Editor, The Times:
Please accept my apology for I was under the misconception that what happens at committee meetings was not public until the whole board had made a decision. I have spoken with senior staff and they have informed me that all committee meetings are public. I have to thank Mr. Pennell for bringing that to my attention and this information will be taken into account in future.
On Feb. 26, we (the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board) addressed a recommendation concerning Community Water system Regulatory and Management Bylaw No. 2485, which is to consolidate all of the 11 existing TNRD water system bylaws into one bylaw that will provide consistency and clarity for staff and the public to understand the regulations with respect to management and operations of the TNRD-owned water systems.
If the water utility rate increase recommendation from the utility committee was approved by the board of director, then as of July 1, 2015 there will be rate increases for all 11 TNRD-owned water systems, including Vavenby. The reasons for the increases are:
• 15 per cent increase in BC Hydro rates for 2015
• nine per cent increase in chlorine costs in 2014
• Staff wage increases
• Fuel increases
• Increased direct costs i.e. maintenance, licences, permits, insurance etc.
Another reason for the increase is that Vavenby Water System only has $1,213 in reserve. If anything major happens there is not enough money in the kitty to cover the costs. I don’t know about you but I would rather pay an increased monthly fee than one large sum.
If you think that I take these increases lightly you are sadly mistaken because, like you, I have to pay as well. I have copy of the utility systems summary that was provided to the committee, if you would like to read it in full.
Water meters being looked at
I have heard a few comments about the water meters that are recommended to be installed in Vavenby. The estimated cost of each water meter is between $2,000 to $3,000 and staff will be applying for a grant under federal Gas Tax funding so that there would b little or no cost to the end user. The water meter installation has a time frame of two years.
Water meters are going to become a fact of life. At this time staff recommends that water meters be installed only in the communities where there is high daily water usage. Your utility rate would be based on your water consumption; if you conserve you would pay less than someone who does not conserve. It seems that a few people feel that the grant monies should be used for improvements to the quality of water. If this is the case I can make a suggestion to staff that whoever wants it can be billed for the water meters and that their share of the grant can go to upgrades. I don’t know if that will work but we can give it try. Just give me a call and let me know.
Because the Vavenby water system is a surface water system we will always have turbidity at different times of the year, hence the boil order notices. Mr. Pennell set aside $30,000 for an ultraviolet light to be installed, which he borrowed from Area “P” and will have to be repaid at a future date from Area “A” federal Gas Tax Funds. The UV will improve the quality of water only when there is no turbidity, so for most of the year we should have drinkable water for those people who are not drinking the water now. The manager of utility services has stated that he is going to install the UV system in water systems closer to Kamloops first and iron out the bugs and get a realistic cost before moving to the water systems in the outer areas like Vavenby. This to me is good thing because then when installed in our water system we should have few or no problems.
I hope this answer most of your questions. If you require further information please do not hesitate to contact me at (250) 674-7049 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Carol Schaffer, director
TNRD Area A (Wells Gray Country)