From Bruce Gibbons, Merville Water Guardians (May 28)
Call to ACTION:
Please take the time to draft an email expressing your concern about this proposal and registering your vehement opposition to its approval.
The CVRD needs to know our opposition is not “anti-business”, it is pro-water protection. And they need to know about the issues I raised below.
Thank you for your support and help.
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Hi everyone. Another update on the Merville Water License, and the pending decision on an application to amend the license and get a “new” business up and running in the rural residential and farming area of Sackville Road, in Merville.
The Comox Valley Regional District staff are still amassing information and compiling a report for the Regional Directors to review and make a decision on that application.
UPDATE: the Report will now be tabled, tentatively in July. Stay tuned.
Here are some points to consider, in your action before a decision is made.
- M is again claiming he was “caused harm” by the CVRD, despite the fact he was given the full due process for his request to rezone his property, including a public hearing. The overwhelming response from the community was clearly opposed to a water bottling business taking water from the shared Comox aquifer and clearly against a business being approved on a rural residential property in Merville in a mixed rural/ALR area. (ALR = Agricultural Land Reserve)
- His claim that the necessity for rezoning was a lie is incorrect. The original Conditional Water License clearly stated, “You are advised that the Comox Valley Regional District (CVRD) requires an application to rezone the property to enable “water and beverage bottling” as the principal use on the property.
- M regularly likes to claim that I (Bruce) “lost in court” or “lost the appeal”. In fact, the Environmental Appeal Board ruled that I did not have standing to appeal, so my appeal was never heard. Ironically, the Water Sustainability Act only allows standing to appeal if an operation’s “works” physically, detrimentally affect someone’s land. There is no allowance to appeal on the basis of the operation affecting your access to water, or to appeal on the basis of harm to the ecosystem.
UPDATE: the Govt Ministry responsible, known as FLNRORD is dismantled as of spring 2022. A part of it is now named Forests, Lands and Water STEWARDSHIP, as opposed to Natural Resources DEVELOPMENT.
- The FLNRORD decision-makers in Nanaimo, in my and my lawyer’s opinion, have unlawfully accepted an application for amendment to the original license and have downloaded responsibility for the decision to the Comox Valley Regional District.
- M claims it has always been their intention to provide water to “local people filling their own containers to take home”. In his original application to the provincial government, he applied for a license to extract 100,000 liters of water per day. The FLNRORD decision-makers advised him to reduce his quantity to 10,000 liters per day, to avoid the necessity of having tests done prior to approval. 100,000 liters of water per day, or 3 million liters per month, is a lot of local people filling their personal containers. That brings into question the true intentions of his application.
- Speaking of true intentions, Mr. M claims in his post that “Our true intentions have not changed since day one.” If that is true, then this recent application cannot be an amendment. It is actually a rehashing of the application that was denied 4 years ago, and if that is the case then he is not being truthful with the FLNRORD team who have accepted his application for an amendment to the original license. If his recent application is truly an amendment to the original purpose of the license, then he is not being truthful when he says, “Our true intentions have not changed since day one.”
- The Water License that was approved for the Sackville Road property stays with that property if the property is sold. The new owner of the property becomes the new water licensee, and the fate of the water now lies with them. Who knows what happens then?
- M often begins his posts on social media with, “Stay thirsty neighbour”. That may be a clear indication of his disdain and disrespect for all his neighbours in the Comox Valley who share the Comox aquifer for their personal and farm water needs.
- The FLNRORD decision-makers are allowing an application for amendment of the original water license despite the fact that the original license was conditional, and one of the conditions was that the “works” must be constructed and beneficial use of the water made prior to December 31, 2020; a condition that was not met.
Please support our efforts to stop this amendment application that would allow the water license holder to extract up to 10,000 liters of water per day from the shared Comox Valley aquifer, operating a business on a rural residential property. This proposal is clearly a rehash of the proposal that was overwhelmingly opposed and rejected 4 years ago.
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The Merville Water License holder (Mr. McKenzie) has posted some interesting comments on community Facebook pages, and possibly on other social media (I don’t follow other social media).
Here are a couple of his posts:
“The Merville water war is back on. We have made an amendment to the original license, seeing how the CVRD intentionally caused harm to us by lying to us. In the Executive summary saying the province requested us to re-zone our property to allow our cottage business, which was a complete fabrication by the CVRD Planner Allana Mullaly. Now my neighbour that took us to the environmental appeal court (and lost) is posting in his FB group [#MervilleWaterGuardians]) that we are going to have tankers come to fill at our location. The loose lips at the CVRD coffee machine are slandering our process again before our right to be heard first. Why is it that eco-activists, after losing in court, can still go online and say what ever they want to hurt our families intentions and stir up the pitch forks? The CVRD and it’s head administrators are not concerned with the rights of the stakeholders and are doing a terrible job at following their own rules. Our true intentions have not changed since day one. Local people filling their own containers to take home the best tasting, highest quality drinking water in the whole Comox Valley that we intend to sell to whom ever enjoys artesian spring water. If you don’t support that idea, fine, but don’t come forward with fear narratives and lies like Mr. Gibbons at the Merville Water Guardians.”
“Stay thirsty neighbour. You said it’s not personal, and yet here you go again claiming a threat. You have been through the environmental appeal process and lost. Lots of water under your property, you just don’t care about facts or the truth. 23 trillion liters of pure artesian spring water available to people without good water ……”