The Chapman drawdown project has been dealt a fatal blow following a Feb. 7 announcement that the province is not willing to move ahead with a proposal to adjust the boundaries of Tetrahedron Provincial Park.
“George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, has evaluated the Chapman Lake expansion project and after careful consideration, is not prepared to move forward with a park boundary amendment in Tetrahedron Provincial Park at this time,” reads a ministry release.
“As a result, the Sunshine Coast Regional District’s (SCRD) proposed expansion of the community water supply system infrastructure in the park cannot proceed.”
“It’s a bit of a surprise,” SCRD chair Lori Pratt said Thursday, calling the decision “an indication that we need to diversity our water sources.” She added, “It’s a good thing we’re already looking in other directions.”
Pratt said the minister’s direction is “very clear that they want us to significantly reduce or eliminate the dependence on Chapman, which is going to be a great challenge.”
About 90 per cent of the Sunshine Coast residents in the regional water service area rely on Chapman Lake for drinking water.
The $5-million project would have seen infrastructure installed to draw an additional five metres of water from Chapman Lake, located in the Class A provincial park. SCRD policy dictated that it would only have been drawn down during extreme drought.
The release references several open house meetings hosted by BC Parks and said “most respondents were opposed” to adjusting the boundaries or re-designating the park.
The release also said “more work is required” on the SCRD’s comprehensive regional water plan – which has formed the basis for the district’s water strategy since it was published in 2013. That conclusion was formed on the basis of the “consideration of the necessity” of the Chapman project and the feedback it received from its public consultation process.
The release also said the SCRD will be able to apply for “temporary emergency amendments” during Stage 4 drought to use a siphon.
The release can be read in full here: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2019ENV0006-000185