Cumberland council votes against adding well to village’s water system

Cumberland council votes against adding new well.

By Scott Stanfield – Comox Valley Record
Published: October 13, 2011 7:00 PM

Cumberland council approved Tuesday up to $80,000 for the design but voted against a $988,575 expenditure to construct and connect a new well to the village’s water system.
The latter would have been funded by a combination of reserve and amenity funds.
Coun. Bronco Moncrief motioned to proceed with engineering to get the project underway. He supports the six-figure expenditure, recommended by village engineer Bob Hoffstrom, because it concerns water quality and would satisfy the Vancouver Island Health Authority 4-3-2-1-0 standard, saving millions in the long run.
“I think it’s needed,” Mayor Fred Bates said. “To stay away from this puzzles me.”
Coun. Kate Greening does not agree with borrowing from amenity and development cost charge funds, feeling instead that developers should front the money.
“This, to me, is something not to proceed with,” said Greening, who suggests the aquifer in question cannot serve the entire town.
Couns. Gwyn Sproule and Leslie Baird also opposed Moncrief’s motion. Sproule, who is “uneasy” about borrowing funds, notes the village has yet to see the results of the water meter project.
Baird, noting Coal Valley and Trilogy had originally indicated they would pay for the well, made the motion for the $80,000 design expenditure, which Greening and Sproule also opposed.
“It’s all developer’s money,” Bates said.
In August, council authorized drilling and testing of a well at a clearing south of Coal Creek Park. Two test holes near the heritage area identified a well that could yield more than 200 gallons per minute. Three samples fell within Canadian Drinking Water Quality Standards.
Hoffstrom considers the well to be a candidate for a municipal water supply, and said its location is ideal because it is within a large area protected from development by a restrictive covenant.
Two alternatives have been considered for connecting the well to the village’s water system. The first proposes to replace the water main on Camp Road, reconnect about 71 water services and restore pavement at a cost of $1.1 million.
The second option, worth $.76 million, includes a supply main along Comox Lake Road. Though its initial estimate is higher, the first option is less costly overall when well connection and water main replacement projects are combined.
Pending approval from VIHA, funding should be sufficient to complete construction of the proposed works, Hoffstrom states in a report to council.
“Prepayment of amenity funds and DCC fees by the developer will enable construction to proceed concurrently with subdivision development if deemed desirable, and if agreeable by the developer,” Hoffstrom states.

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