Sustainable Water Supply for the Sunshine Coast

Management of drinking watersheds has been controversial since the Sunshine Coast Regional District was created in 1967. Awareness of water issues has never been higher. The Tetrahedron Provincial Park was established in 1995 to protect our region’s largest source area of potable water and other values. A new SCRD project involves removal of the Park’s Class A status in order to more easily remove water from the Park. This is highly controversial.

What is your vision for achieving a sustainable water supply for our region?


Steve Baker
Candidate for SCRD Area D

Building adequate storage through reservoirs is the most appropriate way to ensure effective water management. While the SCRD will be considering different solutions, the long term solution is containment for expected period of drought that would otherwise cause the need to stage 3 and 4 water restrictions. Short term solutions will not mitigate the increased use particularly when the Coast is becoming more populated. The best solution is a series of water containment which can allow continued use for farms, gardens and general use of water.
In addition, the District needs to continue to educate users on best practices to personal water use. Providing solutions for property owners to have their own containment for out door use during the entire year could reduce the draw on the current water supply during peak periods of the year.


Bill Beamish
Candidate for Gibsons Mayor

The Town of Gibsons is not in the Water Function at the SCRD and is not entitled to vote on this issue. I believe that we like other communities have in interest in the outcome and will speak to the Board about concerns for agricultural lands that provide local produce and food dependent on certainty of water during periods of drought.

I support a discussion about working on a Regional Growth Strategy for the Sunshine Coast which would consider water supply, garbage, transportation, recycling and other issues of concern to all residents.

I am personally not in favor of changing the status of the Tetrahedron Park.


Verna Chan
Candidate for Gibsons Councillor

I would need to research this topic further to comment. On the surface of it, I would hope that other options for a reservoir would be explored.


David Croal
Candidate for Gibsons Councillor

Water is a commodity man has tended to take form the easiest point of access, until that becomes a problem, Here is Gibsons we are blessed with an amazing source of water. However, we do not control it at its source. May call out about protecting the water supply at the foreshore – my concern is the source with is not totally within our control. We need to collaborate and work with our surrounding governments and the Province to ensure we don’t lose what we currently have. We need to encourage other communities to find sustainable water that will not negatively impact on the existing eco systems and in turn impact on the environment.


Annemarie De Andrade
Candidate for Gibsons Councillor

First of all, the Tetrahedron Provincial Park Class A designation should NOT BE REMOVED to continue to ensure that the park’s ecosystem integrity is maintained while a high level of water quality and quantity continue to be offered to the community. This is even more important today, given the impacts of climate change on ecosystem resilience and function.

My vision for achieving a sustainable water supply for our region is that:

“The Sunshine Coast region maintains the current Chapman Lake water supply and seeks an array of sources of reliable, high-quality and affordable potable water to meet the present and future demands of the community, while ensuring legal protection of watersheds, lakes and aquifers recharging areas where potable water is sourced. Long-term diversification of the region water supply is advantageous in face of climate change, population growth, aging infrastructure and regulatory restrictions.”

Alternative sources of potable water supply have already been identified and include:

o Building a Reservoir – We don’t have a water shortage problem. We have a storage problem. A reservoir will guarantee water storage and supply during the summer months.

o Aquifers – Recent groundwater exploration indicates good potential for expanded water supply from aquifers in the region. Gibsons already benefits from this excellent potable water source. The entire coast will benefit as well.

o Lakes & Local Watersheds – Clowhom Lake and smaller local watersheds are viable alternatives for potable water supply. Diversifying water sources enhances supply and reduces the risks of climate change disturbances, while improving the resilience of water supply ecosystems.

o Soon to be Increased Water Supply – in 2019, Gibsons will connect Zone 3 residents to the Gibsons Aquifer. As a result, the SCRD supply will increase by 6%.

o Water Metering is Part of the Solution – Gibsons saw a radical decrease in water consumption and waste (leaks) thanks to water meters. Sechelt and the District will see increased water supply from water metering.

