City comfortable with outlook for Mission Creek

The city says that while it's aware that some people are skeptical about its plans to take drinking water out of Mission Creek, there's still lots of time to get that plan right.

Last week, the Okanagan Fisheries Foundation criticized the plan, saying there was a complete lack of consultation.

But Project Manager Ron Westlake says much of that is yet to come.

"The work that was just done in January was only looking at the potential for it to be used, and there's a lot of discussion that would need to take place with various provincial ministries and stakeholders that are currently affected, or using that particular watershed," he said.

"So at this point in time, we haven't gotten to any of that consultation, and we would see that being more down the road."

One of the other main concerns raised by the Foundation was about the potentially negative environmental impacts to the creek.

Westlake says a more detailed environmental assessment will be done when the city prepares to carry out that phase of the work, which could take close to another decade.

"The fishery part of Mission Creek, it's the biggest tributary that we have into Okanagan Lake, we know that," he said.

"And it's got a strong kokanee aquaculture that's part of that creek. And all of that, we would need to involve in further studying of the creek, and of course collaborating with the ministries involved with protecting those things."

Critics have also raised the issue about whether drawing from the creek would negatively affect expansion work to the Mission Greenway. 

Westlake says he sees those two things as separate factors.

"We're actually very much involved in all of that downstream work of the water of Mission Creek itself, and the setbacking of the dikes, that's part of the planning that the city's been doing for many years," he said.

"We're very much aware of that, but we would need to a lot more study of the headwaters to understand more of it as a water supply source."

As of right now, a change.org petition opposing the plan from the Fisheries Foundation has over 100 signatures on it.