District of Lantzville councillors are thinking about turning the taps on and executing a water agreement with the City of Nanaimo.
On Monday, Lantzville councillors debated a motion that would trigger the Lantzville-Nanaimo water agreement, which was signed by the two municipalities in 2014. The motion, which was made by Coun. Bob Colclough, also called for the district to create a financial procedure that would allow future connection cost recovery fees with the City of Nanaimo.
Under the terms of the agreement, Nanaimo would supply water to 225 homes in upper Lantzville for a cost of $1.33 million. The 20-year deal also allows for 50 new development connections a year plus the option for an additional 211 connections made to residents on private wells for a cost of $5,900.
Although councillors debated the motion at length, they ultimately decided to defer the matter until the next council meeting.
Speaking to the News Bulletin afterwards, Colclough said the time to bring water to Lantzville is now. He said he’s been involved with the water situation in Lantzville since the early 1980s and after years of studies and tests, there is no other option available but to simply trigger the water agreement with Nanaimo.
“We went through the whole process with our wells, finally did a formal detailed evaluation of our wells and firmed up that we have no excess capacity of our wells,” he said. “We have the OCP, the community still wants housing and in the village, we did a water master plan and the very first recommendation in the water master plan is to turn on the tap. There is no other option.”
Colclough said the water agreement is fair to both Lantzville and Nanaimo and that it works fine.
“Bottom line is, there is no other option for water, period,” he said. “And this is a really good option.”
Coun. Denise Haime said she does not support executing the agreement. She said while she understands that people want water and that there is a real need for water in the community, the water agreement allows developers to benefit off the backs of the taxpayer.
“The residents paid for the $800,000 pipe, they are going to pay for the $1.3 million connection. So, we are going to be over $2 million for the cost of our infrastructure,” she said. “Plus, our water rates are going to go up significantly. There is definitely some confusion with the water rates and what goes into them and my frustration is that we are dumping this on the poor residents and we’re not really getting a whole lot of benefit from it.”
Haime said she’d be more supportive of the water agreement if it provided more water to existing residents, instead of allowing for developers.
“I get that we don’t got a lot of options, but if we can’t go with the one that achieves the goals of our residents, then what is the point?” she asked.
Lantzville’s next scheduled council meeting is May 28.