Now armed with survey numbers that came in beyond expectations, the French Creek Residents Association is expected to make a formal pitch to the Regional District of Nanaimo soon, asking the board to purchase the area's water system from a private company.
The survey on frenchcreekresidents.ca started taking responses on March 31. There are about 2,000 homes that are hooked up to the Epcor water system and residents association representatives said they were hoping to get more than 400 respionses.
As of May 20, the survey received 623 responses, 612 of which answered yes to the following question:
"Would you be in favour of the Regional District of Nanaimo purchasing Epcor French Creek water service if the total debt repayment (including expenses) and the cost of water did not exceed what you are currently paying to Epcor for your water service?"
Representatives of the residents' association (FCRA) said the survey asked for the respondents' name and address and only those living in the appropriate water service area will have their votes counted.
The FCRA suggested ratepayers would save $8.24/month if the RDN purchased the system from Epcor for $3.5 million (including a $100,000 evaluation) and save $4.84/month if the system was purchased for $5.1 million.
Said the RDN's French Creek rep Joe Stamnhope when the survey was rolled out: "I'm certainly willing to go that far but I need to see some numbers," said Stanhope. "I can't say yea or nay until I have a staff report to see the implications. It's going to be costly, one way or another."
Said Epcor's Stephanie Begin: "we respect the community's right to explore the feasibility of a potential purchase of the water utility."