Courtenay-Comox MLA talks water bottling business in Merville

Ronna-Rae Leonard remained neutral when asked if she opposes the proposed business

Courtenay-Comox MLA Ronna-Rae Leonard insists she has heard constituents’ concerns about a proposed water bottling business in Merville.

“I’ve certainly heard the concerns that are coming in,” she said in an interview with the Record. “It’s a very stressful time for a lot of the residents, as they worry about the state of their wells and the potential impact of this water licence.”

Married Comox Valley couple Christopher Scott MacKenzie and Regula Heynck intend to extract and bottle up to 10,000 litres of groundwater per day from their property’s well in Merville and sell five-gallon jugs of it by home delivery throughout the Valley. The couple believes the alkalinity of their water (pH 8.1) provides health benefits.

The business idea has received backlash throughout Area C, where residents worry how that much extraction of groundwater would affect their local aquifer.

Read More: Proposed water bottling operation in Merville receives backlash

After being issued a conditional water licence by the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development (FLNRORD) in November last year, the family applied for a rezoning application through the Comox Valley Regional District.

The application was considered at the CVRD’s electoral area services committee meeting on March 5. Over 150 people attended the meeting, most showing up to protest the business idea.

Since then, groups like the K’ómok’s First Nation (KFN) have come out against the proposed water extraction. On March 8, KFN chief Nicole Rempel criticized what she called a “lack of consultation” from the province before issuing the water licence to MacKenzie and Heynck.

Read More: K’ómoks First Nation opposes Merville water bottling operation

FLNRORD responded to Rempel’s statement that provincial government staff consulted with the Nation over a period of six months as part of its review of the Merville water bottling application.

Leonard stayed neutral when asked if she opposes the proposed water bottling business.

“I don’t think this is about my opinion,” she said. “The fact is, the licence was issued with conditions. Residents are raising very valid concerns and I will continue to bring them forward so people can be reassured that their water is going to be there when they need it.

“I think people are concerned and they want an opportunity to express those concerns,” she continued. “My job as MLA is to take the concerns expressed to me and take them to the ministry.”

Leonard said since learning about the issue, she has met with both FLNRORD minister Doug Donaldson and the KFN to discuss the water licence.

The rezoning application could come back to the CVRD for a public hearing in the near future.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Students at Ecole Puntledge Park Elementary kicked off the Everybody Deserves A Smile (EDAS) campaign in 2019. Scott Stanfield photo
Everybody Deserves a Smile campaign adapts to COVID-19 challenges

“We didn’t want to lose our heartfelt hands-on approach.”

Wind and waves were part of the reason why the Sail Canada High Performance Team selected HMCS Quadra as the winter training base for Tokyo 2021. Photo by Ken Dool
National sailing team prepares for Olympics at HMCS Quadra in Comox

HMCS Quadra is serving as the winter training base for the Canadian… Continue reading

Courtenay residents will have a substantial schedule change for curbside trash collection beginning in January 2021. (Ben Lypka/Black Press file)
Courtenay moving to a zone system for curbside trash collection

New system means collection days will change with every statutory holiday

A jubilant Ronna-Rae Leonard salutes the crowd at her victory party at the Avalanche Bar & Grill. (photo by Scott Stanfield)
UPDATE: Leonard declared early winner for Courtenay-Comox

NDP incumbent held similar margin of lead throughout the evening

FILE – Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides the latest update on the COVID-19 pandemic in the province during a press conference in the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, October 22, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. shatters COVID-19 records with 817 weekend cases; masks now expected indoors

Three people have died over the past three reporting periods

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Specimens to be tested for COVID-19 are seen in Surrey, B.C., on Thursday, March 26, 2020. Ontario’s overly cautious approach to COVID-19 testing is endangering lives and hindering efforts to rein in soaring infections that are ravaging long-term care facilities, filling ICU beds and lurking silently in communities, say critics alarmed by the province’s admission that labs can handle four times the number of tests they receive. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. limits events in private homes to household, plus ‘safe six’ amid COVID-19 surge

Henry issued a public health order limiting private gatherings to one household, plus a group of ‘safe six’ only

B.C. Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson speaks during a drive-in car rally campaign stop at a tour bus operator, in Delta, Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Andrew Wilkinson stepping down as B.C. Liberal leader

Will stay on until the next party leader is chosen

Harvesters participating in the extended commercial halibut season will need to land their catch in either Prince Rupert (pictured), Vancouver, or Port Hardy by Dec. 14. (File photo)
B.C.’s commercial halibut season extended three weeks

COVID-19 market disruptions at the root of DFO’s decision

Campbell River's new hospital, July 2018
Nurse diverts opiates and falsifies records at Campbell River Hospital

Nurse facing disciplinary action for moving opiates out of the hospital

VicPD and B.C. Conservation Officer Service teamed up to free two bucks who were entangled in a fishing net and dragging a wheelbarrow sized piece of driftwood behind them. (VicPD)
VIDEO: Police, B.C. Conservation help two bucks caught in one fishing net

Bucks were also dragging a wheelbarrow sized piece of driftwood behind them

A heavy police presence was spotted in Lumby, Monday, Oct. 26, 2020. (Facebook)
Police situation leads to ‘hold and secure’ at North Okanagan school

Police call for social media blackout in ongoing incident

Most Read