$1.25 million for treatment site

Englishman River Watershed Service budgets for land purchase for proposed water facility

RWS/AWS program manager Mike Squire looks out over the Arrowsmith dam during a recent tour.

RWS/AWS program manager Mike Squire looks out over the Arrowsmith dam during a recent tour.

The big doors to the PCTC Forum were thrown open for the overflow crowd at the inaugural meeting of the Englishman River Watershed Service management board on Nov. 9.

With the municipal election stirring up water issues and a new river intake and treatment facility costing tens of millions of dollars, concerned citizens were eager to hear the latest details.

The ERWS was established as a separate entity from the Arrowsmith Water Service after Qualicum Beach pulled out of the treatment facility project.

Comprised of Joe Stanhope and George Holme from the Regional District of Nanaimo and Chris Burger and Marc Lefebvre from Parksville, the new board’s first step was to elect a chair. Burger nominated Stanhope, which Holme, the only other member present at the time, supported.

They passed their 2011 balanced budget for a total of $1.68 million — $1.25 million of which was for the purchase of property behind the city works yard in the industrial park for the treatment facility.

The second biggest budget item was $320,000 for engineering services, followed by $75,000 for administration.

As 74 per cent owner, Parksville is responsible for $1.24 million of that, with the RDN covering the remaining 26 per cent or $436,540.

Parksville and surrounding regional district communities currently depend on the river for about half their annual water supply. The other half comes from ground wells which have an uncertain future with a single observation well showing the water table dropping.

While there are more studies on the ground water starting, the ERWS is looking at other ways to provide it’s customers with safe potable water and decided it needs to use the river water for more of the year, currently limited to summer months when the water is not too turbid.

New regulations from the Vancouver Island Health Authority are also coming into effect at the end of 2016 that will require the river water to be treated.

While people frequently ask about the costs of the project, Parksville director of engineering and operations, Bob Harary stressed that while their initial estimate for the treatment facility is around $25 million, there is no actual design plan yet and many unknowns that could change that cost considerably.

Among other unknowns, they hope other levels of government will contribute to the costs, which Burger pointed out the usual formula for big infrastructure projects is for the provincial and federal government to each cover a third.

ERWS/AWS program manager Mike Squire gave a number of in depth presentations on the history and plans for the system and information on the aquifer storage and recovery (ASR) system being considered, which would pump treated drinking water into a natural underground aquifer for use later in the year.

Squire had PowerPoint presentations on his trip to three existing ASR facilities in Oregon and he explained it would cost $600 million to store the same amount of water in tanks above ground as the $5 million ASR estimate.

The plan is to have more solid information and a public referendum in 2014.

The AWS and ERWS have extensive communication plans including a frequently updated re-designed website at www.arrowsmithwaterservice.ca or call Squire at 250-951-2480 for more information.

 

writer@pqbnews.com

 

 

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

Just Posted

Adam Walker visits the VI Free Daily/PQB News studios. (Peter McCully photo)
PQBeat: Adam Walker eager to get to work as Parksville-Qualicum MLA

Podcast: Longtime Qualicum Beach resident discusses politics, much more

Ceramic artist Darrel Hancock working on a clay jug in his home studio in Qualicum Beach. (Submitted photo)
Qualicum Beach potter Darrel Hancock celebrates 40 years in business

‘It’s wonderful to do what you love and make a living at it’

(File photo)
Parksville Qualicum Beach crime report: Crooks hit businesses, vehicles

Oceanside RCMP received 288 complaints in one-week period

Kyle Charles poses for a photo in Edmonton on Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. Marvel Entertainment, the biggest comic book publisher in the world, hired the 34-year-old First Nations illustrator as one of the artists involved in Marvel Voice: Indigenous Voices #1 in August. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
VIDEO: Indigenous illustrator of new Marvel comic hopes Aboriginal women feel inspired

Kyle Charles says Indigenous women around the world have reached out

This 2019 photo provided by The ALS Association shows Pat Quinn. Quinn, a co-founder of the viral ice bucket challenge, died Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, at the age of 37. (Scott Kauffman/The ALS Association via AP)
Co-founder of viral ALS Ice Bucket Challenge dies at 37

Pat Quinn was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease, also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, in 2013

Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada David Lametti speaks with the media following party caucus in Ottawa, Tuesday, January 28, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Exclusion of mental health as grounds for assisted death is likely temporary: Lametti

Senators also suggested the exclusion renders the bill unconstitutional

Claudio Mastronardi, Toronto branch manager at Carmichael Engineering, is photographed at the company’s offices in Mississauga, Ont., Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020. As indoor air quality becomes a major concern in places of business, HVAC companies are struggling to keep up with demand for high quality filtration systems. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
Business is booming for HVAC companies as commercial buildings see pandemic upgrades

‘The demand right now is very high. People are putting their health and safety ahead of cost’

Bank of Montreal, located on Burrard Street in downtown Vancouver. (Google Maps)
Heiltsuk man files human rights complaint against Vancouver police, BMO after bank arrest

Pair remains distraught after employee falsely reports fraud in progress leading to their arrest

RCMP Cpl. Cory Lepine pictured at BC Livestock Producers Co. in Kamloops, Nov. 16. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Meet B.C.’s only cowboy cop; a voice for the livestock industry

Cpl. Cory Lepine serves as a bridge between the law and those who make a living off the land

BCHL
BCHL pushes back season start due to provincial health orders

The delay is minimal, just six days, for now. But the league is open to starting up after Christmas

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speak to the media about the COVID-19 virus outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Long-awaited federal rent subsidy program for businesses hurt by COVID-19 opens today

The new program will cover up to 65 per cent of rent or commercial mortgage interest

Most Read