A date can now be set for the launch of an alternative approval process (AAP) to secure a $9-million loan to pay for a highly anticipated well field in Granthams Landing.
Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) directors were told the province had approved their request to move forward with an AAP, said infrastructure manager Remko Rosenboom during a May 21 infrastructure services committee meeting.
With approval secured, directors are expected to review timelines for the AAP at a May 28 committee meeting.
The wells could cut the 2025 water supply deficit by between 44 and 50 per cent.
Construction is expected to start this August, pending any interference from COVID-19 restrictions. The goal is to have water flowing by 2021.
During the meeting, directors also asked about the “Niagara of Granthams Landing” – excessive erosion caused by rainwater runoff that’s affecting Soames Creek and neighbouring properties and is also in close proximity to the well field infrastructure. An uncontrolled and noncompliant artesian well that the neighbourhood depends on is located at the bottom of Soames Creek. It’s expected to be decommissioned once the well field is installed.
“I’m wondering if the extensive work we’re going to need to do will provide an opportunity to resolve some of the drainage issues around there and divert water away from Niagara,” said Elphinstone director Donna McMahon.
Rosenboom said Church Road and Elphinstone Avenue will be repaved entirely, as well as – possibly – part of Fisher Road. Staff will be looking to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) to contribute funding for needed drainage work.
“We’ll work with MOTI to the extent we can within the project budget to address any of the issues that are currently present,” he said.
Chair Lori Pratt said MLA Nicholas Simons and MP Patrick Weiler have been kept “in the loop” on the project and “if we do need further advocacy they’re ready to go to bat for us.”
McMahon asked whether the watermain that will be installed along Reed Road as part of the project could also lead to paving of the north shoulder, “since we have to pay for paving anyway.”
Rosenboom said “there is still a chance” but it will also depend on where the watermain will be installed. The north side is a MOTI right of way, and the south side is under the jurisdiction of the Town of Gibsons.
He said the south side “might be more financially attractive for us,” and they are working with the Town on that option. He said they expect to find out within the next two months.
Directors also unanimously voted to award Kalwij Water Dynamics Inc. with two contracts, one worth $272,070 and the other worth $148,408, to further investigate well potential at Gray Creek.
The company will determine the capacity and water quality of six wells at five sites.
The two projects were combined into a single request for proposal “to benefit from efficiencies and consistencies from having a single consultant,” according to a staff report. Staff said they had received a higher than normal number of bids – 11 in total.
Environmental flow needs
Staff are also hoping to get approval from the province in June to temporarily reduce the flow of Chapman Creek during a dry spell this summer to monitor how fish species would be impacted, Rosenboom said at the meeting.
Currently, a flow rate of 200 litres per second must be maintained at all times to protect fish in the creek. Reducing the flow rate to 180 litres per second could reduce the water supply deficit for 2025 during a six-month drought by five per cent. If reduced to 150 litres per second, the deficit would be reduced by 13 per cent.
Just like last year, there will be no active operations at the Chapman Creek hatchery this summer.