Development over top of aquifer a bad idea

To the Editor:

To the Editor:

Do the citizens/ taxpayers of the South Okanagan valley really deserve yet another developer’s offloading efforts, err… application to have the RDOS (read; taxpayers) eventually take over responsibility for a water supply and wastewater management infrastructure on a golf course? This development will be at least ten kilometers from any town site or replenishable water supply of any description. It makes no good sense and I surely don’t want it.

Suki Sekhon, the most recent owner/developer of the Twin Lakes Golf Resort is creating a housing subdivision development which calls for a full scale wastewater treatment facility similar to one installed in the Cowichan Valley Regional District. This waste treatment facility will be state of the art, however it is to be situated squarely on top of the aquifer which it will drain while trying to supply domestic water for a demanding 400 homes. It is proposed to use the resultant treated gray water to irrigate the thirsty Twin Lakes golf course. It is Mr. Sekhon’s vision to supply domestic water taken from the aquifer 400 or more feet below to 400 homes on the high, dry rock bluffs overlooking the golf course, and to recoup and treat the gray water specifically for golf course irrigation. This gray water will most certainly need further aquifer water to perform this and will deplete an already over allocated water resource underground.

The developer states that when 400 new homes on the golf course property are hooked in to this proposed system, it can then be further exploited by hooking in the larger area residents of the Twin Lake, Grand Oro Rd., Trout Lake, and perhaps even Sheep Creek and Toy Creek Roads. I imagine this would have the proposed system running at a capacity that makes it more economically viable in the long term.

When considering the alternative proposal process which the citizens of Penticton have been forced to monitor heroically to avoid being unduly exposed to debt to finance another developer’s dream, perhaps a cautionary warning should be sounded to the people of the valley. These developers are deeply engaged in housing developments on a rocky hillside with no viable alternate water source than pumping it up from below. The taxpayers, represented in these deals by the politicians they elected, are being hung out to dry unless they can stop the process via civil plebiscite action resulting in referendum.

Deeper and less productive wells are the topic on lips around the valley and the world today and it is no crime to preserve areas which are ecologically sensitive. As we become more aware, it is our responsibility to sound warning to others when we see it. There is a growing need to preserve and conserve precious groundwater.

If, as Mr. Sekhon has stated, this is a long-term project requiring ten or twenty years to complete, then we who live here already will be subject to extremely protracted time frames of construction. This will impact us all negatively due to the blasting, dust, noise, traffic, and general interruptions of idyllic rural lifestyle so that one man and his companies will exploit what couldn’t be more inappropriate land upon which to situate this development and waste water treatment. The development proposal shows an open waste treatment pond directly atop the aquifer. To date, that is about the most foolish idea I’ve ever witnessed in my life. I hope the voice of reason is loud enough to be heard over development sounds.

The RDOS must revisit if not rescind the Twin Lakes area aquifer as an area for development and growth. It just makes sense.

Stephen Brown, Twin Lakes Area Aquifer Group