West Bench

West Bench water system page on the main RDOS web site

Now that West Bench water is the responsiblity of the RDOS, a page has been added to the main RDOS web site.

The official RDOS page will house all the official RDOS news on the water system and the 2011 upgrade project.  I will continue to run this as a "shadow" West Bench water on this site to provide additional information and permit more resident feedback (each page on this site permits comments).

Be Heard! Register for the online version of the West Bench Water Upgrade Survey

The RDOS is currently fleshing out 1+3 alternatives for the West Bench water system upgrade (the status quo is not reallly an option since it does not meet IHA's standards; it is included only to provide a baseline against which to evaluate the cost of the other alternatives).  The fourth option (not included in the July 22nd newsletter to residents) is the extraterritorial arrangement with the City of Penticton that failed to attract sufficient support in the 2010 referendum.  I have asked RDOS staff to include it for completeness.


Public consultation regarding the 2011 West Bench Water upgrade project

At the request of the West Bench Irrigation District’s (WBID) Board of Trustees, the Province of British Columbia has officially dissolved WBID and transferred responsibility for the West Bench water system to the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen (RDOS). This will ensure access to federal and provincial grants necessary for water system upgrades required by the Interior Health Authority (IHA) as well as ongoing operations and maintenance. In addition, a number of options for improvements are being proposed.

Although this water project has been going on for many years and residents have a good understanding of the issues, the RDOS is committed to a full process of public consultation BEFORE making a formal recommendation to residents.  I envision public consultation consisting of three stages:


Transit review: Open House on 20 June, 2011


The RDOS is hosting a Transit Review open house:

Westbench Elementary School Library
Monday 20 June 2011
drop in anytime between 5:00 to 7:00 p.m

See the full ad here and please pass it along to anyone who you might think is interested.


Selby Park

Selby Park is located on West Bench drive north of West Bench Elementary School.  The park was named for Eric Selby, a veteran and driving force in the establishment of the West Bench Veterans' Land Act (VLA) project.

The park is currently popular with mountain bikers, who use the park to access Penticton Indian Band lands to the west and north.



  • Grassy area
  • Shade trees
  • Some playground equipment
  • Riding ring
  • Parking along West Bench Drive


RDOS applied for and received $18,000 in Federal matching grants in 2010 for park upgrades in Area F. The matching grants permitted the RDOS to undertake several projects for which the cost to Area F taxpayers was only 50% of the total.


RDOS may be taking over responsibility for water on the West Bench

As you may have seen in the newspaper (story in the Penticton Herald and Oliver Daily News), the WBID and RDOS are working together to resolve the water issue on the West Bench.  A proposal is going before the provincial cabinet to disolve the WBID and pass responsiblity for water on the West Bench to the RDOS.  The RDOS would then create a service area corresponding to the boundaries of the WBID.

Right now we are waiting for an Order-In-Council from the province to execute the transfer.  Until then, the WBID remains responsible for water on the West Bench.


Water board‘s days numbered

The West Bench Irrigation District could be formally dissolved as early as next month, paving the way for a referendum on a possible upgrade of its aging water system.

The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen has agreed to take over the West Bench water system, following the irrigation district‘s recent decision to apply for dissolution. The final step calls for the transfer to be approved by the province through an order-in-council, expected sometime in June.

BC wants to see action on West Bench water

The following article appeared in the on-line "Oliver Daily News" . Jack Bennest, who did the story and who has spent much time at the RDOS board table, asked me for some comments.  He included these at the end of the story. The story stems from a letter to the RDOS from the Province asking whether the RDOS would be willing to takeover the West Bench water system if the WBID decided to dissolve.