Michael Brydon's blog

Watering restrictions: Are they too restrictive?

I received the following question/complaint from a West Bench resident regarding watering restrictions:

[..] we have a manual system and sometimes on our watering day / evening we actually aren’t home to turn the system on.  So for us to have the same number of hours on a manual system that the automatics have just isn’t a level playing field – it would be nice to have extra time to account for our human inefficiency.   In the past, we had something like 5 pm to midnight or something and that was adequate, but only 3 hours of prescribed watering in the evening every other day means we’ll be slaves to that schedule, we’ll be outside the regulations,  or our yard goes down the tube [...]

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The big bump in West Bench Hill Road

As you may have noticed, a big chunk of the east side of West Bench Hill Road has slumped.  Roads in rural areas are the responsibility of the provincial Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MoTI). However, the supply line for the West Bench Water System runs under that road.  We have two concerns:

  1. The supply line is not causing the subsurface erosion.  RDOS staff does not believe our line is leaking.
  2. The soil supporting the supply line is intact.  The City of Penticton had a problem earlier in the year in which a water main was undermined by erosion and broke.  Very costly and inconvenient. At this point, our line is well east of the depression.  But we all know how much these silty soils can shift.

 

Sign for the West Bench

The idea arose a couple of years ago to install a sign at the bottom of West Bench Hill Road.  As I see it, the sign could serve three purposes:

  1. Commemorate the establishment of the West Bench as a Veterans' Land Act project.  In this sense, it is Part B of the Selby Park tribute.
  2. Mark the starting point of the walking path.
  3. Better establish the idea of the West Bench (broadly defined to include Sage Mesa, Husula Highlands, etc.) as a place distinct from Penticton.

 

Given these objectives, we have been toying with a few potential designs.  Below is a photo of the West Bench Hill Road as now seen by traffic heading to Kelowna on Highway 97 (see note 1):

West Bench Water: Where does the money go?

There have been some massive changes in the West Bench water system over the last few years:

  1. The West Bench Irrigation District (WBID) disbanded after two generations of managing water on the West Bench.
  2. The RDOS entered into an agreement with the City of Penticton to buy treated water instead of pulling water directly from the lake,
  3. The RDOS has taken over billing, instituted a parcel tax for capital improvements (the new supply and distribution system) and added water meters.

To help make some sense of this, I have included below an analysis of revenues and expenditures for the West Bench water system under the RDOS.  Revenues are shown as positive numbers and expenses are shown as negative numbers.  The two do not match (revenues do not equal expenditures) because I have suppressed several types of financial transactions: 

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What is going on beside the Westhills pit?

Short answer: I don't know.

The PIB has been clearing/leveling some land across the road from its Westhills Aggregates operation for several weeks now.  RDOS staff have made some inquires to Westhills and the Band but so far we have not been told anything definitive.

Update 18 Mar 2015: According to the website for the Penticton Indian Band Development Corporation, the site is being cleared for a mobile home manufacturing plant:

PIBDC and the Lands Department are hosting the Information Meeting on a proposed manufactured home company on Wednesday March 18, 2015 at the Penticton Indian Band Hall....

 

West Bench pump house & path ribbon cutting

Thanks to all of you who attended the ribbon cutting for the West Bench pump house today. A couple of people have asked me about the numbers in my remarks, so I have posted my script (which I mostly followed) below:

This water project can be summarized with two numbers: 6 and 18 million.

Six different governments had to work together to get this job done.  That’s 7 if you count Interior Health as its own level of government. 8 if you count Fortis**.

Obviously, the RDOS and the City of Penticton are heavily invested in an ongoing partnership.  However, this partnership is laid on a foundation created by the West Bench Irrigation District.  Building the project required a continuous give and take between various provincial ministries and the PIB.

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