Sunday, April 19, 2015

Doublespeak


Today's Morning Star story by Rolke "Waiting game upsets board" is just so much fluff from the RDNO.

They continue looking for an easy way out (to continue with the Master Water Plan) by meeting with the Interior Health Authority despite IHA having stated they were not going to force filtration; that they simply wanted to see progress on meeting drinking water standards...eventually.

Kudos to Vernon councillor--and RDNO director--Catherine Lord who "wants a focus on accessing water licenses from the government or possibly transferring licenses to other water sources such as Okanagan Lake."

Chief RDNO bureaucrat Sewell says "We're working through all of the questions of what we want to achieve."

Huh?
How about focusing on what the public wants to achieve?

He attempted to add detail:  "Our objective is a plan that is not only endorsed by the board and IHA but has support from the public and we have political support."

There ya go...with the failed $70 million borrowing referendum, obviously there's no public support.

Of political support--if one were a betting person--one could avow that the gap is narrowing between Macnabb's "proceed at full speed" supporters and the politicians at Coldstream and Vernon who've had second thoughts since receiving the Powerpoint presentation from the grassroots group "Citizens for Changes to the Master Water Plan."

No mention by Sewell of the planned May "workshop", which had been promised to the Citizens group.
That doesn't bode well.

Maybe the push by the board for answers will nix the workshop entirely.
That would be a serious mistake by RDNO.
Very serious.

Finally making sense, Sewell added "We will go through what we did and the options we investigated and the options we didn't investigate," he said.

"As long as the options they didn't investigate cover more than three minutes," says Kia suspiciously.




Bureaucratic--or political--language.

Smoke 'n mirrors.

The lost art of Plainspeak is likely on a museum shelf.


Saturday, April 18, 2015

Bureaucrats Won't Be Interested


...in this Cost Recovery System for water in the Greater Vernon Water system.

They won't be interested in fairness and equity, chiefly because it's never been important to them in the past (remember "private fire hydrant charges")?

So yet again a brilliant idea from the brilliant mind of Gyula Kiss:

"The major advantage of this proposed system that everybody pays the same rate and no customer is penalized nor subsidized."

Links are provided to my proposed Interactive Water Calculator and the description of it in PDF format. For comparison the Calculator used by staff is included in the Excel file. The current consumption volume is used by both. Note the domestic and ICI consumption below:

2011---> 6,359,000 cu. m.
2012---> 5,720,000 cu. m.
                        2013---> 5,697,000 cu. m.

I assume that the 2014 consumption was 5,781,648 cu. m., the value used by staff for the current calculations. If we change that value in the calculator to 5,600,000 cu. m. the unit cost will increase to $2.67 and all derivatives change accordingly."  G.Kiss

The link to the User Pay Cost Recovery System is:https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B026jCQIgO9OYy1lMm54VjhLZ3c/view?usp=sharing


The calculator (interactive) in Excel is as follows:  https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B026jCQIgO9OMkwtWHBpUnBvQ2s/view?usp=sharing


"Bureaucrats are keen to eliminate user categories which, at the time, was a fair system because they had failed to separate agricultural (non chlorinated) water from domestic," says Kia.


But now they're not proceeding as they should with separation...AND eliminating the Commercial Non Potable Irrigation category.
Because that's what bureaucrats do!





Prerequisite for Government(s) to Screw Up


At least that's the way it seems.

Throwing good money after bad -- whether it's local government spending $29 million of taxpayer money to build a water treatment plant (Duteau Creek) where it doesn't belong because only 4 per cent of treated water during summer goes to domestic use, or whether it's our Federal government(s) (since 1974 so you can't blame just the Conservatives!), for borrrowing money on the international market versus the "no interest" borrowing via our own Bank of Canada -- examples simply go on and on.

Maybe it's the ubiquitous Murphy's Law that causes things to be shoddily run.
We used to laugh at the notion of government paying $5,000 for a hammer.
There's even a story about the 99 stupid things government did with your money.

Maybe the "G"-governments--in this case the G-12--are forced under the laws that originally formed the group of 10 industrialized nations to borrow internationally to support the International Monetary Fund.

Whatever...the result is the same.
Wasted money.
Wasted taxpayer money.

Read it and weep.

At the trillions of dollars that have been wasted in Canada.

