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Mayor praises contamination rules

Published: October 09, 2011 1:00 AM – Vernon Morning Star

Provincial government to establish regulations for cattle and manure management.

Efforts are underway to prevent any further legal action against governments and protect local water sources.

Coldstream, along with the Regional District of North Okanagan, faces four charges in relation to a foreign substance entering the Antwerp Springs water source in January 2010. The contamination forced thousands of Coldstream residents to abandon their drinking water.

But Coldstream officials insist that, even before the contamination occurred, they had been pressuring the provincial government to establish regulations for cattle and manure management, particularly around Coldstream Creek.

Mayor Jim Garlick says draft legislation has finally been drawn up which will protect local water sources from contamination from manure.

“Our meetings with them over the past three years have paid off,” said Garlick, after meeting with the Ministry of Environment and Ministry of Agriculture at the recent Union of B.C. Municipalities convention.

Not only will local water sources be protected with the stricter regulations, but it will hopefully eliminate such situations of governments suing governments, says Garlick.

“We don’t want to have to go through this again.”

Coldstream also questioned the Ministry of Environment over the need for legal action, but the ministry declined to answer as the matter is before the courts.

“It isn’t the wisest direction to take and we’re hoping it can be resolved quickly,” said Garlick.

UBCM also gave Coldstream a chance to make another push for the sports facility at Okanagan College.

“We still see it as beneficial,” Garlick told Naomi Yamamoto, minister of advanced education. “We are seeking her support in moving this ahead.”

Coldstream also joined Vernon to re-iterate the need for the two-shelled in floors at Vernon Jubilee Hospital to be opened.

“Those two floors provide us with much needed beds,” Garlick told Michael de Jong, health minister.

An announcement is expected by the end of the year and Garlick is optimistic.

“We’re hoping it’s an announcement to get one of them open and at least a timeline for the other. So that it doesn’t fall off the radar.”

Garlick points out that the costs to have those two shelled in floors put in would normally be split 60/40, with the provincial government paying the larger portion and the remainder coming from local coffers.

“We paid 100 per cent for those two floors to be shelled in, which is usually not the case,” he said, adding that the VJH Foundation has also raised the funds to equip the hospital.

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