Drinking Water Watershed Protection Action Plan
When we think about our communities and what makes them healthy we all understand the importance of water. Access to safe and adequate water allows us to make the most of our lives, promotes healthy communities and, when managed properly, preserves the environment in which we live.
Achieving a balance between our use of water and the impact that has on the environment is necessary; without that balance we risk continually reducing the environmental health of our region. The pressures we see with growth and land use decisions are just two areas that have a direct effect on that ability to provide water for the future.
With this in mind the Regional District of Nanaimo has developed a Drinking Water Ė Watershed Protection Action Plan. This plan was developed with input from area residents, representatives of local conservation groups, Provincial government, the well drilling industry and a number of other related stakeholders.
The Action Plan is a 10-year program aimed at improving our understanding of the regionís watersheds and leading to increased protection of the ground and surface water resources that sustain our communities. The Action Plan will be facilitated by the establishment of a drinking water and watershed protection area covering all electoral areas within the regional district.
In November 2008 the Regional District will be asking residents of all seven Electoral Areas if they are in favour of establishing a single service area for this purpose. More information on the Action Plan, its scope and the costs will be presented to the public this fall. Please watch for updates at the RDN WaterSmart site.
Nanoose Bay debris clean-up A large amount of dock debris has been removed from Nanoose Bay since January, 2008, and I am impressed with the community effort involved in this cleanup.
Participants included Nanoose Streamkeepers, Nanoose Naturalists, Nanoose First Nations, CFMETR, the Nanoose Bay fish farm, local residents, the Regional District of Nanaimo, and others. Financial, equipment and in-kind contributions from Waste Services Inc, White Water Docks, Windley Contracting, Dr. Warren Bailey, CFMETR and others allowed for the removal and transportation of debris.
A few of the activities and accomplishments to date include:
Thanks to all who assisted.
Fairwinds Community and Resort sponsors Team Watersmart
Team Watersmart, an educational outreach program funded by the Regional District of Nanaimo and the Town of Qualicum Beach, has now received corporate sponsorship from Fairwinds Community and Resort. The five-year sponsorship comes in the form of a $9000 cash and in-kind annual commitment for the next five years. This contribution is the first of its kind for Team Watersmart, and will help to develop the program in our area. Team Watersmart is delivered by the RDN Utilities Department, with the assistance of a summer co-op student from May through August each year. The program includes public events, seminars on various water-saving topics, and publications on water-saving tips for indoor and outdoor gardening. Team Watersmart also runs the Water Drop- In Campaign, which was launched last summer in three neighbourhoods (one in Surfside, one in Fairwinds and one in Qualicum Beach). The Water Drop-In Campaign emphasizes personal contact with residents to help them reduce their water use.
With gardening season upon us and summer approaching, itís important to remember that the Regional District of Nanaimo has watering restrictions in place to help conserve our water supply. There are four levels of watering restrictions, enforced depending on the time of year and, during the summer season, the type of weather we are having.
Throughout April and May, Level 1 watering restrictions apply. Residents may water every other day between 6am and 10am, and 6pm and 10pm. Even-numbered houses water on even days, while oddnumbered houses water on odd days.
As of June 1, watering restrictions move to Level 2. This reduces watering to twice a week, between 6am and 10am and 6pm and 10pm. Even-numbered houses water on Wednesdays and Saturdays, and oddnumbered houses water on Thursdays and Sundays.
Depending on the weather, residents may be asked to move up to Level 3 or Level 4 watering restrictions. Level Three allows watering once per week, on Wednesdays for even-numbered houses and Thursdays for odd-numbered houses. Level Four is a comprehensive watering ban. Residents will be informed if Level 3 or Level 4 watering restrictions are necessary.
Nanoose Bay Fire Hall seismic upgrade
A recent seismic review of the Nanoose Bay Fire Hall showed that upgrades are needed to ensure that, if a serious earthquake were to happen, our Fire Department will be able to continue its emergency response work. As a result of this review, the RDN has now budgeted for seismic reviews of all its fire halls to ensure we are able to maintain our role in regional emergency response and preparedness.
If the Nanoose Bay fire hall were damaged in an earthquake, this would seriously jeopardize emergency response in our area. To make sure this does not happen, the RDN Board has approved further investigation into the firehall building to determine the costs of either upgrading or replacing the building. Whichever option is recommended the result will be a building capable of meeting the needs of our area for at least the next 20 to 25 years. The Nanoose Bay Fire Protection Society Board and members of the fire department will work with RDN staff and a consultant throughout this project. Meetings with the department will begin shortly. The first phase of the project will confirm in more detail the results of the initial seismic report, consider the operational needs of the department now and for the future and review the configuration of the site with respect to vehicle access. That information will provide some of the groundwork for deciding on whether a large scale renovation or rebuilding is the best long term option.
If the building needs to be largely rebuilt or even replaced, long term financing would likely be necessary. Regional Districts are required to seek the consent of property owners when borrowing for projects like this and should this be the case, a vote would take place in conjunction with the local government elections.
Shaping Our Future
The Regional District of Nanaimo is reviewing its Regional Growth Strategy. The original Strategy was adopted in 1997 by the member municipalities and unincorporated electoral areas, and was developed in response to concerns about the impacts of growth in the region. Rapid growth in the late 1980s and early 1990s raised residentsí concerns about worsening traffic, loss of open space and natural areas, increased costs of services, and changing neighbourhoods.
Since that time new concerns have risen to the forefront including climate change, food security and affordable housing. In response to these new challenges there is a need to review the Strategy to determine how it can be better integrated with other strategies to help achieve the vision for a socially, economically and environmentally healthy region. This is your chance to shape your future! How and where should we grow? The RDN Board wants to hear your views on the shape of the Regional District of Nanaimoís future.
For further information and to provide your input and ideas please go to www.ShapingOurFuture.ca.
WaterSmart Auto E-Message Service
Want to get RDN water service area notices including water main flushing, shut downs or water system emergencies directly to your home? The RDN Utilities Department is launching its new Auto E-Message service this month. Signing up for the service is easy, just go to the RDN WaterSmart web site at www.rdn.bc.ca and follow the instructions.