Last week, you may have seen an article about the water reservoir project. That article explained that the council of the Village of Keremeos has agreed to apply for a grant to contribute to the cost of building a reservoir for the Keremeos water system. The article also explained that even if the grant is approved, there will be additional borrowing of funds required, and the borrowing cannot take place until the electorate (the water users) give consent for such borrowing.
In this article, Keremeos Irrigation District and the Village of Keremeos wish to provide more information about both entities, and who represents the taxpayers/water users.
The Village of Keremeos is a corporation of the residents of the area of the village. The governing body of the corporation is the council. The purposes of a municipality include: providing for good government of its community; providing for services, laws and other matters for community benefit; providing for stewardship of the public assets of its community; and fostering the economic, social and environmental well-being of its community. Members of council are elected by the residents of the municipality every three years.
The council of the Village of Keremeos consists of one Mayor and four councillors. They are, Mayor Walter Despot, Councillor Ed Minshull, Councillor Manfred Bauer, Councillor Charlene Cowling, and Councillor Gary Thielmann. Staff members are employed by a municipality to administer the business of the municipality, to research issues and make recommendations to council who are the ultimate decision makers. Council meetings are open to the public, and the public is encouraged to attend, listen and contribute to its local governance. There are provincial laws that govern how a municipality can do its work, and municipalities also pass bylaws to govern procedures and processes not expressly described by the provincial laws.
Keremeos Irrigation District is an Improvement District, given its authority by the Local Government Act (a Provincial statute). An improvement district is an area of land which is authorized by what is known as ‘letters patent’, and its purpose is to provide for a service or services for the property owners in that area of land. In the case of the Keremeos Irrigation District, its purpose is to provide water to all the landowners within its boundaries.
The governing body for an improvement district is its Board of Trustees. The trustees must be landowners within the improvement area’s boundaries, and are elected by persons entitled to vote according to the letters patent-all landowners within the KID land area are entitled to vote for trustees. The term of office for a trustee is three years, and trustees’ terms begin in different years. An Annual General Meeting takes place once per year for the election of new trustees – these meetings are advertised in the local newspaper. In addition, monthly board meetings are open to the public, occurring usually the third Wednesday of every month, beginning at 7 p.m. at the KID office building located at 712 6th Avenue, Keremeos, BC. The Trustees of KID are Ian Walters, Chair, Kevin Demchuck, Tim Cottrill, Jordy Bosscha and Bill Sparkes. As noted aboved, all KID Trustees are residential landowners within the KID land area.
The Village and KID work together through the Water Advisory Committee, which is comprised of representatives of both entities. The committee meets monthly to discuss issues of mutual interest. An example is when road works might be done by the village and whether that provides an opportunity for KID to do water works at the same time to save costs. The water reservoir project is one that has been discussed by the committee, and in turn, both the council of the village and the KID Board of Trustees. Both entities agree that if grant funds can be made available for the reservoir, the cost to water users can be reduced to a level that the majority of water users will feel comfortable paying.
For further information, please contact Joni Heinrich, CAO, Village of Keremeos at 250-499-2711 or Kevin Huey, Manager, Keremeos Irrigation District, at 250-499-5651.