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Stakeholder Advisory Committee wraps up their review of the 2012 Greater Vernon Master Water Plan

Posted Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The 2012 Master Water Plan Stakeholder Advisory Committee (Stakeholder Committee) has completed their review of the 2012 Greater Vernon Water - Master Water Plan (Plan), and will be finalizing a report that summarizes their discussions and recommendations at their upcoming meeting on Wednesday.

The Stakeholder Committee was appointed by the Regional District Board of Directors in September 2015 in response to community concerns that arose following an unsuccessful borrowing referendum in 2014. The referendum was held to provide the Regional District with the authority to borrow all of the necessary money ($70 million) to complete the priority projects that were identified in the adopted Plan. The Plan, which was completed in 2012 under order from Interior Health, considered numerous options to meet Interior Health’s multiple barrier approach to achieving the key treatment objectives for surface water and the Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality.

The Stakeholder Committee was made up of a panel of 14 Greater Vernon Water customers designed to be representative of the Greater Vernon community. The Committee members, which include agricultural, residential, commercial, institutional and industrial water users, as well as developers and representation of the public stakeholder group, Citizens for Changes to the Master Water Plan, met a total of 11 times between October 2015 and April 2016.

The main purpose of the Stakeholder Committee was to provide input on options for the future improvements to the Greater Vernon Water System. The Stakeholder Committee was also given the following roles and responsibilities:

  1. reviewing the background information and final Plan and confirming that the recommended direction in the Plan corresponds with stakeholder and community perspectives;
     
  2. based on the review above, developing recommendations to improve the Plan, which would then be forwarded for the Regional District’s consideration;
     
  3. ensuring that all potential options to improve the Greater Vernon Water system had been adequately considered;
     
  4. assisting the Regional District with public communication and education related to the Plan; and
     
  5. communicating with major water users about the water treatment and separation goals and their role in implementing the Plan.

The Stakeholder Committee meetings were designed to provide the members with the opportunity to learn about the Plan in detail, ask questions, consider alternatives, and ultimately develop recommendations that would be forwarded to the Regional District for consideration. At each meeting, independent technical consultants were brought in to present information to the Stakeholder Committee and answer any questions. Many of the Stakeholder Committee members also attended tours of the Duteau Creek Water Treatment Plan and the Mission Hill Water Treatment Plant as part of their educational process.

With a mission to provide productive comments and recommendations to the Regional District, the Stakeholder Committee has worked hard to get to this point, where they have completed their review and have a draft summary report with recommendations. “The Stakeholder Committee members demonstrated a significant commitment to serving their community,” said Regional District Director and Stakeholder Committee Chair, Jim Garlick. “This Committee required a lot of time from its members for additional research and review, and each member came prepared to listen, learn and contribute. On behalf of the Regional District, I really want to thank the members for all of the hard work that they put in. The draft summary report is extensive and thoughtful, and really reflects the exceptional work that this group put in as representatives of their community.”

The Stakeholder Committee is scheduled to meet one final time on Wednesday, May 18th to finalize their report and recommendations to the Greater Vernon Advisory Committee (GVAC). GVAC will then consider the recommendations at a future meeting and will determine the next steps as the Regional District moves forward.

For further information, please call 250.550.3700.