Just think what that money could have provided for Canadians...infrastructure, policing, water treatment, sewage systems...safe care of the elderly, retired military and the vulnerable in our society.  All the stuff that make a country or city safe and healthy for its residents.

No-one could tell this story better than The Tyee, so no more needs to be said by me.
Entitled Liberate the Bank of Canada, it'll have readers seething with anger.


And this is just Ontario...

"Yes, it has become a prerequisite for governments to screw up...and their bureaucrats are doing an impeccable job at it,"  offers Kia, adding "the North Okanagan fits in nicely."


There's a lovely little definition for political correctness:


"Political correctness is a doctrine, fostered by a delusional, illogical minority, and rapidly promoted by mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a piece of shit by the clean end." Student at Bond University, Australia



Farm-Uppance


This letter was submitted to the blog--and also to Councillor Kiss' blog--following submission as a Letter to the Editor of the Morning Star.

And not published by them after more than a week.


"Councillors

City of Vernon
3400 – 30th Street
Vernon  BC  V1T 5E6
 
The Morning Star (April 5, 2015) newspaper reports that conditions of an agreement between GVAC and the Township of Spallumcheen were arbitrarily bypassed so that treated water is now supplied to a private business.

Mr. Mund is quoted as saying, “We’re here to help our businesses grow.”  This is too much to impose on a City of Vernon taxpayer coping with hugely exorbitant water rates!  The 80,000 apples should have been planted in an area where untreated water is available.  Was the orchardist advised in advance that water would be made available despite the existing agreement and a staff recommendation against providing additional water?

In the same newspaper, a letter to the editor expresses concern for local cattle producers facing hardship.  Should we be subsidizing cattle producers, too?  How long would the list be of local businesses wanting financial help? 

Mr. Mund seems to have forgotten he also wears a Mayor’s hat.  Who’s looking after my interests?

It seems to me that decisions about our water are being made with little or no regard for the people who pay for it.  As you are aware, using treated water for other than domestic purposes is most controversial, but if this is a short term solution for the orchardist, at the very least he should be paying the same rates as I do for the same treated water.

Is the City of Vernon taking any action so that I am not subsidizing the cost of water for the orchard?"
M.Alger

Yup...farms.
They're either a business...or they're not.
Either way their water is subsidized.


Bureaucracy, the rule of no one, has become
 the modern form of despotism.  Mary McCarthy


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

42.9 Per Cent Water Base Rate Increase?


NOTE (Apr.17/15):  GVW's Zee Marcolin phoned Wed., Apr.15/15 to state that Coldstream "made a billing error" by including a $118.07 Fire Hydrant Charge on the 1st Q irrigation invoice.  Zee added that base and consumption rates "had only gone up 2%", and that the fire hydrant charge should be $33.00 per Quarter. 


Wow.

It's for 1st Quarter (Jan-Mar 2015) golf course IRRIGATION meter.
Irrigation?
In the first quarter?

Zero consumption, both in 2015 and 2014 (obviously, during winter).

But the Greater Vernon Water base rate has jumped to $425.87 from $297.95 for the same period last year.

That's a 42.9% increase.

Presumably base rates are used to pay for infrastructure renewal (ahem...cough cough).

So why would it cost more for the pipe to go along the street past Highlands Golf than it does as it passes residences along the street?

Same pipe.
Same cost to renew the infrastructure.


"Same majority group of morons approving Greater Vernon's budget,"  Kia sneers.

Deceived by the deceivers...again.


Saturday, April 11, 2015

Living Water?


More like wheezing water...


British Columbia's 100 year old Water Act--which is reportedly being updated--continues to draw the ire of residents.

An April 10th, 2015 letter to the Morning Star newspaper by Casey Berlanda makes salient points:

"Recent media reports on the heavy water use by B.C. craft breweries beg the question:  Who is really sucking B.C. dry?

Before the B.C. government recently decided to charge a well known water bottling company $2.25 for one million litres of groundwater, the same company took 285 million litres of free groundwater.

The company will pay $6.25 for an Olympic size swimming pool of groundwater, whereas an ordinary B.C. citizen would be charged $180.  In other words, the company pays $0.00000225 per litre of water, which it then sells back to British Columbians for $1.75 per litre bottle, or for 777,777 times the cost of the bottle's contents.