Other alternatives of water supply/reduced consumption:

o Voluntary Rain Water Harvesting – through education and incentives

o Water-efficient Toilets & Appliances Campaign – education and incentives

o Compulsory Rain Water Harvesting and Water-efficient Toilets/Appliances – for new developments

o Reclaimed Wastewater from Sechelt Water Resource Center- for landscaping, golf courses irrigations, and supplement water needs at Lehigh.

Achieving a sustainable water supply in Gibsons in particular, would require continuing upgrading of water infrastructure and wells monitoring, better understanding of the aquifer recharging capacity, ensuring that Gibsons’ aquifer recharging areas, particularly, in Mount Elphinstone, Gibsons Creek and Chaster Creek are kept healthy and protected, and most importantly, that we use the precautionary approach when it comes to any development in the Gibsons Aquifer Development Permit Area 9.

“A precautionary approach presumes the existence of environmental risk in the absence of proof to the contrary. It places the onus of establishing the absence of environmental harm upon the source of risk. In situations where a scientific uncertainty exists as to whether an activity could have an adverse effect, the precautionary principle requires that it should be considered as hazardous as it could possibly be.”

http://cohenhighley.com/articles/environmental-regulation/groundwater-use-the-precautionary-principle


Carol Doyle
Candidate for Gibsons Councillor

I have reviewed all the questions and given great thought into each of one of them. Climate Change, Sustainable Water, Adequate Environmental Regulations and the Forests are all of great interest and concern to everyone on the Coast and indeed in the province and across Canada.

However these areas fall under the jurisdiction of the Regional Districts, and or the Province and, in some cases the Federal Government. As a Municipal Government we can lobby for causes, for and against for each and every one of these as issues pertaining to them may arise in our immediate area but decisions cannot be made at the Municipal level rather they will be made at the higher levels of government.

I thank your organization for being the watchdog on these very important environmental issues.


Cathrine Fuller
Candidate for SCRD Area D

The last thing we want to do is remove the Tetrahedron’s Class A status. We fought too long and hard to get that in place. This is one of several reasons I oppose increasing the Chapman Reservoir Expansion. In order to make those changes to the existing lake, the park would have to lose its Class A status.
While we wait for the consultants’ reports on the groundwater test wells and the raw water reservoir, we need to move on other ways to alleviate the immediate situation, which also impact the long term water supply requirements.
According to the SCRD, Canadian average water usage is around 330 L/person per day, the BC average is around 490, and the SCRD is around 573. We need zone meters installed in every area that has house meters in order to track the water loss on the main lines and make the necessary repairs.
While we are not legally allowed to refuse development permits because we don’t have enough water, we can require certain things before we grant a building permit. We also need to work with commercial waters users to encourage them to increase water conservation methods.
These measures are going to require serious budget management for the first few years. During that time I want to review the options we have to develop a sustainable source of water that will
address our needs for the next 30 to 50 years.


Jacqueline Gillis
Candidate for Sechelt Councillor

I’m in support of the SCRD’s water management plan.
I want the park declassified. Or at least certain areas to be declassified to allow for the deepening of Chapman. Chapman lake is an unremarkable lake, from a geological, ecological and hydro-morphological standpoint. This is the scientific assessment presented to me. Trust me, I know how your organization feels about this course of action. I know this will make me unpopular. I have spoken at length with an expert in the field (who asked not to be identified) as well as people in the SCRD and other people with expertise in this field. I cannot pretend to understand the complexities of the hydrogeology of Chapman, which is why I defer to those who do. Chapman is the absolute best bang for our buck, with the ability to be done quickly. I would support trying very, very hard, to get the SIB to allow its use before stage 4. That’s my main concern. But even if we can only use it at stage 4, it’s still a good plan.

I also support water metering, I mean really, why should I, a single person with no lawn, plants or garden, pay the same amount per year as someone who has a pool, lawn, washes their car, etc? It’s absurd. A basic minimum amount should be allowed at no increased cost, or an optional hardship rebate could be offered to low income families, so that people of little means won’t be left unable to afford drinking water, but there has to be some sensibility to the way we allow people to use water. Water should be free. And if you want to bathe in the ocean, you are welcome to. But if you want safe, treated water to be delivered to your taps, that costs money.

