Details are being worked out on Greater Vernon's master water plan.

Details are being worked out on Greater Vernon's master water plan.

Greater Vernon water rates climb

GVAC agreed Thursday to hike water rates 3.7 per cent annually over three years.

Greater Vernon water will cost more.

The Greater Vernon Advisory Committee agreed Thursday to hike water rates 3.7 per cent annually over three years.

“This helps to spread out the pain. It seems reasonable to me,” said Juliette Cunningham, chairperson.

Of the 3.7 per cent, 1.7 per cent is tied to the consumer price index, while two per cent is linked to operating, maintenance and capital improvements.

Opposition came from director Bob Spiers, who says CPI hasn’t hit 1.7 per cent recently.

“It’s an arbitrary figure,” he said.

Spiers also blasted the two per cent for capital works.

“We’re charging the people of today for projects tomorrow,” he said.

However, Cunningham disagreed.

“I don’t understand that argument, How do we quantify what people borrowed 20 years ago (for facilities) that we are using today?” she said.

Directors have also received an update on the master water plan.

It includes a filtration pilot study at the Mission Hill plant and possibly putting off filtration at the Duteau plant until after 2030.

Director Mike Macnabb is concerned interest rates could climb as the master plan proceeds.

“If we pay as we go, we could pay a lot more,” he said of borrowing.

David Sewell, Regional District of North Okanagan chief administrative officer, admits there’s a balance between deferring projects to manage costs and accessing favourable financing rates.