So please, let us all tell the B.C. government to charge water bottling companies the same it charges taxpaying British Columbians for water, and please, no more talk about craft breweries using too much water."
Casey Berlanda

"777K?   No wonder people play the stock market," gasps Kia, adding "shareholders are thrilled...B.C. taxpayers aren't."






Thanks Casey Berlanda. 

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

But Will They Listen?


The March 2015 issue of Turf & Recreation magazine contains an Editorial by Mike Jiggens whose point may--or may not--interest Greater Vernon Advisory Committee members as they proceed on their path to eliminate the Non Potable Commercial Irrigation Category by 2019 (with hefty rate increases each year until then):


"...government legislators need to be reminded of
golf's impact on the economy and perhaps
refrain from passing legislation
 that could become an obstacle
 for golf to attain as healthy a status as possible."
Pat Jones, GIE Media, OGSA's conference in Ontario.



Golf's value to the economy in Canada is $13.5 Billion.


"...how about refraining from approving odious rates," suggests Kia.


Sunday, April 5, 2015

A Brilliant Mind


Yes, he has a brilliant mind.

Gyula Kiss, Coldstream councillor is analytical and astute...qualifications that should be prerequisites for elected office.
But aren't, it seems.

Unmatched intelligence has its pitfalls.

Especially in a governance structure as complex (oft-called "dysfunctional") as Greater Vernon.
But don't rely on minutes of meetings from the monthly Greater Vernon Advisory Committee to shed light on the pitfalls encountered by Mr. Kiss.
Meeting minutes are purposely vague, and serve to hide what really transpires at meetings.

"The 162 ML treatment plant at Duteau is 47% larger than what the filtration plant would be able to use."  G.Kiss


The Greater Vernon Advisory Committee is at fault for the water miasma that faces the region.
And has faced the region for some time.
Gyula Kiss is only one member of that committee.



"The politicians had a poor understanding of the situation.   The plan they have might be the best plan under the sun but it is not funded.  If they wish to carry on with it they would have to find an alternative founding source. Would it be reasonable to expect that the Ratepayers, who rejected the borrowing of $70 million at an annual repayment schedule of $5 million would accept a direct annual payment of $10-14 million. The politicians may think that the plan is still alive the way it is but they must find financing. Except for charging $10-14 million annually (a household increase of about $400 or more) the only alternative would be Senior Governments grant." G.Kiss


Committee member Kiss has entered his seventh year on GVAC and finds himself almost alone in battling an entrenched bureaucracy that is decidedly too weak to admit mistakes have been made.
So they continue to throw good money after bad.

"I maintain that the system for agriculture should return to agriculture and all allocations should be honoured.  Domestic supply should be coming from Kalamalka and Okanagan Lakes.  It is that simple.  Had we started out from those principles we would have an unaltered VID (Vernon Irrigation System) working without any money spent on it and we would be using Okanagan Lake without filtration like Kelowna is doing.  Kelowna built the UV treatment plant in 2006-2007 for about $7 million and have no trouble at all,"  says Gyula Kiss.

"You go into any restaurant today and water
is all that people are talking about...people are leaving the area, moving, because of water prices.  Young families too."  Jack Gilroy, former Vernon councillor

Bureaucrats, with only one exception (Vernon Councillor Bob Spiers) are relying on the public to not do any research on the water topic.
However, to aid residents who wish to do that very thing--and they certainly should--this blog entry will provide a compendium of documents to give residents all the information they need to make informed decisions and contact their elected representative to demand change.

A recommended start point is this Power Point presentation of easy to read slides from the grassroots group Citizens for Changes to the Master Water Plan

Links to pertinent documents follow:

November 2014 Referendum Results are here and here.
The referendum said "NO", but perhaps Greater Vernon Water has this idea: 
"Perhaps we still have funding if we use increased water rates in the neighbourhood of $4-5 million annually ($165-205 annually per household) and carry on at a snail pace with the proposed projects. It will take 15-20 years but we could complete it." 

Water rate changes since 2003 are here.

Gyula Kiss' "water rate debate", based on his seven years of attempts to influence bureaucrats and officials--with logic--is here.

Duteau Creek water quality measurement reading is here.

Gyula Kiss' Water rate formulae here, which shows a true user pay system, based on fairness.


