Parksville asked to prepare for disaster

Concerns raised about the city's water supply; high-land reservoir storage touted

Parksville’s water supply must be set up to survive a catastrophic emergency, a group of residents told city council on Monday night, extolling the virtues of high-land reservoirs.

It’s the continuation of a discussion that’s been going on for years, one that’s resurfaced reecntly as the city developed a new water treatment and storage system. One of the residents, Doug O’Brien, was asked if he believed the city has responded to years of requests for reservoirs that could supply the city with water in the event of an earthquake, major power outage or other catastrophe.

“There’s been no notification of any change in direction of the city to look at high-land storage,” said O’Brien.

The city has leaned toward below-ground, or aquifer, storage. It’s built into future phases of the plan that taxpayers approved through a referendum last year that paved the way for construction of a new $26 million treatment plant.

Ronda Murdock, Derrick Grimmer and Trevor Wicks joined O’Brien Monday night to outline the water-supply challenges the city would face in the event of a major emergency.

“In the event of a catastrophic earthquake with loss of power and risk of firestorm, Parksville will need a system capable of water delivery without electricity,” said Murdock.

Operations manager Mike Squire held a red binder up at one point, trying to assure council and the public the city has a plan for water supply in case of a huge fire, earthquake or loss of power.

“We do have full contingency back-up plans,” said Squire.

Coun. Leanne Salter did not seem impressed with Squire’s response.

“When you speak, it’s like ‘it’s all good’,” said Salter. “I don’t think we are prepared for an earthquake or anything of that magnitude.”

Coun. Sue Powell jumped to Squire’s defence.

“I don’t think anyone on our staff thinks this is a small, unimportant issue,” said Powell, adding that the city would not be left alone in the event of a major emergency, that other levels of government would be there to offer help. “You just can’t focus on the City of Parksville. To take it out of that context, I don’t think it does it justice.”

Grimmer, a PhD physicist, and Wicks explained some of the challenges the city would face under the different emergency situations.

“The upland reservoir concept is one that needs serious consideration,” said Grimmer. “We trust that Parksville and its council will strive to be progressive in this issue. One can choose whatever scenario one wants and work the numbers, since the reservoirs are modular in nature. One can start with constructing one for emergency and test purposes and expand from there.”

Council seemed interested in seeing the emergency plan in Squire’s hands before considering any moves. The operations manager was reluctant to release the plan to the public, saying it included personal information like phone numbers for various staff and others who would be involved in handling an emergency for the city.

Council passed a motion directing Squire to redact the personal information and provide council with the city’s emergency preparedness plan.

Just Posted

Senior Whalers duke it out but suffer loss

Ballenas need to win last two games to make it to the playoffs

Paper delivery may be late in some areas Oct. 25

Please note delivery of the PQB News may be late in some… Continue reading

Regional District of Nanaimo board will be almost all new

Only 3-4 directors out of 19 returning to RDN board table

Surprise start to arts career for newly-arrived Qualicum Beach painter

From factory worker to commercial artist to teacher

B.C. sailor surprised by humpback whale playing under her boat

Jodi Klahm-Kozicki said the experience was ‘magical’ near Denman Island

Opioid crisis may be shortening British Columbians’ life expectancy: report

Canada among healthiest wealthy countries, but 8,000 overdose deaths since 2016 are causing concern

B.C. cold case helps ‘60 Minutes’ explain genetic genealogy

An arrest in the 1987 double-murder of two people from Victoria was one of three examples highlighted in a segment you can watch here

Delivery of cannabis could be impacted by postal strike

BC Liquor Distribution Branch look at alternative third-party delivery services

Local businesses that go above and beyond honoured at annual gala

Better Business Bureau of Vancouver Island Torch Awards go Nov. 2 at the Union Club

Around the BCHL: Chilliwack Chiefs snag spot in CJHL national rankings

Around the BCHL is a look at what’s happening in the BCHL and the junior A world.

Rural regions get priority for B.C. referendum mail-out

Ballot security measures aim to protect against voter fraud

B.C.’s natural gas supply could see 50% dip through winter due to pipeline blast

It’s been two weeks since the Enbridge pipeline ruptured near Prince George on Oct. 9, sparking a large fireball

Mega Millions, Powerball prizes come down to math, long odds

Biggest myth: The advertised $1.6 billion Mega Millions prize and $620 million Powerball prize aren’t quite real

Most Read