Rural water user miffed
What Town council is doing now is what should have been done before they “nailed” 143 rural residences with huge water increases (in my case 600 per cent) with no prior warning and “grabbed” $50,000 from us just by changing a bylaw wording.
I have had many conversations via email with Town council with no satisfaction.
On one hand I am told that I have to pay the same for river water as town residents pay for well water, even though river water costs only 25 per cent of well water.
When I asked why farms pay $209 per acre and we pay $715 per acre for the same product from the same pipe, and Osoyoos charges $166.43 for both farm and residences, I am told that you can’t compare the systems . . . they don’t have a ditch to maintain.
So, river water costs 25 per cent of well water, yet council is proposing meters for us and charging 10 to 15 per cent reduction from well water.
If that is what is going to be done, then meter all irrigation customers and maybe we will have less flooded rural roads from orchardists over-watering.
What I don’t understand is why is the town picking on the 143 rural residences when revenue for irrigation in 2011 is split $700,000 from farms and only $25,000 from residences.
A $3 increase on the farm rate would provide the same revenue to the Town if all were charged the same for the same product!
Ed Dukes, Oliver
FortisBC not listening
For some reason Fortis is not listening to the concerns of their customers, acting as if they are above the publicized public annoyance to their business practice.
Therein lies the problem: complete disdain for their customers. Of course Fortis is a business and a business must make a profit to remain a business, but there has to be a limit on the profits when these profits are hurting the citizens that are held captive by this monopoly.
What are they doing with their enormous profits? It appears that when they want to expand or improve on service they simply apply for an increase in rates rather than investing the profit that they enjoy back into the company.
Then it appears that the BCUC and the government only look at what Fortis is planning, and they believe that what Fortis tells them is the honest truth, but for some reason they do not look at Fortis’ annual profit. Fortis should have to invest at least 30 per cent back into the company for future expansion or service improvement as this will bring more profit in the long run and would protect the citizens from unecessary rate increases, at least minimize these increases.
It is useless to complain unless you have an antidote to the problem, and when the government and the BCUC is not listening then the only alternative is to badger your MLA into providing the antidote or the public will find another “physician” to administer the medicine.
It is your choice and it is your MLA’s choice whether to listen or to apply for another job when this contract expires.
Donald E Thorsteinson, Oliver
Let’s restart park talks
(The following letter was addressed to BC Minister of Environment Mary Polak.)
I would like the province of British Columbia to formally re-engage negotiations with the government of Canada and First Nations in regard to the proposed South Okanagan Similkameen national park reserve.
I have closely followed this file for more than seven years and have come to the conclusion that a national park in the South Okanagan is the best way to preserve this unique wilderness area and provide significant benefits to this region and the communities.
Both the federal/provincial Park Feasibility Report (2010) and the First Nations Feasibility Study Report (2012) have concluded that a national park is feasible. In addition, the proposed park has the support of a number of local municipal governments, regional districts, tourism and environmental organizations.
A number of concerns have been expressed by those in opposition to the park. The foremost being protection of ranching and grazing rights. Controlled access for the HNZ helicopter school is also an issue.
I share these concerns. It is my hope that in negotiation our provincial government will ensure that grazing rights will be enshrined for our ranchers in perpetuity, and that they will provide a guarantee for continued helicopter school access once a tentative agreement is signed by the three levels of government.
Minister, I believe that this can be a “win-win” situation for all stakeholders and strongly urge you to re-engage our provincial government in the process as soon as possible.
Alex Atamanenko, MP, South Interior