Robson Elementary School gymnasium was the site Wednesday night for an information meeting regarding the Robson-Raspberry Improvement District (RRID) proposal for a water treatment plant that would ensure clean, safe and reliable tap water to residents.
The RRID water system has been on a Boil Water Notice since 1995 and continues to deliver surface water without treatment. The District recently received notice from the Interior Health Authority (IHA) that they are not in compliance with the Drinking Water Protection Act which requires surface water to be disinfected and water suppliers to provide safe water.
Audience members heard presentations from representatives from the RRID, IHA, and Ward Engineering Services.
“For those that stayed, which was most, that got to hear all the speakers, they came up to us at the end and said ‘this is really the best. This is the way to go’,” said Anne White, RRID trustee. “Their is still a lot of anger about not being given an option.”
“Our water system is the largest system on a boil notice in this region,” said White. “The health authority is really coming down on us and telling us we have to get this done. They actually have the regulatory function and enforcement. “
Several different topics were brought up by the audience including amalgamating with Castlegar, which has been explored before and is not an option at this time, said White.
The proposed water treatment plant will use multiple barriers of protection to safeguard the community’s drinking water from viral, bacterial, and parasite disease causing organisms. With these improvements, residents will no longer have to boil their water.
“There were some really good questions that were asked that we will hopefully be able to have answers for at the second meeting,” said White.
The residents of Robson-Raspberry will have to decide whether to borrow $3 million for the project at an upcoming referendum. Total water taxes and tolls would rise from $630 at present to $1,000 for a typical resident.
White said that if the RRID does not comply with the Drinking Water Protection Act they can be fined $575 and if it goes far enough, to the Supreme Court, the penalties could be up to $200,000 and even jail time.
The RRID will be having an open house Sept. 29 from 2 p.m. until 8 p.m. at the RRID office. There will be another public meeting on Oct. 12 at Robson Elementary School. The referendum will take place on Oct. 22 at Robson Hall from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.