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A Visit to Kamloops City Council

I attended the Kamloops City Council meeting this past Tuesday. I figured it would be a great opportunity to learn more about the types of  issues discussed and decided upon by City Council. I am considering running for City Council myself.

I was generally impressed with the meeting and plan on attending again. Here are some of my quick impressions:

  • There is a lot of "unsexy" but important stuff that Council has to decide upon. There was a long discussion about an application for a reduction of 3 parking spaces at a seniors housing complex currently being constructed. There was also discussion about whether certain commercial building meet City standards in terms of their exterior design and landscaping.


  • Decorum - does it help or does it hinder? - Many of the Council members refer to Mayor Mel Rothenburger as "Your Worship". City Senior Manager Len Hrycan always addresses a Councillor by first saying " Mr Mayor, and through you, to Councillor So&So". No other City Manager does this. All these practices, however, do perhaps underline a respect for the public business. Or maybe, they are really antiquated and the meetings might save time without the extra verbiage. I am a little conflicted on this one.


  • It will actually take at least 3 years for our water to be entirely safe to drink: At the end of the meeting, Councillor John De Cicco expressed some concern that the message has not really gotten through that, with our new water treatment plant, the water in Kamloops is safe to drink. Then, the Mayor said something that pricked my attention. He mentioned that, from time to time, our water will still not be entirely safe. Mel was kind enough to email me this quote from the Kamloops Community Report today:

"As part of the transition to the new treatment system, pipes and reservoirs are being cleaned of residue and sediment from the formerly pumped water. Cleaning the 560 km of water mains is expected to take at least three years.

"Until the pipes are clean, residents will occasionally experience turbid water as demand increases in the summer months and water flows through pipes at a higher rate. Also, turbidity will be noticed during fire hydrant flow-testing and water main repairs."

So, during the summer month until 2008, our water may still be quite muddy. As well, Residents should pay attention to any water or fire hydrant repairs in their area.

Comments

ironcat

Hm. So that photo of city officials drinking tap water and smiling in one of the newspapers recently was a tad misleading. Interesting.

Any thoughts on safe, public water having an affect on what seems to be a prolific and successful bottled-water market? I wonder if it will ultimately cost jobs.

I've also sat through a city council session, along with a group of fellow glazed-eyed baby journalists. The subject matter was extremely dull, but I found the system itself worth seeing.

Jason Johnson

Arjun, you should run for council. You'd do an outstanding job.

Arjun Singh

ironcat: I think one of things we should provide each other, through City Hall, is access to drinkable water. I think that what we have now is where we need to be. There might be some drop off in bottled water sales, but I think that people will still want bottled, filtered water. I am still having trouble drinking out of the tap. I don't know why really. At this time of year, water is safe.

Jason: Thanks my friend. I might be needing a good campaign manager. Interested?

ironcat

Just playing devil's advocate. I don't drink the tapwater here at all... my immune system is too frail to take risks like that.

We should have safe drinking water: having to pay to keep you and your children from getting sick is reprehensible, and irresponsible in a socio-economic sense.

However, when in doubt, look for the money. That's usually where things get clogged up.

Arjun Singh

I did not express myself too well in my prior comment, ironcat. I wonder if there was anyway we could flush out our water pipes so that our water would be always safe right now. I think our city councillors are a pretty reasonable, competent bunch and I think they would have made our water safe to drink immediately if they could.

I totally agree that we need safe drinking water. And we need to be active in making sure we have it as soon as possible. We also need to ensure we have good information as to when the water might still have problems.

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