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No relief available for businesses impacted by water restrictions: CVRD

COURTENAY, B.C- Businesses impacted by upcoming water restrictions in the Comox Valley won’t be able to look to the Comox Valley Regional District for compensation.

That’s according to the district’s general manager of engineering, Marc Rutten. Speaking with the newsroom on Tuesday, Rutten went over how the planned Stage 4 restrictions will be impacting the Valley.

Under the restrictions, all use of water for any purpose other than drinking, food preparation and personal hygiene will be prohibited from April 12th to April 22nd. The move effects all users of the system, with the majority in Courtenay and Comox.

Cumberland uses its own water and wastewater system.

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Rutten said the district has been trying to be proactive in reaching out to affected businesses, and have planning to ensure the repair work will not run beyond the 22nd.

“We’re hopeful that we’ll be finished sooner, but we are keeping the restrictions in place until we know for sure that the repair work is done,” said Rutten.

He was confident that the project will be done within the planned timeframe.

Rutten also indicated that nothing in the way of compensation or relief would be available from the district for businesses that incur losses from the disruption.

“The regional district definitely acknowledges that there can be a loss of business during stage 4 restrictions, and that these kinds of restrictions can have a large impact on businesses,” said Rutten.

“We do appreciate that. But there is no ability to compensate for that, or provide recourse for that.”

He believed there is work to be done on letting businesses know about any disruptions before they occur, so they can plan and try to mitigate the restrictions “in any way they can”.

“In this case, we never anticipated that we would require stage 4 restrictions until just a few weeks ago,” said Rutten.

“We thought we would have completed this repair earlier in the year. Water usage does change by season, so earlier this year, we would have been able to complete this repair under Stage 3 water restrictions, but now that we’re into the spring water demand does increase, and we feel that this additional level of increase is required.”

There had been a delay from critical parts not arriving on schedule.

Overall, Rutten believed the restrictions were extremely important.

“All of the water that feeds the east side of Courtenay, and Comox, all of Comox, will be transmitted through the smaller line (during the shut down),” said Rutten.

“It just doesn’t have the capacity to meet the normal demands. Without these restrictions, the reservoirs on the east side of town would empty, over a period of a few days, and there would be water available. It’s very important that these restrictions be implemented, and adhered to.”

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