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District seeks feedback on Water Master Plan
The District of West Kelowna is looking for public input to help determine the best way to deliver clean, reliable water for its citizens.
The draft Master Water Plan is very broad in scope and addresses: The district's existing and future water supply, watershed stability and drought tolerance, water's ability to meet new provincial water quality standards, incremental future standards, system hydraulic and distribution requirements, ongoing operations and renewal requirements, as well as water conservation impacts.
West Kelowna currently has five independent water service areas, including: Lakeview, Pritchard, Sunnnyside, Westbank and West Kelowna Estates. Of the five, only the Westbank water service area meets provincial water quality guidelines.
"Interior Health has a set of drinking water standards called 4-3-2-1-0 that basically address turbidity and contaminants and so on," said West Kelowna Mayor Findlater.
"Only one system measures up to that."
Of the seven options identified in the Water Master Plan, five were deemed viable and proceeded to financial assessment.
Several of the options involve the creation of a Rose Valley Water Treatment Plant and interconnection between the five water systems. Some of those options include agriculture twinning.
The options range from approximately $150 million to $175 million in capital improvements spread over the next 20 years; the district hopes to offset some of the costs through qualifying provincial grants and new development.
"It's a costly issue for West Kelowna to address.
"For council, in a lot of cases, it's going to come down to the dollars."
Findlater said water rates will go up for users, regardless of the option that's chosen. Some users may experience bigger increases than others.
"My first question at a council meeting (when) this is presented to me is 'What's this going to look like in dollars in a quarterly billing to the average user?' I don't have that (information) yet."
The Water Master Plan Public Outreach Steering Committee reviewed the plan and options and sought community feedback at two open houses. The first was held at Lakeview Heights Sept. 26; the second was held in Westbank Sept. 30.
The final step in the public input stage is an online survey, which can be accessed before Oct. 18 at districtofwestkelowna.ca, under Events and Meetings.
Findlater said attendance at the open houses was "disappointing;" therefore, he encouraged residents to complete the online survey in order to provide constructive feedback to the district.
Alternatively, residents may download and print a feedback form from the website, complete the paper copy and return it to Municipal Hall at 2760 Cameron Road by 4:30 p.m. on Oct. 18.
Council will receive a report, including public feedback, options and potential costs at its Nov. 12 meeting.