As shovels dug into the soil next to one of the Church Road wells, the Sunshine Coast Regional District celebrated the official groundbreaking on its latest well field project after three years of work.
On March 8, Coun. Wilson Williams of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) Nation, SCRD directors and staff gathered to mark the occasion at the construction site on Elphinstone Avenue in the Granthams Landing area.
Standing between the two former test wells, general manager of infrastructure services Remko Rosenboom pointed to the wells where the water will come from. The Church Road well field project will add nearly five million litres of water per day to the Chapman water system.
“We know that water supply is one of the biggest concerns that we have here on the Sunshine Coast,” SCRD board chair Darnelda Siegers said as she addressed the group. “We're still reeling from a summer of high, high temperatures, not much water, and Stage 4 conservation regulations.”
She took time at the event to thank everyone who worked on the project’s many stages, and the community who backed it.
“I want to assure the community that the board is not stopping here. We are going to propose other projects to ensure we have a sustainable water supply for many years in the future,” Siegers said.
While a specific completion date has not been confirmed, Rosenboom said, “I think as a team, we’re really well versed to make this a project a success in terms of that we can get it completed in an efficient and effective manner by the end of the summer.”
Local company Maycon Construction has been awarded the tender for the project, and the SCRD will provide updates throughout the project.
“It is intended that the addition of this and the other water sources currently under development, along with water conservation in our community will result in the community not having to exceed Stage 2 water regulations through the summer months,” Rosenboom said in a press release.
The construction will also bring traffic disruptions to residents in the Granthams and Upper Gibsons areas. The SCRD mailed notices to the affected residents in February.
The Church Road well field project has been years in the making and was finally granted a water licence from the province on Dec. 17, 2021.
Coun. Williams said it felt like “there’s a weight off the shoulders.
“I'm well aware of the concerns and the long journey, and I’m just holding my hands up in gratitude for the team that brought us forward,” he said.
Although Powell River-Sunshine Coast MLA Nicholas Simons did not attend the ceremony, he wrote a statement that was read, congratulating the staff and elected officials: “Your work reflects the importance of ensuring we have access to safe and reliable drinking water, something that is so obviously of critical importance to our communities here on the Sunshine Coast.”
As the ceremony concluded, Halfmoon Bay director Lori Pratt let out a celebratory whoop.
More information can be found at https://letstalk.scrd.ca/church-road. SCRD staff will also be available at an information booth located at the Elphinstone Avenue construction site on March 24 between 3 and 5 p.m.