(File Photo)

(File Photo)

Short notice on water rate increase for Kelowna golf courses irks city councillors

City staff let the parties know May 6, that a report would be going to council the following Monday

Several city councillors were not impressed to hear that three golf courses in Southeast Kelowna were told last minute that their water rates are going up.

The city sent letters to Harvest, Orchard Greens, and Gallaghers Canyon in January that rate changes were coming and then met with them in February and March.

City staff let the parties know on May 6, that a report would be going to council the following Monday, and it could be accessed online.

“Letting them know on a Friday, this is where we’ve landed and it comes to council Monday isn’t a good process,” said Councillor Brad Sieben.

The city took over the South East Kelowna Irrigation District from the province in 2018. Before that, the golf courses were billed using an agricultural rate structure. In 2021, the city implemented new billing rates, raising concerns from one of the courses that did not have farm status.

There was discussion around deferring an amendment to the water regulation bylaw, allowing staff to have further engagement with the golf courses.

Mayor Colin Basran said he wasn’t sure what that would achieve.

“We’ve shared those concerns that communication wasn’t as strong as they would have liked,” added Basran.

Councillor Gail Given said she saw no need to defer.

“When they were aware that a report was coming to council isn’t the relevant part of this,” said Given. “The part that the conversations took part earlier in the year is what’s relevant for me.”

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