Irrigation water separated from domestic water (diversion) costs are here.
Councillor Kiss on fairness:
"I actually want all those people pay the same rate based on their consumption. As for golf courses that don't need treated water they should receive untreated water and pay untreated rates. I don't see why John Doe should subsidize me because I use lot more water in the summer. If I use 250 cubic meters I should pay for 250 cu m. If the brewery uses 5,000 cubic meters they should pay for 5,000 cu m. We all need treated domestic water. The separation we are promoting would help us achieve those goals.


Why are our rates so high?
Because we bungled the plan from the start. Wasted a lot of money for which we are responsible. Even if you don't look at anything else the 162 ML treatment plant at Duteau is 47% larger than what the filtration plant would be able to use. How much less would a 110 ML plant cost than the 162 did? Added to that waste is the diversion proposal costs (at the last link provided above) some of which have already been completed. Of course, the entire Duteau Creek Water Treatment Plant was an unnecessary expense.
And yes, untreated irrigation water should be sold at cost for whatever it is being used to irrigate."


Greater Vernon Water's Lavington separation Conceptual Engineering Report is here.

Greater Vernon Water's Master Water Plan (2012) is on the RDNO site here.

Link to the revised Greater Vernon Water's Master Water Plan (2002) is on the RDNO site here.


On equitable water costs, Gyula Kiss sums up:

"The principle is that we calculate the unit cost of domestic water to deliver to a customer. All customer must pay for 10 cubic meter per quarter at the going rate (this example is 1 cu m water costs $3.09 so all customers must pay $31 per quarter). If they use more water they have to multiply the volume of water used by $3.09 and that will be their quarterly bill. No smoke screens no mirrors. If you use 45 cu m you pay $139. If you use 100 cu m you pay $309.00. No exception (except for dialysis). This, in my opinion, would be fair and equitable."





The 2015 budget for Greater Vernon Water is here.

"Thinking people will understand what the majority of bureaucrats and GVAC members do not," offers Kia.

Think, folks.

The New Guy


He has a lot to learn.

New Vernon Mayor, Akbal Mund, can be forgiven for his enthusiasm when he said "We're here to help our businesses grow," in his capacity as director of Greater Vernon Advisory Committee.

He was referring to the applicant's successful application for additional 2 hectares of water for an orchard that now encompasses 80,000 apple trees.  Staff had recommended rejection of the application.

Voting against the additional water allocation were directors Jim Garlick, Gyula Kiss and Bob Spiers.

Gyula Kiss was quoted in today's Morning Star: "If it wasn't treated water, I would have no problem with them having all of the water they need.  But when we have expensive (treated) water, someone has to subsidize it when it's sold at a lower cost," and the financial impact is on domestic customers whose horrendous residential water rates subsidize farm water costs.

"This is an area we've historically given (blog highlight) water to," said Agriculture rep and director Ted Osborn.
Given is the operative word.

Here's what GVW staff had to say about a separate application for a Tree Seedling Nursery property application for irrigation water:  "The water source proposed to provide irrigation water to these subject properties is treated potable water from Duteau Creek Water Treatment Plant (DCWTP). The RDNO is endeavouring to minimize the impact on the DCWTP by encouraging treated potable water to be used for domestic purposes only. This property is not located within a proposed Separation Area and will not be provided with a separate non treated irrigation connection. The applicant has no option but to use the treated water source currently available.  The Master Water Plan identifies these properties as not being within the boundaries of a Separation Area and hence will not receive non treated irrigation water in the future."

Mr. Mund needs to learn how Greater Vernon Water is helping businesses grow.
Or not.
Just ask Hillview Golf, Highlands Golf, Swan Lake Fruit and Garden, Art Knapp Nurseryland (while it was still in operation), Atlantis Waterslides, Tekmar just how they're being helped by Greater Vernon Water and politicians.

Helped in the downhill slide towards closing permanently (which Art Knapp nursery has already done)!


Yup, we six businesses listed above hired a lawyer back in 2005? (or was it 2006?) to represent us in an appeal to the Regional District because bureaucrats, with the help of the advisory committee, were about to totally eliminate the Non Domestic, Non Potable Commercial Irrigation category!  Our appeal was successful because we proved that other communities were actually increasing the number of categories to more accurately reflect their customers' water usage!

