Window cleaner questions fairness of water restrictions

Window cleaner questions fairness of water restrictions

The owner of a window cleaning service is facing a crisis Friday, April 12 when Stage 4 water restrictions come into effect for the Comox Valley Water System. The restrictions last until April 22 during an emergency water pipe repair.

READ: Stage 4 restrictions needed for pipe repair

Spring months provide the prime source of income for Dwayne Robertson, who owns Shine-Eze Window Care. The CVRD requires him to stockpile water before Friday. During the restrictions, he is not allowed to use any water source in Comox or Courtenay.

“I can still squeegee window clean, I just can’t use any of my water-supplied tools,” said Robertson, who needs to schedule more than 100 customers.

Stage 4 restrictions are aimed at reducing overall impact to the district’s water system, CAO Russell Dyson said, noting exemptions in the bylaw exist to allow the district to continue with essential use of water during the emergency pipe repair.

“Businesses that do not use water for essential services — food prep, drinking, hygiene, or for health and safety reasons — must comply with these restrictions,” Dyson said.

In a Facebook post, Angela Gilbert takes issue with the seemingly “arbitrary nature of which small businesses and individuals will suffer serious financial impact.” She says the pipe has been broken since December, but she only found out Monday, April 8 that she could not run her dog grooming business because it’s not an essential service. Hairdressers, she added, found out Tuesday they can only use water for washing, not for coloring or for bleaching.

Courtenay Mayor Bob Wells, who chairs the CVRD water committee, said the pipe repair would have been completed by now, but the plant undertaking the manufacturing had suffered a tragedy.

Robertson understands the need to conserve water, but does not understand how a window cleaning company can be singled out as a culprit in the overuse of water. He claims restaurants, on average, use 6,000 gallons of water a day (based on a Google search) but are allowed to operate during the restrictions. He said his seven-person operation tends to use about 960 gallons.

“If a restaurant’s allowed to use six times the amount of water that I use in a day, why are they allowed (to operate as normal)?” Robertson said. “I’m not saying they should shut them down, I’m just saying allow me to work as well.”

Wells said the impact to businesses was the largest part of the committee’s discussion last week regarding the emergency restrictions.

“It was a fulsome discussion that weighed the impact to companies versus having proper water levels to fight fires, and was not taken lightly by any of the directors,” Wells said. “I certainly get his (Robertson) point. We’re not trying to have a massive impact — in fact, we’re trying to have the least amount of impact as possible — but at the end of the day, I don’t know how far into the weeds we can get, evaluating every type of business.

“It’s one business week to say, ‘Let’s pull together as a community and conserve water’,” Wells added. “That backup pipe just isn’t able to provide enough water for what is general use, plus maintaining that fire flow.”

“We are very pleased with the response of businesses so far in the community – most of whom acknowledge this is an emergency situation and intend to set a good example,” Dyson added. “We are hopeful that all residents and affected businesses will support each other in implementing these emergency measures as a community, in order to ensure that enough water remains in the system for essential use including fire protection.”

The following circumstances are other exceptions to Stage 4 restrictions:

• Local government watermain and hydrant maintenance is permitted, but only for unscheduled safety or public health reasons.

• Water use is permitted for farm and agricultural operations, but only for livestock drinking purposes.

• Cleaning outdoor surfaces is only authorized when required by law to comply with health or safety regulations, or to comply with an order of a regulatory authority having jurisdiction, such as WorkSafeBC or a public health inspector.

• Irrigating local government all-weather playing fields is permitted.

• Spot cleaning of vehicles and boats with a sponge and bucket for health and safety reasons (windows, lights, licence plates, etc.) is permitted.



reporter@comoxvalleyrecord.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

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

Just Posted

The opening day on Mount Washington this year was Dec. 4. Screenshot
Mount Washington opens on time, COVID-19 protocols in place

“We’re super excited - it’s been six months in the planning.”

After holding recent meetings socially distanced but in person at Isfeld Secondary, the board of education was back meeting via Zoom because of recent pandemic restrictions. Image, screenshot
Most parents approve of schools’ handling of pandemic, says Comox Valley superintendent

Schools forced to adapt to COVID-19, including finding alternative to regular theatre production

The Gnarly Craft Fair is going virtual this year. Photo by Kim Stallknecht
Gnarly Youth Craft goes virtual

The virtual fair will be open until Dec. 19 and features talented youth aged 9 -19 years

Lake Trail Middle School in Courtenay has closed again due to a threat Friday (Dec 4). File photo
Lake Trail Middle School closed for the second time in a week due to threat

On Nov. 26, the school was closed for a day while a similar incident occurred.

Comox Valley singer-songwriter Helen Austin, and Cincinnati’s Paul Otten are Big Little Lions. Photo via biglittlelions.com
Big Little Lions earn Canadian Folk Music Award nomination

Duo featuring Comox Valley singer-songwriter Helen Austin keeping busy during pandemic

Pickleball game in Vancouver on Sunday, November 8, 2020. B.C.’s public health restrictions for COVID-19 have been extended to adult team sports, indoors and outside. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
711 more COVID-19 cases detected in B.C. Friday

‘Virus is not letting up and neither can we’

Beefs and Bouquets
Comox Valley Beefs & Bouquets for week of Dec. 2

Beef to deer hunters; bouquet from a store owner to shoppers

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
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

Demonstrators, organized by the Public Fishery Alliance, outside the downtown Vancouver offices of Fisheries and Oceans Canada July 6 demand the marking of all hatchery chinook to allow for a sustainable public fishery while wild stocks recover. (Public Fishery Alliance Facebook photo)
Angry B.C. anglers see petition tabled in House of Commons

Salmon fishers demand better access to the healthy stocks in the public fishery

(Hotel Zed/Flytographer)
B.C. hotel grants couple 18 years of free stays after making baby on Valentines Day

Hotel Zed has announced a Kelowna couple has received free Valentines Day stays for next 18 years

Farmers raise slogans during a protest on a highway at the Delhi-Haryana state border, India, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau rejected the diplomatic scolding Canada’s envoy to India received on Friday for his recent comments in support of protesting Indian farmers. Tens of thousands of farmers have descended upon the borders of New Delhi to protest new farming laws that they say will open them to corporate exploitation. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Manish Swarup
Trudeau brushes off India’s criticism for standing with farmers in anti-Modi protests

The High Commission of India in Ottawa had no comment when contacted Friday

Nurse Kath Olmstead prepares a shot as the world’s biggest study of a possible COVID-19 vaccine, developed by the National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc., gets underway Monday, July 27, 2020, in Binghamton, N.Y. U.S. biotech firm Moderna says its vaccine is showing signs of producing lasting immunity to COVID-19, and that it will have as many as many as 125 million doses available by the end of March. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Hans Pennink
Canada orders more COVID vaccines, refines advice on first doses as cases reach 400K

Canada recorded its 300,000th case of COVID-19 on Nov. 16

Apartments are seen lit up in downtown Vancouver as people are encouraged to stay home during the global COVID-19 pandemic on Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. British Columbia’s deputy provincial health officer says provincewide data show the most important area B.C. must tackle in its response to the COVID-19 pandemic is health inequity. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
Age, income among top factors affecting well-being during pandemic, B.C. survey shows

Among respondents earning $20,000 a year or less, more than 41 per cent reported concern about food insecurity

Victoria-based driving instructors are concerned for their own and the community’s safety with the continued number of residents from COVID hotspots in the Lower Mainland coming to the city to take their driving road tests. (Black Press Media file photo)
Students from COVID hotspots travel to Vancouver Island for driving tests

Union leader calls on government to institute stronger travel ban

Most Read