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Dry Gulch water proposal falls before second petitionPosted: August 11, 2012

The Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development will be asked to approve the reallocation of almost $1.8 million in funding.

The funding had been approved for a Dry Gulch Water System upgrade, but property owners turned down the proposal last fall. At that time, the Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) board of directors decided to seek a reallocation of the funds; however, the community requested additional time to look into other potential options and a second petition process.

Gerry Wilkie

“We recognize how important an upgraded water system is to many people in Dry Gulch,” says RDEK Electoral Area G Director Gerry Wilkie. “Both staff and community champions have looked into options, and the unfortunate reality is the cost to provide a water system in such a small service area is simply too high. It’s unaffordable and based on the feedback I received from the community, a second petition would not be supported.”

RDEK staff will now work with the ministry to seek approval for the change of scope on the project and begin discussions with the communities of Wilmer and Spur Valley. As these are two separate water upgrade projects, community support from each community would be required before their project could proceed.

Time is of the essence as the funding will expire in March of 2013.

“I understand this decision will be disappointing for those in Dry Gulch who want to see a water system for their community. This was not an easy decision to make, but at the end of the day, given the standards we must meet with Interior Health and our own RDEK bylaws, we could not find a cost effective solution for such a small service area,” says Wilkie. “We have a deadline on the funding and two other Area G communities are in need of upgraded water systems. I feel it is important to explore whether the funding could be used for these other potential projects, rather than losing the money altogether.”

Although a second petition will not be held and the RDEK is moving forward with a change of scope for the approved funds, Wilkie says he still hopes to see a resolution to the water situation in Dry Gulch. “There are things happening in that end of the Valley. The Kinbasket Development Corporation is moving forward with plans and you never know what options may open up in the future. My hope is that one day we will find a workable solution for Dry Gulch.”

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