Proposed well in Nanoose Bay causing controversy

Chairman Joe Stanhope tried to quiet a woman he ruled out of order at Tuesday's Regional District of Nanaimo board of directors meeting

Emotions ran high at the regional district Tuesday night.

Director George Holme, who has represented Nanoose Bay for 26 years but is not running for re-election, said he’s “split down the middle.”

Ten people spoke to the board Tuesday about a well on Parker Road which will provide enough water for a Maz-Can development consisting of 16-20 homes and approximately 150 additional water connections the developer can sell.

Most of the people who spoke to the board Tuesday said they are concerned the well might negatively affect the neighbouring area’s water supply. However, some expressed support for the project, saying it enables people to subdivide their properties and access the water connections they’ve been waiting nearly a decade to get.

Two weeks ago, at the urging of concerned Nanoose residents, Holme put forward a motion prohibiting the developer from drawing any water out of the well for at least one year and demanding the developer work with residents in the surrounding area through a local well monitoring program.

However, Nanoose resident Ken Collingwood said he feels “hoodwinked.”

Collingwood alleged “the RDN is actively supporting and enabling his (Maz-Can’s) work” by granting permits and authorization, moving the development project forward, despite Holme’s motion.

Collingwood said he is “opposed to the sale of water connections by a developer.”

But not everybody is.

Virginia Brucker said she wants to subdivide her property into two one acre lots for retirement — and the Maz-Can development makes this possible.

“Many of the lovely homes in the area have been made possible because of developers taking a risk and putting significant personal funds into developing a well,” said Brucker. “We strongly feel that what has been fair for all other subdivisions in the last few years should be applied equally (to developers) and to the many people like us who want to subdivide their plot.”

After listening to the pleas — both for and against the well on Parker Road — Holme made a motion that “the matter of the Maz-Can well be referred back to staff to review the monitoring program.”

Holme said “I want them (RDN staff) to work with the residents of Parker Road so they’ll have a meeting with staff and get this thing resolved.”

Holme’s new motion will supersede his previous motion prohibiting Maz-Can from drawing water for at least one year. Holme said he will be in discussion with RDN staff about the implications of the new motion.

Shortly after the motion was passed, a woman in the board chamber stood up and yelled “I don’t think it’s good enough!”

Chair Joe Stanhope asked the woman to be quiet as she was speaking out of order but she continued.

“It’s not good enough, it honestly isn’t, we’re left with nothing, actually,” she cried, speaking over Stanhope as he attempted to carry on the meeting.

“The developer can go and what good will this do? George? You’re going to talk, we’re going to talk to a couple of RDN (staff) and that’s it — we put our hopes with you George and we are so disappointed.”