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Public hearing for potential takeover of beleaguered Okanagan Falls utilities

The Vintage Views Wastewater and Lakeshore Waterworks systems both would need substantial investment
Heritage Hills south of Penticton is shown in this photo from to a real estate listing for a property in the community. Building permits are no longer being issued for new homes there due to issues with the wastewater system for the area. (

The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen is holding an information session to go over the results of studies into the potential takeover of two struggling private utilities near Okanagan Falls.

The reports into the Vintage Views Wastewater and Lakeshore Waterworks systems, which service the Heritage Hills neighbourhood between Okanagan Falls and Penticton, were published to the RDOS’ Regional Connections Website on April 6.

A meeting to go over the reports is scheduled to take place at Okanagan Falls Elementary School from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. on April 25.

The RDOS has been waiting on the studies since December of 2022, when the owner of the system, Johnny Aantjes, approached the district about taking them over and making them public utilities.

According to the reports, if the RDOS does go forward with taking them over, it would come at a hefty cost for the residents who use the systems.

The water system needs immediate repairs costing at least $380,000, with another $11.3 million in necessary upgrades to meet national, provincial, and local regulations and bylaws.

The sewer system would also need at least $6 million in capital investment, with the majority of that reserved for the wastewater treatment plant.

Assuming no grants are available for those projects, that would see the cost to sewer users go from $1,000 up to $5,800 per year and $2,900 per year for empty lots, while water costs would go up to $3,900 a year.

In recent years, the sewer system has been the focus of a number of environmental violations which amounted to over $190,000 in fines. The report notes that it was unable to determine if those fines had yet been paid.

READ MORE: Skaha sewer system owner hit with over $190k in penalties

The ministry’s enforcement database contains documents including three known releases of effluent (liquid waste) where the ministry was not informed. The effluent that was discharged has also been well beyond the legal limits, with samples submitted in 2022 ranging from an average of 4,920 per cent to a maximum of 24,700 per cent higher than acceptable fecal coliform levels.

The sewer system in 2023 was under two pollution prevention orders, and as a result the RDOS refused to issue building permits for lots within the Vintage Views development until their cancellation.

People who can’t attend the public meeting in person can also attend online through or by phoning 1-833-311-4101.

The access code by phone is 2770 672 1677. The meeting code for webex is 2770 672 1677 and the password is RD@S.

Brennan Phillips

About the Author: Brennan Phillips

Brennan was raised in the Okanagan and is thankful every day that he gets to live and work in one of the most beautiful places in Canada.
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