Anderson Cove residents don’t take clean water for granted, mostly because not everyone has had quality drinking water and those who do don’t always have enough water.
Now, a decades-long effort to obtain a new water source for the East Sooke neighbourhood has finally become a reality.
The Capital Regional District board last week agreed to allow residents to hook up to the region’s water system, opening the door for a long-term water supply for 30 property owners.
“There’s an absolute need for piped water in the Anderson Cove neighbourhood,” said Marty Strybos a local property owner. “Some people have no water source at all.”
Those who do have wells have contaminants that make it undrinkable, and some wells don’t produce enough water.
“What do you do with 20 gallons [of water] a day? There might be enough water to flush your toilet a couple of times, but you certainly can’t do laundry with that,” Strybos said.
Juan de Fuca Electoral Area director Mike Hicks has been a champion of water rights in the CRD for more than a decade, believing everyone is entitled to a potable water supply.
Efforts to get water for Anderson Cove have been frustratingly slow, Hick said.
The CRD board has been reluctant over the years to expand water service to the rural areas to keep within the mandate set out in the regional growth strategy. Last week’s vote for water passed with a slim one vote majority.
The regional growth strategy decrees a containment of the urban areas, which some believe the hooking up of regional water services in rural areas would encourage development. (The argument is countered by rural politicians who say development can be controlled by local official community plans and zoning bylaws.)
“I’m surprised the position (of the urban municipalities) hasn’t changed after all these years,” Hicks said after the meeting.
“I believe if we have water, it’s our God-given right to give it to people.”
With the CRD boards change of heart, Anderson Cove residents can pay to have regional water hooked up to their property line. The property owner would need to pay for the hookup, but there’s good news on that front, too.
The federal and provincial have a $373-million infrastructure program aimed at clean water and wastewater. If successful in the application, the property owners could be eligible for 80 per cent of the funding.