Answers still to come in utility takeover

Budgeted $23 million does not indicate purchase price, city manager says.

White Rock city manager Dan Bottrill speaks at a community forum the city hosted in June to discuss the purchase of the water utility.

White Rock city manager Dan Bottrill speaks at a community forum the city hosted in June to discuss the purchase of the water utility.

While more details are emerging about White Rock’s plans for taking over the city’s water utility, some residents are questioning why specifics of the agreement with Epcor are not being made public.

On Friday, the city announced it would take over operations of the water utility once the acquisition from Epcor is complete – estimated to occur Oct. 30 – anticipating a “smooth transition on the operations of the water-service delivery,” according to a release.

The news of a purchase agreement between the city and Epcor came earlier this month, after months of negotiations and an announcement by city officials of plans to expropriate the water-utility system.

Shortly after the Sept. 4 announcement, resident Dorothy Bower said she began contacting city officials requesting a copy of the purchase agreement.

Her query was treated as a Freedom of Information request, and she was told by the city clerk the purchase agreement was “not yet ready” and would be subject to redactions based on advice from the city’s legal counsel.

Following up last week, Bower was told that the FOI’s response deadline had been extended for an additional 30 days, as the city awaits the “outcome of discussions” regarding the release of the agreement.

“I couldn’t believe it when I got this response,” Bower told Peace Arch News last week. “I’m just curious, I don’t know why they have to be so secretive about it.”

City manager Dan Bottrill told PAN last week the city has “some issues” that need to be looked at before they can make the purchase agreement public.

“Our solicitor is working with their solicitor, working towards what we can release,” Bottrill said. “We know that there is some personal information that would potentially have to be redacted.”

Bottrill pointed out that reports that the purchase price of the utility is $23 million are not accurate, noting that a purchase price has not yet been negotiated.

“The $23 million is the amount that was put into the financial plan amendment,” he said. “It relates to the estimated costs as well as future capital infrastructure improvements over the remaining term of the five-year plan.”

Water-utility forum

The city is hosting a Water Utility Community Forum Oct. 15, from 5-7 p.m. at the White Rock Community Centre (15154 Russell Ave.) to provide residents with more information on the utility’s operations, the Total Water Quality Management Project and the impact of the change in ownership.

Just Posted

Hundreds gathered at Surrey’s Holland Park Friday (June 11) in memory of the Muslim family killed in London, Ont. on Sunday (June 6). (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
Educating public ‘exhausting,’ says White Rock Muslim Association past president

Asad Syed says public needs to be more vocal in their condemnation

The City of White Rock turns 63 today. (file photo)
City of White Rock 2020 annual report available for review

Report to be discussed at June 28 council meeting

People were lined up around the fields at a drop-in vaccine clinic at Newton Athletic Park on Tuesday (April 27, 2021), which is one of the high-transmission neighbourhoods that are being given vaccine priority. This clinic was one of at least three to open in the city on Tuesday. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Surrey’s weekly cases continue to drop, push for 80% vaccination rate citywide

BCCDC reports 263 cases for Surrey the week of May 30 to June 5

Fleetwood Park Secondary School’s 2021 commencement ceremonies were held over the course of two days, June 10 and 11. Grads went through a small, distanced ceremony in groups of four, with up to four members of the grad’s household. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Surrey’s 2021 grads find creative ways to celebrate in another year of COVID-19

This year’s Grade 12 students were unable to have any large-scale events

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

Most Read