Friday, July 31, 2015

Ignoring Their Own Rules

They make the parking rules, i.e. how many spaces must be provided for a, say, commercial development.
Presumably because the development attracts people who arrive in vehicles.

The District of Coldstream (and previously, the Regional District) however had no qualms about Sovereign Park having insufficient parking, and "when the cul-de-sac area on Ormsby Drive is filled up, (cars) move up the street, taking up one side of the road," states a resident according to today's Morning Star newspaper.

Seems the 20 parking spaces within the park proper aren't sufficient in summer.
So park attendees access Sovereign by parking on adjacent Ormsby Drive, a residential street.
Who could've predicted that?

You can't blame the District of Coldstream entirely.
They've only recently been handed the park(s) in their jurisdiction from the Regional District of North Okanagan.

But now that Coldstream is considering closing Ormsby Drive to non-resident parking (perhaps even for residents), they'll be blamed for vehicles finding a spot whenever and wherever they can.

But they'll study it for a while.
A novel idea...seeing whether the park does indeed attract people in vehicles.

"Maybe the 20 parking spaces were sufficient in winter," grins Kia. 

Ought'a be a one week hiatus for a bureaucrat to sit in a vehicle with a traffic counter.
Or a consultant.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Who Made Them God?

Out of the blue.
A name, the Urban Development Institute.

In today's "Call for Volunteers" newspaper ad for 13 volunteers for the Stakeholder Advisory Committee (SAC), Greater Vernon Water says the committee will comprise, in part, "one (1) representative from the developer class (can be the Urban Development Institute or other representative group)..."

The Urban Development Institute?
Who the heck are they?

Are they a local group?  nope

Are they residents/homeowners/water-using taxpayers of a nearby area?  nope

Here's their Board of Directors...

Not to be too cynical...(well, maybe) these mega-executives look like they care what their or anyone else's water rates are, even if they lived here, which they don't?

The group self-describes:  "premier industry body representing over 600 of British Columbia’s leading residential, commercial, industrial and institutional developers."   Their media releases are here.

"The difference is that we aren't able to get up and leave when we're finished in a community," offers Kia explaining..."who were supposed to separate water lines as a development permit requirement for their projects."   

GVW never ceases to amaze residents... 


An Overbuilt and Underused Water System

You won't hear bureaucrats at Greater Vernon Water--or Greater Vernon Advisory Committee members (with the exception of Councillors Kiss and perhaps Spiers)--ever using that phrase to describe the Duteau Creek Water Treatment Plant.

Especially since Greater Vernon Water has imposed a consumption reduction of 10 per cent with Stage 1 Water Restrictions.

A betting person would win hands down if the soon-to-be appointed members of the new Stakeholder Advisory Committee (SAC) don't hear that Duteau Creek is an overbuilt facility in an underused water system.

You know...the new advisory committee to the old advisory committee.

The Greater Vernon Water process
So let's look at the much-touted future needs of residents--on which the 2012 Master Water Plan which replaced the 2002 Master Water Plan--were based.

The first table, produced by Gyula Kiss, shows the predicted water consumption for 40 years to the year 2052.  

The next table shows the actual consumption (based on GVWU annual reports from 2011 to 2014).  Look carefully to note the difference between predicted and actual consumption.
  Did we build too big a system?
  Did we pay too much for the system?

As Councillor Kiss' table points out, if we were expecting to use 9,670 in 2011 should we not use that as the base for the 10 per cent reduction in water consumption?  After all, the utility was predicting that volume!  If the planners expected to have the consumption based on those figures, is it not possible that our rates are influenced by the reduced consumption?  If we cannot provide the necessary volumes today at 6,000 ML per year, what can we expect in 2062?

The last attachment utilizes the July 15th volume graph with some explanation.  During the first nearly three months of hot temperatures, we used about 4,000 ML of water from Duteau.  On September 15th the irrigation system is typically shut down.  In order to be in the Stage 1 zone in September, we would have to use over 7,000 MLs from the Duteau reservoir.
  Is this likely to happen?

So, the big questions now are:

Is the reduced consumption request justifiable?

  Is the reduction in revenues resulting from the
reduction in usage justifiable?

  Will the increased rates to recover
shortfalls of revenue be justifiable?

