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Coldstream council spars over water plan

Divisions are bubbling to the surface in Coldstream  over the master water plan.

There was considerable debate Monday when Coun. Gyula Kiss criticized the Greater Vernon Advisory Committee for not instructing staff to appear as a delegation as was requested by the District of Coldstream.

“If the water authority wants support for the referendum, they should be happy to come and provide information,” he said.

“We pay their wages and they should be responsible to us.”

In November, Greater Vernon residents will be asked to borrow up to $70 million for the master water plan, which includes filtration of the Duteau Creek treatment plant.

Kiss received support from Coun. Maria Besso.

“We want to get detailed answers in a public setting (to the master water plan),” she said.

“Councillor Kiss has tried to ask questions and he hasn’t been responded to in a way that is appropriate.”

However, Coun. Doug Dirk supported GVAC’s actions.

“There’s no significant benefit to them coming here. They are speaking to people already involved in the process,” he said.

“All questions and answers will be available to all of the public and not specific groups.”

Mayor Jim Garlick also provided a sharp response.

“The (water) plan has been passed by a majority and the questions asked should be to inform the public and not undermine the referendum,” he said.

As the debate continued, Besso referred to the Duteau Creek treatment plant as a “white elephant.”

“The politicians have never had a chance to ask questions,” she said.

Garlick, though, defended the Duteau Creek plant.

“If the Antwerp Springs source went down and there had been no plant with the capacity (to provide backup water), we’d have had a huge mess,” he said of the contamination of Antwerp Springs in 2010.

 

“The collective is working together on this. You are questioning people (staff and consultants) who know more on the subject than we do.”

 

 

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