Woodland Drive water funding application rejected

Eileen Alberton is wondering how her assessment has gone up, yet she and many of the property owners living on her road have water problems.

Woodland Drive resident Eileen Alberton is wondering how her property assessment has gone up, yet she and many of the property owners living on her road have water problems.

“Some people have serious issues,” Alberton told the Tribune. “They literally have to do laundry and shower in town.”

She says when her well water dwindled a year ago, a friend of hers helped, at a cost, to install a 300-gallon cistern, “as opposed to digging a big hole and putting in a bigger one for a number of reasons.”

Alberton, who has been a resident on Woodland Drive for four years, said she can’t use the water to drink because it is sitting in a cistern — she has to spray it with bleach every once in a while.

She was also able to hook up to a well that was never decommissioned properly, and although on its own it wouldn’t provide her home with enough water, with the cistern she has been fine.

“It was an additional expense that was planned,” she said, adding when she bought the house she didn’t think it would happen to her.

“That’s the point we’re trying to rally in the neighbourhood, that just because it hasn’t happened to you, it doesn’t mean it won’t. Look at this year. If we don’t have anymore snow, where’s the water going to come from? What’s going to happen to the water table?”

Concerns in the neighbourhood have been heightened this week with the revelation that the city’s application for funds from the Gas Tax/Public Transit Management Services to fund a water and sewer project for Woodland Drive was rejected.

Alberton and some other residents attended the Jan. 10 council meeting hoping for some answers.

At the meeting Chief Administrative Officer Brian Carruthers told council it will have to discuss possible next steps with Woodland Drive residents.

“I’m advising this be referred to the Planning and Operations Committee for consideration of future action,” Carruthers said.

In an interview with the Tribune, Randy McDonald, a Woodland Drive resident for 21 years, said he wasn’t involved with earlier community meetings about the project proposal, but says he’s dealt with well problems twice before and had wells drilled three times.

“I missed the boat last spring when the application went in, because I was away, but I’m here because I want to ask questions. I don’t know the municipal act, but I feel they made an inferior application. You have to meet minimum municipal standards when you make an infrastructure installation for fire protection and water and I feel that application did not meet those,” McDonald said.

Additionally, McDonald suggested Williams Lake City Council also has a history of pushing things through.

“The South Lakeside intersection is a prime example of the latest one. I was born in Williams Lake, I’ve been here all my life and I’ve seen this going on and I think this one is another one, that they didn’t get all their ducks in a row to make this application.”

During the council meeting, Coun. Geoff Bourdon raised similar concerns about pushing projects through without enough research.

“We need to keep issues like this in mind, because this a prime example of poor planning. For someone to allow a development to go through that should have had proper serviced sites, but didn’t. It should have had a covenant with it. We just get to deal with this at a later date,” Bourdon said.

Coun. Sue Zacharias said the funding application was a good one, and everything was done around the circumstances surrounding the application.

“Sometimes they look at high-density areas to be chosen over low density areas, and we knew that going in. I would be interested to know if there were any specific reasons we could hear about as to why it was turned down,” she said.

Coun. Laurie Walters reminded council that going into the application other options were discussed because there was a chance of it being rejected. “Timing is imperative and we don’t want to waste any more time,” Walters said.

Mayor Kerry Cook removed herself from chambers, because she lives on Woodward Drive, but Coun. Ivan Bonnell, who was acting as mayor for the discussion, added it could have simply been a case of the fund running out.

In its letter, Gary MacIsacc, chair of the Gas Tax Management Committee stated the application can be discussed further and the city is welcome to reapply in 2012.