Answers to questions in Bold print:

 "Quite a detour from the lies my father told me," says Kia.

...but your Dad meant well.

Monday, July 27, 2015

No Water Level Graphs Available for Kalamalka Source

But the Duteau Creek system's graphs--despite no longer being posted in the newspaper, as has been customary--are available on the RDNO site.

Click on the link to the Duteau water level graph, recorded July 15, 2015.

The RDNO link to water restrictions is found at this link.

Interestingly, several photos were submitted by a reader who visited the Aberdeen plateau water system just four days before the date of that graph...on July 11, 2015.

(submitted photos from July 11, 2015 visit to the Aberdeen Plateau)

Comments from the photo submitter were:  "I went up to visit the lakes up there 10 days ago, and all three appeared quite full. I have been up to those three lakes dozens of times over the years and they look just as full as any other year. I was there Jul 11, and according to the Jul 1 graph, the lakes had already dropped 2500 ML. Now the latest graph on Jul 15 shows another huge decrease and puts us close to stage 2.
Not sure I believe the propaganda."

And then a few days ago, the second massive rainstorm (in two weeks) arrived at 3:00 a.m., not ceasing until around noon, with the Aberdeen Plateau receiving more weather--as is typical--than the Coldstream Valley (where Highlands received a full inch of rain...yippeeeeee!).

"Bet GVW's truck would get stuck up there this week," offers Kia, "following the two rainstorms since the graph was produced."

The blathering from government at all levels continues to increase...the Okanagan Basin Water Board, and now, Victoria--the seat of our provincial government--is clamoring for citizens all over the province to reduce water usage by 30 per cent.

We'll volunteer to reduce doing laundry by 30 per cent... 

Sunday, July 26, 2015

A Novel Idea

While discussing Stage 1 Water Restrictions with a customer today, a novel idea surfaced when he said "Make Greater Vernon Water accountable for spurious water restrictions."  To make the water utility accountable to taxpayers "because of GVW's oft-manipulated revenue situation", he suggested the following:

Stage 1 Water Restrictions--which requires a 10 per cent reduction in water consumption--naturally leads to a reduction in their revenue.  Make it illegal for the utility to increase base rates to make up the shortfall! was his suggestion.

GVW would then have to reduce their 2015 budget by the corresponding amount of the revenue shortfall.

Coldstream Councillor Gyula Kiss--in his summary of the dollar ramifications of the 10 per cent restriction (follow the link in the July 15th blog story entitled "2014 Water Consumption Coldstream"), indicated the dollars involved with only Coldstream consumption, based on last year.

Even the seat of government in B.C.--because of the Lower Mainland's switch to Stage 3 Water Restrictions--has asked everyone in B.C. to reduce water usage by 30 per cent!  Thirty per cent!  Parroting Victoria, the heavily-entrenched bureaucracy of the Okanagan Basin Water Board was quick to issue a press release on July 21st for the North Okanagan requesting the 30 per cent reduction in consumption.

"They think we're stupid," the customer continued.

"But we're onto them, and need to make 'em think twice," the customer snarled.

"The best ideas come from folks you didn't even think had an opinion previously," offers Kia.

Closing off with some weather photos of the Aberdeen plateau, which yesterday easily received more than the inch of rain we in the valley received.  Other photos of the Duteau water system lake levels--taken July 11th--are in the process of being reformatted for inclusion in a future blog article.

And today, around 2:30 pm:

The Aberdeen Plateau nearly always has far different weather than the populated areas of Coldstream and Vernon.
"That's why the Aberdeen plateau has always been an irrigation water source for the Coldstream and Vernon farming community.  And because its gravity fed system required no pumps," states Kia.

Thanks to our customer today for some levity...and brevity to the bureaucratic "solution".

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Supporting Agriculture...until the cows come home?

Hugh and Kathleen's letter to the editor at the Morning Star, printed today, didn't mince words.
In fact it reflects the feelings of many residents.

Here it is reprinted in its entirety:


On June 28, a letter from Gerry Laarakker appeared in The Morning Star asking, "what is the situation here in Vernon" in regards to the use of and costs incurred by agricultural water users and domestic water users.

