Aquifer Service Expansion

Project Status

Water Zones 1, 2 and 3. Currently, only Zone 1 and Zone 2 are serviced by the Gibsons Aquifer. Water to Zone 3 residents is purchased from the Sunshine Coast Regional District.

On November 19, 2019, the Parkland Booster Station construction tender was awarded to CHB Services Ltd. in the amount of $1,050,000, excluding GST. This tender covers the construction of a booster pump station and chlorination equipment, to be constructed next to the Parkland reservoir. The work is expected to be complete by April 30, 2020.

Alterations to the Reed Road watermain will also be required to facilitate the change in water supply (see Replacement Watermain, below) and staff are currently strategizing how this could best be accomplished by the time the Booster Station is ready to be brought into service.

Staff’s objective is to connect Zone 3 to the Town water supply by the high-demand summer months of 2020.

Read the related staff report here.

Read Letter/FAQ to Zone 3 Residents re Aquifer Expansion here.

Project Summary

Work is underway to expand service from the Gibsons aquifer to Zone 3, which covers most of Upper Gibsons. Currently, Zone 3 is supplied through a bulk water agreement with the SCRD, while Zone 1 and Zone 2 are served by the Gibsons aquifer. The intent is that the Town will provide the average daily demand and maximum daily demand to Zone 3 from the Gibsons aquifer but will still rely on the SCRD for peak hour water use, emergency storage and fire flow. The new system is expected to reduce the Town’s reliance on the SCRD water supply by 95% to 98%.

As the Town will continue to rely on SCRD water from time to time, and as Vancouver Coastal Health does not allow dilution of chlorinated water by an unchlorinated water source, the Town will be required to chlorinate all water delivered to Zone 3 residents.

Map of Gibsons’ Water Zones

Budget and Timing

Expanding the Town’s water supply system is projected to cost approximately $3.62 million, with $3.32 million funded by debt. The cost savings from reduced water purchases from the SCRD are expected to fully offset these capital costs over time. Expenditures include the design and construction of a new pump station, drilling of a new production well, drilling of two new monitoring wells and the construction of a replacement watermain.

The aquifer service expansion project is anticipated to take about 18 months to complete, with connection of Zone 3 expected to occur in mid-2020.

New Wells
01-28-2019: Drilling of monitoring well at Winegarden Park.

In early 2019, two new monitoring wells were drilled in Lower Gibsons, which will enable the Town to monitor the affect of the increased draw on the aquifer, as well as for saltwater intrusion due to climate change and sea level rise. Conservative estimates, based on regular reports from the Town’s existing monitoring wells, show that the aquifer is healthy and able to supply the required water volume for the build out of the Town.

A new supply well was also drilled, but did not produce the amount of water required to expand the aquifer service into Zone 3. As a result, a new supply well (Well 6) has been drilled at the west end of Oceanmount Blvd to allow reliable service to Zone 3.

Replacement Watermain

In addition to the new wells, it was determined that a replacement watermain would be required to be constructed on Reed Road between Payne Road and North Road to facilitate the aquifer supply to Zone 3. The Town watermain along Reed Road conveys water to portions of both Zone 3 and SCRD customers. In order to facilitate the aquifer supply of Zone 3, this main will need to be twinned, providing the SCRD with one main and the Town with another. The replacement of this infrastructure is being proposed to be funded via debt.

01-28-2019: Drilling of monitoring well at South Fletcher Road.

More information:
Map of Water Zones 1, 2 and 3
01-15-2019: Coast Reporter – Well drilling begins for water service expansion

12-04-2018: Staff Report: Well Drilling Tender Award
03-20-2018: Staff Report: Zone 3 Water Supply Option
Protecting the Aquifer
2019-01-16 Letter to Area Residents re Dougall Park drilling
2019-01-22 Letter to Area Residents re S. Fletcher and Winegarden Park drilling

Project History

January to February 2019
Well Drilling & Inspection

Between January 14 and February 11, 2019, the Town of Gibsons drilled several wells in Lower Gibsons to facilitate more complete monitoring of the aquifer and to accommodate the planned expansion of the aquifer service area into Zone 3 (Upper Gibsons). Two existing Town wells, located in Dougall Park, also underwent routine inspection during this time.

The sites for the monitoring wells were chosen based on their ability to provide the best possible data about the state of the aquifer. The site for the new production well was chosen based on its anticipated ability to produce the most amount of water.

March – May 2019
Restoration Work at Dougall Park

In addition to clearing stockpiled earth and restoring grass in trampled areas, improvements at Dougall Park included:

  1. Replacing practice cage with grass (see green rectangle on graphic)
  2. Installation of a picnic table and bench
  3. Laying new gravel trail for better access from South Fletcher Road (marked in red on graphic)
  4. Moving water fountain from its current location to a site closer to Kinsmen Hall.  (new site marked by blue X on graphic.)
July – September 2019

As the new supply well drilled in Dougall Park  in early 2019 did not produce the amount of water required to expand the aquifer service into Zone 3, an additional supply well was drilled at the west end of Oceanmount Blvd. This well has proven to be an excellent producer.

Alternate Approval Process

On July 30, 2019, Council approved an Alternate Approval Process (AAP) for Zone 3 Aquifer Expansion and General Watermain Replacements (Bylaw No. 1265). Bylaw No. 1265 proposes to borrow no more than $3,329,000, to be repaid within a 25-year period.  Annual debt payments will increase by approximately $182,000 (25-year term), with the cost savings from reduced water purchases from the Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) expected to fully offset the debt servicing, as well as the increased operations and maintenance of the new infrastructure. Future water DCCs could also be used to offset the payment of the debt principle.

Learn more about AAPs here. 

Staff Report and AAP Information Package: 2019-07-30 -AAP Water Infrastructure Info Pkg

In September, two Public Information Meetings related to this project and the associated AAP were held in Council Chambers. View the related presentation here.

On September 25, 2019, the 30-day response period for the AAP related to this project came to end, with one response received. As this is less than the 372 responses required to reject the proposed bylaw, the Corporate Officer certified these results. On October 25, 2019, the 30-day “quashing period” came to end and the Town applied for a provincial review and certificate of approval.

Read the full staff report on the Results of the AAP Process here.