Gibsons council has approved a contract for new wells, speeding up the timeline for a new supply well as part of the plan to begin supplying Zone 3 from the aquifer and taking it off the Sunshine Coast Regional District’s (SCRD) Chapman system.
The new supply well will tap the Gibsons Aquifer in Dougall Park, and the monitoring wells will be at three locations in Lower Gibsons.
The project also includes decommissioning one of the older supply wells, Well #2, which is used mainly as a backup and will be converted for use as an observation well.
The new supply well at Dougall Park was originally slated for drilling in 2020, but director of infrastructure services Dave Newman recommended to council that it be drilled early next year along with the new monitoring wells.
Newman told council that the Town could save some money because the drilling equipment will already be “mobilized.” He also said getting the new supply well drilled and tested in 2019 would allow the Town to apply to the province for a water licence.
Newman and chief administrative officer Emanuel Machado said they are keeping a close eye on whether the SCRD decides to try to pursue a water licence of its own, based on tests from a well near Mahan Road.
“That’s threatening our long-term plans. I think the best decision to be making is getting our foot into the door… We feel that this is the wisest move to be making at this point to try to secure as much water as we can,” said Newman.
“The current actions of the SCRD on this well are problematic,” added Machado. “They’re in their right to apply, but from a regional cooperation perspective that water is there because of the work of the Town of Gibsons.”
Newman also said getting the Dougall Park supply well online will add redundancy to the system as the Zone 3 project continues, making it easier to temporarily shut down other supply wells for pump maintenance or other work without having a big impact on the system.
Council voted unanimously to award the $203,493 contract to Drillwell Enterprises, and authorize pre-budget approval of $150,000 to allow the project to be completed in 2019.
Drillwell estimated in can have the drilling done by early March.