Greater Vernon water plan moves ahead

A direction has been approved unanimously by stakeholder committee members

Greater Vernon’s master water plan has overcome a major hurdle.

On Wednesday, members of a stakeholders advisory committee unanimously agreed to recommended a direction on the master water plan to the Greater Vernon Advisory Committee.

“It’s the most viable option,” said Monique Hubbs-Michiel,a SAC member.

The group has recommended that Duteau Creek and Kalamalka Lake be maintained as drinking water sources and that two treatment plants remain. It also wants partial separation of agricultural land from treated water primarily in eastern Coldstream.

GVAC is also being urged to proceed with filtration at the Mission Hill treatment plant before the Duteau Creek facility.

Terry Mooney, a SAC member, levelled criticism at the process Wednesday but ultimately he raised his hand in favour of the final recommendation.

“There’s no point in opposing it because the majority of the committee decided otherwise,” said Mooney, who represented Citizens for Changes to the Master Water Plan.

“I didn’t achieve 100 per cent of the objectives my group wanted, but it’s headed in the right direction.”

Mooney is pleased there will be a role for the public as the master water plan unfolds.

The Citizens for Changes to the Master Water Plan had pushed for a peer review of the water plan, but that request was denied by the SAC.

“I’ve looked through all of the numbers and I don’t see anyone magically coming up with another conclusion,” said Don Gibbs, SAC member.

The full scope of the master water plan is about $108 million over 50 years but the cost could depend on factors such as government grants and filtration being deferred or not occurring at Duteau. While a referendum is possible, funds could also come from reserves and existing revenue.

The SAC recommendation will now go to GVAC for consideration and finally to the Regional District of North Okanagan board.

Jim Garlick, SAC chairperson, is confident that the process will continue.

“We need to make some decisions and move on. It will never be perfect but it will be an improvement,” he said.

 

Vernon Morning Star