Now is a good time for Parksville residents to look ahead to the referendum question asking us to approve borrowing a great deal of money for the construction of the water treatment plant due for completion in 2016. The referendum may be held in conjunction with the civic election on November 15 or it may come later if promises of monetary support from the federal and provincial governments are not forthcoming by August 5.
We know building the water treatment plant is Island Health’s requirement to ensure the safety of our drinking water, no argument there. But I’d like to know why the treatment plant is designed to produce a far greater volume of water than is forecast to be needed by Parksville and Nanoose even by 2050? And why taxpayers are being asked to foot the bill now for the 48ML/d (mega liters per day) capacity that may or may not ever be needed? That’s four times the 12ML/d we currently use for our combined population of 17,000.
An interesting question to ask the four board members of the Englishman River Water Service (Mayor Chris Burger and Coun. Marc Lefevbre representing Parksville and Joe Stanhope and George Holme with the RDN) as well as city council is: why propose a water treatment plant that far exceeds the capacity we are projected to need? Indeed, if the groundwater from our well fields (the ERWS has for some reason left groundwater out of their calculations) is taken into consideration, we will require less than 16ML/d. Why not build the treatment plant in modules, adding capacity only if required and paid for at that time?
Providing a water treatment plant that is both functional and practical is the duty of our local governments. They’ve known since 2009 they needed to build it and they still haven’t got it right. Hopefully they will by referendum day.