Map of French Creek water region. — RDN map

RDN and EPCOR conclude negotiations for water utility in French Creek

Purchase would not be possible without increasing water rates

The Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN) and EPCOR have agreed to conclude negotiations for the acquisition/sale of the EPCOR Water (West) utility in the French Creek area.

The utility provides water to approximately 2,000 connections and serves an estimated 4,000 residents within Electoral Area G and the Town of Qualicum Beach.

Negotiations were initiated following a survey of French Creek residents who indicated support of the RDN’s purchase of the water utility, provided it did not incur additional costs to residents. At the conclusion of negotiations, it was determined that a purchase would not be possible without increasing water rates, and for that reason EPCOR will continue to provide drinking water to the residents of French Creek.

RELATED: French Creek Residents Association wants answers from RDN

“The RDN is committed to providing quality services while being mindful of costs to residents, and we enact this commitment through thoughtful and well-informed decisions based on research and fiscal responsibility,” said chairman Ian Thorpe. “EPCOR and the RDN value the feedback we’ve received from residents, and we brought their interests to the table throughout the negotiation process.”

The EPCOR utility is classified as a private water system, and as such, it is regulated by the provincial comptroller of water rights. Water rates are reviewed every three years, and the French Creek utility rates were last reviewed and approved by the comptroller in July 2018. EPCOR is providing water service to French Creek at a comparable rate to similarly sized water systems operated by the RDN.

RELATED: French Creek group wants answers from RDN

As with all domestic water systems in the province, the quality of the water provided by the French Creek utility is provincially regulated. EPCOR conducts regular water testing to ensure the water is safe for drinking and consistently compliant with provincial standards.

For more information on water rate regulations, visit B.C. Water Licensing Rights. For information on drinking water quality and the role of the regional health authority, visit Drinking Water Quality. For more information on the EPCOR water quality testing for the French Creek Area, visit Water Quality in French Creek.

— NEWS staff, submitted

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