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EDITORIAL – Noble Creek irrigation users should jump at City’s offer

(Image: CFJC Today)

An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

NOBLE CREEK IRRIGATION system users should jump at the City’s offer to pay part of the cost of getting it in shape.

The old system near Dairy Road and Westsyde Road has been a thorn in the side of City Hall since amalgamation. It currently serves 47 agricultural users but is in terrible shape. Council has been trying to figure out what to do with it for years, holding a litany of in camera meetings as well as meetings with the users to look at options.

Why the City allowed the system to deteriorate so much remains unanswered.

But this week, the issue comes into the open with a proposal that City taxpayers cough up 20 per cent of the $14-million cost of upgrades, and users pay 80 per cent. That might sound like an onerous situation for the users and it is.

According to City estimates, individual land owners within the system could be in for a bill of anywhere between about $5,300 all the way up to more than $1.9 million — it depends on the size of the property. That’s not chump change.

Next week, the City will begin what amounts to a reverse petition process under the Community Charter, the legislation that defines the authority of municipalities. That process will allow irrigation system users to decide collectively whether they support borrowing for their share of the upgrades.

If they approve it, they’ll have the option of paying it all up front or amortizing it over 30 years.

A delegation will appear in front of council Tuesday to ask that council scrap the plan and not proceed with establishing a local service area and charging users for most of the cost.

They should reconsider. They should put themselves in the shoes of Kamloops taxpayers, who will be wondering why they should pay one thin dime on top of their own potable water bills to fix a broken irrigation system for 47 users.

They should look at that $2.8 million the City is offering up as the gift it is, and remember the old saying about looking a gift horse in the mouth.

Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at mrothenburger@armchairmayor.ca.

 

About Mel Rothenburger (7841 Articles)
ArmchairMayor.ca is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At ArmchairMayor.ca he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

3 Comments on EDITORIAL – Noble Creek irrigation users should jump at City’s offer

  1. Don Drysdale // November 3, 2020 at 9:27 AM // Reply

    Well Mel why is it that you were in charge at one time and let this mess deteriorate to what it is now. As in all things done by the city maintaining anything is not part of the plan. I believe a 50/50 split just as what is being proposed to the south side of Wawn road residents for curbing and storm drainage would be a much more reasonable proposal, and then the users can either accept or refuse and then they are on their own.

  2. My main question is why did the city let this get this bad in the first place? Seems like a common issues with the City of Kamloops to let things rot. Second, if we truly support food sustainability and local production, this water system needs to be fixed/corrected ASAP. Its worth the cost.

  3. Are those properties growing weeds and alfalfa within city’s limits? All of them? Perhaps a bridge over the North Thompson would spur their development and then a new water system would fully make economic sense.

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