The aging water and sewer infrastructure in Electoral Area G (French Creek, San Pareil, Little Qualicum, Englishman River) of the Regional District of Nanaimo is a growing concern.
Area G director Lehann Wallace wants a feasibility study done to establish a service area for water and sewer servicing for the area enclosed by Sparrow Place, Bennett Road, View Road, and Hollywood Road. She presented a notice motion at the RDN committee of the whole meeting on May 11, that the feasibility study be included in the 2022 budget and work plan.
Wallace indicated she conducted a survey in May 2020 and there was significant interest as there are some residents in the area that don’t have water with the area’s septic system. She also held a community Zoom meeting last March and residents raised concern about the lack of fire protection.
“This is why I am pushing for this motion now for the 2022 budget,” said Wallace, who added the area has funding in place to conduct the study and should be a priority.
The motion was supported by the committee but concerns were raised about making the feasibility study a priority in the 2022 financial plan.
The RDN board needs to make decisions on a myriad of projects whenever it goes through the budget process each year. CAO Phyllis Carlyle suggested the language in Wallace’s motion be softened to indicate it will only be considered for inclusion in 2022 work plans.
“The language you want to use is not conclusive that the population absolutely expects this to be done because you haven’t seen your 2022 budget and respectfully you might want to see that before you make promises as to what will actually be included in it,” Carlyle said. “And whether this will be in fact one of the items that will be included in it.”
Town of Qualicum Beach director and mayor Brian Wiese indicated the Area G feasibility study is important enough to be directly included in the 2022 work plan and that’s it’s time to get moving on it.
“The problem is, their septic systems and water systems are so close,” he said. “They’re jammed in there. They have been there for years and years. This is a top priority for the RDN to look at.”
City of Parksville director and mayor Ed Mayne also supported Wallace’s motion.
“There are some items such as parks and so on that could be talked about should be considered to be talked about,” said Mayne. “There are other things that we have a far greater responsibility to our residents that must be talked about. Water and sewer is probably next to fire and police, two of those things that must be talked about. So to soften the language is to me is not a question. It should be on the 2022 work agenda. And if we have to move a park or move something else that’s not quite important, so be it. I think this is very important to pass for the 2022 work agenda.”
Staff was asked whether the study will be conducted by RDN personnel. The manager of water services Murray Walters indicated a consultant will be hired to take on the task.