Island-wide water authority options explored

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The creation of an island-wide water authority will be the subject of a provincial government-funded study for Salt Spring.

North Salt Spring Waterworks District trustees made the news public at their Nov. 22 meeting.

“We are just in the preliminary stages of trying to agree on terms of reference for a study the provincial government would have a consultant do,” said NSSWD board chair Marshall Heinekey.

“The NSSWD has engaged with both the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing and the Capital Regional District to discuss possibilities for governance change to the NSSWD in order to facility more effective and efficient management of both water resources and water systems to allow the district to access infrastructure funding from senior governments,” the board said in a statement.

As NSSWD environmental manager Meghan McKee explained at the meeting, the district has two preferred options.

One is creation of an island-wide water authority that would involve conversion of the NSSWD to a CRD service area.

“That would of course have to be approved in a referendum by the NSSWD ratepayers,” McKee said. 

The other option would be to create a different structure — also island-wide — but not involving the CRD. The focus of that option, she said, “is to keep decision making about Salt Spring on Salt Spring.”

“The piecemeal way in which water resources and systems have been managed in the past isn’t working and something different needs to be done,” McKee later told the Driftwood.

For more on this story, see the November 28, 2018 issue of the Gulf Islands Driftwood newspaper, or subscribe online.

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