Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Guilty Pleas And Fines In Tainted Water Case.

The District of Coldstream and a dairy farmer have both received fines after pleading guilty in a water contamination incident more than two years ago.  Manure spread onto a field in Lavington got into the Antwerp Springs source in January 2010 which was caused by a unusual weather event of warm weather combined with heavy rain. The fallout led to a week-long Do Not Drink the Water order for 1,800 residents. There were no proven cases of illness tied to the incident, although one girl got sick, was treated and recovered. Under a joint sentencing deal, Rod Palfrey and his company Pan-o-Ramic Farms pled guilty to introducing waste that caused pollution under the Environmental Management Act. Palfrey was fined two-thousand dollars, and will also contribute 14-thousand dollars to the Habitat Conservation Trust Fund. The District of Coldstream --which operated the water system--pled guilty to failure to provide potable water under the Water Protection Act and was fined 16-thousand dollars. A 30 per cent victim surcharge was also added to the fine, making the total $18,400. In a statement released by Coldstream, Mayor Jim Garlick stated despite the guilty plea and fine, "the District believes that it had acted with due diligence in operating the well and that extraordinary external circumstances interfered with the District's ability to provide potable water. He goes on to say, "It is important that the public know that Coldstream Council strongly believe that we would have been completely successful in defending ourselves on all four of the charges against the District. However, proving our case in a lengthy and complex trial could have cost substantially more. Coldstream Council therefore did not believe that defending this charge in court would be a prudent use of taxpayers' dollars." The Regional District of North Okanagan--which owned and managed the system--is fighting the similiar charges it faces, with a trial set for next January. 


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I have been a resident of Coldstream since 1976. I have had 15 years of experience on Council, 3 years as Mayor. As a current Councillor I am working to achieve fair water and sewer rates and to ensure that taxpayers get fair treatment. The current direction regarding water supply is unsustainable and I am doing all I can to get the most cost effective water supply possible.