Letter to the Editor: Mayor responds

This District of Invermere (DOI) drinking water sources are safe and exceed the Canadian drinking water standards.

Dear Editor,

Re: “Mayor scores hat trick”, Valley Echo, November 28, 2012

This District of Invermere (DOI) drinking water sources are safe and exceed the Canadian drinking water standards and our surface water source consistently has turbidity levels much lower than other water systems within the Columbia Valley. One of our two water sources, the Paddy Ryan lakes, does not meet the full treatment requirement mandated by IHA. Of the 1,778 drinking water systems (some of these are groundwater and do not require the same level of treatment) within the IHA boundaries, only 175 (2007 statistics) systems have both disinfection and filtration. The exact statistic of how many water systems do not meet the multiple barriers to treatment requirement, but provide exceptional quality water is not known — but it is a very high number of the water systems within the IHA boundaries and throughout the province. Invermere is not alone in this challenge and we are working proactively on our water protection plans and investigations of UV disinfection so that we can meet what many feel are excessive requirements.

The suggestion that DOI wastewater contaminates shallow groundwater is false. We monitor groundwater near our sewer treatment system regularly and operate under a valid permit from the Ministry of Environment.

In my mind, the concept of a town with no people is silly, and a council being appointed instead of elected is not democratic. When the Province tells the people they appoint to a council what they must and must not do in their Official Community Plan and around land zoning, I consider them to be puppets acting out what they were instructed to do. If you want to use other less colourful terms like unaccountable and non-autonomous, then that is fine.

The DOI is working with all of the local governments in Columbia Valley, the Columbia Basin Trust and citizens on a socio-economic plan with implementation dollars, to try to improve some of the bigger long term challenges in the area. The DOI also has a number of infrastructure renewal projects and economic development projects planned for 2013.

A healthy community not only supports and encourages a healthy environment for non-profit groups, but also relies on them to make the community a better place. Not everything can or should be done with tax dollars and paid staff. Despite what Mr. Berzins may believe, it is unlikely that all of the problems are caused by the mayor; it may even be possible that he is working with his council to make the present realities in Invermere better while still standing up for basic principles like democracy and proper process in land zoning.

Gerry Taft


District of Invermere