Mike Hicks, the CRD director for the Juan de Fuca electoral area, was grinning from ear to ear last week when he announced he had convinced others at the CRD board table that restricting water supply to rural areas was wrong, and, yes, discriminatory.
“To me, it’s one of the most important issues in the [Juan de Fuca area],” he told a reporter.
That is an understatement. This is an issue that should be important to everyone, no matter if you live in the city or in the country.
The CRD fears that by piping in city water to rural areas that it will encourage urban sprawl.
That’s very doubtful and hard to imagine.
It certainly doesn’t mean that if you hook a community up to city water that everyone is going to become a developer overnight.
To begin with, development is heavily mandated by official community plans. We’ve already seen many developments rejected because of OCPs. Just because there is access to a reliable water supply doesn’t mean development will occur.
There is also the fact on why many people move to the Sooke region – or other rural areas: we want to leave the city behind.
And then there is the issue of public safety. A recent fire in north Sooke saw firefighters using a pumper truck to collect water across the highway. The reason? No water was available, nor fire hydrants
But even when we take all these factors into consideration, one fact remains and it’s an important one: we are all entitled to a clean, reliable water source – not matter where we live in the CRD.
The CRD is a burgeoning bureaucracy that often can’t look past the borders of Victoria and Saanich. You can’t guarantee water for 99 per cent of CRD residents and then say those in rural areas can’t have water.