EDITORIAL: Water plan scrutiny needed

Gyula Kiss has not been appointed to a stakeholders committee determining the future of the local water utility.

There will be some Greater Vernon residents disappointed, and possibly frustrated, that Gyula Kiss has not been appointed to a stakeholders committee determining the future of the local water utility.

After all, they believe the Coldstream councillor is only one of two elected officials (the other is Vernon’s Bob Spiers) who have openly challenged the technical merits of the master water plan. Among Kiss’ calls for action is to switch residents from Duteau Creek to the Okanagan Lake water source.

It was partly because of Kiss’ comments at meetings and on his blog that a $70 million borrowing referendum for the utility was unsuccessful, forcing the master water plan review that’s underway.

One could speculate as to why the Greater Vernon Advisory Committee did not appoint Kiss to the 18-person stakeholder committee given his interest in all things water. Kiss, himself, has suggested that, “Dissent is not appreciated within the regional district.”

Even if Kiss is right and the non-appointment is some form of muzzle, it’s not going to work.

He may not sit on the stakeholder committee, but Kiss should question and raise concerns anytime at GVAC or Coldstream council. He can continue to play a vital role in the process, and, in fact, his not being part of the stakeholder committee may provide him with some independence.

But while Kiss is encouraged to continue to scrutinize development of a water plan, we would hope he will be open minded and not preclude the possibility that an effective and cost-efficient water system can be developed that doesn’t conform to his concept.

The issue of water is critical to the future of Greater Vernon long-term and co-operation from everyone is required.