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Belcarra Mayor Neil Belenkie resigns over water supply frustrations

Click to play video 'Mayor of Village of Belcarra resigns over water fight' Mayor of Village of Belcarra resigns over water fight
Mayor of Village of Belcarra resigns over water fight – Oct 14, 2020

The mayor of Belcarra says he has resigned after a proposed bylaw amendment that would help the village’s water system for firefighting was voted down at the last council meeting.

Neil Belenkie, who has worked as a volunteer firefighter, said he decided to resign because council refused to sell land to pay for a water system upgrade that would help firefighters.

“I was elected to improve the water system and they’ve made that impossible and there’s nothing I can do other than resign in protest for what is I think a broken system,” he said.

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“I didn’t take this job on because I wanted to be a mayor. I just wanted to do it for one term anyways — that would have been enough time to improve our water system, but I can’t do it now. It cannot be done.”

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Belenkie said there were two instances in which firefighters ran out of water while battling house fires. He said firefighters have a one-hour supply of water and adding another hour of water capacity would cost about $4 million.

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Belenkie said he hopes other levels of government will give the village more funding to improve the water system.

Global News has reached out to other councillors, including Coun. Liisa Wilder, who said she had no comment.

The village will need to have a by-election.