At a cost of approximately $15,000 per test hole, drilling for water isnt cheap. Moreover, when a suitable water source has already been found, continued drilling might seem extravagant. However, thats what the Village of Pemberton (VOP) council has elected to do.
So far two holes have been drilled, with one considered a good water source capable of meeting the communitys needs. However, council has decided to look for an alternative. The reason for the additional drilling is an unpredictable relationship with the BC Rail (BCR) Properties, the company that owns the land where exploratory drilling has taken place.
In a letter to Mayor Jordan Sturdy, BCRs real estate director, Richard Myhill-Jones cited other issues that needed to be considered in respect to the company granting the village permission to drill. Those issues included the subdivision and rezoning of some BCR land.
Terming the letter "a veiled threat", the mayor moved a motion to investigate other possible sources outside the BCR lands.
David Allen, director of development services for the VOP, said that he had followed up with Myhill-Jones and was certain the letter was "reactive and somewhat emotional."
BCR had hoped to be able to sell the land designated for the Silverthorne development and had had its hopes dashed when the zoning bylaw was turned down.
The company has since granted the VOP permission to drill on its land contingent on the village acquiring the necessary public liability insurance.
Although mayor and council unanimously agreed to more drilling, there is no guarantee that the $650,000 project will not be built on BCR land.
"As you move further up the creek the aquifer becomes less viable," said Allen. "Water always finds its own path. If you move up behind the works building the material will be more rocky the aquifer will be less likely to produce what we need,"
Ideal flow level for the new well will be between 70 and 80 litres per second.
While the new wells location may be in question, the existing water system continues to perform well according to a recent report.
"Im pleased to say we have never had an issue with our samples," said Allen. "Tests for heavy metals, pesticides and chloroforms all came back satisfactory. Apart from a PH of 6.5, which is a little low we met all the numbers. The water quality is good."
The low PH means that the water has a higher acidity level. That heightened acidity, while no threat to humans, is a problem for hot water tanks, which experience an increased rate of corrosion. The director of development services said that this problem would be solved once the new wells water conditioning equipment was operational.
The VOP has not had to issue a boil water advisory since 2005.