The District of Lantzville’s request for a face-to-face meeting with Lantzville and Nanaimo councillors to discuss a four-year-old water agreement between the two municipalities has gone unanswered.
In late March, Lantzville councillors voted 4-2 in favour of arranging an in-person meeting with Nanaimo city councillors to discuss proposed changes with the Lantzville-Nanaimo water agreement, which was signed in 2014.
Under the terms of the 20-year agreement, Lantzville would pay $1.3-million to Nanaimo in exchange for water to 225 homes located in upper Lantzville and 50 new developments per year would be allowed to receive city water. Since the agreement was signed, Lantzville has proposed a number of changes to the agreement, including changing wording to allow all areas of Lantzville to connect to a water supply.
Ronald Campbell, the district’s chief administrative officer, told the News Bulletin that a letter was indeed sent to Nanaimo staff in April, but he had not heard back.
Lantzville Mayor Colin Haime said he has had no formal discussions with Nanaimo Mayor Bill McKay regarding the request, but did have a brief discussion with McKay about background information about Lantzville’s position on the agreement.
“McKay is certainly aware of the amendments that we have previously requested … but with the situation in Nanaimo being so fluid I can understand Mayor McKay reaching out for additional background to understand to a greater degree about where we were at,” Haime said. “But beyond that there has been no formal correspondence or requests through me.”
Following the decision to send a letter to Nanaimo, Lantzville councillors debated a motion on May 7 that called for the implementation of the water agreement. Councillors decided to put off any discussion on the water agreement until their next meeting, which is scheduled for June 11.
Nanaimo Mayor Bill McKay said council and staff received Lantzville’s letter and that he has had no further contact from Campbell or Haime regarding a meeting.
“We had no understanding as to why they wanted to meet with us,” he said. “It was just an invitation to meet.”
McKay said the fact that Lantzville councillors recently discussed a motion that would trigger the deal makes their request for a meeting with his council a little bit odd.
Coun. Gord Fuller said he’s aware of Lantzville’s letter and previous attempts for meetings and changes to the water agreement. He said council has been so busy with everything else that has been going on that they really haven’t had time to address it, but would be happy to sit down with councillors to discuss the agreement.
“Personally, I would look forward to meeting with them,” he said.
Lantzville Coun. Bob Colclough said he hasn’t heard anything regarding the letter while Coun. Will Geselbracht, who was away when councillors voted to meet with Nanaimo councillors, said he doesn’t want to meet with councillors from Nanaimo. He suggested that his fellow councilors execute the water agreement, calling it a good deal for both sides.
“I would not want to meet,” he said. “I would simply say, get on the with the agreement. We’ve had it for four years. It’s a good agreement. It was signed in good faith by both councils of the day and our council, Lantzville council, needs to get on with it and implement it.”