Twin Lakes has experienced flood damage in past years. The Lower Nipit Improvement District is now asking the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen to assume ownership of the infrastructure in the region (Black Press file photo)

Twin Lakes has experienced flood damage in past years. The Lower Nipit Improvement District is now asking the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen to assume ownership of the infrastructure in the region (Black Press file photo)

Decision postponed on Twin Lakes water system

Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen board to revisit request to take over infrastructure

The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen has postponed a decision on the ownership of a water infrastructure system near the Twin Lakes area.

At the Oct. 7 meeting, the board heard a request from the Lower Nipit Improvement District for the RDOS to take ownership of their infrastructure.

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The Lower Nipit Improvement District was incorporated in the 1950s to manage water levels around Twin Lake and to provide agricultural irrigation for surrounding properties. However, recent flooding has shown the current infrastructure cannot manage lake levels and the system requires upgrades.

An engineering firm was contracted to look at the costs for upgrading the infrastructure or alternatives.

An estimate from Ecora Engineering has the capital costs to install a new culvert infrastructure at around $1.6 million. Operations and maintenance of the system would be around $5,500 a year.

Based on a 25-year loan at 2.6 per cent interest, the upgrades would cost an estimated $1,385 a year to the 69 properties serviced by this system.

In a report to the regional district board, Liisa Bloomfield, engineering manager with the regional district, said flood control and mitigation is not a service provided by the regional district. In addition, the Municipal Insurance Authority of British Columbia has said the proposed upgrades would not fully rectify the issues in the area.

Members of the regional district board said a plan is needed before the regional district could consider taking over control of the water system.

“This is a massive undertaking,” said Bob Coyne of Electoral Area H, serving rural Princeton. “Everybody wants to do the right thing, but what is the right thing?”

Regional district chair Karla Kozakevich said she would be more comfortable taking over the water service if a plan was in place.

The decision on the water infrastructure system will be revisited at a later date after additional information is gathered by staff.

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