That famous quote from Yogi Berra comes to mind:  "It's deja vu all over again."

Why?

Well, let's see how Mr. Mund's promise to help businesses grow is working so far.  This is from the Advisory Committee Agenda dated March 5, 2015.  That's also the agenda for the 2015 Water Rates.

"Non Domestic Non Potable rates in Section 5.e.i apply to the following properties:
-7921 Greenhow Road
-7961 Buchanan Road,
 -1101–14 Avenue
-7920 Highland Road,and
- 5100 Silver Star Road
 All these properties shall be phased in to be billed at 100% of the Non Domestic  and MixedUse Fee at the following:
2015     60% of Non Domestic and Mixed Use Fee
2016     70% of Non Domestic and Mixed Use Fee
2017     80% of Non Domestic and Mixed Use Fee
2018     90% of Non Domestic and Mixed Use Fee
2019    100% of Non Domestic and Mixed Use Fee"

"The water authority and uninformed politicians giveth and taketh away," offers Kia.


Must be in another community...certainly not the North Okanagan

Akbal Mund sure has a lot to learn.
The poor guy.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Advisory Committee Complicity?


Or is it that the Greater Vernon Advisory Committee is proving they have no power over bureaucrats?

Yet another compelling letter from a resident...B. Erickson speaks plainly, published in the Morning Star on April 3, 2015:


"Duteau Creek plan was rejected:

On November 15, 2014, the residents of Greater Vernon overwhelmingly rejected the referendum to borrow $70 million for the master water plan.

As a concerned citizen, I question how water officials and the Greater Vernon Advisory Committee appear to be creating mechanisms to move ahead with the master water plan in spite of the failed referendum.  Actions such as these speak loudly of manipulation, lack of accountability and to heck with the wishes of the taxpayers.

Do you not understand we are opposing funding more money for the Duteau Creek initiative?

The public remains opposed to chlorine and soon to be filtered water irrigating farms, acreages and golf courses.  Give irrigators back what they bought and paid for with their allocations.  We want raw water, which would totally eliminate the horrendous price increases we've all experienced and which show no evidence of decreasing.

Why do Kelowna residents pay a third of the amount that is paid by residents of Greater Vernon for water?

The answer is that Kelowna residents obtain their water from Okanagan Lake and filtration is not necessary.  If Greater Vernon used water from Kalamalka and Okanagan lakes, which was the recommendation of our first consultant, (blog author highlighting) we could also reap the benefits of the lower supply costs, enjoyed by Kelowna residents.

We reject the concept of Duteau Creek as a domestic source.

The presence of organic material creates the need to heavily chlorinate the water supply.  Chlorination adds another problem to the production of safe drinking water and that is the possible creation of cancer-causing trihalomethanes.

The Duteau process also creates Alzheimer-suspected aluminum content in our tap water.

Neither danger existed when raw water was drawn from the Duteau course for irrigation.

Water officials and elected representatives, are you listening to your residents?"
                      B. Erickson 


"Forgive the Advisory Committee, for they know not what they do," grins Kia.                   


    


Creating mechanisms?
Machinations, probably.


Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Compelling Presentation by Citizens...


Citizens for Changes to the Master Water Plan's powerpoint presentation viewed by Vernon and Coldstream councils on Monday, March 23rd, 2015 can be viewed by clicking on this link

(The link is SAFE to open).

Easy to view.
Easy to read.
Easy to understand.

The most compelling presentation you're likely to see if you're a 2015 customer of Greater Vernon Water in the North Okanagan.

"Easy to be concerned because the public hasn't been sufficiently vigilant to prevent what GVWater has produced," offers Kia. 




Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Decent Coverage


Great to see the Morning Star do stories on presentations from Citizens for Changes to the Master Water Plan to the Vernon and Coldstream mayors and council.

Since Jennifer Smith wrote the best story, we'll print it first:
"Group lobbies for Utility Changes"

"A fresh look, a fresh source and hopefully a drop in rates is what some Greater Vernon citizens are hoping for.

The Citizens for Changes to the Master Water Plan made its case to Coldstream council Monday.  The group is asking for an independent review of the Greater Vernon master water plan.