We need a reservoir. I’m from Calgary. I freaking love reservoirs. And they can be made into public parks, so it’s a win win. However, I don’t believe that one can be built within the next 5 years, and honestly, within ten years. This opinion comes from speaking with people in government, the SCRD, and my brief time working in the environmental sector, as well as my environmental management studies. Maybe I’m just jaded and pessimistic. I have told Mayor Milne, that if I end up on council and he ends up as mayor, and he can show me a reservoir can be built within two years (as he has said), then I will drop my endorsement of the Chapman draw-down and deepening.
However, we need to keep in mind that a reservoir will mean more water to treat, so a secondary plant may need to be built to treat that water. And that adds cost and time. But, generally, I’m very pro-reservoir.

We need to explore alternative local sources. I am a little wary of tapping aquifers, because that water takes a very long time to replenish. But if the experts on the SCRD say it’s ok, I’ll trust their assessment. As I will continually point out, I am not an expert. That’s why I need their professional assessments.

Look, stage 4 doesn’t affect me. At all. I do my part. I take shorter showers. I don’t run water unless absolutely necessary. But as I said, I have no activities in my life that change when we move to stage 4. In fact, my landlords sprinklers run under my cabin, and they go on at 7:30 am, so when they can’t water, I can sleep in a bit. So, I’m actually benefited by stage 4.
For the other, fringe ideas being tossed around...desalination, don’t even get me started on how absurd that idea is. So, I’ll just leave it at that. Clowholm will cost between $7000-$12000 for every man woman and child who uses SCRD water. If people want to pay for that, they are welcome to. But I suspect support for that idea would dwindle if taxpayers were suddenly forced to foot that bill.

As I said above, we also need to encourage better landscaping for new construction, that uses little to no water. Xeriscaping. Gravel. You get the idea. We need to allow greywater use in our toilets. We NEED to stop flushing toilets with clean drinking water. It’s so stupid, it boggles the mind. Rainwater collection, cisterns, other personal collection systems could absolutely be helped by municipal by-laws and tax benefits/exemptions. I just don’t exactly know yet what those would look like. Sorry, but there is so much to learn...I’m doing my best, but I do not know all.

I engaged in some green building studies when I was doing my masters. I would be happy to get more ideas, as mine are quite out of date.


Mark Hiltz
Candidate for SCRD Area F

Groundwater systems are in good shape right now. Chapman supply problems first came to light with stage 4 acute restrictions being declared on Oct 1, 2012. It is notable that 2012 is also when the Gibsons unchlorinated zone 2 was separated from the chlorinated zone 3 Chapman water of upper Gibsons.

The SCRD needs to do water audits as Gibsons has done.

The Comprehensive Regional Water Plan recommended a floating pump station or alternative. The siphon is an alternative and works in the short term. The channel deepening is not an equivalent alternative and it does nothing to save us from reaching acute stage 4 restriction.

A raw water reservoir as close as possible and as soon as possible to the Chapman Plant will serve as storage and help plant operations by buffering flows. New groundwater wells are the fastest supplemental sources to be brought online. Continue to explore Sakinaw Lake as a long term supplementary source option which was considered in the 1960s and in the 2007 Technical Memorandum No.4.

The interconnectedness of water systems linked to Chapman through closed valves are part of the emergency plans for events such as fires. In 2014 Chapman water was shared with Gibsons because of the e. coli bacteria contamination.

Providing residents with information and incentives for their own backup plans such as on site storage, water reuse, and xeriscaping will add to the resilience of the water supply. Lobbying for the reinstallation of the Chapman hydrographic station to provide data to help understand the Chapman watershed. The high altitude Tetrahedron weather station provides high quality weather data and needs continued support.

For local inspiration we can look to the Keats Island’s Eastbourne water system with a consumption rate of less than 100 liters/person/day.


Darren Inkster
Candidate for Sechelt Councillor

The park redesignation request will not receive B.C. gov approval as far as I can determine so we need to look at supply, storage, and conservation. We do this by creating a reservoir to trap rain water and investigate wells for farming. Additionally, we need to look at cistern development and homeowner incentives for xeriscaping and rainwater harvesting. The central portion has limited water capacity, so we need to work with Mother Nature, not against her.


