It seems that a new alternative for Windermere’s water tribulations has appeared, and just before the fundamental vote coming up on June 25.
A meeting was held at the Windermere Community Hall on June 11 inviting interested Windermere residents to sit in on a new idea that could be the new source of quality water that complies with the Interior Health (IH)’s 4-3-2-1-0 treatment objectives.
For some residents, the idea of the Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) purchasing bulk water from Parr Utilities Ltd. sounded like it would be too costly in the long-run.
Steve Lacky, who had worked as a water consulting engineer for 32 years prior to his retirement, volunteered his time and researched an alternative that may mean an overall cheaper and public-owned water treatment alternative, should residents vote down RDEK’s Parr Utilities Ltd. option.
“It’s been said that there ‘isn’t any other alternative’, but we believe there is,” said Lacky during the meeting.
The proposed alternative is for Windermere to build a new water treatment plant within the existing, but now-unused, old fire hall, renovating the interior which, as Lacky explained, would function well as a treatment facility.
Necessary upgrades to pump stations, piping and more would also be included.
The proposed treatment centre would be able to accommodate 787 connections, as well as a hypothesized 1,100 connections in the future.
The total would come to a capital cost of around $6.4 million, with the Parr Utilities Ltd. option estimated at $12.7 million.
This would also reduce water rates per year. The pitched rate (starting out at 623 connections) through Parr’s system was $60 a month, totalling $720 a year.
For the 787 connections proposed treatment centre, however, the estimated rate would be $540 a year, as it is believed that the stand-alone pumping, treatment and storage system in Windermere can be operated and maintained for $335,000 per year.
As for whether or not this alternative will be considered by the RDEK should residents vote “No” in the upcoming water vote, Lacky seemed confident that, at any rate, the RDEK will have to look into other alternatives, as a new water treatment process has a target deadline, set by IH, for 2015.
“If we have our own system, we will be in much more control of rates, staff and more,” said Lacky. “We really don’t have much to say in that with Parr.”
Further information about the upcoming Windermere water vote on June 25 is available at the RDEK’s website at www.rdek.bc.ca.
Follow the site map to Services and Water Systems.