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Water concerns surface in Cedar

Water concerns in Cedar and Yellow Point are floating to the surface after a report from the Regional District of Nanaimo.

The report outlines concerns in the Yellow Point and Cassidy aquifers including.

In Yellow Point, the report cites concerns about levels and increased use.

The report states: “The Yellowpoint aquifer was ranked as the second highest priority aquifer on Vancouver Island by the Ministry of the Environment due to its low productivity, increasing population, and significantly dropping groundwater elevations. There is also evidence of salt water intrusion in this aquifer along the coast. Residents have expressed concerns over the ability of this aquifer to support any future development.”

Concerns for the Cassidy aquifer are a little different as it is deemed a large aquifer, but above-ground activities could pose problems.

On Cassidy, the report states: “The Cassidy aquifer is a large aquifer that is highly vulnerable to contamination. In the Cassidy area, there is a strong concern that land uses including wrecking yards, airport activities, fuel storage, forestry, trailer parks, on-site systems, and landfills could impact the groundwater quality in this vulnerable aquifer.”

The report is raising concern among the people who call this area home.

Laurie Gourlay, president of the Mid Island Sustainability and Stewardship Initiative, said a special meeting is set for the Cedar area to discuss the report, its implications and what residents need to start thinking about.

The free meeting will be held on at Cedar Heritage Centre, 1644 MacMillan Road, Cedar, on Feb. 24, from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.

“It’s drawing more water than it’s replacing,” said Gourlay of the Yellow Point aquifer.

“There’s also questions about boron and other contaminants.”

Gourlay said it is a big area covering from Harmac to Woodley Range.

“It’s going to affect development through that whole area. Folks are going to have to start addressing how they are going to meet their needs.”

Gourlay said the new report has sent a lot of people scrambling as the Feb. 28 deadline to comment on it draws near. There is an Official Community Plan process underway in Area A (South Wellington, Cedar and part of Yellow Point) and planners have been discussing whether people will have to have rain catchers and the like to get through the dry summer months.

Development has also come under question, said Gourlay, with OCP planners wondering if new developments should be halted unless they can sort out their own water issues.

Gourlay said the state of the Cassidy aquifer is also concerning given the amount of development planned for the area, shallow location and the fact Ladysmith and Nanaimo have shown interest in it as a potential community water source.

Harmac also uses the aquifer which can increase demand.

Gourlay said they are not against development, but people in the area are recognizing some better planning needs to happen.

Gourlay said they are also going to be speaking to the Cowichan Valley Regional District to hear what plans they have in the area.

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