Could the Big Eddy waterworks project be scuttled?

Editor’s note:

This letter was sent to The Revelstoke Current in response to Ms. Anne Throap’s recent column about the Big Eddy Waterworks issue.

I have spoken with and listened to many of the residents who are hesitant to sign the petition and below are some of their concerns.

If the City wants to take over the Big Eddy Waterworks, why doesn’t the City want to pay the residents for the infrastructure that is already in place? The City does not own this utility, the residents of the Big Eddy do.

The project they propose calls for $5.7 million in repairs and upgrades — not a brand-new replacement of the entire infrastructure. This number was purposely inflated in the application to the province and federal government so as to receive as much grant funding as possible. The report that the Big Eddy Waterworks (Don, Brian, & George) filed to the city does not contain any costs close to this to satisfy Interior Health’s request for compliance. In today’s costs to install that infrastructure would far exceed the proposed $5.7 million and so there is a value for the infrastructure that the City should pay for if they want to take over the Big Eddy Waterworks.  Attaining the Big Eddy Waterworks would be an asset to the city. The $1.9 million the city proposes to charge the Big Eddy residence over the next twenty years should be paid for by the City in exchange for the acquisition of the infrastructure already in place. With the grant funding of $3.9 million, the City could acquire the Big Eddy Waterworks for a deal of $1.9 million.

The feeling is that the City of Revelstoke is trying to take advantage of the Big Eddy residence by making them pay the $1.9 million and then attaining their asset for nothing.  George Buhler is one of the Big Eddy Waterworks board members and has a lifetime of installing and developing infrastructure for cities. When the Big Eddy Waterworks board sat down to negotiate a fair arrangement between the City of Revelstoke and the residents of the Big Eddy, the Director of Engineering and Public Works, Mike Thomas, sternly stated that there would be no negotiating. The City will not negotiate, it will be this proposal or nothing. Which is why the residents are reluctant to even consider the petition. The city has also started phoning the residences that have not submitted their signed petitions and using scare tactics to convince them to sign.  Beware of Greeks bearing gifts.

I believe the residents have every reason to be concerned. The City does not have a good reputation for development and being honest with the residences.

Please click here to read a letter sent to Big Eddy residents by the directors of their Water Board.

Troy Tompkins
Revelstoke, BC