Public committee in the works to investigate water source options

Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) directors unanimously supported creating a citizen-run group to advise the board on water supply and conservation.

The idea for a committee sprang from the board’s aim of eventually creating a Watershed Protection Action Plan. But forming such a plan takes years, so in the meantime, staff have proposed moving ahead with a Water Supply Advisory Committee to more formally gather public input.

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That input could then be used to form “strategic water supply plans,” according to a staff report from a Feb. 20 infrastructure services committee meeting.

Terms of reference, to be drafted following board approval, would outline exactly what the committee is expected to accomplish, though the staff report did suggest it would advise the board “on the development and implementation of water supply and water conservation plans for the SCRD’s water systems.”

It would be comprised of residents from all of the SCRD’s water systems, and while board members and representatives from other local governments could be included as members, they would not be able to vote.

The report said the committee wouldn’t cost money. If adopted by the board, terms of reference would be created in March and a call for applications would be announced after that.

When discussing the committee, Sechelt director Darnelda Siegers mentioned ideas raised by the public during consultations last summer, such as sourcing water from Clowhom Lake and desalination, and confirmed that the committee could “look at all options.”

Halfmoon Bay director Lori Pratt underscored that the public could “bring forward their own initiatives and not just wait for board direction. Otherwise they’re frankly going to feel impotent at the committee level and not feel like they’re creating any meaningful kind of work,” she said.

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