To the editor:
West Kelowna council announced March 25, a $915,000 land purchase for the Rose Valley water treatment plant.
The expansion of the current chlorine-only to a multi-stage water treatment plant began with a $41 million federal/provincial grant that was announced in March 2017.
For almost 18 months, the city has waited for a crown land grant from the province to expand the existing treatment plant.
With time running out to obtain the financial grant (March 31) or risk losing it, council decided to purchase nearby land to construct the water treatment plant.
While waiting 18 months for a decision from the province on a crown land grant seems excessive, it also means safer water for citizens (that have been subject to ongoing water quality alerts) has also been significantly delayed.
It has been reported that the delay and need for construction of a second building has costs escalating from $49 million to as much as $70 million.
The city may ask for additional financial support from the province.
While we can dwell on the escalating costs of this project we must also consider every construction project creates a carbon footprint.
The inability to expand the treatment plant on its present crown land location suggests the generation of completely unnecessary carbon emissions. The carbon emissions may continue into the future if citizens are left with two buildings.
If we are to be successful at carbon reductions, government at all levels, must evaluate the carbon footprint of every construction project and be visibly part of the solution.
This doesn’t seem to be happening with this project. Citizens must also step up and challenge government so they don’t do business the same as they did yesterday – government’s goal must be continuously focused towards emissions reduction.