Water plan talk draws concerns

Who should be speaking to the media about Greater Vernon’s water is creating some turbulence

Who should be speaking to the media about Greater Vernon’s water is creating some turbulence.

Concerns were raised among some members of the master water plan stakeholders advisory committee Thursday over a recent press release issued by committee member Terry Mooney on behalf of the Citizens for Changes to the Master Water Plan.

However, Mooney insists he did nothing wrong.

“The whole history is there hasn’t been enough questions about the assumptions of the master water plan. It (scrutiny) benefits the public,” he said.

In the press release, Mooney and CCMWP took issue with comments made by Regional District of North Okanagan staff about Okanagan Lake being possibly used as a future water source.

Mooney insists the stakeholders committee shouldn’t muzzle comments and he will continue to speak on behalf of CCMWP.

“I will if I feel staff is not presenting a full picture. They are well intentioned but they like to get their own way.”

Paul Williamson, an advisory committee member, admits he’s been concerned about media reports and how residents may perceive the ongoing water plan review.

“I want to remind the public that our committee is a volunteer board advising another advisory committee and we must be given time to proceed with the process without any confusion,” he said.

Williamson has asked that advisory committee members be allowed to attend CCMWP meetings.

“In the spirit of co-operation, we want to know where they are coming from,” he said of the group’s  call for changes to the water plan.

Jim Garlick, stakeholders advisory committee chairperson, says there are no plans to keep committee members from speaking to the media.

“That doesn’t work very well. That just makes people upset,” he said.

“They can speak to the media but remember what we’re trying to achieve as a committee which is providing information and the facts.”

Dale McTaggart, engineering general manager, denies that he and other staff are pushing the water plan review in a specific direction.

“We’re trying to provide information that is available,” he told committee members.

“We’re not trying to lead you in any direction.

“We’re just trying to present the facts.”