Water woes bubble over

A war of words is boiling close to the surface over the future of Greater Vernon water.

A war of words is boiling close to the surface over the future of Greater Vernon water.

The Citizens for Changes to the Master Water Plan have issued a press release criticizing the Greater Vernon Advisory Committee’s handling of the master water plan while GVAC officials are firing back.

“I disagree with almost everything they said,” said Juliette Cunningham, GVAC chairperson.

In its release, Citizens for Changes to the Master Water Plan asks GVAC to make changes to the recently hammered out terms of reference for a water plan review.

“The review is not the fresh new look requested by Citizens for Change and demanded by the referendum defeat last fall,” said Terry Mooney, CCMWP chairperson.

“The review proposed by GVAC has serious flaws in the composition of the participants, and in the terms of reference for the Stakeholders Advisory Committee. In short, the domestic water customer who is most affected by the current high water costs are underrepresented, people with relevant expertise and experience are precluded from participating and the process will be managed by RDNO staff who have clearly indicated their preference for the status quo.”

Mooney says the current scope of the review will not unbiased or balanced.

“Come on folks, we can do better than this. A petition calling for the inclusion of an independent consultant is circulating throughout the Greater Vernon community.”

However, Cunningham insists GVAC elected officials and staff are open-minded and no final decisions about the water plan have been made.

“We are not precluding anything. We are developing a process where we will take our time and there will be an opportunity for the public to give us input,” she said.

“We won’t complete the process until we believe everyone has had an opportunity to have their voices heard. Those of us at GVAC were elected to represent the community. This is not being led by staff.”

And while the Citizens for Changes to the Master Water Plan accuses GVAC of having a predetermined course of action, Cunningham believes the same could be said of the CCMWP.

“It appears that some members of the community have made up their minds on what the plan should be. As chairperson, I have not made up my mind.”