Janice Kuester
Candidate for Sechelt Councillor

A focus on water conservation and education is something that I strongly believe in. I feel that meters will save water by allowing us to see where we are loosing water and give us the information we need to move forward. We need to protect our watershed - look at practices to effectively manage runoff, awareness of recreation in protecting riparian areas. Let’s look at opportunities to use reclaimed water. I am least in favour of the drawdown of Chapman , but why not Increase capacity of Chapman lake with the use of an AquaDam so water can be stored in rainy seasons and released in drought. A relatively inexpensive alternative to a large area of concern.


Aleria Ladwig
Candidate for Gibsons Councillor

My vision for achieving a sustainable water supply for our region involves water accessibility from multiple sources, much as is laid out in the SCRD Comprehensive Water Management Plan. However, the ability to comment responsibly on what the best approach should be is limited to the information currently available, or lack of it. However, here are my comments on each option:

• I DO support the development of a Regional Growth Strategy. I think this is critical for identifying the future carrying capacity of our natural assets as the Sunshine Coast grows.
• I DO support water metering. I wish water meters weren’t necessary (I know I don’t enjoy getting my water bill!) but we’re very privileged to live here and water is our most limited natural resource in the region so I believe that water meters are necessary Coast-wide.
• I DO support the Town of Gibsons supplying all its residents with potable water from the Gibsons aquifer to reduce the pressure on the SCRD water supply.
• I DON’T support the SCRD drilling test wells into Gibsons aquifer as Gibsons itself requires this water for its own growth. Not to mention that Sechelt folks aren’t on water meters yet!
• As for the issue of drawing down Chapman Lake, it’s not clear to me what the ramifications would be if Tetrahedron Park was downgraded to a Conservation Area. What does a Conservation Area allow over a Class A Park other than the ability to maintain the water supply? I do appreciate that in the worst-case scenario, there could be damage to Chapman Lake if the drawdown project were allowed to proceed. But the Sunshine Coast now deals with Stage 4 water restrictions virtually every year. Decision makers must weigh the risks of the drawdown project against both the environmentally and economically damaging impacts of Stage 4 water restrictions for the next 10 years, while scrambling to build a reservoir (all with a population growth projection of 40% during that time). These are dire circumstances. A final decision on the drawdown was not up to Gibsons Council. But had it been, I would not have voted against it.
• As for the reservoir option, I support it in theory, but it also presents potential risks. I would need to see a viable site, costs, timelines and an environmental assessment report before I’d vote in favour of it.


Lorne Lewis
Candidate for SCRD Area E

I have been opposed to this project since it was first introduced. My voting record is clear on that. There is a lot of water that goes down Chapman Creek from November to March. We need to store some of that water in an engineered reservoir until we need it later in the year. This would stabilize our water supply in an environmentally sustainable way. That will take time to do, in the mean time we can find more wells to diversify our water supply. Wells are easier to work with in that they well water can be treated at the source and fed in to the system without having to go through the water treatment plant first.


Stafford Lumley
Candidate for Gibsons Councillor

My vision is via our Town SCRD Director, for Gibsons to support new groundwater/aquifer exploration to find alternative regional water sources to Chapman—with an emphasis on “new” because the Town has been the longtime steward of the Gibsons Aquifer fed from Mount Elphinstone and should continue to be the sole, careful manager of this source. Once we help the SCRD’s Chapman system by supplying all of Upper Gibsons with aquifer water, perhaps we can even take a next step of finding a way to supplement the SCRD system with our aquifer during drought periods, through a Groundwater Management Plan. This may be necessary until a significant storage reservoir is added to the Chapman system, which is also necessary and should be expedited.

The SCRD’s Regional Water Plan is a world-class example of failing to adapt to climate change. Through three droughts this past term, and a comedy of errors over implementing the expansion project, the board has resolved to “stick to the plan.” Instead, the entire Sunshine Coast outside of the SCRD boardroom has recognized that more urgent action is necessary. Meanwhile, too much time is being wasted on an expansion project that can clearly only be financially feasible through removing Park status and lowering the lake to environmentally damaging levels.

