The Greater Vernon master water plan has been forwarded to Interior Health for approval. (Morning Star file photo)

The Greater Vernon master water plan has been forwarded to Interior Health for approval. (Morning Star file photo)

Water plan in IHA’s hands

Regional district board forwards plan to health authority for approval

The Greater Vernon Master Water Plan has been turned on to the Interior Health Authority for savouring.

The plan, which has been years in the works, was endorsed by Regional District of North Okanagan directors, who voted unanimously Wednesday to send the plan to IHA for approval.

“This is the culmination of a comprehensive process which involved significant efforts by RDNO engineering, administration and financial staff, along with important stakeholder input from the volunteer members of the stakeholder advisory committee,” said RDNO board chairperson Bob Fleming.

“It is hoped that the plan will be accepted by Interior Health and that implementation of the plan will begin following that step.”

Greater Vernon Water updated the master water plan in 2012 and a referendum to borrow up to $70 million to complete six priority projects was held in 2014.

The referendum failed, resulting in the creation by the board of the stakeholder advisory committee, chaired by Coldstream Mayor Jim Garlick. This was to receive input from a stakeholder and community perspective as to the adequacy and completeness of the master water plan.

The committee met for nearly a year to complete an in-depth review of the 2012 plan, and provided recommendations to the Greater Vernon Advisory Committee and the RDNO board that provided direction to staff to move forward with the 2017 plan.

A significant change between the 2012 and 2017 plans is the removal of the Duteau Creek Water Treatment Plant filtration project from the plan. In 2012, the project was scheduled for this year, and in a draft financial strategy of the master plan presented to the RDNO board in June, the $29.3 million project was delayed until 2042.

Following discussions with IH, the Duteau Creek Water Treatment Plant filtration project is no longer included in the 2017 master plan, and will be reviewed in the future.

The 2017 plan includes grants assumptions to finance completing three major projects. A total of $48.2 million in grants is built into the funding model, including an approved grant of $5.8 million in 2017 for ultra violet treatment at the Duteau Creek plant.