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Letter from the Board of Trustees of the Winfield and Okanagan Centre Irrigation District to "Sir" [F.… Trustees of the Winfield and Okanagan Centre Irrigation District Jul 19, 1946

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Full Text

July 19. 1946.
Dean F. M» Clement
Royal Commissioner re* Dyking, Drainage, k Irrigation
Boer sin
In 1931 the Win field k Okanagan Centre Irrigation District borrowed
approximately ftp ,000*00 from the Conservation Fund*     This money was used to
build CROOKED LAICS dam & a flume known as "THE BYPASS91 In order to supplement k
conserve the supply of enter in BEATER LAKE.   A shortage of water for several
years had convinced the users that this policy wee on essential one, and finding
that the carrying agents via. THS OKANAGAN CENTRE IRRIGATION k POWER CO. LTD. vac
unwilling to build more storage, the District hod to go ahead ami do the building
Thus the District at acred woter that the Company was - net still is -
paid by the novo to deliver*
To-date about $7,500.00 has been repaid oa this loan, but the District
now owes the Government #14,000*00
Under the 1933 agreement we understand that other districts have been
able to replace k renew their systems .out of their repayments*    No such privilege
hoe been granted us*       This In spite of the fact that we spent $10,000*00 in 1944
helping to rebuild BEAVER LAKE dam*
The renewal of this don was considered very necessary.   The Company stated that
they were in no position to finance this work but finally cgycod to pay 50$ of the
cost*      The District, to raise ltfe share of the money hod to assess it's members
t*#CC Per acre.    This in addition to all other costs.
WO have bean informed, both verbally J* by letter, by tho Hon* John
Hart, Pi mil in   of B. C. that this Commission would deal with our problems.
But cur problem is not entirely one of debt adjustment.    Our Financial Statement for 1945, with which the Government is familiar, clearly sets forth our position
in thin regard*
Our major problem is the ownership, maintenance, k continuity of oar
system.     You have already received certain information from us, k at the risk of
repetition, wo would like to consolidate our statements at this time for record
Prior to 1943 the owners of the carrying system which delivered water
to the Winfleld & Okanagan Centre districts had been delivering water at a charge
of #6*00 per acre foot*   This price wee considered by the users to bo e high one.
m 1943 the Irrigation Co. applied to the Public Utilities Commission far per -
mission to increase the rate*    It was only at this time that the users realised
that not only woe the system in a bod state of repair, but that the Company hod no
reserve fund* *'-W
Mr* S* Weston made a l'ipogt to the Camaission that shocked the users
into the realisation that their strait woe a desperate one.
At this time the Co. signified it's willingness to sell but the District could
get no actual figure quoted. IpB
An interview With tho Premier, as mentioned in cur letter of June 6,
1946, had no apparent result, although at the time ha sounded favourably Inclined
toward us* ||||
The right to charge an Increase of $2*00 per novo foot was granted
by an Order-in-Counoll*    This rate wee supposed to bo enough to maintain the system
& provide for depreciation m or so wo thought.
On Dceexhber 14, 1044 the District received a letter from the do.
stating that the purchase price of the system was 175,000*00.      An lft»* West on1 s
report had set a value of #103,000*00 on it* the District felt that the Cofs offer
was reasonable enough, but #75,000*00 pine the $150,000*00 that Mr* Weston said wee
required almost immediately to place the system In an adequate state of repair* woo
a forbidding figure*
And so nothing definite wee done except that the District withheld it*e repayments to the Government hoping that seme solution to itfe combined problems could
bo worked out*  •  ;	 JL>/3.3'Z%&
( Sheet No* 8 )
In 1945 the Co.  applied to the Public Utilities Commission again. This time
for permission to borrow #30,000*00*   The Commission granted this application only
after the users had agreed to It*    Actually there was not much choice.   The District
was faced with the serious risk that the pipe line might blow cut -   an event that
could ruin the whole area - and were thus really forced into agreeing to finance
the debt* ~^
The users are being charged OS additional #2.00 per jpcre foot until the
debt is retired, so that actually whan that time ccmes the District will have paid
for $30,000.00 worth of system, pine inte rest, less depreciation, but only if the
District purchasOO the system will  it receive credit for the money thus spent.    The
same applies of course, to the District's Chore of BEAVER LAKE dan, as mentioned
The District feels that it may eventually be compelled to purchase the
system piecemeal by repeated repayments en similar loans, and yet still not own it*
The Public Utilities Commission says that this is not the case.    Yet the fact re-
mainjsthat the District'is annually pouring over #30,000*00 into the carrying oper -
atlon, the water being free, and has no guarantee even of continuity*
To-day the charge for receiving two acre feet of water is #22*00.    Of this
amount #2.00 is assessed by the District on each acre under it's control.
This  , in our view, extremely high cost, cannot be maintained with certainty over a period of years.
Most of the foregoing may be  , to quote from page 9 of Mr* Weston's report
"a matter of historical interest only**.    The Distriot does not think so.    To-day will
be history to-morrow and it is to-uay that we would like to eettlB this problem*
Assistance from the Government only after the recipient has reached rock bottom is
Often of no avail.      We would appreciate some action that could be used with advantage to-day*
We have offered you this Information Sir, because wo fool that we will
have difficulty in meeting the present high costs during tha ccming years.    The
Government should have as much interest in keeping Okanagan Centre k Winfleld In
production as the water users themselves have.
In our opinion the situation may be summarised as follows 1-
unless financial assistance ie given to this croc by the Government, it cannot
Indefinitely stay in business.
Yours very truly,
On behalf of the Board of Trustees*


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