Letter: Rose Valley water quality a strain for families

Asking for provincial and federal help to deal with cost and stress of living for months under Rose Valley water quality advisory.

Open letter to B.C and federal government representatives:

West Kelowna has approximately 11,000 residents who have been on a water quality advisory since Aug. 4, 2016 — over three months.) This water quality advisory has caused residents affected to boil water for drinking, cooking, brushing teeth and the like. Residents must shower and wash with this defective water that in many cases looks a slimy yellow.

This is really the first major water advisory from Rose Valley Lake.

According to a water biologist who made a presentation to West Kelowna city council, the water issues could be caused by warming temperatures and non-normal weather conditions, coupled with run off flows over burned and bog areas that have been disturbed by storms, animals, and manmade motorized issues. The city-hired biologist has stated that it will most probably continue until winter freeze and due to climatic conditions may occur more frequently.

Our city council has a plan to install a water filtration plant at the reservoir site at an estimated cost of approximately $54 million. This amount is only a portion of the $150 million recommendations from a 2014 Water Utility Master Plan that completely investigated the entire water system in detail and provided recommendations for upgrades to meet current water quality needs as well as infrastructure needs. We are a small new city that has not had sufficient time to build reserves to meet this challenge that was proposed to be installed in 2016 but has been delayed to 2021/2022 (six years from now) due to lack of funds. The city has a shelf-ready plan (based on the Westbank Water Filtration Plant that was installed a few years ago), to install a filtration plant at Rose Valley but requires grant funding to proceed.

Our city council has applied/discussed needs for assistance to and as follows: A request to the Clean Water and Wastewater Fund (CWWF) requesting 83 per cent funding from the government of Canada and the Province of B.C. for construction of the Rose Valley Water Treatment Plant.

On behalf of 11,000 residents who have had to endure this health concern, the extra costs of purchasing bottled water, the extra cost of having to clean out our residential systems and hot water tanks, and who have had to endure family stresses pertaining to this threat to our personal wellbeing, we now ask our MLA and MP for their help to resolve this issue by approving our grant request as quickly as possible.

Our city council has done what they can, it is now up to the province and federal governments to represent the citizens of West Kelowna and direct some of our tax dollars back to those of us in need.

Charles Edward, West Kelowna


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