Spallumcheen farmers thanked for ‘generous’ land donation towards Wastewater project

Bob Flemming, Director, Electoral Area B, Spallumcheen Mayor Christine Fraser, Deanna and John Toporchuk and Amanda Shatzko, Vice Chair, Electoral Area C on Tuesday, Nov. 12. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)Bob Flemming, Director, Electoral Area B, Spallumcheen Mayor Christine Fraser, Deanna and John Toporchuk and Amanda Shatzko, Vice Chair, Electoral Area C on Tuesday, Nov. 12. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
John and Deanna Toporchak were given a plaque in recognition of their land donation to the Wastewater Recovery Project, which will be mounted on the site once the project is complete. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)John and Deanna Toporchak were given a plaque in recognition of their land donation to the Wastewater Recovery Project, which will be mounted on the site once the project is complete. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
The Toporchaks sign the papers on their donation of farm land to the Wastewater Recovery Project. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)The Toporchaks sign the papers on their donation of farm land to the Wastewater Recovery Project. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)

After the Township of Spallumcheen received funding for a $36.9 million wastewater project, the next step was to find land on which to build it.

Thanks to John and Deanna Toporchak, that’s no longer on the to-do list. The two donated have land from the Spallumcheen farm they purchased in 1971 for the Wastewater Recovery Project, which will include a new treatment facility, sludge treatment system and about 12 kilometres of main pump stations running along the Swan Lake corridor.

Spallumcheen Mayor Christine Fraser welcomed the Toporchaks to the Council Chambers on Tuesday to offer thanks on behalf of the township, the Regional District of North Okanagan (RDNO) and the Okanagan Indian Band (OIB).

“I really just want to thank you for coming today,” Fraser said to the Toporchaks. “Without this generous lease opportunity for the land that’s right close to the project, we would have had a really tough time moving forward.”

Fraser credits the project’s success so far to the high level of cooperation between a wide range of actors, many of whom have grown up together in the Spallumcheen area.

To illustrate the small-town dynamics at work, she recalled her first memories of the Toporchaks – back when she was just old enough to walk.

“I’ve known the Toporchaks since I was about four years old,” said Fraser. “They’re a great asset to our community and this project would not have been possible without them.”

The Toporchaks have lived at their farm since 1972. “We used to grow hay and grain and had cattle and sheep, and we did that for 45 years,” said John.

“We’ve been in the area for a long time and the area has been good to us, so we figured we’d give back to them.”

As John explains, giving the land up for the purpose of this project was a win-win.

“We were for it all the time because it gives us irrigation. We had irrigation for only 160 acres and now we’ve got irrigation for 500.”

In addition to a bouquet and a print of the Spallumcheen Valley, Toporchaks were presented with two plaques recognizing their contribution to the project: one for them to keep, and one to be placed on stone at the site, once it has been built.

The Okanagan Indian Band, Township of Spallumcheen and RDNO teamed up in 2015 to work towards providing wastewater service to the residents and businesses in parts of the Band, RDNO’s Electoral Areas B and C and Spallumcheen’s southeast industrial area.

READ MORE: $24M invested in North Okanagan wastewater recovery project

READ MORE: 98-year-old Armstrong woman designs clothes for Barbie

It’s rare to have a partnership across so many jurisdictions for a project of this scale, as explained by Amanda Shatzko, RDNO Director and Vice Chair of Electoral Area C.

“It’s a project that benefits more than one community; it’s all the way throughout the North Okanagan and across jurisdictions, whereas normally infrastructure like this is only within one jurisdiction or municipality,” said Shatzko.

“This one is going across boundaries, which is really important to see.”

The project will improve water quality in Swan Lake, provide 600 acre-feet of irrigation water as well as economic opportunities for years to come, according to Mayor Fraser.

Provincial and federal governments approved the township for $24.3 million as part of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program – funding that will cover about 73 per cent of the project. The total cost of the project is $36.9 million, and the remaining funding will be be provided by RDNO borrowing ($5.2 million), an Okanagan Basin Water Board grant ($5.9 million) and Township of Spallumcheen reserves ($1.5 million).

