As the lower Sunshine Coast grapples with the state of local emergency called Monday afternoon, local industrial and commercial businesses are fielding calls about water usage.
Concrete production not on SCRD water
"The concrete production companies of Sechelt do not, underline do not, use SCRD drinking water," Mike Carter of Coast Central Concrete stated on Oct. 18. He reached out to Coast Reporter to make that clarification in relation to the order the Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) issued banning industrial and commercial use of its Chapman water system, which will come into effect as of 11:59 p.m. Oct. 18.
While he was unwilling to comment on what water source his company uses for production of concrete, Carter said that his local competitors are also on sources other than SCRD drinking water. He said that for the past two days his telephone had been busy, responding to frequent calls from the public about the ban, with many concerned about impacts for construction projects awaiting concrete.
He asked that it be clarified that the local producers will be continuing operations and that if the public sees his company's concrete trucks making deliveries, they are not doing so in violation of the order.
When asked about putting signage on his trucks making that distinction, Carter commented "that can get expensive."
Swansons Concrete sent out a press release notifying the public that they do not use the SCRD source.
hiwus Warren Paull of the shíshálh Nation, which purchased Swansons Ready Mix Concrete company in 2019 through its economic development company, Tsain-ko Development Corporation, stated, “We are fortunate that we do not use District water in the operation of our concrete company, but our hearts certainly go out to those companies who are now forced to suspend operations due to the water situation … the forecast of rain this weekend will hopefully spell relief for all concerned.”
Lehigh not affected
In addition, the order will not have direct impacts for Lehigh Hanson Material's operations in Sechelt.
"The water used at the Sechelt mine comes directly from groundwater wells on site, there is no use of municipal potable water from the Chapman Creek Water Treatment Plant for the purposes of manufacturing aggregates or dust control," Amber Dixon, Community Liaison for the company stated in an Oct. 18 email.
Lehigh Hanson’s water conservation measures allow us to minimize our use of the groundwater for the washing of aggregates as there are several on-site ponds used to ensure that we can constantly re-use and recycle our wash water. As part of our global Sustainability Commitments, work is underway to implement additional water reduction technologies and strategies to continue minimizing our impact."
The SCRD confirmed that these companies are not using Chapman water for concrete production.