Viewpoint: Cedar Lane water battle not over

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By CEDAR LANE AND AREA RESIDENTS

We residents of Cedar Lane and surrounding neighbours found the Lakeside Dreams July Aqua story on the ever-contentious The Cottages on Bullock Lake quite disturbing — like rubbing salt in a wound.

Everyone on Salt Spring Island must, by now, be aware of our small (two wells, 37 residences) Cedar Lane water district’s long, ongoing fight to save our aquifer (plus the wells of up to 165 neighbours on Thomas, Mansell and parts of Upper Ganges and Robinson roads) from imminent failure if more pressure is put on it. Hence our resistance to The Cottages since, by their own engineer’s report, our aquifer serves their 50 cottages.

“They had a successful summer” in 2017 (but our wells suffered historic lows after they opened) and that, according to Platform Properties’ spokesman, has “washed away the negative residue.” How wrong!

According to the article, “housekeeping is cleaning between 10 and 15 cottages every day.” Whereas Platform’s spokesman elates in this busyness, we (who practise extreme water conservation measures) cringe at the thought of all those extra loads of laundry, toilet flushes and other domestic water-consuming activities. How much water are they using? We shudder . . . .

So they’ve hired up to eight local people . . . now that really contributes to Salt Spring’s employment numbers! Not quite the boom to local employment that was touted at Platform’s open house a few years ago. 

And little cards are put out asking guests to respect and limit their water use (as does almost every motel/hotel in North America). Do the guests read these while they enjoy their soaker tubs?

It is very nice that the property manager’s daughter had her wedding reception at Fulford Hall. Doesn’t that just prove there is absolutely no need for Platform Properties to even consider a water-consuming 6,000-square-foot community amenity building? Our island is already adequately provided for with halls, meeting and reception venues.

Finally, Platform Properties’ Kyle Shury states that their long-term goal will be to sell the cottages. This strikes us as both sad and wrong: do the prospective buyers know of the dispute between the neighbouring 200 or so full-time residences and The Cottages over water use rights? Probably not.

The spokesman may avow he feels “positive vibes,” but not from us . . . the battle is far from over!

And a note to the Capital Regional District and the Islands Trust: you got duped. The Cottages is not the Lakeridge camp of the 1960s, where kids slept in sleeping bags and took their dirty clothes back home at season’s end. It is not a few cabins inhabited by remittance men or flower children of the 1970s, living low off the land. The Cottages is a full-blown, 50-unit, full-time gated subdivision. Platform Properties had no intention of a seasonal tourist resort (it’s not their business — that’s what their spokesman said). You got hoodwinked; and now, the delicate aquifer — and our community — are at risk.

But, as we said, the battle has just begun.

Submitted by Janelle Holmes, Lynda Wilcox, Florence Schreiner, Jane Squier, Ralph Dom, Marianne & Fred Hobbs, Cathy Lenihan, Gail Carruthers, Chris Healy, Barry Larsen, Candace Cole, David Norget, Daniel van Koughnett, Angela Fleagel, Christine Arnet, Nadene McCoy, Albert Wilke, Osman Phillips, Eliane Silverman, Eddy Westcott and Ewen Carruthers.

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