West Kelowna  

Council approves borrowing method for water treatment plant

How to pay for clean water

West Kelowna council has approved the steps necessary to pay for construction of the $75 million Rose Valley Water Treatment Plant.

With work already underway on the site, council was able Tuesday to set up the mechanism by which the city will attempt to borrow up to $23 million, its share of the project.

The city has established a Local Area Service for the more than 8,200 properties who will eventually be hooked onto the system.

Only those property owners will ultimately be paying for the service. In order to gain electoral approval, the city will conduct a Subject to Petition Against, which gives those residents within the LAS the opportunity to voice their disapproval.

The petition is similar to an Alternative Approval Process, except that 50 per cent of those affected must disapprove to stop the borrowing.

City CAO Paul Gipps says that process is expected to begin later this summer, once approval is received from the province.

Money would be borrowed in 2022, with repayment over 25 years.

In order to repay the loan, those affected property owners will be asked to pay an additional $34 in water rates spread out over the next two years. That would eventually roll over from the utility bill to a parcel tax.

"This is not a discussion about whether to proceed or not...this project is already happening," said Coun. Rock deJong.

"This is happening, period. The question is how do you want to pay for it."

Coun. Carol Zanon applauded staff and previous councils for their work in ensuring the treatment plant project would go ahead.

She called this a "very special day."

"Water is life," said Zanon.

"This is probably the most important thing, in my opinion, that this council will ever do."

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