Comox Lake

Water commission votes to proceed on deep water intake plans

Board split on necessity of $103 million project

  • Sep. 14, 2016 1:00 p.m.

Scott Stanfield

Record staff

 

In a 7-5 weighted vote, the Comox Valley water committee decided Tuesday to proceed with details for a deep water intake at Comox Lake, and direct filtration treatment, as recommended by Opus DaytonKnight Consultants.

The details include property acquisition, permits and approvals, design, and grant funding applications. The project is estimated to cost about $105 million.

Courtenay director/committee chair Bob Wells, Comox directors Ken Grant and Barbara Price, Area B director Rod Nichol and Area A director Bruce Jolliffe favoured the recommendation. Opposed were Courtenay directors Manno Theos and Erik Eriksson, and Area C director Edwin Grieve.

The regional district commissioned a study in response to Island Health’s requirement to provide filtration to comply with the Drinking Water Protection Act. Elevated turbidity events in 2014 and 2015 prompted the CVRD to issue boil water notices under Island Health’s direction. The district had obtained a filtration deferral, but the water advisories prompted Island Health to revoke the filtration deferral process. The CVRD must now include filtration in its water treatment.

“There is absolutely no underlying science for what we are about to undertake for the plus-$100 million project,” Grieve said.

He suggests Island Health has picked the lowest common denominator (one NTU) to boil water while other B.C. jurisdictions are allowed two or three times that amount before water advisories are issued.

“That’s a huge impact on our community, on our businesses.”

Though he realizes “resistance is futile,” Grieve feels the CVRD is being forced to mitigate more against lawsuits than pathogens.

“Our hand is being forced to do treatment that may or may not be necessary. Where’s the science here folks? I will be voting against this on principle because it is a terrible waste of taxpayers’ money, but our hands are tied.”

Eriksson suggests solving turbidity issues at the source, noting the 2014 catastrophe at Perseverance Creek, which he feels was a once-in-a-century event. Grant disagrees, suggesting another accident is waiting to happen at the Cumberland waterway.

Grant — though hating the dollar amount — also questioned the consequences of voting against the recommendation. For instance, would the committee be held responsible if a death or serious illness was linked to something in the water?

“Our responsibility is to provide safe drinking water to our citizens,” Jolliffe said. “If we are negligent about providing safe drinking water to our citizens, they’re going to hold us accountable to that.”

Price said deferring the situation will cost more in the long-term.

“This isn’t a tiny little water system, this is over 40,000 people drink this water,” she said. “To get state-of-the-art water that we can trust, it just seems like a no-brainer to me.”

A federal commitment to infrastructure spending suggests that 50 per cent grant funding is possible for the project. Grieve notes the Valley is up against other Canadian communities that need potable water.

 

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

Just Posted

Valley students adapt to COVID restrictions while competing in online world championship

Students were tasked to create a story using visual effects and deliver a performance using Zoom

ILO-ILO, King George owner questions Cumberland buildings’ future

Council members discuss building options such as theatre, boutique hotel as heritage sites

Airforce search and rescue helicopter drops in at Cameron Lake for training

Distinctive yellow CH-149 Cormorant turns heads after using Island lake for impromptu hoist

Captive fawn seized from Cumberland home

Valley resident charged and fined under the Wildlife Act

Filmmaker James Cameron’s Comox Valley winery up for sale

The director behind The Terminator and Titanic puts Beaufort Winery on the market after six years

‘Don’t kill my mom’: Ryan Reynolds calls on young British Columbians to be COVID-smart

‘Deadpool’ celebrity responds to premier’s call for social influence support

Expected fall peak of COVID-19 in Canada could overwhelm health systems: Tam

National modelling projections released Friday show an expected peak in cases this fall

Hundreds of sea lions to be killed on Columbia River in effort to save endangered fish

Nearly 22,000 comments received during public review were opposed, fewer than 200 were for

Devil’s Hand Poker Run in Campbell River to face RCMP scrutiny

The Campbell River RCMP will be keeping a close eye on the… Continue reading

B.C.’s fuel suppliers to publish prices to provide accountability: minister

Bruce Ralston says move will ensure industry publicly accountable for unexplained prices increases

Roots and Blues online festival live tonight on Black Press Media

Tune in to Black Press Media to watch the festival live Aug. 14, 15 and 16

Man suffers serious injuries in bear attack in remote area near Lillooet

It was deemed a defensive attack, no efforts were made to locate the animal

Missed rent payments because of COVID-19? You have until July 2021 to pay up

Each monthly instalment must be paid on the same date the rent is due

U.S.-Canada pandemic border restrictions extended into September

‘We will continue to keep our communities safe,’ says Public Safety Minister Bill Blair

Most Read