When the French Creek Residents Association called a meeting to discuss their options for their water supply, there was a meagre turnout and the poll they conducted had an uncertain result.
Association president Michael Jessen said the issue of whether French Creek should remain as participants in both the Arrowsmith Water Service and the Englishman River Water Service arose during November’s municipal election.
“It actually came up at the all-candidates meeting on November 16 when (Regional District of Nanaimo chair) Joe Stanhope said if elected he wanted to hear from the residents of French Creek about their feelings regarding staying in the Arrowsmith Water Service,” he said. “There have been rumblings in the community, especially after the Qualicum Beach government decided to sever their connection with the next stages of the AWS.”
The meeting drew about 42 people. Of those who answered the survey, 12 said they wanted to remain involved with the Arrowsmith Water Service, with seven voting in the negative.
The poll on the Englishman River Water Service was more definitive, with only one of 20 respondents saying they wanted to remain involved.
The main message, Jessen said, was that there was a need for more information.
Indeed, 21 respondents replied in the affirmative to the question about whether they wanted more information, with only two being satisfied they had all the knowledge they needed. Jessen said he wants to organize a roundtable at some point in the future.
Regional District Area G director Joe Stanhope said he, too wants more information and, once he gets it, he’ll call a public open house to discuss water issues in the community.
“What I said was during the election that clearly there had to be a conversation with the residents regarding the issue because there were a lot of questions,” he said.
“How you connect a public system with a private system. That’s number one. EPCOR is developing their own water system, so the question is, should residents be paying to develop sources at the same time EPCOR is developing new sources for their residents?”
Stanhope said it’s unlikely that French Creek would want to dissociate itself from the Arrowsmith Water System, as it is well on its way to being paid for.
However, the Englishman River Water Service might be another matter.
“As we starting to look at Englishman River water treatment — with the water intake and aquifer storage and recharge, we have to ask, is it fair for the residents here to be part of that, as they on a private water system?”