Water bottling debate continues

Merville resident says plenty of water in Aquifer 408

Scott MacKenzie says there is plenty of groundwater to support his contentious business proposal to extract, bottle and sell water from Aquifer 408 (Comox-Merville).

In a presentation to Courtenay council March 18, the Merville resident said the aquifer contains 34 trillion litres per year, but only 18 per cent of it is utilized.

“There is a lot of water, and it’s never going away,” MacKenzie said, drawing rumblings from some of the audience members. “The hydrological cycle fills that up every single year to capacity, and then the hydrostatic forces of nature push that through the confining layers out into the sea every single year.”

His intention has been to extract and bottle up to 10,000 litres of groundwater per day from his property’s well in Merville, and to sell five-gallon jugs by home delivery throughout the Valley. Area C residents worry about the effects on their local aquifer.

The Province had issued MacKenzie a licence to extract, but the CVRD rejected his application for a zoning amendment. He plans to truck water off site and bottle it at another location in the Strathcona Regional District.

MacKenzie says he will only sell water inside district boundaries, and won’t export out of the area.

Fellow Merville resident Bruce Gibbons, who founded the Merville Water Guardians, has asked council to implement a bylaw to prohibit water bottling in any zone in Courtenay,

At present, one company operates a bottling plant in Courtenay. Depending on the scale of the operator, City staff says there will be varying impacts on traffic and road infrastructure.

After MacKenzie’s presentation, council approved second reading of a zoning amendment to restrict water bottling as a use in all zones. A public meeting will be held before council considers third reading.

“I’m encouraged to hear the water would not be leaving the Comox Valley Regional District, and by all account British Columbia, but I think we need to have more public input on this before we can make a decision,” Coun. Will Cole-Hamilton said.

The public meeting will be held in May at a site to be determined. Council chambers is expected to be too small.

About 150 people attended a public hearing about the issue last summer at the Filberg Centre.

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

Just Posted

BC Timber Sales’ operations on the North Island and Central Coast to be audited

The Forest Practices Board randomly chose the region to check for compliance to legislation

Comox Valley dance classes billed as female empowerment tool

New business focuses on ‘promoting positive body image’

Mount Washington to open Dec. 4 with COVID-19 protocols in place

Reservations for some services, face coverings will be required

New Cumberland fire hall goes to rezoning hearing

Official community plan is also to be amended for the site

COVID-19: 4 more deaths, 366 new cases in B.C. since Friday

A total of 8,208 people in B.C. have tested positive for COVID-19 since January

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

Group wants Parliament, courts to hold social media to same standard as publishers

Daniel Bernhard made the comments shortly after Friends of Canadian Broadcasting released a research paper

B.C.’s Chase Claypool catches first NFL touchdown pass

Abbotsford grad establishes new record for longest scrimmage TD by a Canadian

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

B.C. has highest number of active COVID-19 cases per capita, federal data shows

B.C. currently has 1,803 active cases after weeks of COVID-19 spikes in the province

181 days gone: Family continues to look for man last seen in RCMP custody 6 months ago

Brandon Sakebow’s last known location was leaving Mission RCMP cell, police say; family has doubts

Most Read