Water access boosts economy

EDITORIAL: It’s unfortunate politicians spent so much time debating a fairly straight forward request

It’s unfortunate politicians spent so much time debating a fairly straight forward request.

A property owner on Highway 97 in Spallumcheen applied for additional access to water so they can expand their orchard operation (about 80,000 apple trees have been planted).

The concerns coming from some Greater Vernon Advisory Committee directors and staff included the property being outside of the utility’s boundary, and exceeding the water GVAC has agreed to provide Spallumcheen and treated water being pumped on to costs, which increases the overall system costs for domestic customers.

All of these concerns are valid and GVAC will have to address them, particularly when it comes to the growing disparity between what farmers pay for water and the bill facing their urban counterparts.

However, while that bureaucratic process unfolds, GVAC shouldn’t get in the way of business and what’s best for the North Okanagan.

And agriculture not only provides local residents with access to fresh food, it plays a major role in the economy and that’s critical in a region that has struggled to recover from the recession. Farmers purchase vehicles and supplies, and go out to restaurants and special events, as do their employees.

“We’re here to help our businesses grow,” said GVAC director Akbal Mund.

And that is the bottom line.

GVAC must move ahead with a long-term vision to ensure our water resource but it can’t lose sight of those immediate priorities that impact all of us.