Coldstream’s mayor isn’t surprised that some elected officials are shifting their views on the multi-million-dollar master water plan.
All of the Vernon council members who are seeking re-election have stated they will vote against borrowing $70 million for water upgrades although some of them supported going to referendum as members of the Greater Vernon Advisory Committee and the Regional District of North Okanagan.
“It puts people in a compromising situation,” said Jim Garlick of trying to seek public support during an election.
“I’m in a situation where I’m acclaimed and I can speak more freely.”
Garlick agrees that $70 million is a large sum of money, but he says other alternatives aren’t ideal.
“All of the options were more than $100 million. If you say that’s too much, you have to have a conversation with the Interior Health Authority about the standards,” he said, adding that RDNO staff have presented a proposal that follows current guidelines.
“Staff has been given marching orders (from IHA) and told to meet the standards. IHA is just carrying out the water act and what the standards are.”
Garlick won’t speculate on the outcome of the Nov. 15 referendum and he is not telling residents how to vote.
“I support it going to referendum for educational purposes. The public will hopefully take notice of the details in the plan,” he said.
Coun. Gyula Kiss, who has always opposed the $70 million plan, finds the changing view among Vernon politicians interesting.
“Except for Bob Spiers, all of the others supported the referendum. It seems like an interesting reversal,” he said.
Coun. Richard Enns believes some elected officials have found themselves in a balancing act.
“There’s an understandable focus on the cost instead of the purpose and the process that went on,” he said.