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Leonard still neutral on Merville water dispute

MERVILLE, B.C. – Ronna-Rae Leonard doesn’t want to choose a side.

Leonard, who serves as the MLA for Courtenay-Comox, is standing in the middle of the dispute surrounding a proposed water bottling operation in Merville.

A couple in the Comox Valley area, Christopher Mackenzie and his wife, Regula Heynck, is looking to extract about 10,000 litres per day from their family well along Sackville Road.

The project has received approval from the province, with the government issuing a conditional water license to the couple.

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However, there has been numerous calls of opposition to the projects, from residents of the area and the K’omoks First Nation. The Comox Valley Regional District has also yet to approve rezoning needed for the project to go through.

Leonard said she wants there to be a peaceful resolution that benefits the whole community.

“I have seen the information [and] it’s really not in my area of expertise. I say, let’s just make sure that the concerns are being brought forward and they are being addressed,” she said.

Leonard said she understands why people are upset.

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“It’s not just here in the Comox Valley, or in Merville, it’s across the province, it’s across the country, it’s across the globe,” she said, speaking on issues like this.

“When we have these kinds of challenges, it’s important for someone like me to be able to bring forward those concerns and pass them on so that we can work to make sure that access to water for people is first and foremost.”

A rezoning decision by the CVRD relating to the project has not yet been made, and is currently out for consideration.

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