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

Parksville Qualicum Beach drivers spotted speeding, missing stop signs and talking on cellphones

Intersection of Marks Avenue and Highway 4A in Parksville is big for scofflaws

Rare white ravens spotted again in Coombs

Nature photographer Mike Yip said mysterious birds back in the region

Sand sculpture winners announced at Parksville Beach Festival

Works from international competitors on display until Aug. 18

Coombs resident wants better transit service to area

Pilcher said it would especially help people with physical challenges

Parksville security camera rebate program raises concerns for privacy advocates

‘Everyone has the right to their own privacy within their own home and their own area’

‘Bad choices make good stories’: Margaret Trudeau brings her show to Just for Laughs

Trudeau says over the decades she has been suicidal, manic, depressed

UPDATE: Youth seen with gun at Nanaimo mall, suspect now in custody

Woodgrove Centre shut down during police incident

B.C. man dies from rabies after contact with Vancouver Island bat

Last known case of human rabies in B.C. was 16 years ago

Crown recommends up to two-year jail term for former Bountiful leader

Crown says sentence range should be 18 months to two years for Bountiful child removal case

VIDEO: Wolf spotted swimming ashore on northern Vancouver Island

Island wolf population estimated at under 150 in 2008, says VI-Wilds

Diversity a Canadian strength, Trudeau says of Trump tweets at congresswomen

Trudeau avoided using Trump’s name when he was asked about the president’s Twitter comments

B.C. couple bring son home from Nigeria after long adoption delay

Kim and Clark Moran of Abbotsford spent almost a year waiting to finalize adoption of Ayo, 3

Garneau ‘disappointed’ in airlines’ move against new passenger bill of rights

New rules codified compensation for lost luggage, overbooked flights

Mercury tops out on top of the world: Alert in Nunavut warmer than Victoria

It’s the latest anomaly in what’s been a long, hot summer across the Arctic

Most Read