Lantzville has decided it’s time to put the pipe in the ground.On Monday, Lantzville councillors voted 4-3 in favour of approving construction of a $800,000 water pipeline from Lantzville to the border of Nanaimo.
Once constructed, the pipeline would run through lower Lantzville but not connect with Nanaimo. The pipeline would eventually link with Nanaimo’s water supply, triggering the $1.3-million water agreement between the two neighbouring municipalities. However, there was no decision made on when that connection should be made.Coun. Bob Colclough, who supported the motion, said the construction of a pipeline to Nanaimo will provide Lantzville with a connection to a badly needed backup supply of water.”If we don’t have that pipe in the ground and there is a catastrophe or a contamination of our aquifer then … people would be out of water for six, eight, ten months, who knows how long,” he said. “This is a key component of building a robust, reliable water system for Lantzville.”Lantzville Mayor Colin Haime questioned the timing of the motion given that there was absolutely no staff report accompanying it and nothing to support the construction of such an expensive project.
“It appeared to me that everybody seemed fine to wait until the water master plan and then … all the sudden there is a motion to build the pipe,” he said
Coun. John Coulson said with all of the reports and studies that the district has undertaken, combined with the various plans and reviews that are taking place, it would be wise to hold off on spending thousands of dollars of taxpayers money.
“Why would we spend this money right now to benefit existing residents? I can’t understand it. It’s beyond comprehension to me,” he said. “We have a water master plan underway. We have an OCP review underway. We have amendments requested to Nanaimo for the agreement in place. Why don’t we wait for this information to come back in, process it and then make a solid decision.”
— Nicholas M Pescod (@npescod) September 13, 2016
A portion of the debate also focused around a development application submitted to the district’s office known as Ryeland Property, which proposes the construction of a large senior living centre along Lantzville and Schook roads. Among the documents available to the public is a letter that states the owner of the development would pay for the $800,000 water pipeline connection.
Coun. Denise Haime said expressed concerns relating to both the Ryeland Development, the construction cost of the pipeline and timing of the motion.
“How do we recover this money? Even the offer to pay for the water connection … says they will not pay unless they get all of their current applications approved,” Haime said. “This current development application will at least take a year to finalize … so there will be no funds to pay for this water. So again, why are we looking to push this through?”
But Coun. Dot Neary said the pipeline would actually be an asset for the water master plan as well as residents of Lantzville. “I believe that this decision, if it is taken, actually informs the process. It informs the coming water master plan and it gives it some concrete substance to work with … this is just the first step of many towards resolving the problems of water quality and supply to those residents who have concerns about community water,” she said.