I don’t support this and no one in their right mind should be expecting the Ministry of Environment to, either. The Town of Gibsons could have a significant leadership impact on regional water supply by helping to apply our Natural Assets approach to the Chapman watershed, particularly when it comes to situating a reservoir with minimal manmade “engineered” intervention.


Alice Lutes
Candidate for Sechelt Councillor

It is my belief that the water is there, we just need to collect it. A reservoir is an effective way of dealing with our supply needs. We need to have discussions with the First Nations community and the gravel operations to ascertain whether there are existing sites within the mine site that could be easily converted to reservoir or multiple sites.


Matt McLean
Candidate for Sechelt Councillor

I believe in conservation and fair fee structures as we move to long-term adaptations to our water system. A reservoir can serve our long-term needs, but we need water meters to create a truly sustainable water system.

I support water meters as the most immediate project to take us off Stage 4 Water Restrictions, and local gardeners can keep their vegetable gardens alive. With water meters, we can ensure that our clean drinking water is delivered to people, and not wasted in leaks into the ground. With a variable rate for water, we can reward those who choose to conserve water, while charging more to those people who ignore current water restrictions. We can also offer reductions in rates to farmers who supply us with our local food source.

Chapman Creek is a critical ecosystem to the entire Sunshine Coast. We need to ensure that it is preserved and protected, but we also need control over our water system. I would like to see Chapman and Edwards Lakes removed from Tetrahedron Provincial Park so we may maintain our water system as we see fit, but preserve the rest of the watershed as Tetrahedron Provincial Park to ensure our supply of clean water.


Donna McMahon
Candidate for SCRD Area E

In my view, the SCRD has simply not made its case for the Chapman drawdown project. I have attended all the meetings for the last two years, read all the reports and many of background reports, and I am still not convinced that it's a good or necessary plan. It makes us even more dependent on one very small alpine lake for our regional water supply. What we need is a new reservoir or engineered lake as soon as possible, and in the meantime we must implement strategies to get through the summers until the reservoir is built. Wells may give us additional supply much quicker than a reservoir. We can also work with the largest industrial users to see what they can do to reduce their summer consumption, and with Sunshine Coast Tourism to make sure that hotels and restaurants are managing their water efficiently. Other options include investigating rainwater catchment systems and educating residents on simple things we can do to reduce water waste. The board will  receive a report on test well drilling and a reservoir study in the next few months which will give the SCRD much needed information to build a strategy on. Meters are already in place in the rural areas so we can analyze our water usage and update our regional water plan with solid data.

The decision on what to do about Tetrahedron Provincial Park will be made by the province. I hope they won't declassify the entire park--that's both undesirable and unnecessary. They may remove Class A status from Chapman and Edwards Lakes so that the SCRD can manage water infrastructure without applying for permits.


Bruce Milne
Candidate for Sechelt Mayor

First, stop the misguided Chapman Lake Infrastructure project. This makes no financial sense and it makes no sense ecologically. This misguided project imagines waiting until late in a drought (stage 4) when water is no longer naturally running out of Chapman Lake and then draining the lake an additional 5 vertical metres. We need to enhance and protect our natural assets in the face of climate change not exploit them without mercy when most vulnerable.
Second, we need to stop the high volume of leaks in the present distribution system. We treat water in sufficient volumes for our population and then knowingly allow this precious resource, essential to human life, leak away before it gets into our homes. Water metres are the first step in managing our water responsibly. Fixing leaks and installing water metres to allow responsible use of water is the quickest and least expensive way to increase our supply of available water.
Third, we need to fast track the building of a large reservoir (or engineered lake) to provide storage of available water in winter and spring. The timeline for this needs to be in months (18-24) not in years.
Fourth, we need to begin serious discussion and study of the best long term supply to meet the needs of projected growth.
Fifth, we need to begin a serious discussion on the capacity of our ecological systems on the Sunshine Coast with regard to projected human population. A Regional Growth Strategy that considers the ecological carrying capacity of the Sunshine Coast is the next major project to embrace.


Hans Penner
Candidate for SCRD Area D

Protection and supply of our drinking water, a primary health need, has been a major issue on the Sunshine Coast for decades. In recent years it has become critical, with Stage 4 water restrictions becoming the norm. Very little progress has been made on this major issue. On the contrary, clear cut logging, which could have been prevented, has occurred in our primary source of water, the Chapman Creek watershed. This needs to change.

