Transmission lines for the Parksville’s new water main between the Englishman River and Springwood await installation alongside the E&N Railway tracks. — J.R. Rardon photo

Parksville council refers motion on upland reservoir

Councillor: Englishman river flow insufficient to meet city’s need

A motion to establish an upland reservoir to store winter water for the City of Parksville was referred for more information from staff during the Parksville City Council meeting Monday, Aug. 21.

Coun. Leanne Salter brought forth a motion to establish a reservoir system that would supply the city with water via gravity feed during dry summer months.

“The city has insufficient bulk water storage to supply all the future needs of a growing population, emergency firefighting demands and ecological and environmental needs,” Salter read from her motion.

“Jurisdictions that have control over water resources have a responsibility to the residents, environment and future generations to manage water in an intelligent, sustainable manner.”

She went on to share statistics that indicate the water flow in the Englishman River during dry summer months this summer dipped to 1.2 cubic metres a second, below the 1.6m3/sec flow rate identified for the new river intake currently under construction.

She also added Canadian Drinking Water guidelines require raw surface water extraction to be lower than 15 degrees celcius, while temperature in the Englishman River on a hot afternoon can exceed 22 C.

Coun. Kirk Oaters and Coun. Kim Burden were both quick to second the motion, but Coun. Sue Powell wanted to know where Salter was getting the statistics she shared, and requested more information be gathered from staff.

“We already discussed storage, and staff gave us a report about why that doesn’t work,” said Powell. Have you spoken to staff about your water levels and temperatures, and if not, where did you get those numbers?”

Salter said the information came from a provincial website, but Powell made a motion to refer the matter to staff to gather more information.

As Mike Squire, the director of the city’s water service, was on vacation and not in attendance, Powell said council should wait for his return.

Powell’s motion to refer was then voted on and passed in a split decision, with Coun. Oates and Burden voting against.