Rural communities investigate sewer option

A multi-jurisdiction push for sewer services has one community sitting on the sidelines

A multi-jurisdiction push for sewer services has one community sitting on the sidelines.

Areas B and C, Spallumcheen and the Okanagan Indian Band will explore options for sanitary sewer, but the City of Vernon has not been invited to participate although it already has a treatment plant and the Swan Lake corridor is part of its growth strategy.

“The city has had many years to approach this,” said Bob Fleming, Area B director.

“Anything involving the city means annexation into the city. That would make it difficult for Spallumcheen and the band to participate.”

One city official isn’t sure what the multi-jurisdiction approach will achieve.

“They have the right to do that but they will find it (sewer) expensive. They will probably come back to the city anyway,” said Coun. Catherine Lord.

However, Lord admits that the city is busy within its own boundaries and there could be benefits to sewer along Swan Lake and south Spallumcheen.

“Any development out there is good for the city because there will be industrial land.”

The first step among the electoral areas, Spallumcheen and the OKIB is to develop a master waste water recovery plan.

While the Swan Lake commercial corridor, south Spallumcheen industrial/commercial area and parts of reserve land will be reviewed, there is no guarantee of where sewer could be installed.

“We have to have an affordable system,” said Fleming.

The consultant’s report could be available for consideration early in the new year.

“We will see if it warrants going forward and we hope it does,” said Fleming, adding that besides economic development, a sewer system would protect Swan Lake.

The OKIB is currently designating land for possible development.

“It’s great to be working with our neighbours,” said Chief Byron Louis.

“More funding opportunities arise when small governments stop competing for provincial and federal grant dollars and start collaborating.”

If a sewer utility is developed, it’s hoped treated waste water can be used for irrigation.

“Every drop of water that can be recovered will help with drought mitigation,” said Janice Brown, Spallumcheen mayor.

“And with our region recently experiencing severe drought conditions, the timing of this project is perfect.”