Claims of bias refuted

A Greater Vernon politician insists that a review of the master water plan isn’t biased

A Greater Vernon politician insists that a review of the master water plan isn’t biased.

Citizens for Changes to the Master Water Plan has accused Regional District of North Okanagan staff of interfering in the process during a master water plan stakeholders advisory committee meeting Nov. 19.

“They (CCMWP) become as guilty as staff in only wanting one direction,” said Jim Garlick, stakeholders advisory committee chairperson.

“Staff raised concerns and our role as a committee is to determine if there are facts to these concerns.”

CCMWP says that a Nov. 22 Morning Star article, “clearly points to the need for independent consultation in the stakeholders’ review of the master water plan.”

“The reported comments by RDNO staff and Greater Vernon Water management reflect entrenched biases in favor of continuing the present direction of the MWP. To offer reasoned balance, these comments require an alternative perspective unreported at the time,” said Terry Mooney, CCMWP chairperson and stakeholders advisory committee member.

“Further, the timing of this public commentary by RDNO staff and GVW management on these matters is inappropriate, given that these topics are currently under consideration by the duly selected stakeholders’ advisory committee in its review of the MWP.”

CCMWP has previously called for an independent review of the water plan.

“I don’t know who they think this independent body is. We already have engineers involved. The people on the SAC say they have trust in these people,” said Garlick.

While RDNO staff say there haven’t been studies done on Okanagan Lake water quality, CCMWP insists that’s not the case.

“While an update to the 135-page study of water quality objectives in Okanagan Lake is called for, this study released in 2005, supports, with appropriate management, the continued development of Okanagan Lake for drinking water, and other domestic uses as a viable alternative,” said Mooney.

“This study includes an analysis of water quality in the northern arm.”

RDNO’s Greater Vernon Advisory Committee began a review of the master water plan after a referendum to borrow $70 million was turned down by residents.