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13th June 2018
By Ian Holmes
June 12, 2018 - 5:41pm
Updated: June 12, 2018 - 10:54pm

NANAIMO —The District of Lantzville has triggered a 20-year water deal with the City of Nanaimo to serve the water-starved community.

Council voted 4-3 on Monday, June 11 in favour of connecting water pipes between the neighbouring communities, which will supply 225 upper Lantzville homes with water. As part of the deal, an additional 50 hook-ups can be added a year for new and existing development. Private well users can opt into the water system for a one-time hook-up fee of roughly $5,900.

The agreement stipulates Lantzville pay Nanaimo $1.33 million within the next month.

Public opinions on both sides of the water debate raged on prior to the decision.

Upper Lantzville resident Paul Manhas said it's critical he and his neigbours have access to safe and clean drinking water.

"Without it we lack the major building blocks of any meaningful community development."

Hans Larsen, who lives in lower Lantzville, called the agreement flawed and the beginning of the end for the community.

"It will either become unrecognizable due to major developments in three to four years, or we will have smelled the coffee and begun the process to amalgamate with the City of Nanaimo."

Lantzville Council implemented several new amendments to the deal, which was first struck in 2014. The District now has the power to require developers to construct a separate water system to serve the subdivisions five acres or larger.

Coun. Mark Swain, who approved the water deal, said the amendment eased his concerns about developers having first crack at their new water supply as opposed to already existing houses in need.

“(Developers) have to source their own water, that's what the new amended bylaw will actually do, is essentially block developers from accessing our water, unless Council resolves otherwise.”

Opposed Coun. John Coulson said it's unclear exactly who will benefit from their new water supply. He wanted the matter dealt with after the Oct. 20 municipal election.

“It will allow staff to advise Council on exactly where this water is going, how it's going to be used,” an angered Coulson said. “I'm embarrassed to be a Councillor and I have no clue where we're going to put this water.”

After the deal was created in 2014, Lantzville installed a water pipe in 2016 to connect with Nanaimo's system.

The district reported successful flow tests from the City of Nanaimo to Lantzville’s Aulds Rd. reservoir.