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Penticton News

Channel funding decision divides district

A group floats down the Okanagan River channel. A tri-party funding agreement will cover the costs of keeping the channel clean and maintaining a portion of the KVR Trail that runs beside it.

PENTICTON - A move to pay for Okanagan River channel clean-up survived a split vote at Thursday's regional district meeting.

Penticton directors of the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen were happy to fund one-third the cost for keeping the channel clean, along with a few other directors, but there was stiff opposition from the remaining members.

Rural Oliver director Allan Patton did not want to fund this using the district's trails budget, saying it should be funded through the City of Penticton. Other directors complained the channel has no effect on their communities and therefore the district should stay out of any deal with the city and the Penticton Indian Band. Others disagreed saying the channel's appeal has far-reaching effects.

Since 2009 the band has paid to maintain the KVR trail between the dam at the north end of the channel and the parking lot at the south end. With the three-party agreement, the district will contribute $5,833 for the remainder of 2013 and $14,000 annually for five years if all three parties come up with a detailed maintenance plan.

"We don't want it to look like it does right now," Penticton director Helena Konanz said. "We need to pinpoint what the maintenance is going to look like."

The channel has proved to be a hot topic this year. Earlier, the band decided on a $2 per person environmental fee to recover some of the maintenance cost. The public hated the idea which led to this funding agreement. Then there was a problem with several taxi companies complaining the band is hogging all the customers via its Coyote Cruises bus service.

To contact a reporter for this story, to send photos or videos, email Shannon Quesnel at, call 250-488-3065 or tweet @shannonquesnel1

News from © iNFOnews, 2013

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