We would like to answer that question because we are sure he is not the only person interested in the answer.

"...domestic users is $15,024,779
and for agricultural users, it is $922,668. "

Domestic water users are bearing the brunt of the costs of new infrastructure projects, such as the Duteau Creek water treatment plant.

As a result of these capital projects, domestic water rates have increased by about 300 per cent since 2002.

Although agricultural water demand is seasonal, it accounts for about 60 per cent of the total water demand, leaving about 40 per cent for domestic use.

However, the water cost allocation for 2015 for domestic users is $15,024,779 and for agricultural users, it is $922,668.

Because the agricultural and domestic water lines are not split residential users are paying for very expensive water to be sprayed on fields and used for livestock.

We don't object to subsidizing agriculture to some extent, since they provided significant water licenses to the potable water customers, but we do object heartily to providing this expensive, treated water for agricultural use where it is not necessary."
                                   Kathleen and Hugh Cameron

"Let's count the ways we subsidize agriculture," suggests Kia.

All right, let's do just that:
  1. farms receive huge property tax discounts, with land "barely valued at anything at all", according to one insider.
  2. farms receive water for ridiculously low rates.
  3. farms can be forage/silage, "rent-a-cow" farms (where only paperwork and a few animals change hands twice a year).
  4. farms receive subsidized crop (orchard) insurance.
  5. farms receive fuel tax discounts.
  6. ...etc. etc.

Sing along with the edited words to the Oscar Meyer Wiener Song.


A Poignant Prediction

A plaintive plea...

"On Broken Windows and Brown Lawns", by Scott Anderson

"One of the perks of being a city councillor is that I'm exposed to a flood of ideas from folks all across the political and philosophical spectrum. They come in the form of emails, texts, phone calls, and sometimes handwritten letters. Today I received an email from a citizen concerned about the "broken window syndrome" occurring in my city.

It goes like this:
A city block can be maintained for years, fostering a sense of beauty and tranquility. You know the neighbourhoods I'm talking about, with beautifully landscaped front yards, lush bushes and manicured lawns, and often artfully placed rocks and logs, all contributing to a sort of Zen placidity. They aren't always rich neighbourhoods, and in fact some of the nicest and best-kept properties are in enclaves of elderly retirees, and sometimes lower middle class retirees at that. It's a sense of well-being that knows no class or income level or any of the isms through which we tend to view the world these days.

Then one day someone moves out and their house lies dormant for a period of time. The lawn grows into weeds. Some weeks later a window in the house is broken, a window that in normal times would be fixed but because no one is home stays broken. The neighbour next door calls the local bylaw department, and calls them again a month later, and again after that, but after a few failed attempts just gives up. Then either he or someone else down the block, after months of internalizing the wreck in progress, feels the pointlessness of maintaining his own yard, and lets it too go to seed. Or parks a car on it. Or does one of the many small acts that seemed so out of place in the neighbourhood a few months before but not quite so strange now. And so it begins, with what the email writer called a "cancer" spreading through the neighbourhood.

This is not a radical thesis. It's been borne out in countless studies on urban decay since the early 70s and over the past few years we've watched it spread across Chicago, Detroit, parts of Florida and Arizona, and elsewhere, as a result of zombie foreclosures.

And now we're watching the broken window phenomenon happen right here in the Okanagan. But it's not happening because of a foreclosure crisis. It's happening because of a largely fabricated water crisis.
On the subject of water, the email writer pointed out something we all understand very well... that green and well-watered landscapes cool properties, provide oxygen, filter pollution (and absorb CO2), and have intangible psychological benefits; among others, they convey a sense of pride of ownership and community.

I won't go into the specifics of the current panic over water in my city, but suffice it to say that we're being bombarded with messages to the effect that we are in a state of crisis, and we are not. We are being told that such seemingly mundane things as watering our lawns is somehow selfish and wasteful, and that not watering our lawns is an act of good, an act of preservation, a way to conserve and protect precious water.

This crisis mentality is exacerbated by ever-increasing water costs, as if the costs are rising because of scarcity when in fact the costs are rising because of a feedback loop engendered by the very same sense of crisis.

