108 Mile Ranch residents gave two thumbs up for the Cariboo Regional District (CRD) to borrow up to $2 million for a new water treatment plant this year, and developing an alternative water source by 2018.
Eligible residents voted at two advance polls on Feb. 17 and 22, and the general voting day poll was held at the 108 Mile Community Hall on Feb. 27.
Preliminary results showed 415 residents were in support, while 100 voted against the upgrades.
CRD chair and Area G Director Al Richmond says he was happy people got out to vote.
“I’m pleased there was a very definitive statement from them about moving ahead with the project.
It’s always better when you have an overwhelming majority rather than a 50-per-cent-plus-one decision, which is not really a win for anyone.
“Eighty per cent was really nice to see. Obviously, we were able to get the message out and people decided to get out and vote, so that’s good.”
Richmond says the vote pretty much reflected the feelings of the 145 or so people who turned up for the Feb. 15 public meeting at the 108 Mile Community Hall, where they heard new information and had their questions answered.
“It was definitely similar to the feeling in the hall in that the overwhelming majority of the people were in favour and there was a few who weren’t too sure – that’s uncertainty rather than being opposed.
“I know a lot of people wanted to vote for the treatment plant, but they didn’t want to vote for the other [north aquifer] well….
“We will move on now. We’ll get the plant ready for construction this year, and we will do some more research on the well and the aquifer before we make any decisions on that.
Richmond says the CRD will be hiring another hydrogeology company to review the three opinions the regional district has on the work that’s been done now to see what the hydrogeologists can come up with a common theme among themselves. This would help to determine if there’s more work to be done and what that work would look like.
“By reviewing all the three comments we have from the three hydrogeologists, hopefully, we can come up with a better idea on whether there is more testing that needs to be done, or just what the situation is because we want to be sure we get it right.”
Richmond says the CRD wants to make sure it has enough information before it spends the money to build a pipeline to connect it to the water plant.
The first meeting they had on the treatment plant (primarily to get rid of the manganese) was around three-and-a-half years ago, the CRD chair says, adding people also wanted the regional district to look at the wells and the lake levels.
we said, ‘OK’. So, it’s taken that long.”
He adds the treatment design had been done, so the CRD knew what the pipe system was going to be and a “pretty good idea” of costs.
“But, when people wanted us to look at the wells, we had to get more details on the water quality [of the wells] and there had to be changes to the plant.
“We kind of know now, but we have to prove that [north] aquifer the best we can to ensure it won’t have an impact on the lake levels.”