Lantzville report shows lack of thirst for water

NANAIMO – Councillor questions accuracy of survey after only 121 people respond to questions.

A slight majority of residents in Lantzville who do not receive municipal water appear to have no thirst for the service, according to recently released public engagement report.

The District of Lantzville has released its Official Community Plan Update and Water Utility Master Plan Public Engagement Report, which was conducted by Lanarc Consultants last month.

The report, the first of many, is the culmination of responses by 121 people to questions relating to water and community growth within the district. It also includes responses from an online questionnaire that was posted on the district’s website from Sept. 12-23.

According to the report, 52.6 per cent of respondents said they were on the community water system. Meanwhile, fewer than half of respondents identified as currently not being connected to community water.

When it came to the question of expanding Lantzville’s municipal water system, 48.8 per cent of respondents felt that the community water system should be expanded to those who are not on the district’s water system.

An additional 46.3 per cent were either unsure or said it would depend on how new connections would impact their water rates. Only 4.9 per cent of respondents did not want the water system to expand.

However, 52 per cent of participants not on a municipal water system said they did not want to be connected to one in the future while 30 per cent did. Less than 20 per cent were unsure.

Participants ranked “long-term reliability of the water supply” as the No. 1 concern with cost of municipal water rates coming in second. Increasing water supply to allow existing residents to connect to municipal water and increasing water supply to allow new development to occur were the lowest ranked.

Coun. Will Geselbracht said because only 121 people responded, it is really too early to accurately gauge what the community wants.

“The problem is understanding what questions were asked and how you collate that information. At the end of the day, I think it is too early to tell,” he said. “The sample was only 121 people, there are 1,400 households in Lantzville.

“We have to have a lot more process. I think any results right now are too early to tell.”

Coun. John Coulson said he was pleased with the report, but was also concerned by the low number of people who participated.

“It bothers me,” he said. “It also doesn’t surprise me. One of the criteria in selecting the company that we did was skills in engaging or communications with a small community and so I don’t want to speak too critically at this time, but I certainly hope there are some steps or improvements at this time.”

He hopes the next report is much more detailed and includes information about why people want water.

“Not just do you want water? Yes or No? But do you want it because of quality? Do you want it because of quantity issues? That kind of break down would be helpful,” he said.

Lanarc is holding a public consultation workshop at Costin Hall on Nov. 2 at 6 p.m.

For more information, please visit www.lantzville.ca.

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