The money and the land have been taken care of, but there are many steps ahead. Design, development, tendering and construction of the facility and sewer lines will take place over the next two to three years.

The process will be continually supported by the Wastewater Recovery Working Group, a group of community volunteers who have been involved since the early days of garnering support for the project with petitions.

“I’d also like to thank the Wastewater Working Group for coming today and for all the work that they did on the project,” said Fraser.


Brendan Shykora
Reporter, Vernon Morning Star
Email me at Brendan.Shykora@vernonmorningstar.com
Follow us: Facebook | Twitter

Wastewater treatment

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The five graduating members of the Vernon-based Thompson Okanagan Lakers U18AAA girls hockey team – Jessica Engelbrecht (from left), Makenna Howe, Cheree Peters, Jayden Perpelitz, and Alexis Bishop – have all committed to collegiate hockey programs in Canada and the U.S. (Photo submitted)
Vernon-based hockey squad sends 5 to college ranks

Thompson Okanagan U18AAA Lakers players heading to Canadian and U.S. programs

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
Police report outlines latest efforts to fight North Okanagan sex crimes

The local RCMP sex crimes unit has been involved in a number of investigations so far in 2021

RCMP are searching for Philip Toner, who is a 'person of interest' in the investigation of a suspicious death in Kootenay National Park last week. Photo courtesy BC RCMP.
Man sought in suspicious Kootenay death found in Lake Country

Philip Toner is a person of interest in the death of Brenda Ware

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
65 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Overall, B.C. is seeing a decrease in COVID-19 cases

Vernon North Okanagan RCMP reported to 287 mental health calls between Jan. 1, 2021, and May 1. (Black Press files)
‘It’s not the police’s responsibility to deal with mental health calls’: Vernon RCMP

RCMP remind public to take care of mental health and well-being, while better solutions are sought

Members of the Vernon Kalamalka Chorus sing in their cars, tuned into the radio, under the direction of Debbie Parmenter. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
VIDEO: Vernon choir steers around COVID with ‘carbershop’ twist

Singers find a unique way to practice during pandemic restrictions

Keith MacIntyre - BC Libertarian
Penticton’s Keith MacIntyre new leader of the B.C. Libertarian Party

The Penticton businessman was voted in by members of the party on May 8

Thompson Rivers University campus is in Kamloops, B.C. (KTW file photo)
Thompson Rivers the 1st B.C. university to supply free menstrual products

The university will offer the products this September

Fraser Health is using ‘targeted’ vaccination clinics in high-risk areas of the Lower Mainland. (Fraser Health photo)
B.C.’s COVID-19 decrease continues, 515 new cases Tuesday

426 seriously ill people in hospital, up from 415 Monday

Notes of hope, encouragement and camaraderie were left on the message board inside the kitchen of TacoTime. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Adiós, Taco Tuesday: Kelowna residents flock to TacoTime on restaurant’s final day

‘We don’t need another Starbucks. We need tacos on Tuesday, with extra hot sauce’

RCMP. (Black Press File)
Major Crimes called in after two bodies discovered near Penticton

A manhunt involving a police helicopter took place on May 10

The site of Sunfest, Laketown Ranch, will be open for camping this summer. (Citizen file)
Sunfest country music bash won’t be shining on B.C. in 2021

Annual Vancouver Island Festival cancelled due to COVID-19, along with Laketown Shakedown

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation elected chief councillor Moses Martin, who was also Chantel Moore’s grandfather, speaks to media in Port Alberni on Aug. 16, 2020, during a visit from NDP leader Jagmeet Singh following the police shooting of Chantel Moore. (Elena Rardon photo)
Mother of 2 shot by police in critical condition, says B.C. First Nation chief

Community ‘devastated’ by third member of 1,150-person Vancouver Island nation shot in less than a year

B.C. Agriculture Minister Lana Popham promotes the government’s BuyBC food program in 2019. (B.C. government)
Money running out for fresh fruit, vegetables, milk in B.C. schools

‘Looking at ways to support this type of program,’ minister says

Most Read