Parksville Residents’ Association renews its call for town hall meeting about water treatment plans

Association says it may have to seek info through Freedom of Information Act and the Provincial Comptroller of Water Rights

The Parksville Residents’ Association is renewing its call for a town-hall meeting about the future of water treatment plans for the city.

In a news release last week, the PRA said if it does not get a positive response on its request from the city it will put in a Freedom of Information request and ask the provincial Comptroller of Water Rights for a review of the current Englishman River Water Service (ERWS) plans.

“That town-hall meeting should be in an open format allowing for full disclosure of ideas and plans from all proponents and all interested parties,” said the PRA release, sent to The NEWS by the PRA’s Al Pastars, who was not immediately available for comment on Monday. City officials were also not available for comment on Monday as city hall offices were closed.

The city had committed to a public meeting for this month on the proposed $37 million water treatment and storage project. It’s now unclear when that meeting will be held as the city, Nanoose Bay representatives and the ERWS continue to deal with funding questions and the possibility the project will not get the two-thirds funding anticipated from senior levels of government. Parksville’s share of the project is approximately $27 million.

In its news release last week, the PRA gave a report of a meeting it hosted March 31 that included “organizations from Nanoose, Fairwinds, Parksville, French Creek, and San Pareil.”

“The history and timelines of the whole Englishman River Project were studied to form the background for discussions during the second half of the meeting,” said the release. “It was determined that some of the actions of the ERWS were less than forthcoming.”

The PRA also acknowledged that the ERWS “is now open to two-way communication.”

During that March 31 meeting, the PRA said “the participants agreed that should a town-hall meeting not take place shortly, a Freedom of Information request will be made along with a request to the Provincial Comptroller of Water Rights for a public meeting review of the ERWS plans as they stand now.”

The need for a new water treatment system for Parksville and Nanoose Bay was spurred by an Island Health demand that all surface water be treated. However, residents and groups like the PRA have questioned the scope and price of the plan put forward by the ERWS.

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