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Newsletter for irrigators draws criticism from board members
EID director George Murray presents newsletter at special board meeting

Brooks Bulletin

Eastern Irrigation District board member George Murray presented a newsletter for distribution to the region’s irrigators at Tuesday’s special meeting.
A lack of transparency and selling EID land were two concerns raised by irrigators at last month’s annual general meeting.
“I feel it addresses all the issues brought up at the AGM,” Murray said of the four page Spring newsletter.
Some board members said the timing is bad because of the April 25 election but outgoing board chair Floyd George said there are no incumbents running.
“It’s exactly what was said at the annual general meeting and farmer meetings,” said George.
The document includes the water delivery date, elections, plebiscite information and the farm improvement policy.
It also includes a full page on selling district-owned lands which was the main focus of the 20 minute discussion.
Board member Bob Chrumka wanted to know why the board was getting the document at the meeting for an immediate decision.
“There were motions at the annual general meeting that should be addressed before the newsletter goes out,” he said.
Board members Jim Culligan and Ross Owen were in support of releasing the document as long as the page on land sales was removed.
Culligan said it’s a “biased opinion and it’s basically put together just to create a smokescreen.”
“First of all, we were looking at large parcels to sell. We have not sold any large parcels but we looked at it,” he said.
“We look at lots of things. We don’t do them,” board member Rod Johnson responded.
Chrumka added the board hasn’t agreed not to sell parcels under 160 acres.
“To say this is all we’re selling, I think that’s a no-brainer. I think everybody supports commonsense pieces of land. People don’t agree with high revenue, small pieces of land that are making the district a real good income,” he said.
“Was it not what everybody was asking at the meeting?” Murray asked.
“Well, I don’t know if it addresses everything, George. That’s pretty broad,” Owen responded.
Culligan said the land issues are complicated and as addressed in the newsletter, it “throws a smokescreen out there.”
He said the document reads as though the district is selling thousands acres of land.
“This isn’t helping with the misinformation. It’s adding fuel to it,” he said.
“This is just dealing with the facts,” Murray responded.
General manager Ivan Friesen said there should be time to read, digest and edit the document.
He asked if it would hurt to wait another month if there is misinformation.
“We’ve been talking about this for six months. Stall. Stall. Stall,” said Johnson.
“We’re putting out a newsletter and I didn’t even know about it until today. Is there something missing? Am I missing something?” Friesen asked.
“I think it is important to inform the water users,” said Murray.
“It’s truth. It’s accurate. It clears up a lot of misconceptions and misinformation,” said Floyd George.
“I don’t like to stifle initiative,” said George Graham.
“I commend you for putting effort into this. I don’t see where this would be an issue getting the information out,” he said.
The vote to have corrections made to the newsletter and send it out passed by a 4-3 vote. Bob Chrumka, Jim Culligan and Ross Owen were against the motion.
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