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West Vancouver gives ultimatum to boil-water community
The District of West Vancouver has given an ultimatum to the unincorporated cliffside community of Montizambert Wynd: Comply with the province’s water standards or we’re cutting you off.
For more than 17 years, the remote Howe Sound cul-de-sac has been under one of B.C.’s longest standing boil-water advisories.
Residents there, like their West Van neighbours, have pulled water from the nearby Montizambert Creek since the 1940s.
But while West Van’s drinking water is drawn from the creek and purified in a provincially regulated treatment facility, the Montizambert Wynd water comes directly off West Van’s raw-water pipe and is treated in-home with private point-of-entry systems.
Residents have long maintained that these personal water purifiers are reliable and safe, and there have been no recorded incidents suggesting otherwise.
But with no provincial oversight or quality assurance from either Metro Vancouver or Vancouver Coastal Health, it’s recently come to the West Van government’s attention that the District could be held legally responsible as Montizambert’s water supplier if something were to go wrong.
At the request of Montizambert residents, West Van District has in the past explored the possibility of either absorbing the 13-home community into West Vancouver or selling the residents access to its water supply. In November, the District determined that neither option would be appropriate and on Monday gave Montizambert residents six months to find a solution to their water woes with Metro Vancouver or else their connection to West Van’s raw-water pipe would be severed.
Montizambert residents at Monday’s meeting pleaded for an extension of council’s decision on the severance for another month, but council declined, saying six months should prove ample time to find a resolution.
“The residents of West Vancouver have effectively already paid thousands and thousands of dollars in staff time and legal fees on this issue and will continue to do so if we spend the next six months negotiating with you,” Coun. Nora Gambioli said.
All who spoke on it agreed, with council passing the motion unanimously and Mayor Michael Smith suggesting he was confident that, at the end of six months, Montizambert residents wouldn’t be left high and dry.
“We’re still in no way closing the door on the residents out there,” Smith said. “We like to be good neighbours and if we can find a resolution that works for everybody through Metro Vancouver finally getting involved, then council can at a later point in time rescind this motion — if there is a resolution in place.”