The Regional District of Nanaimo has made it a priority to improve the quality of water supplied to Sandpiper residents. (Submitted photo)

The Regional District of Nanaimo has made it a priority to improve the quality of water supplied to Sandpiper residents. (Submitted photo)

Regional District of Nanaimo wants Sandpiper water quality issues addressed quickly

Area G director Wallace says situation is ‘unacceptable’

Improving the water quality currently being supplied by the Regional District of Nanaimo to residents in the Sandpiper community of French Creek is now a priority.

That was the decision reached by the RDN board at a meeting on June 23.

Electoral Area G (French Creek, San Pareil, Little Qualicum, Englishman River) director Lehann Wallace said that the poor water quality in the Sandpiper area is “unacceptable.”

“The the quality of the water that this people have to deal with is unbearable,” said Wallace. “It has to be fixed.”

The Sandpiper community water dilemma has been going on for close to 20 years.

The RDN French Creek Water Service Area supplies water to close to 250 homes in the Sandpiper area from groundwater wells located nearby. Although the water is deemed potable by Island Health, it is high in manganese and iron and Wallace said that puts the health of residents at risk.

The RDN board heard from virtual delegations, as Sandpiper residents provided videos and photos of the brown murky water they’ve been getting and the impact it has had on the quality of their lives. They say the water causes damage to their appliances, stains laundry, bathtubs, sinks and toilets.

READ MORE: Petition underway to get RDN to improve sandpiper water quality

“Those videos are disturbing that there’s water in the regional district that is of this poor quality,” Wallace said.

A petition signed by signed by 206 Sandpiper residents was also received by the RDN board.

“It has gone on for so long and unless it’s prioritized at the board level this will continue,” said Wallace, who went on to ask staff on any assurances they can give residents that something is going to be done about it this year.

The RDN’s chief administrator officer, Phyllis Carlyle, indicated staff is currently working on a strategy to address the problem.

Last year, Health Canada and the B.C. government issued new regulations for the maximum allowable concentration of manganese in drinking water.

Wallace feels that the quality of water currently being supplied to Sandpiper is not compliant under the Canadian Drinking Water Guidelines.

Wallace also asked whether the RDN would put out notices and warnings about the levels of manganese in the drinking water.

The RDN’s regional and community utilities general manager, Randy Alexander, said that fell under the jurisdiction of Island Health.

Electoral Area F (Coombs, Hilliers, Errington, Whiskey Creek, Meadowood) director Leanne Salter asked if the RDN could possibly face a lawsuit.

“I realized there’s a bit of … I know it’s not our problem, it’s Island Health’s but we are involved,” said Salter.

Carlyle indicated Island Health’s medical officer in the past had ordered the RDN to take the necessary steps to clean up a water system.

“We are not currently under an order,” Carlyle explained. “As Mr. Alexander indicated there’s certainly research that’s being done in the province but there is no order right now. Is there a potential for a lawsuit? Anyone can sue anyone over anything at anytime. The question is if there are merits to any litigation that may be advanced.”

Parksville director Adam Fras said he can’t imagine anyone being comfortable drinking the water.

“We’re the ones in the position of responsibility to address this and I think we should be addressing it.”

Parksville Mayor Ed Mayne agreed.

“We need to make a move now,” said Mayne, who went on to make a motion that the RDN move within the next 30 days to fix the problem.

The board eventually voted in favour of Mayne’s motion that staff be directed to come up with options or solutions to improve the water quality at Sandpiper community within 30 days, or as soon as possible.

Michael.Briones@pqbnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter 

Drinking waterNanaimo Regional District

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

FOI records provided to the News Bulletin from the City of Nanaimo in 2018. (News Bulletin file photo)
Samra’s numerous FOI requests to City of Nanaimo aren’t ‘vexatious,’ privacy commissioner decides

Former CAO says records will assist her in a future B.C. Human Rights Tribunal hearing

Chartwell Malaspina Care Residence in Nanaimo. (News Bulletin file photo)
Two Nanaimo care-home residents have died during COVID-19 outbreak

Death reported Monday was the second related to Chartwell Malaspina outbreak, says Island Health

Eighteen-year-old Aidan Webber died in a marine accident in 2019. He was a Canadian Junior BMX champion from Nanaimo. (Submitted)
Inadequate safety training a factor in teen BMX star’s workplace death in 2019

Aidan Webber was crushed by a barge at a fish farm near Port Hardy

Nanaimo RCMP are seeking the public’s help after a man allegedly assaulted a clerk at James General Store on Victoria Road on Jan. 18. (Submitted photo)
Suspect screams at customer then assaults store clerk on Nanaimo’s Victoria Road

RCMP asking for information about Jan. 18 incident at James General Store

(Black Press Media files)
Transport Canada not budging on enclosed deck rules, despite calls from BC Ferries union

There have been at least 23 cases of the U.K. variant detected in Canada, four of which are in B.C.

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, vice-president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, speaks at a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
B.C. records 500 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, 14 deaths

Outbreak at Surrey Pretrial jail, two more in health care

A woman writes a message on a memorial mural wall by street artist James “Smokey Devil” Hardy during a memorial to remember victims of illicit drug overdose deaths on International Overdose Awareness Day, in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, on Monday, August 31, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. paramedics respond to record-breaking number of overdose calls in 2020

On the front lines, COVID-19 has not only led to more calls, but increased the complexity

Rod Bitten of Union Bay won $500,000 in the Lotto Max draw on Jan. 15. Photo supplied
Vancouver Island electrician gets shocking surprise with $500K Extra win

Rod Bitten has been hard at work with home renovations, which is… Continue reading

Rendering of two residential buildings proposed for the corner of Haliburton and Milton streets. (Matthew T. Hansen Architect image)
Two five-storey residential buildings approved for Haliburton Street

City council issues development permit for 79-unit complex at Haliburton and Milton

A suspect has been arrested in connection with fires at Drinkwater Elementary (pictured) and École Mount Prevost. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Arson suspect arrested after fires at Cowichan Valley schools

Drinkwater Elementary and Mount Prevost schools hit within a week

Oyster River Fire Rescue members were called out to a suspicious fire in Black Creek. Two vehicles parked at a private residence were destroyed by fire. Photo courtesy Oyster River Fire Rescue
Suspicious fire destroys two vehicles at Vancouver Island residence

Oyster River Fire Rescue personnel were dispatched to a fire at a… Continue reading

Members of the BC RCMP Explosive Disposal Unit (EDU) is on route to Drummond Park opposite of Fulford Habour on Saltspring Island after the discovery of a suspicious cylindrical-shaped device. (Google/Screencap)
Bomb disposal unit en route to Salt Spring Island after suspicious device found in park

Police say a resident discovered the device Wednesday morning in Drummond Park opposite BC Ferries terminal

Seven streets in downtown Duncan, including Station Street, will soon have new native names added to their signage. (Submitted graphic)
New Duncan street signs will be in English and Hul’q’umi’num

Seven streets to get additional names in First Nations language

Southern resident killer whales in B.C. waters. Research shows the population’s females are more negatively influenced by vessel traffic than males. (Photo supplied by Ocean Wise Conservation Association)
Female orcas less likely to feed in presence of vessel traffic: study

Research the southern resident population raises concerns over reproduction capacity

Most Read