A precious resource


Ian Jacques / Editor
June 19, 2014 11:58 AM

If residents in Gibsons didn’t know it already, they do now — water is a precious resource.

Due to a detection of E.coli, a boil water advisory was put in place on Friday, June 6, and was only lifted this past Monday (June 16). As it stands now, the entire Town has been placed on the Sunshine Coast Regional District’s water supply under stage 3 water restrictions.

Debate has been hot on this issue, as residents and businesses found out about the advisory and the steps that the Town took and is taking to address the issues.

Town staff have worked hard to deal with the E.coli discovery. Has the Town done everything right? No. Town staff would be the first to admit that the communication effort in letting the public know about the initial boil water advisory notice on June 6 could have been much better.

Mayor Wayne Rowe has admitted that on several occasions and has assured the public that steps will be put in place should something like this ever happen again.

Since the first notice came out, the Town has been sending out constant updates through traditional media, social media, door-to-door advisement to business owners, posters and letters ensuring that the public knows what is going on.

At Tuesday’s council meeting, director of engineering Dave Newman outlined the Town’s plan for emergency chlorination of the municipal water supply as staff continues to investigate the source of the contamination, which, they admit, may never be fully known.

Confusion has reigned supreme. Some residents, even some who don’t live in the Town of Gibsons, are claiming they have become sick, linking drinking the water to gastrointestinal illness. Coast medical health officer Paul Martiquet confirmed this week he even received a call from someone in Pender Harbour.

Martiquet is fully in favour of what the Town has done and all the steps that have been taken to address the situation.

We consider comparing what has taken place in Gibsons these past 10 days to the tragedy of Walkerton to be a bit over the top, as former Mayor Barry Janyk has done in a letter to the editor this week.

Yes, something happened to the water supply, something that has never before happened in the Town of Gibsons. It’s not a pleasant situation, and it has been worrisome for many. But the Town is working hard to find out what happened and ensure that it never happens again.

Water is a precious commodity that should never be taken for granted — a lesson none of us has enjoyed. Let’s now learn from what went wrong and make sure that something like this doesn’t happen again.

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