RDOS wades into West Bench water issue

Water for residents in the West Bench continues to be a concern as they potentially could be headed for a second referendum on the issue in the fall.

Water for residents in the West Bench continues to be a concern as they potentially could be headed for a second referendum on the issue in the fall.

The West Bench Irrigation District board dissolved earlier this month in order to make way for the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen to take the reins. But, it all depends on the province allowing that to happen.

Rudy Enzmann, executive assistant for Penticton MLA Bill Barisoff, said first a series of steps must  take place. The RDOS must put forward a letter to the province saying they are prepared to take over the assets, liabilities and operations of the WBID — which the board plans on doing at their April 21 meeting. Once the province has that, the premier and the cabinet will sign an executive order that facilitates the formal transfer.

“In the meantime there has to be some things worked out. The regional district will have to create a service area with a bylaw, they will have to ensure there is an effective transfer because right now the City of Penticton performs the maintenance or operations. That contract, and ensuring it’s paid for, will have to go to the regional district,” said Enzmann. “We are trying to expedite the process and get it rolling because it does take a certain amount of time.”

There are two grants obtained by the regional district and City of Penticton on the WBID behalf. An RDOS grant of $2.35 million for fixing the pipes, metering and enhancing the disinfection by adding UV disinfection to the present chlorination. That grant expires in March 2012. The City of Penticton obtained a grant of $3.35 million, dependant on the city supplying filtered water to the WBID ratepayers. Neither of these grants could be made available to the WBID as improvement districts are not eligible to obtain infrastructure grant funding.

Enzmann said RDOS Area F director Michael Brydon has expressed he wants another referendum for the residents — in December West Bench voted not to hook up to the City of Penticton water.

“The bigger issue I think the people are finding out there now is there was also a price for inaction. In other words, if you voted no there was still significant funds that would have to be spent on other projects. Now I think a lot of citizens when they see their increased water bills are alarmed. In some cases they are realizing they would have been essentially paying the same amount going with the city, but in the case of the city they would essentially be getting a whole lot more than they are now. I think that is why they had a pretty unanimous show of support at the WBID meeting for dissolution,” said Enzmann.

Brydon said his preference is to flesh out the alternatives of a UV option and purchasing filtered water from the City of Penticton, then present them to the residents possibly by the summer. Based on feedback from the community, the region then could make an administrative recommendation to go to referendum possibly by the fall.

“In short, it is absolutely critical that residents have a say early in the decision process and know for certain what a “no” vote in the borrowing referendum entails,” said Brydon.


Just Posted

The proposed design of the five-storey building on Front Street. (City of Penticton)
5-storeys still too tall for Penticton’s downtown, votes city council

Vote against new development leaves one councillor questioning validity of city’s zoning restrictions

Spiritleaf, Penticton’s first cannabis retailer opened in 2019. (Western News File)
Penticton expands cannabis store hours to match liquor stores

Cannabis stores are now allowed to operate until 11 p.m. in Penticton

(Jennifer Smith/Black Press file photo)
Poll: Should Penticton hold Canada Day celebrations this year?

The spotlight on residential schools has caused the rethinking of Canada Day

A committee held its first meeting on June 9 to consider opionions for incorporation of the community of Okanagan Falls. At present, Okanagan Falls is the largest unincorporated community within the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen. (Contributed)
Study begins for Okanagan Falls incorporation

Committee held first meeting on June 9

(Pixabay photo)
Morning Start: Hot and cold water have different pouring sounds

Your morning start for Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Maxwell Johnson is seen in Bella Bella, B.C., in an undated photo. The Indigenous man from British Columbia has filed complaints with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission after he and his granddaughter were handcuffed when they tried to open a bank account. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Heiltsuk Nation, Damien Gillis, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
VIDEO: Chiefs join human rights case of Indigenous man handcuffed by police in B.C. bank

Maxwell Johnson said he wants change, not just words, from Vancouver police

A fire deliberately set in a washroom facility in Vernon’s transit terminal could cost the city around $25,000 to repair. (City of Vernon)
Vandalism forces Vernon to close public washrooms early

Despite changes made by city, vandalism on the rise at transit loop loos

Fire trucks parked near the McEachern Tobacco Barn on Wednesday, June 16.(Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Fire at heritage tobacco barn in Kelowna doused by residents

McEachern Tobacco Barn is on the city’s heritage register

For more than a year, Rene Doyharcabal and a small group of neighbours in Langley’s Brookswood neighbourhood have been going out every evening to show support for first responders by honking horns and banging pots and drums. Now, a neighbour has filed a noise complaint. (Langley Advance Times file)
Noise complaint filed against nightly show of support for health care workers in B.C. city

Langley Township contacted group to advise of complaint, but no immediate action is expected

A nurse prepares a shot of the COVID-19 vaccine at the Yukon Convention Centre in Whitehorse on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mike Thomas
Vancouver couple pleads guilty to breaking Yukon COVID rules, travelling for vaccine

Chief Judge Michael Cozens agreed with a joint sentencing submission,

An inmate in solitary confinement given lunch on Tuesday, May 10, 2016. THE CANADIAN/Lars Hagberg
22-hour cap on solitary confinement for youth in custody still too long: B.C. lawyer

Jennifer Metcalfe was horrified to hear a youth had spent a total of 78 straight days in isolation

Old growth in the Columbia Valley, in the Kinbasket area. (Photo submitted)
Wildsight: Old-growth forests are being logged in Golden

Wildsight says that Canfor has been logging old growth at the Blaeberry headwaters

The Dixie Fried Hep Katz recorded a promotional video at the Kettle Valley Steam Railway station featuring the railway’s steam locomotive. The young band from Enderby plays Canadian Rockabilly, with Porter Johnson, 20, writing, lead guitarist and vocals; sister Kyndra on drums; and Logan Bannick on bass. The band is using the locomotive to promote their song Spooky Train and help shed light on the Kettle Valley Steam Railway’s drive for donations. (Tom Burley photo)
Donations help with repairs of Summerland steam railway

Kettle Valley Steam Railway put out earlier call for railway ties, tires for locomotive

Most Read