Does a ‘No’ vote in Parksville’s referendum mean a future full of boil-water advisories?

City residents are being asked to approve $5.6 million in borrowing through the referendum Nov. 21

With 11 days until the vote, the Parksville Residents Association (PRA) says it has no official position on the referendum asking people to give the city permission to borrow $5.6 million for a water treatment plant.

In fact, the PRA’s acting president could still be placed in the ‘undecided’ category as of a few days ago.

“I don’t know how I’m voting just yet,” Al Pastars said Thursday.

Assent Voting day — that’s what this referendum is officially called — is Saturday, Nov. 21. Parksville residents can vote at either the Parksville Community and Conference Centre (PCCC) or the Parksville Fellowship Baptist Church on Pym Street that day from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Voting will also take place in advance polls at the PCCC only from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 12 and Wednesday, Nov. 18.

Those who want to cast a ballot must show up with two pieces of identification, one containing a name and address and the other with name and signature (examples include a B.C. driver’s licence, B.C. Care Card, birth certificate, passport). If you do not have documentation showing residency, then two pieces of identification (at least one with a signature) are still required and you will be asked to make a solemn declaration as to residency. (For questions about the voting process, call the chief electoral officer, 250-954-3070.)

The length of the voters’ list should be roughly the same as the amount of people eligible to vote during the last municipal election in 2014. There were about 9,600 eligible voters in the 2014 city elections when only 3,383 cast ballots (about 35 per cent).

Parksville’s share of the $28.3 million water treatment plant and Englishman River intake is $20.6 million.

The cost of the plant and the borrowing will be recouped mostly through an increase in water rates, which amount to an extra $10/year on the water bill of each Parksville homeowner from 2016-2024.

Parksville’s share of the $6 million in federal/provincial funding is about $4.4 million. The rest of the costs will be picked up by the Regional District of Nanaimo’s Nanoose Bay residents, who also draw water from the system. Their share will be paid through water reserves set aside years ago — there will be no referendum for Nanoose Bay residents.

Parksville/Nanoose Bay draws about 50 per cent of its annual water supply from the Englishman River.

Island Health has decreed that all surface water (from rivers, for example) must be, by the end of 2016, treated in a fashion that the current system here is not set up to do.

While Island Health has not made an official comment on what would happen should this referendum fail, the city has told voters a no vote would result in non-compliance with Island Health mandated standards, which would require boil-water advisories.

“We’re going to have to build it anyway,” said Pastars of the PRA. Speaking personally (the PRA has no official position statement on this), he said he believes if the referendum fails and local tourism operators start losing money because of a boil-water advisory, “the province will say ‘we’ll find the money, go ahead and build your water treatment plant.’”

Just Posted

Terry Mazzei next to a truck after it was struck by lightning, with him inside, on Wednesday afternoon, June 9. He walked away from the incident without injury and the truck sustained only mild damage; a blown front tire and newly broken gas gauge. (Wendy Mazzei photo)
Nanoose Bay man walks away unscathed after lightning strike

VIDEO: ‘We like to think that his dad was watching over him’

Douglas Holmes, current Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District chief administrative officer, is set to take on that position at the Regional District of Nanaimo come late August. (Submitted photo)
Regional District of Nanaimo’s next CAO keen to work on building partnerships

Douglas Holmes to take over top administrator role with RDN this summer

This young fledgling white raven was spotted in the Coombs area on May 16. (Mike Yip photo)
Expert says 2 sets of parents producing rare white ravens in mid-Island area

One of the iconic birds is currently recovering at wildlife centre after being rescued

Flowers planted along Highway 19 in downtown Parksville. (Submitted photo)
City of Parksville plants more than 15,000 annual bedding plants

Residents encouraged to take flower photos and post to social media

New COVID-19 cases on Vancouver Island by local health area for the week of May 30-June 5. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control image)
COVID-19 cases drop again almost everywhere on Vancouver Island

Nanaimo had four new cases last week, down from 22 the week before

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Police cars are seen parked outside Vancouver Police Department headquarters on Saturday, January 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver police officer charged with assault during an arrest in 2019

The service has released no other details about the allegations

Denmark’s Christian Eriksen receives medical attention after collapsing during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Denmark and Finland at Parken stadium in Copenhagen, Saturday, June 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, Pool)
Christian Eriksen in stable condition, Euro 2020 match resumes

Eriksen was given chest compressions after collapsing on the field during a European Championship

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps off Vancouver Island

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced it had located what are believed to be the remains of 215 children, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said he feels a connection with the former students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
2 sides of the same coin: Ex-foster kids identify with residential school survivors

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip says the child welfare system takes Indigenous children from their families

Nathan Watts, a member of the Tseshaht First Nation near Port Alberni, shares his story of substance use, a perspective he said isn’t seen enough. (Photo courtesy of Nathan Watts)
Public shaming, hate perpetuates further substance use: UVic researcher

Longtime addict Nathan Watts offers a user’s perspective on substance use

Most Read