Consideration should be given to increasing our water supply by including East Gray Creek in the Gray Creek Watershed Reserve and providing a water main connection to the existing treatment plant. As well, presently, there is still uncontrolled road access directly into our drinking watersheds. Gates need to be installed to prevent contamination of our drinking water by illegal dump and garbage sites.

Millions have been spent on water meters on the promise that this will solve our water problems. While they may be a component of solving the water issue, an integrated approach should start with conservation and protection of our source of water. Constructing a reservoir, on site water storage of rain water on residential and farm properties, wells and use of grey water are all part of the solution.

I am opposed to the proposed draw down of Chapman Lake by up 5 meters. It would be ecologically devastating. The class A status of Tetrahedron Park should be maintained.


Lennea Perpet
Candidate for Sechelt Councillor

I have to say that I do not know what the exact plan for solving the water supply issue is at this point as I have heard many options thrown out by community members but as yet do not have specifics on how they would work out.
I feel that this issue needs to be dealt with in a timely manner as it not only creates communal stress, it prevents the ability to implement future growth and development due to uncertainty of sustainable resources.

My vision is to obtain a recommendation based on all available information, in a timely manner, that provides us with the most ECOLOGICALLY and economically sound choice. There will be a cost incurred to do this, but it needs to be the most sustainable and environmentally safe option.


Mike Price
Candidate for SCRD Area A

Water supply around the world is controversial and in fact small wars will probably occur as the have nots seek to steal water from the haves. So why do you think the Sunshine Coast is any different? Asking prospective municipal candidates to become armchair water experts and have a vision for the supply of cheap, plentiful and clean water without having any environmental impacts is a dream of Utopia.
My hope and expectation is that the SCRD will revisit its original plans and verify that the current proposals are the best possible options for future water needs after taking into account all demand management efficiencies first. Personally I would want to read all the original consultants reports to satisfy myself that all viable options had been addressed.


Brenda Rowe
Candidate for Sechelt Councillor

I do not support the Chapman Lake drawdown as it does nothing to actually move us in the direction of more supply. We need to work towards collecting the water that falls out of the sky and supporting methods of conservation. Longer term solutions such as a reservoir should be initiated. Metering will be helpful in helping us detect leaks and would reward those who take conservation seriously. We also should be looking to our largest water users to examine if any savings can be identified. One question I have is how we will ensure that low income families and seniors will not be negatively impacted by potential increased financial burdens resulting from water meters. These are households who are vulnerable to any additional costs added to their already high shelter costs.


Suzanne Senger
Candidate for Gibsons Councillor

Drinking water is a fundamental concern to all residents of the Sunshine Coast. How we manage our potable water supply in every region affects the whole community, and will determine our levels of health and well-being as well as our potential for growth and development on the Coast. If we are to ensure a sustainable water supply for our region a number of steps must be taken including protection of source area ecosystems, diversification of source supply, conservation, education and efficient management and development of storage.

My track record and commitment in Gibsons

I have worked diligently for over ten years to ensure protection of Gibsons Aquifer. As a waterfront property owner in 2008, I began researching and learning about Gibsons Aquifer because it underlays the town, and is especially vulnerable at the waterfront in the harbour. My research opened up a whole new understanding of what a gift the Gibsons Aquifer is, how vulnerable it is (especially on the waterfront in Gibsons Landing) and why we must protect it. In 2009, I went as a delegation to council (as a spokesperson for a local community group) and asked the town to initiate and implement an aquifer protection plan. Some work had been done on this before 2009, but it was not enough. Since then, I have worked diligently to inform and engage the public and support the town’s aquifer mapping, water metering, conservation and education efforts.