Because there are fixed cost to water delivery — all the piping and pumping and maintenance that go into a municipal water system. Those costs don't change no matter how much water is used, because the pipes and the pumping stations and the maintenance have to exist regardless of how much water courses through them. But what does change is the amount of water we use. When we use less, the water utility doesn't receive enough in fees to pay the fixed costs, which means the rates have to rise accordingly. As a result, a sort of vicious circle ensues in which people use even less water, driving the cost per litre of delivered water yet higher in apparent infinitum.

The irony is that the broken window syndrome doesn't have to happen here. We are making a crisis where no crisis exists and, to paraphrase Tacitus, we are creating a desert and being told it is a virtue instead of a blight.

So while we pat ourselves on the back in sanctimonious self-congratulation for using less and less water, we are actively hurting our environment. And our pocketbooks. And our sense of community. And we are helping nothing at all.

— Scott Anderson is a Vernon City Councillor, freelance writer, commissioned officer in the Canadian Forces Reserves and a bunch of other stuff. His academic background is in International Relations, Strategic Studies, Philosophy, and poking progressives with rhetorical sticks until they explode."

Reprinted in its entirety from

and from the same publication, Vernon fields and the new sports complex are watering NEW SOD...but Zee Marcolin, Water Manager suggests people don't put sod down until Fall.   Too bad it's government employees--or their contractors--who ignored the sod timing suggestion. 

yup, we sure do...

"We've got fear mongering in spades here," offers Kia.

Spades...that dig sod. 

Friday, July 17, 2015

Conspicuous by their Absence

What's the point of an annual water report, available online at Greater Vernon Water, if there are no reservoir level graphs?

Well the point is probably that the reservoir levels aren't as low as they want us to believe.
Or else they'd be in the newspaper.

Oh where oh where have the water level charts gone?  Oh where oh where can they be?

Here's what GVW reports annually to Interior Health re 2014 operations:

Updates to the water system and capital works;

Updates to the water monitoring plan;

Updates to the emergency response plan;

Updates to cross-connection control program;

Provice Environmental operators certification program updates;

Annual consumption data;

Microbiological rest results;

Continuous chlorine residuals;

Comments on source, treatment, distribution system events;

Records of communication with customers;

Operational activities;

Water sustainability initiatives.

"GVW has made this report available online to ensure transparency and accountability to its customers" said Renee Clark water quality manager.

It's frankly encouraging that the website continues to state:  "GVW's primary goal is to ensure the economical supply and distribution of a sufficient quantity and quality of water in the interests of both agricultural and non-agricultural users in the Greater Vernon Community," though "economical supply" seems to be an oxymoron when discussing North Okanagan water rates, and their disparity with those just 35 miles south of us in Kelowna.

The link to the 80-page 2014 Greater Vernon Annual Report is here

"But it's still not complete without dated water level graphs," says Kia. 

The graphs that were always printed in the newspaper.


Agricultural Water Rates

Jamie Kidston's letter to the editor today provided people opposed to the area's high water rates with just as much fodder as he does to supporting the current low ag rate.
See if you can find it.
All save time the phrases were highlighted and underscored.

"I am replying to Gerry Laarakker's letter of June 28 concerning agricultural water.  The rate per cubic meter paid by farmers for agricultural water is far lower than the domestic rate and for good reason.

Farmers do not need treated water.  However treated water is today being utilized on a significant proportion of the local farm land.  Why?

To understand how this came about, we have to go back to the early 1960s when the politicians of Vernon, Coldstream and the surrounding areas decided to utilize chlorinated agricultural water to meet the escalating domestic water needs.

They contracted with the agricultural supplier, the Vernon Irrigation District, to provide this water, which met domestic water standards in force at the time.  All water was distributed through one common set of pipes.

This dual use water system worked well for the next 20 years.  It allowed for the growth in urban residential areas, plus commercial and industrial interests.

At the same time, owners of the many rural properties in the area had a dependable supply of water for their homes and fields.

However, in the 1990s, new domestic water standards were introduced which made it necessary to improve the water quality by means of enhanced treatment.

Since treatment is expensive and agricultural water does not require same, the technical solution was to have two separate sets of pipes to deliver the two types of water.  Of course there is also a cost to building a separated system.

Over the past decade a considerable effort has been made to separate many domestic water connections from the agricultural source.  This work continues.

