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[Vernon] City clarifies position over water utility withdrawal

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June 18, 2009

Some politicians are being accused of not understanding the process that could split Greater Vernon’s water utility.

The City of Vernon insists it only wants to withdraw from distribution but issues surrounding water supply must be discussed by all partners in the function.

“It’s always been recognized that we need to determine what part of the system is supply and how it will be governed,” said Mayor Wayne Lippert.

Lippert added that the need to discuss water supply has always been part of correspondence between the city and the North Okanagan Regional District.

On Wednesday, NORD received a letter from the city which asks Coldstream and Areas B and C for “clear information” on what each party’s expectation is for both water distribution and supply within the region.

And the mention of supply led to some heated debate.

“When did supply show up on the radar?” Area C director Mike Macnabb said to Lippert.

“I thought it was just devolution (withdrawal) of distribution.”

Similar concerns came from Mike Gavinchuk, Area B director.

“Are we going to open this completely?” he said.

However, Lippert reiterated that the city’s position has remained consistent.

“We are looking at distribution only but we want to continue on with discussions with what supply will look like,” he said.

“We’ve always indicated we will remain part of the supply function.”

A joint meeting of Vernon and Coldstream councils, as well as the two electoral area directors, will be held in August to discuss all issues leading to the city possible withdrawing from the regional water distribution service.

On Feb. 26, 2008, the city provided formal notice that it would withdraw from water distribution for a number of reasons, including a lack of co-ordination on capital projects and the belief customers are confused over the governance structure.

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