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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.

It is a sign of the success of the Protocol Agreement with the Penticton Indian Band and the increased maturity of the relationship between our two governments that these right-of-ways were negotiated without me even knowing about them.

And of course we have funding partners: the Province of BC and the Government of Canada.  Of all the people most responsible for this project in all these various governments, I would like to single out Rudy Enzmann who, as MLA. Barisoff’s assistant, did a lot of work behind the scenes to get everyone pushing in the same direction.  And I would like to single out current MLA Ashton who, as Mayor of Penticton, was willing to believe in this project.

So that is 6—six governments.  What is 18 million?  I calculate the 20 year lifecycle cost of this project, all in, at 18 million dollars. That’s a big project for us.  Of that 18 million, roughly half is capital and half is operations now and 20 years into the future.  Two thirds of the capital cost—almost $6 million—has been covered by grants from senior governments.

One nice thing about this project is that a lot of our costs are Penticton’s revenues. West Bench residents have already paid a buy-in-fee to the City of Penticton of $3.5 million and the present value of ongoing payments for water is another $3.5 million.  

So the bottom line is that the City of Penticton earns $7 million on infrastructure it already has in place.  And thanks to the grants from BC and Canada, West Bench residents get filtered water through new pipes for roughly the same annual cost as they were paying for dirty water through old pipes.  Everyone talks about win-win situations, but this project is the real deal.

** I know Fortis is not a level of government.  This was a bit of an inside joke because, in the end, the entire project came down to the cooperation of Fortis (which was on strike for a big part of 2013).

The official press releases are below:

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