Putting the whoa to a well in Nanoose Bay

Residents tell RDN they fear water shortages from development

Nanoose Bay residents won’t be left high and dry after putting up a fight for water.

Instead, developers of a subdivision in Nanoose Bay will have to wait at least one year before putting their well into service — pending further discussion with residents.

The motion was unanimously passed at Tuesday evening’s RDN committee of the whole meeting where seven Nanoose Bay residents made passionate pleas in an effort to protect their water source from a looming Maz-Can Investment Ltd. development.

According to Parksville Coun. Marc Lefebvre “water is the new oil. It’s a finite resource and this issue of water isn’t going away. It’s going to increase in terms of complexity.”

Lefebvre was responding to the presentations made before the board, where residents expressed disappointment in the regional district. They’re concerned with well servicing at a subdivision development along Oak Leaf Drive that neighbours fear will create water problems in the area.

Melissa MacNeill said in 2010 her well was monitored during the developer’s test period. MacNeill said her well is 300 feet from the subject well and a hydrologist established connectivity between the two during the time of testing.

“As they started to draw on the subject well my static level dropped by 30 feet,” she said. “The only factor monitored was the static level — neither the changes to my water quality nor flow rate was monitored.”

MacNeill said she was informed “the change wasn’t viewed as significant.” However, she said “the current contract between the RDN and Maz-Can allows the subject well to be pumped at a rate of 86.6 gallons per minute.” MacNeill fears that might lead to water shortages. “My well currently produces 4.66 gallons per minute,” she said. “That’s a rate of 18.5 times the total production of my well.”

MacNeill said she purchased her parcel of ALR land for the purpose of farming. “Any changes in the productivity of the well will significantly inhibit my ability to use and develop my land for the purpose of agriculture now and in the future,” she said.

Randy Alexander, RDN general manager of regional and community utilities, confirmed Maz-Can does have a development proposal underway in Nanoose Bay slated to accommodate 16 to 20 units.

Alexander said the company started putting in piping and a treatment system, however they are still subject to approval from both the Agricultural Land Commission and RDN.

RDN CAO Paul Thorkelsson said the developer’s are going ahead at their own risk considering they still need local and provincial approval.

“It’s a bit of a no-man’s process,” said Thorkelsson. “What do you do if the developer feels like the time for development approval is slow and taking too long and the certainly the delegations feel it’s moving too fast … I’m not sure where the answer in it all is.”

Thorkelsson said “there is without question adequate water available … too much in terms of what that property developer could use for his own purposes and the well has significantly higher capacity than what they need for their subdivision.”

Alexander confirmed that this means there is room for growth.

“People could also utilize that capacity if they decided to develop their property in Nanoose Bay,” he said. “It allows people to come to the developer and enter into an agreement to allocate a portion of their water as proof that a water supply is here.”

This has Ken Collingwood concerned.

“We (Nanoose residents) are opposed to the exchange of water for development approvals and the sale of water,” said Collingwood, who also made a presentation Tuesday night. “The extraction of such a large part of water may result in a loss of water volume in any or all of our wells. Water quality could be affected.”

RDN director George Holme, who represents Nanoose Bay, made the motion directing staff to delay putting the well into regular service in the Nanoose Bay Peninsula Water Service for a period of at least one year pending further discussion with residents. Staff was also directed to develop a local well monitoring program within the next year to ensure the operation of this well does not impact the surrounding wells.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Arrowsmith Search and Rescue members, before descending into a gorge near Nile Creek to rescue an injured woman on Sunday, May 2, 2021. (ASAR Twitter photo)
Arrowsmith SAR crews help rescue hiker who plunged 10 metres onto rocks near Nile Creek

Helicopter with winch system required for technical operation in remote location

The courthouse in Nanaimo, B.C. (News Bulletin file)
Nanoose Bay man sentenced after causing a dog unnecessary pain and suffering

Kiefer Tyson Giroux, 26, given six-month sentence after beating pet he was supposed to be caring for

The graph provided by the City of Parksville in a release issued on May 4, depicting a balanced financial budget for 2021. (submitted photo)
City of Parksville announces a balanced budget for 2021

Penalty date for property tax payments extended from July 2 to Oct. 1

Jose Marchand prepares Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination doses at a mobile clinic for members of First Nations and their partners, in Montreal, Friday, April 30, 2021. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization is coming under fire after contradicting the advice Canadians have been receiving for weeks to take the first vaccine against COVID-19 that they’re offered. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Trudeau says he is glad he got AstraZeneca, vaccines are only way out of pandemic

‘The most important thing is to get vaccinated with the first vaccine offered to you’

B.C.’s provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Dip in COVID-19 cases with 572 newly announced in B.C.

No new deaths have been reported but hospitalized patients are up to 481, with 161 being treated in intensive care

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O���Connell photo)
Clash between loggers, activists halts forestry operations over Fairy Creek

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

Following a one-year pause due to the pandemic, the Snowbirds were back in the skies over the Comox Valley Wednesday (May 5) morning. Photo by Erin Haluschak
Video: Snowbirds hold first training session in Comox Valley in more than 2 years

The team will conduct their training from May 4 to 26 in the area

Solar panels on a parking garage at the University of B.C. will be used to separate water into oxygen and hydrogen, the latter captured to supply a vehicle filling station. (UBC video)
UBC parkade project to use solar energy for hydrogen vehicles

Demonstration project gets $5.6M in low-carbon fuel credits

FILE – A student arrives at school as teachers dressed in red participate in a solidarity march to raise awareness about cases of COVID-19 at Ecole Woodward Hill Elementary School, in Surrey, B.C., on Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. ‘should be able to’ offer 1st dose of COVID vaccine to kids 12+ by end of June: Henry

Health Canada authorized the vaccine for younger teens this morning

A woman in the Harrison Mills area was attacked by a cougar on Tuesday, May 4. B.C. Conservation Officers killed two male cougars in the area; the attack was determined to be predatory in nature. (File photo)
2 cougars killed following attack on woman in Agassiz area

Attack victim remains in hospital in stable condition

A woman wears a face mask and shield to curb the spread of COVID-19 while walking in North Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday, January 6, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. CDC updates info, acknowledging small respiratory droplets can spread COVID-19

Large droplets, not aerosols had been fixture of public health messaging for many months

Most Read