Residents packed the Comox Valley Regional District’s boardroom at a committee meeting in March to protesting a proposed water bottling operation. File photo/Black Press

Residents packed the Comox Valley Regional District’s boardroom at a committee meeting in March to protesting a proposed water bottling operation. File photo/Black Press

Strathcona Regional District board reconsiders some of bottled water stance

One key issue is whether residents can supply neighbours during drought

The Strathcona Regional District board has taken a position against commercial bottled water operations on Vancouver Island.

A motion to that effect was drafted and passed at a meeting last month in response to the possibility that following the failure of a bid by a Merville couple in the Comox Valley, the couple might want to move the bottling operation to this regional district while extracting the water from the Merville area.

RELATED STORY: Strathcona Regional District board takes stand against water bottling

“There was talk this bottling operation might come north,” Area D Director Brenda Leigh told members of the board who were new or had missed the meeting during which the issue arose.

The Mirror has tried to contact the couple via Facebook but has not yet heard back.

RELATED STORY: Comox Valley Regional District defeats Merville water bottling operation application

Part of the SRD board’s position involves lobbying at the provincial level in order to see a ban across the island. However, at the first meeting of the new board on Wednesday afternoon, some directors worried that the wording of a motion that is to be submitted to the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities (AVICC) was watered down in such a way that it might restrict people with water from providing it to neighbours whose wells have run dry during summer drought conditions.

John MacDonald, Sayward’s mayor and board representative, brought up the matter at the meeting, expressing concern the SRD might now be putting people who might be able to help provide water in a position where it would not be untenable to do so.

“It stops anybody from going into the groundwater,” he said.

Area C Director Jim Abram responded that the emergency water provision cited by McDonald was not the intended target of the SRD board.

“That’s water for domestic purposes,” he said. “It’s quite a different situation.”

Leigh also pointed out the SRD position is aimed more at influencing people in senior government, as it is the provincial government and not local authorities that issue water licences.

“It’s not like we have the authority to tell the province to issue licenses or not,” she said.

The board discussed the issue for some time, weighing word options such as whether to permit bulk water sales while restricting commercial sale operations.

Gold River’s mayor and representative on the board, Brad Unger also raised the question of how motions might affect existing bottling operations.

Mayor Andy Adams, one of the Campbell River directors, suggested the idea the board defer to staff to work on the motion. His Campbell River colleague Charlie Cornfield added that he felt the motion was not a AVICC-ready resolution.

As the deadline to submit motions to the AVICC is not until the middle of February 2019, the board agreed to send the matter back to SRD staff to work on the wording rather than spend more time at the regular public meeting.

“We’re not going to wordsmith this here today,” Chair Michele Babchuk said.

However, the board’s move this week does not affect the motion by the SRD board last month expressing general opposition to water bottling for commercial purposes.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Fish and Loaves Humane Society volunteers Bobby Burns, left, and John Enns, right, receive Volunteer Recognition Awards from acting mayor Duncan McMaster during the free food hand out at the Tofino Legion on Feb.24. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Tofino Fish and Loaves volunteers Enns and Burns cheered for community service

“He’s a very conscientious and hard-working, giving volunteer.”

Ucluelet CAO Mark Boysen has resigned his position and is heading south-Island. (Westerly file photo)
Ucluelet CAO Mark Boysen resigns

Mayor Mayco Noel says he and his council “completely caught off guard”

Tofino will elect a new mayor and two new councillors on March. 6. (Westerly file photo)
Tofino councillor candidates identify differences

Tofino will elect a new mayor and two new municipal councillors on March 6.

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: B.C. seniors aged 90+ can start to sign up for vaccination on March 8

Long-term care residents protected by shots already given

Tofino Resort and Marina has temporarily shut down after several staff members tested positive for COVID-19. (Nora O’Malley photo)
COVID-19 confirmed at Tofino Resort and Marina

Resort apologizes to Hesquiaht First Nation for Valentine’s Day boating incident.

Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Dr. Bonnie Henry pauses for a moment as she gives her daily media briefing regarding COVID-19 for British Columbia in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
7 additional deaths and 542 new COVID-19 cases in B.C.

Provincial health officials reported 18 new COVID-19 cases linked to variants of concern

Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson (Office of the Chief Justice)
Judge questions whether B.C.’s top doctor appreciated right to religious freedom

Lawyer for province says Dr. Henry has outlined the reasons for her orders publicly

The City of Duncan will implement a new pilot project targeting vandalism this spring. (File photo)
Graffiti trouble? Duncan will give you the brush and the paint to remove it

Initiative based on a successful project to protect Port Alberni from unwanted spray paint

A sample of guns seized at the Pacific Highway border crossing from the U.S. into B.C. in 2014. Guns smuggled from the U.S. are used in criminal activity, often associated with drug gangs. (Canada Border Service Agency)
B.C. moves to seize vehicles transporting illegal firearms

Bill bans sale of imitation or BB guns to young people

BC Housing minister David Eby is concerned that Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter will result in a “tent city” similar to this one in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / Black Press file)
‘Disappointed and baffled’ B.C. housing minister warns of tent city in Penticton

Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter could create tent city, says David Eby

This was the scene outside North Saanich’s Parkland Secondary School after an attempted but unsuccessful break-and-enter into the school torched an ATM inside of it. Sidney/North Saanich RCMP did not make any arrests and currently lack suspects as the investigation continues. Members of the public who may have witnessed something or possess other information can contact police at (250) 656-3931 or to Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS. (Submitted)
Money to burn: burglars torch North Saanich high school ATM

Police dogs searched the exterior and interior of the school after early morning break-and-enter

The first of Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s long-range maritime patrol aircraft—the Dash-8—becomes operational. (Photo supplied by PAL Aerospace)
Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s new De Havilland Dash-8-100 long-range surveillance air craft is capable of staying aloft for eight to 10 hours for a variety of missions up and down the B.C. coast. (Photo supplied by PAL Aerospace)
New plane will double DFO’s surveillance capacity in B.C.

The Dash-8 will fly out of Campbell River for enforcement, conservation missions

A recently published study out of UBC has found a link between life satisfaction levels and overall health. (Pixabay)
Satisfied with life? It’s likely you’re healthier for it: UBC study

UBC psychologists have found those more satisfied with their life have a 26% reduced risk of dying

A vial of some of the first 500,000 of the two million AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses that Canada has secured through a deal with the Serum Institute of India in partnership with Verity Pharma at a facility in Milton, Ont., on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio - POOL
Federal panel recommends 4-month gap between COVID vaccine doses due to limited supply

The recommendation applies to all COVID-19 vaccines currently approved in Canada

Most Read