During the summer of 2014 there has been some new information come out about the Grantville (also know as Walkers Hook or Fort street area) on Salt Spring. At the LTC (local trust council) meeting on 24 July 2014 the issue of building on 1/4 acre lots came up at the meeting. From what I have been told Grantville has the highest density of wells and septic systems in Western Canada. There are approx 100 homes on 1 square kilometer.
I spoke about the issue to the trust and specifically about the area needing a water district and a water line to each home. Here is an unedited copy of my 2 minute presentation (note; this was un prepared presentation);
The Gulf Island Driftwood newspaper reported the story in the following week.
Here is the article out of the Driftwood newspaper Fort Street debate raises stink Obviously newspapers can not report every speaker word for word and publish it in the paper every week. Like all media they take snippets of the day and make it into a story.
Salt Spring being Salt Spring the following week in the Driftwood Kishori Hutchings who lives on Main street sent in the following letter to the editor “Water not all Bad” in which she stated; “He has no ideal what his is talking about and it was a very stupid comment. Many of us in this area have fine water. Mr Simmons should get his facts straight before he opens his mouth“. Here is the actual letter to the editor in the August 6, 2014 Driftwood (whats a little defamation of character between islanders, water is a passionate topic, I can live with being slagged) ;
My presentation was based on facts. I stand behind it. Unfortunately the hydrologist that I quoted passed last year and I do not want to quote him directly it would be hearsay evidence at best. To back up the facts I have done a little research to confirm what a water expert and hydrologist have told me.
CBC news story about new Canadian study on contaminated drinking water.
Probably one of the best studies I could find regarding size of lots and septic / wells is “domistic wells have high probability of pumping septic tank leachate”. (Bremer & Harter 2011). It’s a fascinating paper which clearly gives data that one can conclude that a high proportion of the well water on a small sized lot could be recycled from a neighbors septic field. Now if that is not bad enough I read this article from the New York Times about “Drugs are in the Water. Does it Matter? by Cornelia Dean Water Pollution – Drugs and Household Products in the Water Supply – Does It Matter_ – New York Times Unfortunately this was not the only article on the matter I also found on page 7 of the report “Water for life on Salt Spring Island” ssrpthealthyecosystemssep2009 a shocking statement about the presence of pharmaceuticals in surface and groundwater (Naish, 2009). This is the same basic information that the hydrologist and water expert talked to me about.
So I’m sorry Kishori Hutchings but I stand by my statement “never drink the water in that area it is that bad” please buy bottle water or put in a high quality Reverse Osmosis water filter system. As for building on 1/4 acre lot the judgment basically says one can not build. I’m sure that there will be an update on this. As the appeal court judges said “That broader public interest might well be affected in a case like this by the necessity for a regional district to have to provide, in due course, services to these lots. ” It might just be that “in due course” is now. In my humble opinion the local regional government (CRD) should form a water district and put in a water system.
Two other bits of relevant info; 1) The CRD has issued building permits for homes on 1/4 acre lots, 2) As far as I know the CRD did not register the judgments on any of the titles on any of the Grantsville lots. I’m pretty sure the CRD legal department is going through this same can of worms tying to figure out what to do.
Stay tuned more to follow.
Bremer & Harter 2011 hess-16-2453-2012 wells puming sepitic tank effuent
Naish, 2009 Drugs on tap – The Ecologist
Old Driftwood articles from the 1970s from Salt Spring achieves about this Grantsville (Walkers Hook) subdivision;