Broad debate needed on water

EDITORIAL: There’s no question that some residents are frustrated with how Greater Vernon’s water utility is being handleD

There’s no question that some residents are frustrated with how Greater Vernon’s water utility is being handled.

About 100 people attended a meeting hosted by the Citizens for Changes to the Master Water Plan Tuesday, and there were pointed comments about the failed $70 million borrowing referendum in November, escalating water rates and the very source of the community’s water.

Credit goes to the elected officials who showed up and faced the frustration firsthand.

“We are undergoing a review and we are taking everything they said seriously,” said Catherine Lord, a Greater Vernon Advisory Committee director.

“There will be an opportunity for public input as we decide what to do with our master water plan,” added Juliette Cunningham, GVAC chairperson.

And one hopes the politicians are sincere about involving residents in the process as it is rank-and-file citizens who not only depend on the water utility but must foot the bill for upgrades.

However, the challenge for GVAC is who to listen to. Yes, the Citizens for Changes to the Master Water Plan has been formed and is taking an active role in the issue, which is welcome in a democracy. However, it’s unclear how many people the group actually represents and whether its views reflect the interests of the broader community.

GVAC needs to sit down with the representatives from CCMWP and consider any proposals that come forward, but further outreach with other residents and businesses will be necessary.

No matter the process, though, it’s imperative that a water system be developed that meets the region’s needs in a cost-effective manner.

 

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