Sage Mesa

Reacquisition of the KVR by the Penticton Indian Band


[Update 22 March, 2010: I have posted a more detailed summary of this issue here]

The Penticton Indian Band (PIB) has recently made a request to the federal government (Indian and Northern Affairs Canada—INAC) to reacquire the rail bed granted to the Kettle Valley Railroad (and subsequently the Canadian Pacific Railroad).  As you are no doubt aware, this land runs through Sage Mesa and the West Bench.


Update on operations and maintenance

Al Lister, who has been the Chief Water System Operator for the Sage Mesa system retired recently, as did his crew currently consisting of Jim Grasswick and Frank Lamberty.  As a result, the Water Stewardship Division of the provincial Ministry of Environment (the entity that runs, but not owns, the Sage Mesa water system) had to find a water operator with the necessary level of training and certification.

Initially, the Province went to the City of Penticton to negotiate a maintenance contract similar to the one between Penticton and the West Bench Irrigation District.  This made some sense to me, at least as a short term measure, since the Penticton is close by and is already dispatching trucks up the hill for the WBID contract. However, for whatever reason, Penticton chose not to take on this contract.  That left the RDOS little choice but to step in and offer its services to the province.


Veterans tribute

Kick-off meeting

We had a very productive kick-off meeting at the West Bench School library on Monday, December 14th (the meeting annoucement).  About a dozen local residents attended.

The primary purpose of the meeting was to identify some high-level objectives for the West Bench veterans tribute project. Based on the group discussion, the following objectives were identified.  We did not vote on these objectives but we did identify the veteran aspect as the most important.

Fire hydrant on Verano Place

A number of residents on Sage Mesa's Verano Place are concerned that the fire hydrant on their street is not what it appears to be.  That is, the fire hydrant was installed by Sage Mesa Water Co. a few years back in order to take advantage of road work by the provincial Ministry of Transportation.  However, the large-capcity water line to service the fire hydrant is not yet in place (see the letter from the Sage Mesa Water Co. for more information).

The following is my response to inquiries from some very concerned residents:


The risk of extraterritorial water service

The recent conflict between the City of Vernon, Coldstream, and two neighboring electoral areas of the North Okanagan Regional District should be of interest as ratepayers in the West Bench irrigation district consider an extraterritorial service provided by the City of Penticton.  The basic issue in Vernon is that the shared utility, Greater Vernon Water, is responsible for both supply and distribution of treated water to all four political entities.  However, the whole arrangement is on the verge of unraveling due to differences in opinion regarding distribution in the rural and non-rural areas.  Central supply seems to be okay with everyone.  See the news stories here and here.


Survey reins in opinions on area’s feral horses problem

By Kristi Patton - Penticton Western News April 28, 2009 (link to story)

A long-term sustainable solution is what residents in West Bench want in solving the roaming horse issues.

“This is a complex problem and we want residents to know that we are making progress,” said Michael Brydon, director of RDOS electoral area F. “We want a long-term, sustainable solution and now we know from our survey that our citizens value that as their highest priority.”