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SRD Director wants more info before consenting to Tlowitsis water supply agreement

SRD asked to give consent on agreement between First Nation and City of Campbell River

An agreement between the City of Campbell River and the Tlowitsis First Nation that would have the city supply the new Tlowitsis Reserve with bulk water has a Strathcona Regional District director concerned about potential effects on the local water distribution system.

Under the Community Charter, the regional district must consent to any service provision agreements that take place within its area. The Tlowitsis First Nation’s Nenagwas community is to be located within Electoral Area D of the Strathcona Regional District.

Campbell River Director Claire Moglove made a motion on the item that the regional district board consent to the agreement, saying that she sees it as a “housekeeping matter as required by the community charter.

“The terms are identical… as in Area D,” she said. “That’s been a bone of contention with the director… but this will not affect the ability of Campbell River to fulfill its obligations to Area D.”

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Electoral Area D also has an agreement with the City of Campbell River to supply bulk water (water that is delivered to the boundary of the Regional District and left up to the latter to distribute to residents). Residents in northern Area D also pay higher water rates than other areas in the Regional District. In June, Electoral Area D director Brenda Leigh said that “We’re paying quadruple what people in Campbell River pay for water,” and sought ways to relieve residents of the higher rates.

In the March 30 meeting, Leigh said she was opposed to Moglove’s motion, and that she wanted “to know more about the terms and conditions so I can protect the interests of everyone and collaborate with them (Tlowitsis) on getting domestic water.

“I’m absolutely not opposed to them getting domestic water supplied, but I want to know details.”

Those details included whether the City of Campbell River was planning to use Area D pipes with Tlowitsis using a municipal metering system or whether there would be a direct line running to the Tlowitsis boundary.

In Moglove’s opinion, the issue did not require any further details, since the City of Campbell River had an existing contract with Area D and if the Tlowitsis agreement infringes on the level of service, then the City would be breaching its contract with the Regional District.

“This is a government-to-government agreement between the City of Campbell River and the Tlowitsis First Nation,” Moglove said. “This has nothing to do with the agreement (Leigh) has… this is completely and utterly separate.”

In order to get more details, Leigh moved to defer Moglove’s motion until the next meeting. However, Moglove was concerned that the wording of the motion, which asked staff to look into “terms, conditions and opportunities for collaboration with respect to the provision of domestic water supply” was involving the regional district too much in affairs that were not its concern.

“Director Leigh and the SRD are not a party to this agreement,” Moglove said. “In no way shape or form is… the SRD getting involved.”

“All I want is more information,” Leigh said, adding that she was “not trying to pick a border fight with Campbell River.”

SRD staff will be returning to the board with more information on any ramifications the service will have on the regional district.

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