Letter: Voting just makes a lot of sense

Recent referendum on city hall sent a clear message to West Kelowna council about future decision regarding water management

To the Editor:

During the days prior to  the West Kelowna Referendum for a proposed city hall, I was made aware of one particular paragraph within the mayor’s appeal to the electorate.

This comment requires my response. With respect,  I realize that the mayor was in the heat of the battle and was looking to dispel concerns and garner support.

However, the mayor said: ” We inherited the Lakeview Irrigation System and we were told by former (LID) trustees it did not need water treatment “

Answer:  What we did convey was that LID water was of high quality, higher than most, and that we felt that the 4-3-2-1-0 requirements of Interior Health were extreme and very expensive. High quality water did exist for LID.

In 35-plus years, the only time that a boil water advisory/ warning was issued was when a water main broke and had to be repaired. The last boil  water advisory/ warning was in 2008 when the main line leading from Rose Valley Dam broke.

Compare that with other irrigation districts throughout this province! Never was there a boil water advisory/warning posted for water quality from Rose Valley Dam itself.

Now this summer we have had a boil water advisory in place since Aug. 4,  2016. Further we realized that we had to make significant steps towards meeting the IHA demands.

First, LID installed water meters to all connections including agriculture.

Next, LID trustees, on June 7, 2009, passed the Comprehensive Capital Expenditure Charge Bylaw 2009- Bylaw No. 291 as an early step to build reserves toward the future needs of a Water Treatment Plant and other related upgrades.

The mayor said: “…little funding was turned over to the city and no significant engineering done.”

Answer: On Dec. 31, 2010 LID was taken over by the DWK as required by theprovincial government after Incorporation. According to DWK financial statements dated January 2, 2011 LID financial assets including Cash and Accounts Receivable totalled $3,007,512.00 And, the biggest asset of all, LID gave the large bought and paid for chain of water storage reservoirs that is water security far into the future for the area served by LID.

The mayor said: “…no significant engineering done”

Answer: The good governance of LID trustees,  who protected the hard earned monies of its ratepayers, would not waste money on egineering for a water treatment plant when we did not have access to federal and provincial grant mMoney that the new city would.

Further, engineering without an all encompassing document such as a Water Master Plan would have been a directionless procedure and waste of money at that time of transition to a new city.

The mayor said: “Council is looking at accelerating it ( water treatment plant.”

Answer: It was a decision of council to delay the building of the water treatment plant from 2014 ( planning start) to 2022 in order to build up DCC’s and reserves.

When public open houses were held the public, in general, supported an early start to the project, if required, rather than delay until 2022. The public recognized the macro-economic fact that this unique time of low interest rates and low inflation cannot last forever.

I believe that we can learn a lot from the recent NO VOTE in the referendum for the proposed city jall. The topic of the vote did not matter, what did matter was that the electorate wanted to send a message to council.

Now it’s up to council to learn from this experience and find out what that message was.

 

Claude Drought ,

former trustee,

Lakeview Irrigation District.

 

 

 

 

 

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