Keremeos Irrigation District Board Chair Roger Mayer called it “an important milestone for Keremeos Irrigation District” on Tuesday afternoon, October 7 as the KID celebrated the commissioning of the district’s first reservoir.
Mayor recited a short history of the project before a sparse crowd at Victory Hall. The reservoir, which was subject to some controversy, first became a priority for the district in 2000. The district was able to secure higher levels of funding through an application made by the village to secure a $400,000 gas tax grant, which enabled the project to move forward without an excessive burden to Keremeos Irrigation District ratepayers. Tenders were issued last fall, construction began in January this year, and the 500,000 gallon reservoir became operational in late September.
Mayer told the audience the new reservoir could now handle higher peak flow demands from the village, and would lessen the need to drill new wells. Thanking the village and the regional district for their help, Mayer told those present, “It shows what we can do when we all work together.”
Mark Pendergraft, RDOS Chair, was also on hand. He offered congratulations to the district, while KID consultant Kevin Huey told the group that pipeline upgrading was the next project that would be tackled by the Keremeos Irrigation District.
The reservoir project ran into controversy when a number of villagers petitioned their opposition to it through the alternative approval process. They argued the reservoir was unnecessary and too costly, but a referendum that followed the AAP in April 2013 produced a majority who favoured the project.
Those opposed to the project were incensed after the issue proceeded to referendum, insisting their voices were ignored because the irrigation district was determined to build the reservoir no matter what the public said.