Concerned 753 Waterworks Ltd. users met Thursday evening at the Rec Centre Conference Room with members of the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Resource Stewardship Division Water Management Branch, Neil Murphy, co-owner of 753, a representational committee headed by users and the District of Hope.
The public hearing was an opportunity for all parties involved to discuss ongoing objections and concerns about allegations of mismanagement and planned rate increases that were disclosed by the company in late August.
Murphy was brought under fire, when he failed to successfully field questions by the group. Educated and researched questions about structural engineering, operations management, misappropriation and direction of current funds, were embarrassingly negated by Murphy.
Photographs of current wells were presented to Murphy, illustrating a lack of adequate flood proofing devices on current wells, leaving them open to a host of foreign substances.
“It’s not flood protected — when you go in, it doesn’t meet guidelines, there’s no fencing” said Sara Burleigh, a member of the committee.
Questions of fines were also brought to the forefront as Water Comptroller Pieter Bekker and the Ministry were asked about governing practices involving the management of 753.
“Were you fined?” asked Burleigh.
“Fined,” repeated Murphy. “No, the problems we experienced were predominantly that the well dropped, and the existing casing needs significant upgrading.”
Murphy sat through a barrage of allegations, and statements accusing the company and the Ministry of over 26 years of indifference, negligence, and disastrous management and administration practices, leaving the system derelict and users looking for a potential hook up with the District.
“This is clearly an oversight. The system has obviously degraded over a period of time, but we are open minded and we want to know what we’re getting into,” said Mayor Wilfried Vicktor of the District’s reception of a potential takeover at a later date.
Concerns over seniors paying the rate increase, which could potentially amount to a staggering $108.25 a month, had users outraged both fiscally and morally. Word on potential resolution from the Ministry will have to wait until the end of November according to Comptroller Bekker, who sat steadfast with the Ministry as they were held accountable by hostile users.