I attended the April 8 Parksville city council meeting to hear Trevor Wicks water system alternatives presentation.
I felt that his information succinctly and clearly covered his subject. I also thought that some council members asked insightful questions.
Wicks was not given a promised opportunity to rebut council comments.
I am not convinced that council, CAO Fred Manson and Director of Operation Mike Squire get it, “it” being that residents expect a simpler and cheaper system to meet VIHA requirements, not a $34 million Cadillac.
• Why are DFO objections only now surfacing? Surely the first question by ERWS and consultants would have been to the DFO: “what infrastructure layouts would be problematic to fisheries?”
• DFO objections related to location of water intake, and the volume removed from the river. Secondarily, why is the intake again being placed downstream of upper clay bank erosions and then pollution from Errington areas? The proposed huge filtration system can require constant maintenance because of sediment. Doesn’t an intake in upstream clear water make more sense?
• A council member stated that CH2M Hill Consultants were internationally renowned. Unmentioned is the fact that CH2M Hill has faced a list of outstanding U.S. federal charges, including water act violations.
• The CAO, in a story in The NEWS in January, criticized “people furthering their own agendas” by pointing to allegations about CH2M Hill. These are not gossip and untruths. Portland, Oregon has a web link.
• Aquifer storage was not discussed. Previous news had stated that the two test runs failed. What cost per run?
• Squire and the consultants had indicated at previous meetings that they were unable to define aquifer boundaries. How can they then be sure the stored water will not follow its own paths elsewhere, i.e. leak away through geological sub-structures, therefore no stored water?
• Would forcing pressurized water into aquifers cause similar problems to fracking, i.e. earthquakes?
The ERWS seems to be currently dead in the water.
Shall we establish a water board, similar to other municipalities, with a cross section of knowledgeable people with related experience or credentials?
Shall we then look at more economical and lower maintenance methods to achieve the required VIHA outcomes?