Water Management

Let me begin by stating that I am unequivocally opposed to increasing the draw on the Chapman Creek reservoir for the following reasons:

  1. It does not make sense to spend millions of dollars of taxpayers' money on a bandaid instead of expanding the supply. There is no more water being stored, we're just using up more of what we have.
  2. In order to draw the additional water from the reservoir, we will have to blast rock from in front of an aging dam. That's just a bad idea. The potential for compromising the integrity of the dam cannot be ignored, no matter how many engineers tell us "no problem". Further, the environmental impact of the construction ( even if it doesn't crack the dam) will be significant.
  3. 90% of the Sunshine Coast is dependent on the Chapman water system. If something happens to contaminate that water source, we'll be in serious trouble, i.e. if we have a wild fire in that area and they have to drop fire retardant. It is simply foolish to leave ourselves dependent on one fragile water source.
  4. Finally, the timeline on the Chapman Water Expansion project is simply ridiculous. Because this reservoir is in a designated Provincial Park, the process for getting approval is cumbersome. Only the very early requirements have been met. There have been public meetings. However, the Parks Dept. has not released its report yet, so we don't even know if it will be approved. If approval is recommended, it will have to be passed, with 3 readings, in the legislature. That can't happen until at least next spring, and construction can't even start until that process is complete.

This is what I support for managing our water system:

First of all, let me be clear: Nothing I say in this section is a firm commitment because I need more data and I need to consult with our OCP committee. Additionally, even if I'm elected I would only be 1 out of 9 votes on the SCRD Board. But if you're going to vote for me, I think you should at least be aware of how I'm thinking.

I am not the first nor will I be the last to point out that we do NOT have a water problem, we have a water containment problem. One obvious answer seems to be that we need a variety of water containment systems in place.

In a recent Letter to the Editor, Carole Rubin suggested a subsidy for home owners who install containment systems on their property. That makes sense to me. I would also like to find out the potential cost and construction time required to supplement the Chapman Creek Reservoir with several underground holding tanks.

Further, expanding on that concept, I think we should consider amending our bylaws so that anyone building more than 2 units on a parcel in Roberts Creek should be required to provide a water containment system in addition to the septic system that is currently required.

I believe this approach could provide some relief for the current problems.

At the same time, we need to identify a location for a man-made reservoir. A series of underground containment tanks should be part of this concept. This may require a second treatment plant. But it makes more sense to me to spend money on that rather than trying to expand the existing plant to handle an ever-increasing demand. Let's not set up a situation where we will be reacting to yet another water crisis because we didn't have the foresight to plan for increased demand.