New water plan talks initiated

Voters abandoned a $70 million master water plan but they should expect a replacement

Voters abandoned a $70 million master water plan but they should expect a replacement.

The Regional District of North Okanagan board was told Wednesday that staff is talking to the Interior Health Authority about meeting water quality regulations after a Greater Vernon borrowing referendum was soundly defeated in November.

“We want to reconfirm the objectives about what we hope to achieve with the plan,” said David Sewell, chief administrative officer, adding that while technical details are critical, they aren’t the key factor.

“The first step in the process is political in developing direction.”

While some residents may oppose any upgrades to Greater Vernon’s water system, BX-Silver Star director Mike Macnabb says the regional district must follow the regulations created by the provincial government.

“Unless we get ordered (to proceed with the work), which means no referendum, we will have to go to a borrowing referendum,” he said.

Macnabb isn’t sure what direction the process will take.

“We need to start the conversation with IHA,” he said.

“We also need to go further up the food chain to see if there is funding (government grants for upgrades).”