Through letters patent, the Province of BC required that the CVRD establish a select committee –the Comox Valley water supply commission – to develop an overall regional water strategy that identifies all viable water sources to further to provide a recommended water supply service plan and operating structure for a regional water supply system. In addition, the province has required that the CVRD develop plans, policies and actions related to regional water demand management and watershed protection. The draft strategy was received by the board on May 25, 2010 and has been submitted to the Province for review. After review, and completion of the technical infrastructure analysis portion of the strategy, it will be finalized.
The Comox Valley Regional District has retained Wedler Engineering LLP as the project manager for this strategy. To make an appointment with the project manager, Andrew Gower, P.Eng., PE, call 250-334- 3263.
FAQS – REGIONAL WATER SUPPLY COMMISSION
Q. What is the new regional water supply commission?
A. Within the boundaries of the CVRD, there are currently various water supplies and water purveyors. The province has required that the CVRD establish a select committee – the Comox Valley water supply commission -- to develop an overall regional water strategy that identifies all viable water sources and further to provide a recommended water supply service plan and operating structure for a regional water supply system. In addition, the province has required that the CVRD develop plans, policies and actions related to regional water demand management and watershed protection. The draft strategy document is now complete and has been sent to the Province and all local municipalities for review. The strategy will be finalized during the summer.
Q. Who is on the commission?
A. The directors for each of the three CVRD electoral areas, and representatives appointed from each of the three Comox Valley municipal governments and a representative from the K'omox First Nations. Each municipality has the same number of members on the commission as the municipality has directors on the CVRD board, but they don't have to be the same people who sit on the regional district board.
Q. Who is on the advisory body?
A. The provincial government's requirement for the advisory body allows the board to appoint members representing improvement districts, First Nations, community groups, environmental organizations, government bodies or other specific agency the board considers appropriate.
Q. Will there be public involvement in development of a regional water supply strategy?
A. Yes. To date there has been a stakeholder discussion session to determine the vision and goals for the Regional Water Supply Strategy. This involved representatives from various local non-governmental organizations in conjunction with the Commission and Advisory body. Furthermore, two rounds of public open houses where the strategy will be presented first in its draft form and later in its final form are proposed. The draft strategy was presented to the public as follows:
May 12, 2010 – 6 to 9 pm at the Cumberland Cultural Centre
May 13, 2010 – 1 to 4 pm at the Comox Council Chambers
May 13, 2010 – 6 to 9 pm at the CVRD Board Room in Courtenay
Q. Is there a cost to developing a regional water supply strategy?
A. Yes. Provisions for developing a regional water supply strategy are included within the CVRD's financial plan based on 100 percent provincial funding. Funding has been provided by the Province of BC for completion of the first phase of the project (inventory of supply) and for the full cost of the project manager. Funding has been requested for the next phases that are scheduled to begin in January 2009. In-kind services from the Comox Valley local government jurisdictions include resources such as participation by the chief administrative officers, operations, communication and administrative staff as well as meeting venues.
Q. Is all of the Comox Valley Regional District to be covered by this water supply strategy?
A. No. The letters patent have excluded Denman and Hornby Islands. Their land use is managed by Islands Trust, not the CVRD.
Q. What happens next?
A. As of December, 2009, key technical portions of the work to support the water supply strategy had been completed by Kerr Wood Leidal, the technical consultant for the strategy. At that time, it was determined that the original completion date was no longer feasible, and an extension to the schedule was recommended. The early parts of 2010 have been spent developing a strategic framework in order to be able to make decisions for finalizing the servicing options required. During the spring of 2010, there were public presentations of draft plans, policies and actions related to water demand management and protection of watersheds, and at the end of May 2010 the commission's findings were be reported to the CVRD board.
Q. Why did a new commission need to be established? Isn't there already a Comox Valley water
A. The existing Comox Valley water committee governs the supply of water from Comox Lake to the City of Courtenay, Town of Comox, the Vancouver Island portion of Baynes Sound- Denman/Hornby Islands (Area ‘A), Lazo North (Area ‘B') and Puntledge-Black Creek (Area ‘C'). The provincial direction contained in the CVRD letters patent to establish a regional water supply commission is intended to consider all existing water supply services in the region. The commission is to develop a recommended water supply service plan and recommended structure for operating the regional district's water supply services in the area. The development of a regional water supply strategy will be integrated with the regional growth strategy to consider a long-range plan for the Comox Valley.