Water rates to rise in regional district

Turning on the tap will cost more in many North Okanagan communities

Turning on the tap will cost more in many North Okanagan communities.

The Regional District of North Okanagan has adopted 2016 water rates for Grindrod, Mabel Lake, Whitevale and Silver Star.

“We have to keep up with the times. We need to have good potable water,” said director Herman Halvorson.

In Grindrod, the rate is climbing by $28 or 5.1 per cent to $580, while it is increasing by 3.2 per cent or $12 to $384 at Mabel Lake and 4.2 per cent or $40 to $788 in Whitevale.

The increases are to cover operating budgets and prepare for future improvements.

Silver Star’s water utility will increase rates by four per cent, which is $12.25 a year for the average residential user. That translates into $324 based on 50 cubic metres of water.

“This increase is to compensate for an increase in the operating budget to cover the costs for water system upgrades, including phase two of a water main replacement, communication improvements to the system and reservoir access lid improvements,” said James de Pfyffer, small utilities manager.

Emergency plan review a concern

There is a concern that residents could be physically forced from their homes during a disaster.

The Regional District of North Okanagan and other jurisdictions have been asked to provide comments on proposed changes to Emergency Management B.C., a provincial agency focused on managing emergencies.

“They are considering giving the RCMP right of entry and to take a person (forcefully out) to relative safety,” said Rick Fairbairn, RDNO chairperson.

“This could have far-reaching affects.”

Fairbairn is urging local jurisdictions to provide input on the Emergency Management Review B.C. review by the April 22 deadline.

The Ministry of Transportation states the Emergency Program Act has remained largely unchanged since 1993.

“This consultation acknowledges recent changes some other Canadian jurisdictions have made to modernize their emergency management laws,” states a release.

“The engagement has also been shaped by findings and recommendations of the 2014 earthquake preparedness reports of B.C.’s auditor general.”