Deep Bay development proposal sparks heated comments

Angry words and water analysis take centre stage over development plan

Things got hot at the Regional District of Nanaimo committee of the whole meeting Tuesday night as two separate delegations called the board into question for their approach to the Baynes Sound Investments (BSI) development proposal for Deep Bay.

The issues put on the table included questions of both the availability of water and the process used by the RDN itself.

The acrimony started during the electoral area planning committee meeting, when Deep Bay resident Ian MacDonnell called the board unrepresentative and hinted he may take them to court over the BSI issue.

“I will speak about non-representative government the RDN has been providing over five years,” he said. “The only way to bring governments back in line with the people is through the courts. I believe the RDN is incompetent and biased and not deserving of being a local government.”

MacDonnell said he would continue his vocal opposition to the proposal.

“I will carry on committee meeting to committee meeting,” he vowed.

He kept to that pledge, having registered as a delegation at the official committee of the whole meeting that followed, this time with area director Bill Veenhof as his target.

“He couldn’t wait to move ahead,” he said.

Veenhof declined to respond to the delegation.

Dianne Eddy also appeared to speak on the BSI proposal, but she took a very different tack, arguing that the study used to determine there was enough water for the development was flawed.

“The BSI hydrological report estimated demands for this development to be three times the demand currently used,” she said. “At full development, this would be four times what is used today.”

The problem, she said, was that precipitation records from Mud Bay were used to determine the water availability data.

“It is well known that Mud Bay precipitation rates rank with Port Hardy rates, due to an anomaly caused by very high mountains above Rosewall Creek,” she said. “It exceeds local stations by more than 500 millimetres a year.”

Eddy questioned the report’s assumption that water levels in the aquifer were rising.

“There is no information on how this conclusion was arrived at,” she said, arguing instead that her data on both precipitation rates and well levels indicate the reverse is true.

“Correlation of precipitation and well depth highlights the dependency of this aquifer on rainfall,” she said. “Linear trend lines were added to precipitation rates and well levels and both trend lines indicate a drop in precipitation as well as a drop in the aquifer during the 22 years reported.”

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