Water advocate doesn’t make the grade

Gyula Kiss not named to the Greater Vernon Advisory Committee’s master water plan stakeholder advisory committee

A vocal critic of Greater Vernon’s water policies has been sidelined.

Gyula Kiss, a Coldstream councillor, was not named to the Greater Vernon Advisory Committee’s master water plan stakeholder advisory committee.

“I’m not disappointed because I expected it,” he said.

GVAC has launched a review of long-term water strategies because a referendum to borrow $70 million for the master water plan was defeated.

Kiss has spoken against the plan and has called for domestic water to be switched from Duteau Creek to Okanagan Lake.

“They believe I am biased towards another approach. I represented the majority of the people when I said, ‘This is not the best master water plan,’” he said, adding that the same accusation of bias could be made towards those who favour the former plan.

“Dissent is not appreciated within the regional district.”

Juliette Cunningham, GVAC chairperson, would not elaborate on why Kiss was not selected for the stakeholder committee.

“It was GVAC who made recommendations to the regional district board on all appointments to the stakeholder advisory committee,” she said.

The 18-person stakeholder committee includes  residential customers as well as agriculture, commercial and industrial water users. The political representatives are Cunningham and Jim Garlick, GVAC vice-chairperson.

Garlick says he’s pleased with the make-up of the group.

“We all have to work together. If people are there just to snipe, it’s not helpful. We need a successful outcome,” he said.

According to Garlick, the number of residential customers involved was expanded and efforts were made to ensure large water users are involved.

“I hope we can move ahead and find something tolerable for everyone.”

Cunningham insists that advisory committee will not just rubber-stamp the former water plan.

“I don’t have a prescribed outcome in mind. There may be some things raised we can look at,” she said.

Garlick also agrees that the review process is open-ended.

“I have no agenda and no thoughts on where it will go,” he said.

Besides Cunningham and Garlick, the other committee members are Asif Mohammad and Michael Witt from the agricultural sector, tekmar Control Systems’ Don Gibbs, Claus Larsen, from the Best Western Plus Vernon Lodge and Noric House’s Robert Aspenlieder.

David Frost has been named from Vernon Jubilee Hospital, Jerry Westby represents the Vernon School District and Dave Etherington is from Sleeman Breweries.

The development sector is represented by Robert Evans, from Wesbild, and the Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce will also have a member.


The residents on the committee are Doug Neden, Michael Carlson, Monique Hubbs-Michiel, Denise Bodenham, Paul Jeffry Williamson, John Lainsbury and Ray Foisy. The Citizens for Changes to the Master Water Plan will be represented by Terry Mooney.