Capital Regional District directors appear to have come to a compromise on supplying water to the Juan de Fuca Electoral area.
Currently, the unanimous consent of all 13 municipalities is needed to get any CRD water service in the Juan de Fuca.
Under the revised draft Regional Growth Strategy, unanimous consent would not be required.
“It’s a total win for the Juan de Fuca because we are gaining equality with the municipalities,” said Mike Hick’s, the area’s Capital Regional District director.
“Now the municipalities are under the same restrictions as the Juan de Fuca.”
The proposal, endorsed unanimously by the CRD board, allows the provision of water to anyone in the Juan de Fuca, regardless of where they live.
Some directors have worried that allowing city water to be piped outside the urban containment boundary into the unincorporated Juan de Fuca Electoral Area would be out of step with Regional Growth Strategy statements about urban containment and could lead to sprawl.
Both Hicks and Coun. Rick Kasper, who represents Sooke on the CRD, says that’s not likely.
“People still have to pay for water service and if a developer wants water service in an area then they’ll have to pay to thew direct cost of supplying the main line,” Kasper said.
Hicks said the current CRD policy is wrong and full of inequalities.
“Right now we run water past a farmer’s home to his field, yet we don’t allow him to hook up to the water system. It’s crazy.”
Also under the current policy, Hicks must get unanimous support from all CRD municipalities to extend water services. The new policy allows for only approval from the CRD board.
“This way I get the same equality on opportunity as all the municipalities. I now just have to make my case to the majority of the board, and I think that I can win and that’s the bottom line,” Hicks said.
The proposed water servicing agreement goes to the CRD regular board meeting today (July 13) for ratification.
The Regional Growth Strategy is a vision for the future of the capital region, guiding decisions on regional issues such as transportation, population growth and settlement patterns. The existing strategy is being updated as part of a five-year review process.
All affected local governments must agree to the document before the CRD board can adopt it as a bylaw.
Once the revised plan receives board approval, it will go to public hearing. There is no mandated completion date.