Penticton continues to oversee maintenance of West Bench water system

New contract will pay Penticton $52,000 for services including water treatment, chlorine handling as well as pump and station maintenance

The City of Penticton has approved a contract with West Bench to continue to maintain its western neighbour’s water system, as the community figures out its next steps in water provision.

Penticton council unanimously approved the 2012 maintenance agreement last week, and it is a continuation of maintenance agreements that have been in place for six years.

“We have had a contract over there, because the gentlemen they used to have over there retired, so we provide the servicing agreements for fixing things. We don’t do anything other than maintenance,” Mayor Dan Ashton said.

The maintenance agreement first arose in 2005, after Penticton was approached to see if it was interested in providing maintenance services for the West Bench Irrigation District. The contract was approved by WBID trustees and city staff began maintaining the system as of Jan. 1, 2006.

Penticton will be paid $52,703.40 per year to maintain the existing system. Services include 24-hour standby, water treatment, chlorine handling as well as pump and station maintenance. The agreement between the two entities has been renewed annually since then.

Governance for the West Bench Irrigation District was transferred to the RDOS in 2011. According to a Penticton staff report, the city performs the maintenance but the RDOS is considered the manager of the system and will direct work as required.

Area F director Michael Brydon said that council’s approval of the contract is a “mirror” of the RDOS motion passed in mid-February.

West Bench residents initially voted against receiving filtered water from Penticton in 2010 because of the cost, and began investigations into building their own treatment plant.  The community has two options: build its own ultraviolet treatment plant for West Bench and Sage Mesa or work out an agreement with Penticton to receive filtered water.

Brydon said discussions are ongoing between the RDOS and city about water provision.