Regional district looking at acquiring water system

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PENTICTON - After acquiring the Willowbrook water system last year, the regional district is looking at the possibility of taking over another water district.

The Missezula Lake Water Works District made a request to the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen to acquire the Missezula Lake water system in July, 2016.

The district supplies water to about 400 customers in Missezula Lake, located approximately 65 kilometres north of Princeton.

Regional district Engineer Liisa Bloomfield told the Environment and Infrastructure Committee at the Thursday, May 4 board meeting staff had toured the district’s facilities and found it to be a well run utility with financial reserves.

Bloomfield said the next step is to prepare an assessment report at an estimated cost of $20,000 to $25,000 prior to the board prior making a final decision.

The water district will undergo public consultation for the move at their annual general meeting, slated for next month.

Penticton director Helena Konanz asked if the regional district had a business case for taking on water systems, asking what would happen if regional district refused to take it over.

Chief administrative officer Bill Newell said the cost to run the system would be the responsibility of those using the system. He said an order in council would be needed and a service area created, adding it was a matter of the regional district providing capacity, while the users paid the costs.

Area D director Tom Siddon said acquisition of the water district should be a desirable objective, noting the services have to be paid for by the people who use them.

“Water systems should be run by local government, not private interests or improvement districts. They can’t get grants anymore,” Newell said.

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