DAWSON CREEK, B.C. — The Peace River Regional District is holding a referendum later this month on the potable water services that are currently provided by the regional district to residents in Electoral Area ‘B.’
PRRD Area ‘B’ Director Karen Goodings explained that the provincial government will not allow the regional district to provide potable water services to residents unless they are granted permission by those residents in a referendum. She said that those services largely consist of filling stations where residents are able to fill their water tanks for residential or business use.
Goodings said that the regional district is in the process of holding a dozen community meetings to speak with residents about the referendum, which is taking place on June 24th. She explained that if residents’ permission is not given, the PRRD will be forced to cease operating the water filling stations, or drilling new water wells. Goodings added that if residents vote not in favour of the PRRD operating the water stations, the case will not be able to be reopened in a future referendum.
If residents are in favour of the PRRD providing potable water services, the regional district would continue to operate the stations and add equipment to ensure that all stations met Northern Health criteria for providing potable water services.
Goodings explained that the reason for the change in the rules stems from the tragedy in Walkerton, Ontario in 2000, when seven people died from consuming drinking water that was contaminated with E. coli bacteria.
Voting in the referendum is taking place on Saturday, June 24th from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. A list of voting stations and public hearings can be found at http://prrd.bc.ca/engage/water2017/.