North Salt Spring Waterworks District (NSSWD) and the Capital Regional District (CRD) have released the Salt Spring Island Water Optimization Report.
The Government of BC provided $40,000 in grant funding to conduct a joint study in 2019 to review ways to improve coordination between the public water service providers on Salt Spring Island and identify options to optimize water service delivery.
“One of our government’s top priorities is supporting B.C. communities to provide services that best meet the needs of people,” said Josie Osborne, minister of municipal affairs. “The completion of this study and report is a great example of that and will help pave the way for better water service delivery for Salt Spring Island. I look forward to seeing the Capital Regional District and North Salt Spring Water District work together to improve service for the residents on Salt Spring.”
Salt Spring water service delivery is carried out by multiple agencies, including the CRD, NSSWD, other smaller improvement districts and private utilities, making it difficult to achieve economies of scale and a coordinated approach to water service delivery. Moving forward, there was recognition by both the CRD and NSSWD that better integration of water service delivery and management could benefit all residents on the island.
“I look forward to working with NSSWD, other water districts, and the Province to explore options to improve water management on Salt Spring, and to access senior government infrastructure funding opportunities,” said Gary Holman, electoral area director for Salt Spring Island. “Any proposals for governance changes emerging from these discussions will ultimately have to be approved by respective water district ratepayers.”
The report provides options for improving on-island water governance and administration, and building a collaborative strategy for accessing federal and provincial funding to address Salt Spring’s much-needed water infrastructure needs. Based on the Optimization Report, the Province, CRD, and NSSWD are committed to discussing the next steps. More information is available here.
“The Optimization Report has gone through a number of drafts,” said Michael McAllister, chair of the North Salt Spring Waterworks District. “One matter that has not changed throughout the process is Option 3, which the Report’s author has recommended as the preferred approach to moving forward. NSSWD Board has since the first draft supported the exploration of Options 3. We look forward to the next steps.”