Last fall's municipal election has resulted in quite a turnover on the board of directors for the Pembina Valley Water Cooperative.
A total of 8 municipal officials stepped away from the board following the organization's Annual General Meeting this year.
One of those members, Paul Peters, a former councillor with Rhineland Municipality served as a water co-op board member for 20 years, 19 of those as the
Co-chair of the water co-op.
Peters was asked what motivated him to devote that much time to the regional water utility.
"Clean water is such a vital part of a person's life, and the people who were on the board from all our member municipalities worked together to provide that. It has been very rewarding to work together with them."
Pembina Valley Water Cooperative was forged in the early 1990’s when a number of municipalities in south central part of Manitoba recognized the need to develop a regional approach to supplying potable water to an area that lacked wide distribution of good, plentiful water resources, but also experiencing one of the highest rates of economic growth of any region in Manitoba.
Peters was asked how it was possible for 14 owner municipalities to work cooperatively as one organization for so many years.
"We're only concerned about one issue; providing clean water for this region and that keeps us from getting sidetracked by other things. It allows us to focus on the important issue of clean water, which is so important for growth in the Pembina Valley."
The PVWC pipeline distribution system covers a service area of 9,000 square kilometres and serves a population base of approximately 50,000 people.
"It's kind of overwhelming to see where we are now from when I started 20 years ago. We've seen the development of a distribution system and changes in the technology since we started, the two new plants that were built at Morris and Stephenfield, and there's a big upgrade coming to the plant in Letellier."
Peters was recognized for his two decades of service to the water co-op and had some words of wisdom to pass along to the new members of the board.
"Working together and setting policy and allowing the CEO and the staff to do their work. Micro-managing from the board level does not work. The board should set policy and support the good work that is being done by staff and administration. I think we have a good group coming in and I wish them all the best."
The other seven outgoing members were recognized for their service.
They included former Morden councillor Irvin Wiebe, who was recognized for his 15 years of service to the water co-op, 12 of those as an executive member.
Tim Fast of Altona, Bill Ginter of Morris and Denis Robert from the RM of Morris who served on the board for 8 years each. Fast was treasurer for 6 of those years and Robert served as Co-chair for 4 years.
Also recognized were Morris Olafson from the RM of Stanley, Bob Horsman from the RM of Roland and Derek Sabourin representing the RM of Montcalm.