Solsqua residents assert right to clean water

District asked to extend municipal water to troubled trailer park.

Interior Health is encouraging the District of Sicamous to extend its water system to Solsqua-Sicamous Road properties currently serviced by unreliable and potentially unhealthy wells.

At its Jan. 14 meeting, Sicamous council formally received a request from Solsqua-Sicamous Road residents Joanne Dermott and Nell Chapdelaine to extend the municipal water line to the district’s eastern boundary, so as to service residents that currently rely upon the Cedar Ridge Mobile Home Parks water system for potable water.

Dermott and Chapdelaine expressed this request through a letter co-signed by Marie-Paule Lacasse, originally submitted to the district in September. In the letter, the women note they depend on the mobile park’s well for drinking water, and that drinking water issues have been prevalent there for the past several years.

“It is highly likely that difficulties may continue to be faced in order to meet today’s stringent standards when it comes to water quality,” the letter states.

This position is backed by Interior Health Environmental Health Officer Brian Gregory who, in a separate letter to the district, supports the request to extend district water to Solsqua-Sicamous Road residents currently served by the mobile park well.

Gregory refers to a new well that was drilled at the park in 2013, after residents had been forced to endure an ongoing boil water advisory, along with shortages that prevented them from taking showers, washing dishes, flushing toilets, etc. But he goes on to warn that some wells in that area are considered “groundwater at risk of containing pathogens” because of their depth and proximity to the Eagle River.

“In my opinion, there would be a public health benefit to see the district water system extended to service the properties along Solsqua Road,” writes Gregory.

Dermott, Chapdelaine and Lacasse state park management is not supporting a move to city water, and that the burden of any related costs would fall on residents. This would include the cost of joining individual properties to the municipal water main, plus the installation of a water meter.

“Financially speaking, this makes for an undertaking that may be unattainable…,” add the women. “We are thereby requesting your assistance in making our request attainable.”

In response, Mayor Terry Rysz said the letters would be forwarded to the district’s finance committee for deliberation.

“We’ll assess it and we’ll come up with maybe some sort of a plan of how we would make it work or how we can’t make it work, whatever, and we’ll be in touch with you on that,” said Rysz.