The Strathcona Regional District wants to protect valuable ecological resources. 

For the last year, the SRD and the Comox Valley Regional District have been in negotiations to set up additional access to groundwater in Oyster River Nature Park.

The goal was to have a well in the park for properties serviced by the Black Creek Oyster Bay water system. 

But the SRD said no. 

The district says it wants to protect Oyster River ecosystems and the interests of Area D residents. The district is open to the additional well, as long as they know what the long-term capacity of the well that could provide stability for existing users of the Black Creek Oyster River system. 

“The delivery of quality services to SRD constituents is a fundamental commitment expressed through the SRD Board’s mission statement,” SRD chair Michele Babchuk said. 

“The SRD has always been prepared to work with the CVRD to find solutions to servicing issues, however, the SRD is not prepared to compromise its standards for protecting public assets or the environment.”

The CVRD commissioned a groundwater assessment and it identified that the ORNP aquifer is hydraulically connected to the Oyster River. This means current licenses on the Oyster River are greater than the river’s summertime flows. If existing licenses were used to their limit in the summer, this would have a negative impact to the lower reaches of the Oyster River and the cutthroat trout habitat. 

“The importance of ensuring that existing users have a sufficient supply of water while at the same time protecting the environmental concerns of the Oyster River is the SRD’s position,” Babchuk added. 

 “The SRD is committed to water security for the long term and will not compromise the interests of all SRD residents, the park or the river for purposes of additional connections and expansion to the water system.”