Parksville mayor says there’s no better way than the water treatment plan now in front of residents

Parksville residents go to the polls in a referendum on Saturday

Mayor Marc Lefebvre said he is counting on the fact Parksville residents heading to the referendum voting places this week understand the importance of where they mark their ‘X’.

Parksville residents are being asked Saturday — advance voting is also available Wednesday — to give the city permission to borrow $5.6 million to help pay for its part of a $28.3 million water treatment facility.

“I’m really counting on the fact this is extremely important for our long-term supply of potable water and I’m counting on people understanding that,” Lefebvre said last week. “I’m optimistic it’s going to pass.”

Lefebvre said the city has reached out to community groups and organizations throughout this process and “they definitely all get it.” He also said he knows there are people in the city who believe there are other options.

“There’s no doubt there are some people who think there is a better way,” said the mayor. “There’s not a better way and there won’t be a better way for a long time.”

Island Health has ordered all surface water (from rivers, for example) headed to homes must be treated in a specific fashion by Dec. 31, 2016. Parksville gets about 50 per cent of its water from the Englishman River. If voters reject this proposal on Saturday, the mayor said the city will be “required to do it anyway.”

City officials have said they have been told by Island Health an extension could be granted the city if the referendum passes and Island Health sees the city is taking steps (construction of the plant) to treat its water to the health authority’s standards. It’s unclear what would happen if the referendum fails.

“I’m sure 12,000 people in Parksville aren’t going to want to boil their water when they get up in the morning to make their coffee,” said the mayor.

The mayor also said he believes the laws governing municipalities should be changed by the province to reflect that some borrowing — for a potable water project, for example — should not require a referendum.

Assent Voting day — that’s what this referendum is officially called — is Saturday,

Nov. 21. Parksville residents can vote at either the Parksville Community and Conference Centre (PCCC) or the Parksville Fellowship Baptist Church on Pym Street that day from 8 a.m. to

8 p.m. The last advance poll is at the PCCC only from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 18.

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