'Ultimately, we feel there should be a new master water plan that returns rates to an affordable level,' said spokesperson Eric Jackson, who served as Vernon's director of water reclamation for 25 years.

Coldstream has agreed to further discuss the plan at an upcoming committee of the whole meeting and bring the issue to the Regional District of North Okanagan, which also has plans for discussion and public input.

'We have been sitting there (at RDNO) for six years now trying to have a debate on water system rates' said Coun. Gyula Kiss, who has championed for change. 

The cost of water has tripled in the last dozen years, according to the group, which says in 2003 residents were paying about $300 for 350 cubic metres of water.

'That same amount now is costing $900,' said Jackson, not including the two per cent cost increase on tap for water users.  'It (water) has become a hardship.'

The group says residents are getting hosed by high rates, especially when compared to other communities.

Annual water bills, based on the same 350 cubic metres, for 2014 for Kelowna were $291, Penticton was $427, Port Moody is $371 and Langley residents pay $433.

The group also says rising costs, along with treating mainly agricultural water, is what led to the defeat of the Nov. 15 defeat(sic) of the master water plan borrowing referendum.

Water use data from the Duteau Creek treatment plant in 2011 and 2012 shows that only four per cent of the treated water was used for domestic during peak summer days.

'The balance, 96 per cent, of the treated water was used for agricultural irrigation,' said Jackson, questioning why Duteau Creek water is being treated to supply mainly irrigation.

Kiss suggests transferring the array of existing water licenses in the area to Okanagan Lake.

'Treatment cost is significantly lower," said Kiss, who applauds Jackson's ideas.  'I think you are on the right track.'

Meanwhile others took some offences(sic) to Jackson's presentation.  'There's decisions made from the 1960s to present day,' said Coun. Doug Dirk.

''We're in the unfortunate situation of determining how to go forward.  It's not fruitful to discuss how things could have been done'."

"So Dirk supports continuing on," sniffs Kia, "because he's tired of looking at it."

 
Now Richard Rolke's story, followed by his editorial:
"Public input part of water plan"

"The future of Greater Vernon's water utility will involve the public.

That promise came from Vernon politicians as a group of residents pushed for changes to the master water plan Monday.

'I'm glad some citizens have come forward,' said Coun. Catherine Lord.

'We will open up the plan and take another look at it.  The plan at the regional district is to have public input and consultation.'

Coun. Juliette Cunningham, who is Greater Vernon Advisory Committee chairperson, says the Regional District of North Okanagan will create a strategy for public input on how the water utility should evolve.

'We want an opportunity for all of the public to express their views,' she said.

After the meeting, Cunningham admitted that GVAC must look beyond just the suggestions coming from Citizens for Changes to the Master Water Plan, which presented Monday.

'We can't assume one group is speaking for all of the community,' she said.

Citiziens for Changes to the Master Water Plan formed after a majority of Greater Vernon voters show down borrowing $70 million for water plan projects.  'We need to take a fresh, new look at the master water plan,' said Eric Jackson, group spokesperson. 

'People on fixed incomes are finding it difficult to pay their water bills.'

A primary concern for the group is where Greater Vernon is accessing its water.

'We chose the wrong water course to treat,' said Jackson of Duteau Creek, adding that it should only be used for irrigation and domestic water should come from Okanagan and Kalamalka lakes.

The group is also pushing for an independent consultant to review the master water plan and develop affordable rates."

"The group speaks for more of the community than GVW bureaucrats or directors have been," offers Kia.



Now Rolke's editorial of the same date:
"More Voices Required"

"A basic principle of democracy is the direct involvements of constituents.  It may come in the form of votng, providing input on key issues or simply keeping elected officials on their toes.

And an example of that grassroots effort is the Citizens for Changes to the Master Water Plan, an affiliation of residents and former politicians and public servants.

'I'm glad some citizens have come forward,' said Coun. Catherine Lord after the group presented to Vernon council Monday.

'We will open up the plan and take another look at it.  The plan at the regional district is to have public input and consultation.'

Citizens for Changes to the Master Water Plan, or CCMWP for short, was borne out of the fiasco that occurred last November when a majority of Greater Veron residents refused to approve borrowing $70 million for capital projects.  The Interior Health Authority had mandated the works to conform to drinking water standards, but the Regional District of North Okanagan's sales pitch was weak, and speculation about the cost, water sources and operational practises was allowed to fester.

