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Penticton  

Managing water a top issue

This story is part of a series highlighting each director race within the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen. Click for stories on Area CArea D, Area E and Area F.

The two candidates for the newly-formed electoral area in the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen both said water management is the most pressing issue to be dealt with.

Subrina Monteith and Gary Vollet are both seeking the director seat for Area I, which encompasses Kaleden, St. Andrews, Twin Lakes, Apex and other smaller areas west of Skaha Lake. 

The area was previously part of Area D which will be split in half as of the municipal election on Oct. 20. Current area director Tom Siddon, a Kaleden resident and longtime politician, isn't seeking re-election.

"It was so large, like 6,000 residents... I often admired how (Siddon) could handle that large of an area," Monteith said. Area D had 5,874 residents in the 2016 census, making it the most populous rural area in the RDOS until it is split.

Monteith is a Kaleden resident of 15 years and said she has been an active volunteer in the area. She said she previously was vice president of Peachfest, organized the local Terry Fox Run and was on the board for B.C. 55+ Games in Penticton in 2004.

She has attended every RDOS board meeting as a viewer for the past nine months, and the first issue she touched on was water concerns at Twin Lakes — not only on immense flooding in the past two springs, but also on access to water and the impact of future development

"Something I found is a lot of the areas share the same concerns... Road access, maintenance, illegal dumping up at Apex, vacation rentals and rules around that," she said, adding that she plans to further upgrades at Pioneer Park in Kaleden as well.

Vollet has lived in Apex for 25 years, and said water management along with restoring and preserving natural habitats is what he is largely advocating for. 

He's also part of the local, privately-operated fire brigade at Apex and said he would like to see emergency response improved for the vast Area I.

"Kaleden is great, they have such a good fire response... But as soon as you get up kind of towards Farleigh Lake or Twin Lakes, there's nothing really for them because of that reciprocating fire truck deal they all have."

Vollet said he would like to push for wetlands to be restored in the Twin Lakes area, which he said would alleviate flooding in Sportsmens Bowl as well, near Oliver.

He said he would advocate to protect agricultural land, and said it's more important to do that than to increase residential supply, but noted he would support low-density developments over other alternatives.

"There's a little bit of stress going on with water and traffic issues and everything else. It's a pretty unique area, and if we can protect it and keep as much hinterland and agriculture as possible... I'm just environmentally friendly."

The first-ever Area I director in the RDOS will be elected on Saturday.

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