From 2009-2013, I worked with the town on this topic very collaboratively. In 2013, upon reviewing the aquifer mapping study and the George development application I discovered that the George Hotel would perforate the aquifer and likely blow out and/or contaminate our drinking water supply. I immediately sought expert technical advice and reached out to share it with the town staff. Sadly, I was ignored. I then spearheaded an effort to resolve the risks that the town would not address, which has consumed the last 5 years. I reached out senior staff at the town. Then to council. I contacted the developer, West Coast Environmental Law, the BC Ministry of Environment and the Environmental Appeal Board of BC in a diligent effort to ensure the risks to our drinking water are addressed. I am happy to say that after four years of non-stop advocacy, the developer has now finally admitted the risks of the project are real and is now promising to address these risks. As an elected councillor for the town, I will continue to protect our drinking water source from all proposed activities. I will not support any project that poses a real risk to our drinking water supply. I will work hard to ensure all risks are addressed before any  approvals are granted.

In 2008, I started to ask the questions and crunch the numbers around getting ALL of the properties in Gibsons onto Gibsons aquifer and off the Chapman supply. I have been pressing the issue with the Town and the SCRD for 10 years and supporting initiatives to help the Town reduce its water consumption so it can bring Upper Gibsons onto the Aquifer supply. After 10 years, the town is now in a position to do just this. As an elected councillor, I will ensure the Town all properties in Gibsons get Gibsons Aquifer water.

My overall vision for a sustainable, coast wide water supply.

Protection of source area ecosystems
The Tetrahedron Provincial Park Management Plan's Vision Statement reads as follows:

"The management plan for Tetrahedron Provincial Park will ensure a high level of water quality and quantity for the residents of the  Sunshine Coast, while preserving the integrity of the park’s natural, cultural and diverse ecosystems, maintaining its educational and spiritual values, and providing limited backcountry recreational experiences."

• The Tetrahedron Provincial Park protects the source area ecosystem of the lower coast’s main drinking water supply, Chapman and Edwards lakes. First, and foremost the Tetrahedron Provincial Park must remain intact and protected in perpetuity, so as to ensure the  source area is never compromised.

• The communities of Gibsons Landing, Granthams Landing, Hopkins Landing and Langdale all rely on aquifers for their drinking water supply. What we refer to as Gibsons Aquifer is really, Mount Elphinstone Aquifer. To protect this critical resource, three things need to happen. First, the aquifer recharge area on mount Elphinstone should be protected. Second, the Town of Gibsons should strengthen and stringently enforce its Aquifer Protection Area Development Permit Area guidelines (DPA 9) to ensure proposed activities pose no risks to Gibsons Aquifer. Third, the Town of Gibsons should share its hydrogeological data and 3D mapping with the SCRD, and collaborate on an expanded mapping project to understand and ensure protection of the ground water supply in Gibsons, Elphinstone and West Howe Sound.

Diversification of source supply

• A 2017 report to the SCRD indicates good potential for expanded supply from aquifers throughout the region, specifically in West Howe Sound, Elphinstone and Sechelt. Aquifers provide free storage and, to an extent, free filtration. These sources should be explored.

• Specifically, the District of Sechelt (DoS) is underlain with a vast supply of what appears to be fresh potable water. A recent study (Waterline 2017) has indicated a high producing well at the gravel pit and three potential well target locations which require further evaluation to select one. As well, there are several high producing wells in the Gray Creek Aquifer (Aquarius Sea Farm), a sand and gravel aquifer at lower elevation, proximate to the coastline in Sechelt. The sand and gravel aquifer is highly productive at the existing well location and is considered a potential source target and the SCRD water mains run along the Sechelt Inlet road, for easy access to the system. location. I would like to see the DoS explore groundwater potential in Sechelt, the way Gibsons has.

• Other source options may include Clowhom Lake and/or diversions from other local watersheds.

Conservation, education and efficient management

• Water metering should be implemented throughout the region, as we have done in Gibsons Note: Since water meters were installed in Gibsons we have gone from an average water usage of 800 litres per capita per day to 350 litres per capita per day. Metering works!

• Ensure the Town of Gibsons meets its commitment to stop buying bulk water from the SCRD and get Zone three onto Gibsons Aquifer. This will add at least 6% to the current SCRD supply by 2019 and ensure everyone in Gibsons has adequate water.

• Rain water harvesting education and incentive programs.

• Effective implementation of the outdoor water use stages during the drought season need to be developed, implemented and monitored.