However, there is still a significant amount of treated water being utilized on farm land.

We need to continue with more separation projects, bearing in mind that it may not be cost effective to have complete separation.

The objective should be to have an affordable domestic water supply but also an agricultural supply which is competitive with other farming areas in the Okanagan. (underscore/italicized: blog author)

The untreated pressurized agricultural water system put in place some 40 years ago still meets the industry's present and future needs.

Moreover, ensuring that the agricultural rates are competitive will allow for significant economic benefits to be continually derived by the community."
                                                                   Jamie Kidston

"So how about area golf courses paying 10 to 20 times what golf courses in the Kelowna area pay?" asks Kia, adding "what's competitive about that?" 

'Xactly, as the saying goes.

But Jamie Kidston doesn't need ag water anymore.
He subdivided his Coldstream ALR orchard into three parcels then sold them. 
It was probably important to have economic benefits accrue, as he indicated.
Otherwise he would've kept the orchards.

The Freudian Slip of the week?
The Morning Star's editorial today "Process Followed for Drought Plan" contained the following sentence:

"That plan first originated in 2010 when a drought response team was established.  It was compromised (sic...comprised!) of 26 individuals from throughout the community, including the hospitality sector, landscapers, farmers, government agencies and rank-and-file residents."

Compromised?  (Meaning:  Less than desirable consequences)

The editorial is probably already thinking of this year's ready-to-form SAC committee.


Either way, Jamie's letter seems to support an Adopted Motion from Coldstream Mayor Garlick in which "need of supply type" was unanimously agreed at a GVAC meeting. 

In other words, you pay for the supply type you need.
Not the supply type that GVW has you stuck with!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

2014 Water Consumption in Coldstream

Greater Vernon Water has no plans to cover revenue losses caused by their Stage 1 water restrictions (whose goal is to reduce consumption by 10 per cent).

Like all bureaucratic systems (it seems), they don't reduce their operations budget by the amount of lost revenue.

They simply raise the base fees (the amount charged to use NO water).
And the per cubic metre rate will continue to increase.

Problem solved in the bureaucratic mind.
If only the private sector could use the same tactics.

No accountability to the public purse is standard operating procedure for bureaucracy.
To hell with the taxpayers.

Greater Vernon Advisory Committee director Gyula Kiss (and director Bob Spiers) are the two lone voices on GVAC who oppose the effects on taxpayers of that bureaucratic system.

Gyula Kiss dissects myriad data to clearly show the disparities that arise from such a system.

He has produced this document, which provides the summary of water consumption and revenues for each quarter of last year in Coldstream.

Note that Quarter 3 (July August September) has the highest consumption, easily 50 per cent of total water use.
But only 41.7 per cent of revenues.

Nice accounting...probably most accurately described as Creative Accounting 101, or Fleecing Taxpayers 101.

"Bureaucracy graduated from the accounting courses they themselves designed," offers Kia as explanation.

But maybe Greater Vernon Advisory Committee directors--or the Board of Directors--will broaden their horizons (ahem!) and see what happened at Translink when top brass didn't listen to referendum results.

No sheep, Sherlock.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Water Issues Dominate Newspaper they should, considering the topic is THE most talked about among residents of the North Okanagan.

The Morning Star published the following today:

"Water Committee Membership Determined (Rolke):

A previous role in Greater Vernon's failed water process won't stop individuals from taking a leadership role in the future.

The Greater Vernon Advisory Committee voted Thursday not to rule anyone out for membership on the master water plan stakeholder advisory committee.

'Who's on it shold be based on what they bring to the table,' said director Bob Fleming.

It had been recommended that participants in the advisory committee not have prevoius involvement in the master water plan process, which led to an unsuccessful $70 million referendum last fall.

'Anyone involved before from this (GVAC) committee on the previous technical advisory group would be disqualified,' said director Bob Spiers.

Staff insists that it wasn't trying to restrict who takes part in the advisory committee.

'The intent was to say we're trying to provide as fresh a look as possible,' said David Sewell, Regional District of North Okanagan chief administrative officer.

'We don't want to be burdened potentially with the biases associated with the development of previous plans.'

The Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce has asked for a seat at the stakeholders' table.

