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LETTER: Summerland needs public engagement on water metering

Costs of meter installation have increased significantly over 10 years

Dear Editor:

It would seem that the shine has vanished from those elected to the Summerland council and they are now a bit tarnished and out of circulation, just like our pennies. Emails are not answered and the promised public engagement has yet to happen.

I am referring to the lack of public engagement regarding the latest version of a resolution put before council to meter the irrigation lines of 240 remaining households who have a separate irrigation lines.

These properties vary in size and purpose and many who have these lines use untreated water so that the water treatment plant is not overtaxed.

This issue has been bandied about for more than 10 years with decisions ranging from meters being installed at no charge in 2010, to costing property owners $1,500 in 2014 and up to $4,100 to have a meter installed in 2020.

Indecision throughout these 10 years on the part of council and staff has resulted in these stakeholders to continuously wonder how they will be able to afford to install a meter or what the costs would be to redirect the irrigation through the household meters.

At no time did these property owners object to having the water metered but objected to paying for the installation of the meter on existing lines. Originally, household and agricultural meters were installed at no cost to the property owners.

Without any reasonable public engagement in the past ten years, we have been forced to take this on as individuals. Citizens cannot even attend council meetings to have their say due to COVID restrictions.

That leaves us with sending emails to council and staff. In the past, when council was newly elected, one could expect a reply of some sort. Now; nothing.

The council meeting on Aug. 24 had one person speak to this issue via telephone. It appeared as though no one on council was listening to what he said and they went on to discuss what the price should be for the meters.

Back to the pennies; at least council should attempt to answer questions posed to them by the public. Do not use COVID-19 as an excuse to leave us out of the discussion.

Have proper public engagement when it is suitable to do so and listen to your public. Shine again.

Dawn Richards

Summerland

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