Water report causes debate to swell

Sharp divisions remain over Greater Vernon’s water system

Sharp divisions remain over Greater Vernon’s water system.

On Thursday, the Greater Vernon Advisory Committee received the final report from the stakeholder committee looking into the future of the master water plan.

Director Gyula Kiss took direct aim at the stakeholder committee, saying it did not consider broad-based information.

“The only information they received came from staff and consultants and the staff and consulted support the current master water plan,” he said.

That comment brought a response from Juliette Cunningham, GVAC chairperson and stakeholder committee member.

“I take exception to you challenging that process,” she said.

“It was a long process. Thoughtful work was done by some intelligent individuals.”

Cunningham also insists the discussion was extensive.

“There was a member of the committee that put forward his views and when a vote was called, it did not pass,” she said.

David Sewell, Regional District of North Okanagan chief executive officer, defended the role of staff.

“Staff works to provide information in an unbiased manner and it takes the direction of this committee (GVAC),” he said.

When it came time to receive the stakeholder report for information, Kiss did not raise his hand as opposed. Cunningham tried to clarify Kiss’ vote, but did not get a response.

“I guess he’s in favour,” she said.

The next step is for GVAC to consider the stakeholder committee’s recommendations, including maintaining two water sources and two treatment facilities.