MP given update on water service, with eye for federal funds

The Arrowsmith Water Service is going to be expensive to get up and running, so city is looking to Ottawa for help

Nanaimo-Alberni MP James Lunney received an update on the Arrowsmith Water Service (AWS) and Englishman River work.

Attended by AWS members Joe Stanhope, regional district chair, Parksville acting mayor Chris Burger, director of engineering and operations Robert Harary and Mike Squire, AWS program manager, Lunney heard about the new river water intake and treatment plant, which preliminary work has started on.

They talked about the new AWS governance model, allowing Qualicum Beach to remain in the partnership but not take part in the new treatment facility work and how stable the partnership is which will be important when applying for crucial federal funding.

They also talked about the proposed Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR) concept, common in some U.S. states, but still rare in Canada.

If viable, an ASR system would extract surface water from the Englishman River during the rainy season, store it in an underground aquifer and pump it out for treatment and use in dryer times, essentially offering a third water source.

Preliminary assessment will be done on the 27 Nanoose Creek aquifer, which was selected as the best possibility for what would be the second ASR system in Canada.

An application has been submitted for Gas Tax Strategic Priority Funding for the assessment.

“Moving forward with the Arrowsmith Water Service will require a strong partnership with all three levels of government,” said Burger. “We had a very positive meeting with Dr. Lunney and we will continue to work very closely with him.”


— Submitted by the City of Parksville