THE District of West Vancouver is turning off the tap on the residents of neighbouring Montizambert Wynd this August, barring intervention from Metro Vancouver.
The 16 properties that constitute the neighbourhood north of West Vancouver have been receiving complimentary raw water from the district since the 1960s. Citing liability issues as well as the lack of a legal agreement, district council voted unanimously to let the relationship run dry at a Feb. 18 meeting.
However, council's decision does not preclude a new water-sharing deal if an agreement can be reached between the district, the residents of Montizambert Wynd, and Metro Vancouver within the next six months, according to chief administrative officer Grant McRadu.
Several Montizambert residents were on hand to request council delay its decision in the hopes an agreement could be reached to maintain the water pipe connection between communities.
Bill Fanagan, who served as spokesman for the community at the meeting, said he envisaged working with Metro Vancouver and West Vancouver to come up with a mutually acceptable supply. "We're asking you to delay the vote for one month to see what kind of full court press we can put on this with Metro Vancouver."
The current setup should not leave the district vulnerable to action from the province, according to Fanagan. "We believe there is no contravention of West Vancouver's or Montizambert's water licences by this arrangement," he said.
Montizambert residents have been using water that is intercepted before reaching a district treatment facility, which may breach West Vancouver's water licence with the province, according to district staff.
Montizambert has been subject to a boil water advisory since 1996, although most residents said they had water filtration systems in their homes.
"Vancouver Coastal Health is now looking at us as the water supplier which puts us at risk," said Coun. Trish Panz.
Setting the six-month deadline may hasten Metro Vancouver's involvement, according to Panz.
"If we support this tonight, we could look at it as putting pressure on Metro to now take the lead," she said. "One of my concerns is that Metro has not come up to the table for quite some time."
What has been a long and thirst-quenching relationship should be preserved, according to Fanagan. "We share the water resources that come out of Montizambert Creek, and this goes back for about 47 years," he said. "Each home on Montizambert has a point of entry water system and we have no history of people being sick."
Fanagan said he would favour an agreement that left the district with no costs to shoulder or liability to risk. But that may not be practical, according to Coun. Nora Gambioli.
"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," she said. "I don't see how it's no cost to the residents of West Vancouver."