Council Meeting Update & our Water Crisis

On Monday night ~ 15 or so of us from Bluewater and King Edward Bay attended the council meeting. It was productive, but bleak. Personally I felt that the Mayor & Council heard us loud and clear, but it did feel like the municipality hasn’t quite taken responsibility for what’s happened.

Thank you to Melinda Mennie for putting together the below highlights:

  1. BIM has hired an outside consulting company (Urban Systems) to manage Bluewater & KEB’s water system as an interim measure. Our Manager of Public Works, Bob Robinson, resigned last week without notice.
  2. Urban Systems can begin work as early as this week to develop a plan and report on Bluewater’s water crisis. Council unanimously approved a motion to waive the normal purchasing procedures to get someone working on this ASAP.
    1. To be clear, to our understanding, while Urban Systems has a great reputation in their field, they are a consulting company, not a construction company. They will be able to provide strategic advice, engineering reports, water management planning and likely have a network of building contacts, which is needed, they are not being hired to build or construct new infrastructure.
  3. Bluewater and King Edward Bay are on stage 4 water restrictions until further notice. Kathy Lalonde (the municipality’s Chief Administrative Officer) shared that it would be 2 months until the well is deemed operational.
  4. There was no discussion of how much water is left, or what the interim solutions will be, as the newly drilled wells will not be useable for approximately two months. Aside from the construction work (installation of well pumps, electrical, and plumbing hookups), all water will need to be tested then approved by Vancouver Coastal Health for the wells to be certified for use. However, it was noted that Vancouver Coastal Health is aware of the situation.
  5. There will be a community information meeting for all Bluewater and KEB residents once Urban Systems has a report to give to Public Works. Kathy Lalonde is trying to get a handle on the situation as she is effectively running the Public Works Department.
  6. BIM’s Communications Coordinator will be disseminating information as it becomes available, both through traditional and “creative ways” so that people in Bluewater and King Edward Bay know what is going on. The water metering signs will be posted soon, likely with posted information about the restrictions in the area too.
  7. There was no discussion on the history of the Mutiny Lane well over the last couple years or the decisions that took place resulting in an immediate stage 4 water restriction in May.

The Undercurrent has also published an article about the council meeting and our water situation.


Neighbourhood communications

The municipality’s approach to communicating this water restriction has been to send out email to those already signed up for alerts. This was considered a sufficient effort by most of the Council. On Monday night they were challenged on their approach. Thank you to those that spoke and reinforced that a simple email is not enough.

We have asked the municipality to improve their communications regarding the current water restriction, as well as, developments with our water infrastructure. We have suggested that they use email, mail, go door-to-door, put up neighbourhood signage and hold an in-person community meeting.

The municipality is currently hesitant to host a meeting until they have a formal plan with Urban Systems. This week we will be encouraging them to host a meeting regardless of a formal plan to ensure that residents have an opportunity to feel heard and be informed on our current water situation. More to come.

In the meantime to stay in the loop:

That’s all for now. Have a great rest of your week!

Rob

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