Courtenay council

Merville Water Guardians appeal to Courtenay council

A Merville resident hopes Courtenay council will implement a bylaw prohibiting water bottling in any zoning to help protect the Comox Valley aquifer.

Bruce Gibbons founded the Merville Water Guardians to oppose provincial approval of a licence allowing a

fellow Merville resident to extract, bottle and sell water from the aquifer.

“There are thousands of residents and farmers who rely on that aquifer for their only source of water,” Gibbons told council at Monday’s meeting. “Without water, there is no life.”

The conditional licence was contingent on rezoning of Chris MacKenzie’s property, which the CVRD denied. “However, his water extraction licence is still valid,” says Gibbons, noting MacKenzie has applied to the Province to amend his licence to allow trucking of the water from his well, and bottling at another site.

Gibbons also asked council to support a Strathcona Regional District resolution to ask the Province to curtail commercial extraction of groundwater resources for bottling or bulk water sales.

He also requested a ban on bottled water sales in public facilities and at City events. Coun. Doug Hillian noted a problem with the latter, in case of a boil water notice.

•Coun. Will Cole-Hamilton, a member of the Drug Strategy Committee, will participate in the Comox Valley Overdose Working Group, which for the last two years has strived to respond to and mitigate impacts of the opioid overdose crisis. The group has representation from AIDS Vancouver Island, the Transition Society, Island Health and the fire department, among other agencies.

•Council approved second reading of a rezoning to allow a day care and family development centre at a property at McPhee and 17th Street. The Wachiay Friendship Centre recently acquired the property. The centre needs to be operating by July 1, as required by government funding. There will be a public hearing about the bylaw at 5 p.m., Dec. 17 in council chambers.

•Council gave third reading to a zoning amendment bylaw for a 26-lot residential subdivision at 4100 Fraser Rd.

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