|Full Name||North Salt Spring Waterworks District|
|Location||North Salt Spring Waterworks District|
For Immediate Release
July 19, 2021
The Salt Spring Island Water Service Optimization Study was released in March 2021. After a lengthy and intensive review of the document the North Salt Spring Waterworks District (NSSWD); Capital Regional District (CRD) and the Government of BC met to discuss the path forward on May 18, 2021.
Since December 2019 and up to today the NSSWD has clearly indicated it was interested in pursuing option 3 of the Water Service Optimization Study. That option would have seen the creation of a Salt Spring Island Consolidated Water Commission, (a standalone department of the CRD), governed independently from the CRD Administration and reporting directly to the CRD Board, all of which would have been protected by legally binding agreements. This option was also the governance solution recommended by the author of the Water Service Optimization Study.
The CRD has made their position clear and they do not support this option.
With two years invested in the process, the NSSWD finds itself no closer to access government funding and grants for infrastructure improvements and upgrades to our water system.
Chair Michael McAllister states that “despite the disappointing outcome of this process, the NSSWD Board remains optimistic and will continue to look for solutions to the challenges we face, by not having access to federal and provincial capital project funding.”
McAllister also notes that “All other forms of local governments in British Columbia are eligible to apply for such capital project funding. Being denied access to such funding continues to place an enormous strain on our system. We have at least $25 million in projects that need to be completed in the next five years, including the Maxwell Lake water treatment plant. Not being allowed to access federal and provincial grant funding will certainly increase the financial and public health risks our ratepayers are facing. Current drought conditions, the ability to supply sufficient water to fight fires and most importantly, the ability to continue to deliver safe drinking water to our ratepayers are top priorities for our District.”