Interior Health awash with ideas, dry on the dough

Interior Health awash with ideas, dry on the dough

Interior Health released a report last week saying drinking water systems should all be upgraded by 2025. They gave compelling reasons why upgrading is important for communities that issue water quality advisories, whether occasionally, often or, in the case of Windermere, continuously.

It’s helpful to see the data compiled in one place. And it’s great that Interior Health, tasked with our health and wellbeing, is concerned over the safety of our drinking water.

The problem is that it does nothing to actually solve the problem. Interior Health does not have vast pots of money to pour on these problems. While the officials can talk until they’re blue in the face about how communities need to bring the drinking water systems up to snuff, without money to back it, it’s just another report to stack on the desk.

Windermere is a good case study of water quality issues. Before the provincial standards changed, residents drank the water. Since the regulations changed, conversations with locals suggest that many still do drink it.

But rules are rules and, in order to protect the vulnerable populations in communities, they need to be followed. RDEK documents estimate the cost of buying an existing water company with better treatment methods, plus buying the building, plus all the hookups, could cost more than $9 million. That is a hefty price to pay for a small community.

A 2014 report by the Columbia Institute Centre For Civic Governance highlighted the problems of municipalities having to pick up the tab for services downloaded from federal and provincial governments. The list was extensive, from public transit to sewage infrastructure, policing and fire services to drinking water treatment. ‘Who’s Picking Up the Tab’, investigated the scale and scope of downloading onto local governments. Interestingly enough, this provincial study used Windermere as its example for drinking water regulations, stating “Changes to provincial drinking water regulations and standards are triggering millions of dollars in mandatory infrastructure construction and upgrades, with most of these costs borne by local governments […] A notable example is the Regional District of East Kootenay community of Windermere, which faces capital costs ranging from $5.7 million to $10.3 million to meet new requirements under provincial water regulations.”

‘Drinking Water in Interior Health’ report is great. But unless it comes with a bundle of cash, the report will sit high and dry while Windermere gets soaked in costly upgrades.

Just Posted

The end of an Echo

Invermere Valley Echo shuts down operations in Columbia Valley

Creating a new narrative for Canal Flats

Economic development consultant hired, lists vision for next 90 days

UPDATE: Crews battle as wildfires rage in B.C. Interior

Crews brace for another day on B.C. firelines as no let up is likely

VIDEO: B.C. wildfires by the numbers

Wildfires continue to engulf regions of B.C.’s forests and communities.

VIDEO: More than 180 wildfires burning across B.C.

Firefighters from other provinces called in to assist

DTSS Grad March 2017

DTSS Grad March 2017

59 cats seized in Chase

59 neglected and injured cats were seized from a property in Chase

Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell dead at age 52

The singer/songwriter passed away early Thursday morning in Detroit

Paying tribute to a primeval passage

Uninterrupted celebrates the Adams River sockeye run in an extraordinary way.

UPDATE: Pemberton Music Festival cancelled, no automatic refunds

In the past, the music festival located in Pemberton drew large crowds last year of 180,000 fans

Medical wait times cost B.C. patients $2,300 each

New Fraser Institute report places B.C. at second worst in costs associated with long wait times

UPDATE: 22 killed at Ariana Grande concert

Witnesses reported hearing two loud bangs coming from near the arena’s bars at about 10:35 p.m.

One in three Canadian high school students have rode with drinking drivers, study reveals

Nearly one in five rode with a driver who’d been smoking pot

Top court to hear federal government’s appeal on residential school records

A lower court judge ruled to destroy the stories after 15 years unless consent is given to preserve

Most Read