Support the water referendum

Mayoralty and council candidates urged to do some more homework on the issue

Council and mayoralty candidates for election in Vernon seem to be approaching the boundaries of dishonesty or ignorance in opposing the proposed upgrades to our water system.

After attending one of the open houses run by RDNO about the upcoming water referendum, I learned that:

1. Our current domestic water rates are average or below average when compared to other municipalities that fund 100 per cent of their water costs through user fees.

2. Our current water system does not meet the health guidelines in place across both Canadian provinces and many U.S. states as well. Compared to other provinces, B.C. is behind the times in ensuring these upgrades are in place.

3. The proposal includes common-sense measures such as extending dam capacity to deal with drought years and providing untreated, lower-cost water to large agricultural users.

4. The money is currently available for loan at around the rate of inflation. In other words, a zero cost loan is available to Vernon water users.

Using RDNO numbers, the cost of the upgrades works out to $1,272 per person for the 55,000 water consumers served by our utility. Viewed that way, the charges are not enormous.

No one gets elected by promising tax increases. But if we swallow this short-term promise for no water price increase now, be aware that we are all accepting increased risk of both water quality and supply in the longer term.  And, if in typical Vernon fashion we decide to punt the problem down the road and do this in 10 years time, the price will only have gone up.

For those at or below the poverty line who truly cannot afford an increase in water rates, why not offer a discounted rate for those in hardship? I urge mayoralty and council candidates to do some more homework on the issue before locking in your position. Please think of the entire community’s future rather than just your own election chances.

Ritchie Leslie

Vernon

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Dance stages Indigenous identity quest in Vernon

Tlakentli merges dance and theatre with two artists from Mexico, of Nahua and Mixteco descent

Pumphouse project puts Vernon taps back on Kal

The capital project at the Kal Lake Pump House to make it flood-resistant is near completion

Accident causing traffic delays in Vernon

The accident happened near the intersection of Alexis Park Drive and 42nd Street

Carlton Cards to close its doors in Vernon

All 254 retail stores across North America will close in the next four to six weeks

Okanagan among Canada’s most at-risk habitats: WWF report

Report found the Okanagan is inadequately protected despite being a hotspot for at-risk species

UBCO students raise funds for those affected by Philippine volcano eruption

All proceeds will be donated to the Philippine Red Cross

B.C. RCMP spent roughly $750K on massive manhunt for Port Alberni men

Manitoba RCMP helped with 17-day search through the province’s northern terrain

Future space homes could be made of mushrooms

NASA explores use of fungi to build structures in space

Empty speedboat sinks off Kelowna shore on Okanagan Lake

This is the third report of a boat found in the lake in the past two weeks

Man killed by police in Lytton called 911, asking to be shot: RCMP

Howard Schantz, also known as Barry Schantz was killed following a standoff at his Lytton home

UPDATE: Revelstoke City Council gives themselves a raise, councillor resigns in protest

The mayor’s pay is set to go from $30,000 to $60,000 over three years

Kelowna General Hospital takes steps to prevent spread of coronavirus

So far, at least six people have died and 275 people have contracted the virus worldwide

Most Read