The debate continues at the Town of Gibsons over what to charge people who draw water from well number one.
This week, councillors decided to lower the charge to 20 cents a litre, down from the proposed 25 cents. The charge is still not approved ó yet ó as council needs to pass a formal bylaw and might also consider other changes to the initiative.
Well number one has become a popular source for people to fill up their water jugs over the years. The well taps directly into an aquifer and does not require treatment, so many people love the fresh drinking water without the chlorination.
Gibsons has been recognized as having some of the best drinking water in the world and won an award stating that several years ago. Some in the community have complained about the proposed fees and question why they should have to pay, while some pointed out the well is separate from the water system. But with a new metering system in place in the Town, which means all homes and businesses are metered and being charged, is it not fair to charge something for this service too that is provided by the Town? Nothing in life is free, so why should this well be free?
But this is not just about cost. The Town has a real opportunity here to make the well a focal point of Gibsons Landing. There has been talk of designing some form of an interpretive centre and encouraging water conservation ó both excellent ideas.
We think many people often take water for granted. You just turn on your tap, and presto, water pours out. But you have to pay for that right, remember, so it should be no different getting water from this public water source, which is operated by the Town. Weíre paying for other Town services, so we should be paying for this service. And while 25 or 20 cents might be a bit steep, we should also remember where that money is going to ó paying for the upkeep of the well ó and, more importantly, other worthwhile projects in the Town.
Incidentally, on Tuesday night, council voted to roll out more than $15,000 worth of grants-in-aid to many wonderful community organizations. Itís money that Coun. Gerry Tretick pointed out was hard to come by as the number of requests far exceeded the amount in the Townís budget.
Isnít it a sad commentary on our society when we donít place a value on anything that we get for free? This is an invaluable asset and one that should not be taken for granted. Many in this world donít enjoy the value of clean water, yet some are complaining about the price and saying that this should be for free.
The money generated from well number one can be put back into the community to help the community. Itís a win-win. So letís not get so hung up on the price. Letís celebrate what we have. Letís conserve what we have. Letís value the wonderful commodity that is this water.