Lantzville waiting on water-sharing agreement

NANAIMO – Officials agreed to create a water-sharing contract with the District of Lantzville.

The District of Lantzville is still waiting to vote on a new water-sharing agreement with Nanaimo – five months after city officials agreed to finalize terms.

Lantzville mayor Jack de Jong said he is disappointed the City of Nanaimo has not yet finalized terms for pumping water into the rural community, a move anticipated to solve limited water supply issues and health concerns. The district can’t move forward until it sees a legal  contract.

Nanaimo council released the draft terms for a water-sharing agreement last June and agreed to work on finalizing a contract. It is the first offer to ink a water deal since the two municipalities signed a memorandum of understanding in 2005 and would see water piped to 225 homes in upper Lantzville on the condition of limited connections and financial contributions. The district, for example, would be required to pay a total of $49,330 each year for the Port Theatre and Nanaimo Economic Development Corporation as part of the agreement.

Lantzville officials have the final say on the terms and planned to review the contract this fall. Residents would also have a chance to weigh in and view engineering plans and costs during an open house.  But according to the mayor,  the city has not yet released a legal document outlining specific conditions for anyone to consider. Offerings have only been made in “general terms,” he said.

Nanaimo city officials were unavailable before press time to comment on the reasons why the contract hasn’t yet been completed.

“I was hoping that Nanaimo would at least present us with the contract so we can have a look at it and inform our community … after the summer,” said de Jong.  “Certainly I hoped in September sometime we would have gotten some paper and now we are in October and closing in on November and [we] haven’t seen it yet. I am a little disappointed.”

De Jong said  he understands the city manager turnover and Colliery dams could have delayed work on the contract, but he’s also eager to see the contract move ahead.

“We need that [document] in an official capacity … in order for my community to move forward and say yes we agree or no, we don’t agree,” he said.

The District of Lantzville has searched for an influx of water for more than a decade as it grapples with stagnant growth, contaminated private wells and limited water supply. Talks with Nanaimo about water-sharing has been ongoing for seven years.