'We request that the regional district reflect on ways in which the business and investment community can be engaged in any discussion as you move forward,' said Jaron Chasca, chamber president, in a letter.

'The establishment of a multi-stakeholder steering committee such as was done with the development of the regional cultural plan may be of value in this situation.'

Juliette Cunningham, GVAC chairperson, says the chamber's request will be considered.

'They have a good communications network and getting feedback from their members,' she said.

GVAC will begin advertyising for potential stakeholders committee members soon.

'We will have to see how much interest there is.  We want buy-in from taxpayers,' said Cunningham.

'We want them to understand why we need a master water plan.'

"...Didn't want to be burdened with biases?" intones Kia, adding "then install an independent consultant in place of staff engineers at the table, opposite SAC members." 

"Rules May Restrict Funds (Rolke):

A politician forecasts tighter water restrictions will leave the utility's budget high and dry.

The Greater Vernon Advisory Committee has initiated stage one water restrictions in the hope of decreasing consumption during the hot weather.  (BLOG NOTE:  No public record exists of GVAC having met mere days before their regularly scheduled July 9th meeting when the stage one water restrictions were announced in the newspaper, so the public believes bureaucrats enacted the restriction without GVAC directors' approval.)

'I agree with conservation but we will lose revenue for the utility,' said director Bob Spiers, adding that a 10 per cent reduction in residential consumption could reduce revenue by $158,000 in Vernon in the third quarter.

Staff insists stage one restrictions are needed because of the ongoing dry conditions. 

'We are doing heightened awareness and targeting water waste,' said Zee Marcolin, utility manager.  'We want people to know what they should be doing.  There's a lot of watering of roadways.'

Marcolin added that larger agricultural customers are also being contacted about conservation.

'We want to hit this hard so we can stay away from stage two.'
( BLOG NOTE:  Want to see just how much more you'll pay WHEN you reduce your domestic water consumption by 10 per cent?  Click on this link, and see Table 1 and Table 2.  Created by Gyula Kiss, GVAC member. Even more revenue will be lost than the tables indicate...Hillview Golf Course has drilled a well and constructed a reservoir...their invoice for 2014 was projected to increase to $43,000 from $33,000). 

"The water authority isn't telling people of that effect, are they?" says Kia.

"Watersheds draw scrutiny (Rolke):

Mudboggers roaring around watersheds have local communities calling for action.

The Okanagan Basin Water Board discussed the issue of source protection Tuesday and specifically recreational activities that threaten water quality and critical infrastructure, such as dams.

'I don't know how we get around the recreational aspect and desecration?' said director James Baker.

Much of the discussion revolved around the Greater Vernon Water Utility's experience with people entering the Duteau Creek watershed.

'They love to get out in their ATVs and four-by-fours,' said Renee Clark, GVWU water quality manager.

'The reservoirs get drawn down in the summer and it looks like a great place to go and play.'

Another concern is what all-terrain vehicles do to the integrity of dams holding back reservoirs.

'If they breach, the inundation area is Lumby and there would be property damage.  Who would be liable for that?  We would' said Clark, adding that the water utility owns the dam and is responsible for safety.

'We have tried to fence the dams but it's a big area and new routes are found.'

There have also been problems with other infrastructure being damaged and warning signs being shot and utility staff must clean up the trash and human waste left behind (there are no outhouses at the reservoirs).

Clark says the situation at Duteau Creek is experienced in watersheds throughout the Okanagan and something must be done.

'Let's find some way to do this from a political and policy perspective' she said.

'If we can protect the source, treatment is a lot less.'

Presently, a license of occupation through the provincial government doesn't allow for exclusive use of a watershed by a utility.

Among the possible options are leasing the land to prevent recreational activities or establishing recreational campsites at reservoirs so there are(sic...would be) some guidelines in place.

Clark isn't convinced that formal campsites will work given summer conditions at reservoirs.

'The lakes are drawn down in August so they're not a place people will hang out at (to camp) but people will still ATV,' she said.

Doug Findlater, OBWB chairperson, points out that there was an issue with ATVs in the Bear Creek watershed, off of Westside Road, and various agencies came together to create formal trains and enforcement.

'They took control of it and allowed people in but under controlled conditions,' he said."

