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.
Before it may borrow the required capital, the Town must administer an Alternative Approval Process (AAP) – a form of approval that allows electors to indicate whether they are against a local government proposal moving forward. Under an AAP, Council may proceed with an action unless at least 10% of electors state their opposition within a prescribed period. Staff have determined the total number of eligible electors of the Town of Gibsons to be 3717. Accordingly, approval of the electors by AAP is obtained if the number of elector responses is less than 372.
Staff Report and AAP Information Package: 2019-07-30 -AAP Water Infrastructure Info Pkg
- August 16th – first notice posted in the newspaper, online, and at Town Hall
- August 23rd – second notice posted
- August 26th – 30-day response period begins
- September 4th – Public Information Meeting
- September 18th – Public Information Meeting
- September 25th – certify AAP results and bylaw adoption after 30-day response period ends
- October 25th – month-long “quashing period” ends
- Provincial review and certificate of approval by the Inspector of Municipalities
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.
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.
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, an additional supply well has been drilled at the west end of Oceanmount Blvd to allow reliable service to Zone 3.
Once this work is completed, the Town will have four production wells and a network of seven monitoring wells.
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.
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
Phase I – 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 ability to produce the most amount of water.
The project work schedule was:
WEEK OF JANUARY 14, 2019
- Construction of an access track for the drilling equipment. This involved some machine work and the placement of a gravel access for the drilling equipment near the tennis courts. The access will be re-grassed upon completion of the drilling. The area will be fairly muddy for a while, but the tennis courts and playground will still be available for use. There is an ornamental tree near the well site that required trimming. Staff are attempting to retain this tree, if at all possible.
- Removal of two pumps from the existing Town wells (see blue dots in Dougall Park, on site map above) and a video completed of the well ‘casings’ to determine their condition. This inspection is routine and is also a requirement from Vancouver Coastal Health.
01-22-2019 – This work has now been completed, with the casings of both pre-existing wells found to be in excellent condition.
WEEK OF JANUARY 21, 2019
- Drilling of a new production well near the tennis courts (see yellow dot, on site map above). This well will be used to provide additional water for expanding the aquifer service area into Upper Gibsons.
South Fletcher Road
- Drilling of a monitoring well in the parking area north of the Town Hall (see red dot at 494 South Fletcher, on site map above.) This well will provide ongoing additional information about our aquifer which will allow the Town to track any changes in the aquifer as a result of climate change and increased use. Ongoing monitoring of the aquifer is an essential part of the Town’s natural asset management.
02-12-2019 – The drilling of this monitoring well was completed without incident and a data logger was installed. 2019’s monitoring data will include information collected from this well.
WEEK OF JANUARY 28, 2019
- Drilling of a second new monitoring well near Gower Point Road within Winegarden Park (see red dot in Winegarden Park, on site map above). This well will serve the same function as the South Fletcher well and will also monitor for salt water intrusion due to rising sea levels, increased water usage, and climate change.
02-12-2019 – The drilling of this monitoring well was completed without incident and a data logger was installed. 2019’s monitoring data will include information collected from this well. Site restoration is still to be completed.
WEEK OF FEBRUARY 11, 2019
- Testing of the new production well. This required pumping the well continuously for 72 hours in order to gain the information necessary to determine how much water the well can safely produce. Subsequent analysis found that this supply well did not produce enough water to supply Zone 3.
MARCH 18TH TO MID-MAY 2019
Drilling and restoration work at Dougall Park. In addition to clearing stockpiled earth and restoring grass in trampled areas, improvements included:
- Replacing practice cage with grass (see green rectangle on graphic)
- Installation of a picnic table and bench
- Laying new gravel trail for better access from South Fletcher Road (marked in red on graphic)
- Moving water fountain from its current location to a site closer to Kinsmen Hall. (new site marked by blue X on graphic.)
Drilling work at the Winegarden Park and South Fletcher Road locations is also complete.