The subdivision of Western Forest Products land may threaten the Goudie Creek watershed, says Terri Alcock of the Sheringham Water Works. (Contributed photo)

Land sale could threaten Shirley’s water supply: officials

Sale will allow for the subdivision and development of forestry lands

The for sale signs that recently sprouted up on lands owned by Western Forest Products near Shirley have some residents concerned about the potential damage to their drinking water.

They’ve sent letters of concern to Premier John Horgan and the Capital Regional District and have mounted a petition calling for the protection of their watershed through the cancellation of the sale.

“We need Western (Forest Products) and the CRD to come back to the table to find a way to protect our water,” Terri Alcock, Sheringham Water Works administrator said.

The SWW is the community owned and operated water utility for Shirley. The utility represents more than 300 residents who could be affected by the contamination of the watershed that could result from the sale.

“They (Western Forest Products) are selling the land to be developed into 10-acre residential lots. That means there would be at least 15 homes sinking wells and installing septic fields on land that’s right in our watershed for Goudie Creek. (The) watershed is the primary source of water for our community,” Alcock said.

RELATED: Move comes at difficult time for Western

Regional Director Mike Hicks said the population density resulting from the sale could be higher.

“The way the zoning stands right now, they can have 10-acre lots, but each of those lots can have a primary residence and an independent detached suite of up to 900 square feet,” Hicks said.

The attempt to sell the property comes after a prolonged period of work by Hick’s to address residents’ concerns.

“I’ve been negotiating with them [Western Forest Products] for at least six months in an attempt to get a deal that would have seen them subdivide into five-acre parcels but leave the portion of the land in the watershed undeveloped,” Hicks said.

“It would have meant that they would lose some money, but I was hoping that the CRD land acquisition fund could step in and buy the watershed land to keep as a passive park area.”

But, Hicks said, the forestry company stepped away from that concept after the CRD failed to buy into the plan. The company notified Hicks that their head office had directed that the entire parcel of land be sold.

“It’s privately owned land and they aren’t doing anything illegal, but they’re certainly conscious that the land is in the watershed for Goudie Creek and were initially willing to work with us,” Hicks said.

“But when the CRD decided that the land wasn’t useful as a park, Western decided that they’d sell the whole chunk of land and move on.”

That seemed consistent with a statement issued by Western Forest Products.

“We offered the CRD the first opportunity to purchase these lands, however, they declined,” Babita Khunkhin, communications director for Western Forest Products, said.

“We are aware of concerns and will continue to work with the Capital Regional District and community to better understand how those concerns may be addressed as we move forward.”

Hicks said that he will be in contact with the premier’s office to see what else can be done.

“I did what I could but was unsuccessful,” Hicks said.

“In this round, we failed but we’re sure not giving up.”

Representatives of the Ministry of Forests and Rural Development issued a statement saying that the land is governed under the Private Managed Forest Land Act and that Western is free to sell their land at any time..

The SWW petition can be accessed by calling Alcock at 250-646-2528.



mailto:tim.collins@sookenewsmirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Volunteers sought to remove weeds from Port Renfrew’s Parkinson Road

Road has no sidewalks, forcing pedestrians to walk on pavement

Langford residents concerns rise over proposal for two 11-storey buildings

Group calls for more green space, independent traffic feasiblity study

Plans for pot shop in Sidney spark back to life

Changing provincial regulations could clear the way for Sidney’s first ever pot shop

Falling oak tree causes minor damage to Langford home

Tree damages garden and gutters of home on Lindsay Place

The pandemic is widening Canada’s workplace gender gap

Gender pay gap is incentivizing fathers to work while mothers watch children, a new B.C. study has found

Ex-Okanagan Mountie forfeits 20 days’ pay after sexual misconduct review

A former Vernon RCMP constable made sexual comments, grabbed genitals of male officer in two incidents 10 years ago

Man found dead on Okanagan trail identified as Hollywood actor

GoFundMe campaign launched for man found dead at summit of Spion Kop

3 people dead in Prince George motel fire

Fire personnel believe the blaze was suspicious although investigation in early stages

B.C. sets terms to review police, mental health, race relations

MLAs to recommend Police Act changes by May 2021

POLL: Would you get a vaccine for COVID-19 when it is available?

With the number of positive COVID-19 tests skyrocketing across much of the… Continue reading

Feds announce $8.3M to deal with ‘ghost’ fishing gear in B.C. waters

Ghost gear accounts for up to 70 per cent of all macro-plastics in the ocean by weight

Almost 99% less land in B.C. burned this year compared to 2018

2018 was the worst year on record for wildfires

Most Read