Lantzville District Hall shown above

Nanaimo letter on water agreement amendments leaves Lantzville with questions

NANAIMO – The city's official reply includes invitation to meeting with stakeholders.

Lantzville received an answer from the City of Nanaimo on requested amendments to the water agreement, which has only created more questions.

In April, the District of Lantzville reached out to the City of Nanaimo in hopes of amending the current $1.3-million water supply deal that was signed in 2014. On July 20, Lantzville officially received a written reply from the city, which invites the District of Lantzville to attend a meeting with the City of Nanaimo, Snuneymuxw First Nation and elected officials from the South West Extension to discuss water supply within the region.

The letter also makes reference to a water supply advisory committee that was formed in the 2000s. 

Among the amendments that Lantzville is pushing for is the ability for water to be piped to existing residents within the district instead of just new developments. Lantzville is also looking to have the phrase “water system capital costs” changed to “water service surcharge,” as it would eliminate concerns about direct capital contribution or liabilities that they could end up having to assume.

On Monday, Lantzville councillors discussed the letter, which failed to address any of the proposed amendments and instead invited the district to an unspecified water meeting.

Brad McRae, the chief administrative officer for the district, told councillors the letter was “vague” in nature and didn’t address any of the three changes that they are hoping to see.

“From a cursory review does not seem to overly allude to respond to those amendments,” McRae said.

Coun. Bob Colclough agreed that the letter was vague and said it would be wise to get more information about the proposed meeting.

“I think it would be appropriate for our CAO to respond to the City of Nanaimo and find out the details where and when and who,” he said.

As a result, councillors voted in favour of having the district staff reach out to Nanaimo’s chief administrative officer, Tracy Samra, in an effort to get specifics on the meeting mentioned in the letter.

Coun. Denise Haime said she was in favour of meeting with the City of Nanaimo.

“Previously, councillors have said they wanted to meet with them, so why wouldn’t we at a minimum at least agree to meet with them,” she said.

Speaking to the News Bulletin afterwards, Lantzville Mayor Colin Haime said there is no issue with meeting the various groups that the City of Nanaimo mentioned in the letter, but he was hoping to see some of the amendments touched on at the very least.

“I would have been happier if they had been able to address some of the more, what might be considered minor changes, rather than turn it into a larger meeting process,” Haime said.

Haime said he wondered about the city’s mention of the water supply advisory committee, which he said has not been active for “many” years. 

“That committee hasn’t met in six years, so to reactivate or suggest that part of the process relates to this committee, certainly is not reflective of any of the actions or activities of Nanaimo for many years,” he said. 

Mayor Bill McKay told the News Bulletin that the City of Nanaimo responded to Lantzville, but that he was not authorized to speak about the letter and would not comment. An e-mail request for an interview with Samra was not returned.

The City of Nanaimo’s letter is also available for viewing at the District of Lantzville’s website as part of the meeting agenda.

Nanaimo Water Agreement Letter by MelissaFryer on Scribd

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