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SEKID urged to postpone improvement plan

Letters to the Editor – Larry Cochrane  October 9, 2012

Open letter to the board of directors for the South East Kelowna Irrigation District:

More than 30 years ago, I developed, and still own, a manufactured home park in southeast  Kelowna.

I am writing to you to express my deepest concerns over proposed rate hikes by the water district.

Residents of this community, along with those in other manufactured home parks in the area are, in general, at a more modest income level than the overall population.

The proposed rate hikes will have a major impact on their finances.

While the total increase will be invoiced and paid for by the land owner, it is these residents who will ultimately foot the bill. Like the invoice, only the land owner will get to vote on the proposal.

Each park resident does not own the land their home sits on and therefore does not get to vote.

These residents and community members make up more than 10 per cent of the home owners in southeast Kelowna and if they had a vote, I am quite sure they alone would defeat this proposal.

Years ago in British Columbia, only land owners were allowed to vote in municipal elections. But now all residents are able to express their voice. Your constitution may not allow these votes, but surely you must give consideration to these members of the community as well.

While I am sure you have tried to weigh all options and feel this is the only choice, I urge you to halt this process and re-visit the program.

(SEKID manager Toby) Pike has been quoted as saying there is no government funding available and it would make no difference if SEKID was part of a greater Kelowna water district.

I am not so sure. Over the last 20 years sewer expansions in Kelowna and West Kelowna have been funded by up to 50 per cent by provincial grants and Peachland has taken advantage of federal opportunities to improve its community.

Area MLA Steve Thomson recently stated provincial funds may become available. If there are no government grants today, there will be again in the not-too-distant future. I urge you to halt this process until you have a firm commitment of government support.

I have been involved in southeast Kelowna for over 30 years and have seen marked improvement to the quality of water over that time.

While further improvement may be necessary, I urge you to use some common sense.

In these difficult economic times restraint is a byword everywhere.  It is time for SEKID to show some now.

Larry Cochrane,

Kelowna

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