Storage

• The fastest growing community, and largest water consumer on the coast is the District of Sechelt. Most years, Chapman Lake is overflowing from October/November through May/June. We do not have a water shortage problem; we have a water storage problem. The DoS could build a reservoir to ensure its residents can make it through the annual drought season (August/September).


Darnelda Siegers
Candidate for Sechelt Mayor

Chapman Lake has been the water supply source for the majority of the lower Sunshine Coast for many, many years. To date, of the 3 potential supply options on the table at the SCRD, it is the only option that has had a feasibility study completed on it. This feasibility study included an environmental study and full costing. Estimates for implementation indicate the cost to be in the $5 million range. The other two options being pursued, building a reservoir and/or using well water, are being studied now to determine their feasibility. We do not know, at this time, if either will prove to be viable options and, if so, at what cost. It is being determined now if the wells will provide sufficient water. The reservoir project will be expensive and is more than a couple of years away. Engineers who I have consulted have indicated the cost of the reservoir option could be
upwards of $50 million and would take a minimum of 3 years to bring on stream. While I consider the Chapman Lake Expansion Project to be a short term measure, it is the only option that we currently know is feasible. I would not take the Chapman Lake Expansion Project off the table until we know if either or both of the other options are feasible and financially and fiscally responsible. It is also the quickest to implement and will buy us a few years, at least, to bring other options on stream. Given we don’t know the feasibility of the other two options on the table now, we may need additional time to explore other options, like Clowhome Lake, to secure reliable long-term water supply for the Sunshine Coast that will accommodate not only short term needs but long term population growth.


Andreas Tize
Candidate for SCRD Area D

For the long answer, please check out my blog post on my website. In a short answer, I believe that the drawdown of Chapman Creek is not an ideal solution, but there is some potential for negotiation with the Province to make the removal from Class A either temporary and/or negotiate an enlargement of this or another park in return for the removal. I believe that if vocal opposition continues, which it should, then those gains may be realized. I think a diversification of our water sources is essential, but we have to weigh the environmental impact, timelines and costs in these processes.


Alton Toth
Candidate for Sechelt Councillor

I believe in the SCRD plan. The part of it that I support the least is the Chapman drawdown, but even that I would like to see for enhanced stream flows. I firmly believe in metering, both from a leak detection and education standpoint, but also from a perspective that my family does what it can to conserve water and minimize our usage. We have rainbarrels, and we bucket greywater when it gets extreme. Why should someone who has a giant lawn that keeps it green all summer long be paying the exact same amount that I am for water? In addition, both provincial and federal governments have indicated that water meters are a requirement to access grant money to help us pay for bigger and more expensive projects, like a raw water reservoir.

The SCRD finished drilling the test well in my neighbourhood recently (September), and if all goes well, we might soon be able to tap into the Sechelt aquifer to help with our water needs. If we are able to utilize one or more aquifers, and we can help Gibsons get the remainder of its residents onto the Elphinstone aquifer, I believe that will buy us the up to nine years necessary to complete approvals, engineering, and construction for a raw water reservoir.

Beyond that, I can’t even guess at. Water supply going forward might consist of connecting to the Pender Harbour water system, maybe in conjunction with highway improvements. Maybe it’s a pipeline up to Clowhom. Maybe we need to install treatment capacity at Trout Lake and begin to use that too. Those are the sort of decisions that my daughter and her descendants will likely have to worry about. But it’s still worth starting the conversations now.


Doug Wright
Candidate for Sechelt Councillor

The removal of the water source from the Provincial Park and the draw down of Chapman Lake an additional 5 meters over and above the normal draw down of 3 meters is wrong in so many ways. The issues are:

  • the SCRD plan does not add 1 additional liter of water to the source of water the SCRD plan is predicated on Stage 4 as the normal level of water availability
  • during the winter months the excess water runs rampant into the ocean
  • the SCRD Comprehensive plan developed in 2013 other than water meters has no positive results
  • the SCRD plan is predicated on 1 drought in 25 years, we have had 3 droughts in 4 years
  • the SCRD plan has been in front of the Provincial Government for 2 years with no approval

We need a storage system to contain the winter run off that can be used when required. This would be the short term solution. The long term solution is to determine an adequate new source, several of which are available.