"Public abuse of the area has been going on for decades, and GVW is only yabbering about it now?" asks Kia, adding, "heaven forbid they'd actually do something effective like contacting the provincial government and implement something...anything to improve the situation.  Nope...they're too busy controlling the rest of us to focus on watershed abuse!"

And two letters to the editor:

"Real Change Needed in Water Plan:
I suppose it's encouraging to learn from your article of June 14 that yet another water review is on tap.  Personally, I would have preferred some decisions.  My second choice would have been to take a blank piece of paper and have an independent consultant start afresh.

Instead I see I will get my least druthers approach, a finagling rehash of what we voters have rejected by a two to one margin or, to be precise, by 7918 nays to 3999 yeas.  I thought the message thus sent to the water gurus and politicos was quite clear; people want a no frills water system that is safe and reliable and does not cost twice as much as ratepayers pay in Kelowna and Penticton.

This is not rocket science.

Every community needs water and has a water utility to provide it for them at reasonable cost.  Sometimes glitches occur such as Walkerton.  After all to err is human.

Unfortunately, the North Okanagan has a murky water syndrome.

Greater Vernon takes water from far away ponds fed by another watershed that reaches us via creeks flowing through cow pastures, dog parks, farm fields and other assorted odds and sods that do not add to its clarity then spends mega bucks to make it potable before selling most of it at a fraction of what domestic users are soaked to grow food for cows.  Brilliant.

One good thing about exorbitant water costs is how good that is for conservation.

Domestic ratepayers in Greater Vernon have cut back their water usage by a third to a half over the past five years depending upon the time period/data selection used; from 350 cubic meters to maybe as low as 175, certainly less than 250.

The water utility raised rates, ratepayers then used less water.  That meant the water utility was not able to cover its costs.  Obvious answer:  reduce costs.  Nope.

The water utility opted to raise base fees instead.  Today, most domestic ratepayers in Greater Vernon pay more in base fees than they do for the actual metered water they use.  Mind boggling, beyond belief you say, check your water bill, then weep.

The people that brought us this are now going to do an in-house review of their past recommendations and everything is going to be hunky-dory.

Yeah, right.  Juliette Cunningham presides over this charade, she chairs the Greater Vernon Advisory Committee.  Give her a dingle or an e-mail.

Make your views known and do it now.  By next year, more money will have gone down the Greater Vernon Water Utility drain as they keep plugging away doing the same old, same old.

Councillors Spiers of Vernon and Kiss of Coldstream are trying to rectify this water madness but they need your help.

Two votes are not enough to get real change for real betterment.  Do your part and twist some political arms."
                                       Jim Bodkin

Source:  CCMWP Terry Mooney

and another:

"Greater Vernon Water:

It doesn't take an MBA to see stakeholder advisory committee (SAC) is entering a fixed horse race assuring that only a rehashing of Greater Vernon Water projects will be on the table -- the projects that the public refused to fund during the referendum.

The public is outraged area water rates are almost three times the rate of Kelowna users.

Under the bureaucrat-penned terms of reference SAC will review GVW's hastily-scribed list of assumptions.

This means the public at large will not be allowed to submit letters to the SAC group.

How's that for betraying the public which was instrumental in demanding change.

The grassroots group Citizens for Changes to the Master Water Plan, has touched the public pulse with its clearly-understood May presentation at the Schubert Centre.

The public wants Okanagan Lake as a water source, as Kelowna has, with no demand by IHA for filtration, because Okanagan Lake is a deep repository of glacial gravels.

In all of these years GVW bureaucrats haven't got around to protecting the Duteau slough (an apt public description), complaining about vandalism and mud-boggers.

Why hasn't IHA protected the Duteau source?  Water reservoirs on the Lower Mainland are closed to the public and mostly fenced. 

We are misguided if we believe politicians are in charge."
                                           Barb Mitchell

"Angry because Tower Ranch in Kelowna--at more than 200 acres--pays only slightly more than double what Highlands Golf--at 15 acres here--pays annually," says Kia.

"And angry because the OUC community garden--at less than 2 (yes, two) acres--used almost twice as much water as Highlands Golf," adds Kia.

People are watching to see how the leadership thingy goes...