Water monitoring requested

Representatives from Summerland and other communities in the Central and South Okanagan are urging the province to reconsider a recent decision on lake and stream water quality monitoring.

Representatives from Summerland and other communities in the Central and South Okanagan are urging the province to reconsider a recent decision on lake and stream water quality monitoring.

In July, the Interior Health Authority sent a letter advising Central and South Okanagan communities it would not be able to hire summer students to collect water samples for quality testing.

Municipal administrator Don DeGagne said this decision has left the communities scrambling to continue the testing.

“The responsibility has now been downloaded, with little notice, to communities which do not have the resources, staffing or expertise to carry out this important function,” he said.

At the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention later this month, mayors from the affected communities will meet with the provincial Minister of Health to ask that this decision be reconsidered.

DeGagne said consultation would have been appreciated before the initial decision was made.

“If these types of things are expected to be taken on by municipalities, they should have appropriate notice,” he said. “Municipalities can no longer continue to take on downloaded work from the government without have a cost attached to it.”

Mayor Janice Perrino said the decision was made badly because proper notice was not given.

“This was not handled well,” she sad.

The monitoring is needed to determine if the water in the lakes and streams is safe. If there are concerns, advisories and notices can be issued for those using the beaches.