Having read Candace Wu’s front-page story (The NEWS, Oct. 1) regarding the Regional District of Nanaimo’s (RDN) position, that Qualicum Beach will be brought into a collaborative agreement with the surrounding districts and City of Parksville to share our water — we are disturbed to say the least.
Having been the president of a public society which negotiated a public water use plan with BC Hydro, who holds the largest number of commercial water licences in the province, I have a little understanding of the tenacious cut and thrust and trade-offs that goes on here, in water sharing discussions. In the end, the surety of Qualicum’s domestic and recreational water supplies is the only guarantee we will have for being masters of our own house and the water costs.
Having moved from Maple Ridge, which lives under the stranglehold of regional government, Metro Vancouver, I am all too aware of regional governments’ far reaching capacity to dictate to their smaller municipal parts. Maple Ridge was dictated to by Metro for a vast range of planning issues and had one vote to cast on Metro’s board. This removed, to a great extent, the concept of democracy at the local city level.
Over the years, ballots cast in civic voting in Maple Ridge has dwindled down to 25-30 per cent. The local press would write articles just before a local election saying ‘get out and vote, as your municipal vote has the greatest impact on your lives of all levels of government.’ However, the voting turnout proved many people watching the bullying of Metro didn’t believe this and stayed home in disgust.
We in Qualicum Beach have a great vibrant “local” democracy, which encourages an amazing civic turnout to vote (around 70 per cent last election). Qualicum Beach purchased 75 acres near the intersection of Rupert and Berwick roads off Memorial Avenue for $1.495 million from Island Timberlands — that’s where the water tower and reservoir currently stand.
Since Qualicum had this foresight, it would be unthinkable now to allow the RDN to dictate to QB on some/any form of water sharing agreement.
Geoff ClaytonQualicum Beach