Town hall meeting on water issue coming this fall in Queen Charlotte

  • Aug. 10, 2007 6:00 p.m.

By Jeff King–Queen Charlotte council will hold a town hall meeting this fall on the village’s water supply problem, once all the information now being gathered is available. “We don’t have any answers yet. Our answers are still to be discovered,” Mayor Carol Kulesha told council Tuesday evening, as she announced the meeting, noting also that council is posting various studies on the problem to its website. The $3-million project, planned for several years, became controversial last month, when council called for tenders on the new pipeline project, with an intake planned near the Honna bridge, just west of the village. Several residents raised concerns that it would be below the old garbage dump, which is leaking who knows what into the watershed. In mid-July, council delayed the decision on who will build the pipeline, and ordered more tests. An engineer was on island last week, testing up to ten sites near the dump and results should be available soon, possibly by August 17 or the week following, administrator Andrew Yeates told the Observer Friday. While water from the Honna River and Stanley Lake was extensively tested over a year, it’s the first set of tests done near the dump.Council is also looking at how much it would cost to move the intake site above the dump, while other parts of the project are proceeding.”Once we get the intake site issue settled and we see what impact it has on the budget, staff will begin researching funding alternatives,” Mr. Yeates told council Monday.Village resident Don Plumb had several concerns. He said it is silly to take water from a salmon river, wondered if the Haida have been consulted, and suggested another area, upstream on Tarundl Creek, a couple of kilometers from the existing wells, where wells likely would be more productive.”To come now and say the Honna River is not appropriate, that may be your opinion, but it is not the opinion of those other agencies”, Mayor Kulesha said to Mr. Plumb, adding that the process started years ago and many agencies, including Federal Fisheries and Northern Health, were all part of the planning.”We have done-just for the record-we have had a hydrology company come here. We have drilled 23 wells. We get some water for a while, but we cannot sustain the water supply,” she said. “We also deal with problems of manganese an iron and also sulphur. The considered opinion of the hydrologist is the Tarundl wells are best, and they are not lasting. We have reached the limit. That’s why there’s the alternative of using surface water for part of the year, and go back to the wells after they have rested,” the mayor said. The project includes a control structure at Stanley Lake and a pipeline to bring water from the Honna to the Queen Charlotte treatment plant west of the village. It’s costing village taxpayers nothing, as money is coming from the province, the Gwaii Trust and the Coast Sustainability Trust. Concerns over placing the intake below the old dump will delay its construction until next August, since Fisheries only allows construction at certain times of the year. But Mr. Yeates said other parts of the project, including work at Stanley Lake and at the treatment plant will continue.

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