders advisory committee (SAC) made up of a cross section of water users, held 11 meetings since last fall, to review technical information and options. SAC Committee chairperson Jim Garlick says the main conclusion is the current system with two water sources and two treatment facilities, is the best option. "Rather than going to one source, and saying Kal Lake, Duteau Creek or Okanagan Lake be our sole source alone, and one treatment plant, the idea is to have redundancy, That that is important to the plan." Coldstream councillor Gyula Kiss -- who supported using Duteau Creek just for farming water -- felt the committee eliminated any chance of opposing views. "First of all, they wouldn't allow me to get on the committee, and in order to get intelligent questions, one has to have an idea of what's in the plan. Any input from an opposing view was totally eliminated. We had a bunch of people that were only indoctrinated by staff and the consultants," Kiss tells Kiss FM. Garlick, who is Coldstream's mayor, says trying to avoid that perception was a major focus. "Efforts were made to say, 'Here's the information, take it for your own consideration, and come up with your own conclusions,'" says Garlick. The advisory panel will be making 16 recommendations to the Greater Vernon Advisory Committee. Garlick says one change could be in the way future water projects are paid for. "Looking at our reserves, looking at how much we're taking in at the rates we have now, and what we'll be able to do with that. The good thing about the process is we've had a chance to look at it in more detail, rather than, here's a plan, let's borrow a bunch of money in order to start it." Garlick says projects could be undertaken in smaller amounts, then be reassessed, followed by more projects as needed. The SAC will hold its final meeting May 19.The review was sparked after Greater Vernon voters rejected a $70 million referendum for six water projects in 2014.

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