Any talk in the North Okanagan Regional District of diverting water from the Shuswap watershed will come under close scrutiny by Sicamous council and the Columbia Shuswap Regional District.
The topic of water diversion arose at council’s March 23 committee meeting with the receipt of a written update from the Southern Interior Regional Drinking Water Team, an interagency committee charged with addressing issues that might affect drinking water.
Present at the meeting was CSRD Rural Sicamous-Malakwa director Rhona Martin, who urged council to read the regional growth management strategy currently being done by NORD.
“That was one of my comments back to them, there should be no further diversion of water from one system to another…,” said Martin, referring specifically to the Duteau Creek Water Treatment Plant. The creek is fed from water diverted from the Shuswap watershed. Martin said the diversion occurred in the 1920s for agricultural purposes. The creek now serves as one of the City of Vernon’s major water sources.
“We’re constantly hearing how the growth pressures in the Okanagan Valley… If they continue to allow the growth to happen down there, then they’re going to continue to need more water, and where is that water going to come from?” Martin asked.
Sicamous administrator Alan Harris noted a greater concern is the potential for a diversion of the Shuswap River in NORD’s Area F, into Fortune Creek and on to Okanagan Lake.
Coun. Lynn Miller suggested this issue should be monitored through the Shuswap Lake Integrated Planning Process.
Council is backing a City of Armstrong resolution to the Southern Interior Local Government Association (SILGA) to see proceeds of crime used to support community policing programs.
The resolution notes how the Crime Stoppers program has helped in the recovery of more that $800,000 in property, and $17 million in drug-related seizures, which goes into general revenue, while Crime Stoppers runs through fundraising.
Coun. Jerry Silva agreed with the resolution, but suggested proceeds might also benefit Sicamous’ restorative justice program.
Council agreed to send a letter of support, with specific mention of local programs like restorative justice and Citizens On Patrol.
District council will also writing a letter in support of the Township of Langley’s demand to the B.C. government for greater public safety related to medical marijuana licenses.
A letter from Langley Mayor Peter Fassbender states that while the provincial government has stated one of its major goals is to make communities more safe, “the situation with respect to the issuance of medical marijuana licenses and the lack of adequate inspections, enforcement, controls and oversight on their implementation is a significant public safety issue.”
Fassbender asks that current licenses be cancelled and that medical marijuana be dispensed through licensed pharmacies by doctor’s prescription.
“It seems to me that at a bust, locally, here there were claims it was to be for medicinal purposes, and turns out it wasn’t…” commented Silva. “I don’t know if you want to check beforehand, but I would support this.”
Coun. Don Richardson also encouraged council’s support, stating the medical marijuana program needs to be controlled better.