Lantzville searching for water plan consultant

NANAIMO – The District of Lantzville has $100,000 budgeted for a consultant and water master plan, which will get underway this July.

A new water master planning process is “all about the public,” according to district chief administrative officer Brad McRae.

The District of Lantzville has opened the competition for a consultant who’ll build the community’s new water master plan, anticipated to get underway this July with a budget of $100,000.

The process will not only take a snapshot of current water infrastructure, but get community feedback and survey residents’ needs and wants for water, the request for proposals shows. McRae said the RFP also says the consultant will be required to meet no fewer than four times with members of the community.

“Pipes in the ground, that’s an engineer thing. We can make pipes in the ground no problem,” said McRae. “But to figure out needs versus wants, where it needs to go first, how it needs to happen, who’s willing to pay what, etc … that has to come from the public.”

That the district is moving ahead with the consultant and master plan is “huge,” according to Coun. Bob Colclough. He said under the master plan, the community will go through a process to eliminate the unknown and rumours and to determine the steps to go through to get water to an area that wants it.

Colclough said he made recommendations to change the order and importance of components in the request for proposals, which were agreed to by council, including the first emphasis on a communication strategy and another on surveying who needs and wants water. He believes the district needs consultants who specialize in public consultation.

“It doesn’t matter if we come up with the right answer, if the community doesn’t believe we went through the right process and consulted with them,” he said.

Coun. Will Geselbracht said the main thrust behind the water master plan is that the public knows what’s happening and has input and there are outside experts to help move it along.

Coun. John Coulson called the plan long overdue. He said the district doesn’t have a formalized water master plan and it has resulted in disjointed decision making. He hopes to see a ‘flow chart’ of the path forward.

He wasn’t so much interested in seeing a consultant do the work, but said there is not the capacity to do it in house.

As part of the work, the consultant will provide options to address concerns or deficiencies, expansion of water services to unserviced neighborhoods and new development and creating the master plan.

The work is slated to be complete by March 31, 2017. Requests for proposals for the consultant close June 10.

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