Hello, while spring is beckoning us outdoors, water in Quathiaski Cove and some exciting active transportation news are the subjects of this report.

Water study update for Q Cove
Nestled in Quadra’s Official Community Plan (OCP) is the Quathiaski Cove Village Plan. The Village Plan defines Q Cove Village with ‘congeniality’ and as a small-scale, clustered neighbourhood with a variety of housing options. The foundation of the Village Plan was shaped by OCP policies, and it was guided diligently by a steering committee over several years. The Village Plan was adopted in 2012.

The Village Plan set several water-related objectives, including to ensure water demand in Q Cove does not exceed a sustainable supply rate, and to provide an orderly means of eventually establishing a public water utility for Q Cove. The Village Plan also set a policy: for the Regional District to complete a water study for the Q Cove Village area.

Studying water supply to service Q Cove began in 2013 with the Initial Investigation Groundwater Supply Feasibility Study. Eight years later, in 2021, the Quathiaski Cove Water System Feasibility Study was completed. The 2021 study developed a conceptual layout for a water system (supply, treatment, storage, and distribution) that would service the same area as the current Quathiaski Cove Local Sewer Service Area. The study also included cost estimates for design and construction of a water system, and outlined next steps, which brings me to….

2024 Q Cove water report
In March 2024 the Board received a new Q Cove water report, building on the ‘next steps’ identified in 2021. Western Water Associates conducted a ‘desktop study’ of the groundwater supply probability against the estimated maximum day demand to meet Q Cove Village Plan densification targets. This 2024 report is titled Quathiaski Cove — Groundwater Supply Feasibility Investigation.

The 2024 report states there is a moderate probability of developing adequate of groundwater supply in the Quathiaski Cove study area. Moderate probability suggests that while it may be plausible, there is no guarantee that well-testing will yield sufficient water to meet anticipated demand. Further, the study identified that while at least 3 supply wells would be required to meet minimum demand for a community water supply, up to 10 or more supply wells may be needed. This number significantly exceeds the 2013 estimate of 2 to 6 supply wells.

The 2021 report provided a preliminary $10 million ‘Class D’ cost estimate for a QCove community water supply system. (Class D estimates have a margin of error of +/- 50%). Since 2021, the construction industry has had record high annual escalations in non-residential prices.

After receiving the March 2024 report, getting revised cost estimates was chosen as the reasonable next step and supported by the Board. The steps to reduce the uncertainty of cost estimation create significant expenses and require time, potentially leading to further cost escalation: the revised estimates will also be Class D.

As SRD staff have explained to me, without a detailed plan including cost estimates, senior levels of government are extremely unlikely to consider grant applications. Time will tell what the revised estimate will be, but it’s clear to me that a Q Cove water system is likely unattainable without its construction well-funded through grants.

Water sustainability
Relevant and related to the above, you likely know that ICAN is collaborating with the We Wai Kai First Nation on a water sustainability project. Through well monitoring they plan to develop a model to evaluate the predicted impacts under different scenarios of climate change and development.

SRD staff have consulted with ICAN and confirmed that the results of the ICAN project will help inform the long-term sustainability of a Community Water Service. The SRD engineering team is committed to ongoing collaboration with ICAN, working towards the community’s shared goals of water sustainability.

Active Transportation Network Planning Grant
It’s nice to end with good news, and I have the pleasure of sharing that Area C has received a $50,000 grant to complete an Active Transportation Network Plan! Having an official plan prepared is the first step to enhancing active transportation routes, making active transportation more accessible, and supporting all the folks who walk, run and ride around Quadra Island.

I’ve heard lots of ideas about how to improve our active transportation network and I anticipate many folks will contribute to the community consultation phase. The Plan will identify community needs, include site assessments and data collection, and create priorities for implementation. I’m delighted Area C has received this planning grant: I’m already looking forward to completion of the plan so we can start the work of improving our active transportation network.

Thanks for reading! You’re welcome to connect with me with questions or concerns, you can email rmawhinney@srd.ca, or call 250.203.2468. If you’d like to chat in person, you can book a meeting at calendly.com/robynmawhinney.

Until next time,
Respectfully and sincerely,
Robyn Mawhinney