With RDNO officials still reeling from the referendum loss, CCMWP has tried to fill the void.

'We need to take a fresh, new look at the master water plan,' said Eric Jackson, group spokesperson.  People on fixed incomes are finding it difficult to pay their water bills.'

Among the proposals coming from CCMWP is using Duteau Creek strictly for irrigation and shifting all domestic water use to Kalamalka and Okanagan lakes.

'Water use data for 2011 and 2012 on peak summer days shows only six megalitres or four per cent of the 150 to 160 megalitres of treated water being used for domestic purposes.  The balance, or 96 per cent, of the treated water was used for agricultural irrigation,' said Jackson.

'Why are we treating the Duteau Creek water to supply mainly irrigation water?'

CCMWP is pushing for an independent consultant to review the master water plan and develop a conceptual design for future works and a cost analysis.

'We want a new look at the whole master water plan to see where we went wrong,' said Jackson.

Obviously that's fair comment, but who do local politicians take direction from?

'We can't assume one group is speaking for all of the community,' said Juliette Cunningham, a Vernon councillor and Greater Vernon Advisory Committee chairperson.

That is also fair comment as members of CCMWP are well-intentioned and bring some expertise to the table, but their mandate and concepts may not represent the broader community, including those who voted against borrowing $70 million.

What if another group of residents makes a completely different set of demands regarding water?  Should CCMWP be considered more relevant because it was formed first or because it includes a former Vernon mayor and former councillors from the city and Coldstream?

And while the CCMWP insists voters repudiated the technical merits of the master water plan, that may not be the view for some residents.

'We can't assume to know what failed -- the plan or funding for the plan,' said Cunningham.

The regional district is currently looking at its next steps for the master water plan, including a strategy for public input.

'We want an opportunity for all of the public to express their views,' said Cunningham.

Ultimately, members of Citizens for Changes to the Master Water Plan deserve praise for taking an active role on a critical issue that will impact the long-term future of Greater Vernon."


"....can't assume to know what failed?  Wouldn't that have been considered when the decidedly-narrow referendum Question was formulated and agreed on by the very politicians now asking? In which everybody had a say at the time?", queries Kia.





Ultimately, the decision to change some players will need to be made.



Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Three Times Kelowna's Water Rate!


Yessireebob.

That's what North Okanagan residents today pay for water from the Greater Vernon Water system.
How's that for a growth management strategy?

Citizens for Change to the Master Water Plan made two 10-minute presentations yesterday...the first to new Vernon Mayor Akbal Mund and Council, the second to District of Coldstream acting mayor Pat Cochrane and Council. 

Not surprisingly, area reps to the Greater Vernon Advisory Committee were reluctant to revisit the Master Water Plan, voiced vociferously by Councillor Doug Dirk from Coldstream.

But numbers from the presentation spoke volumes...and 15 or so members of the public were frankly shocked to learn of the disparity.  Hushed comments were often heard from both public galleries.





Eric Jackson addresses Vernon council with a spellbinding presentation.



Terry Mooney, Chair of Citizens for Change introduces plans from the grassroots group.

"Otherwise we can apply to participate in Communities in Doom, versus Communities in Bloom," suggests Kia.





Monday, March 23, 2015

Bureaucrats' New Fire Hydrant Rules for Private Hydrant Owners


Greater Vernon Water bureaucrats have been chastised for exorbitant annual taxes on private fire hydrants...at least the ones that were actually billed.

So--in typical fashion--bureaucrats produced, literally, scads of pages in several reports for the Advisory Planning Committee to mull over.  They begin on page 38 here.   And all the verbage concerning backflow prevention devices to protect the public water system, colour-coding hydrants re flows, etc. and that only their Operators may use fire hydrants (other than the Fire Service), etc. 

Yadda yadda, they go on and on.

If a picture says a thousand words, here are two thousand words showing public hydrants in use:



PASS!  March 20.  Coldstream, with meter box and backflow prevention.  Colour coding for flows?  


FAIL!  Vernon, March 23.  An empty white bucket instead of a backflow prevention device/meter box. (photo submitted)


"Maybe Vernon didn't get GVW's memo," offers Kia.

GVW was too busy nailing private fire hydrant owners.