In a 7-5 weighted vote, the Comox Valley water committee decided Tuesday to proceed with details for a deep water intake at Comox Lake, and direct filtration treatment, as recommended by Opus DaytonKnight Consultants.
The details include property acquisition, permits and approvals, design, and grant funding applications. The project is estimated to cost about $105 million.
Courtenay director/committee chair Bob Wells, Comox directors Ken Grant and Barbara Price, Area B director Rod Nichol and Area A director Bruce Jolliffe favoured the recommendation. Opposed were Courtenay directors Manno Theos and Erik Eriksson, and Area C director Edwin Grieve.
The regional district commissioned a study in response to Island Health’s requirement to provide filtration to comply with the Drinking Water Protection Act. Elevated turbidity events in 2014 and 2015 prompted the CVRD to issue boil water notices under Island Health’s direction. The district had obtained a filtration deferral, but the water advisories prompted Island Health to revoke the filtration deferral process. The CVRD must now include filtration in its water treatment.
“There is absolutely no underlying science for what we are about to undertake for the plus-$100 million project,” Grieve said.
He suggests Island Health has picked the lowest common denominator (one NTU) to boil water while other B.C. jurisdictions are allowed two or three times that amount before water advisories are issued.
“That’s a huge impact on our community, on our businesses.”
Though he realizes “resistance is futile,” Grieve feels the CVRD is being forced to mitigate more against lawsuits than pathogens.