Council briefs: Beruschi Road water quality, Mount Revelstoke campground moves ahead

Highlights of the October 24 city council meeting included approval for Beruschi and Pratico Roads to be connected to the city's main waterline, a presentation on a road-accessible campground for Mount Revelstoke National Park, and condolences to the town of Fernie from Mayor Mark McKee.

Construction of a new campsite is getting underway in Mount Revelstoke national park, which is located on Revelstoke's doorstep. Photo: Aaron Orlando/Revelstoke Mountaineer

Beruschi Road properties to be connected to main waterline

Revelstoke city council gave approval at its October 24 meeting for properties on Beruschi and Pratico Roads affected by water with high iron content to be connected to the 150mm mainline. Staff will now include the work in the city’s five-year capital plan and is estimated to cost $120,000.

Mike Thomas, director of engineering, said the current water connection on Beruschi and Pratico roads is not a health concern. Rather, it is an aesthetic issue as the iron content water causes staining and has on off-taste.

“We were very glad to find out it wasn’t a health concern,” said Thomas.

A report said a resident raised the issue in March.

“Over the last few years, residents have been observing yellow water, staining of sinks and bowls, unpleasant odor and taste, and a reduction in water pressure,” reads the letter. “Due to the concern for the safety of those drinking the water and the potential health-related issues, a property owner took the initiative to have the water tested at a certified lab. Results of the test revealed that the iron content is over three times the recommended level of 0.3mg/1t as per the Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Standards.” A full copy of the letter to council can be viewed here.

City staff repeated the water testing on three separate occasions.  The city’s testing showed an iron concentration that matched the Canadian Drinking Water Guidelines’ aesthetic limit, while the private test showed more than three times the aesthetic limit.

“This discrepancy could be from several things, most common being the testing procedures used,” Thomas said in his report. “Other discrepancies could include water service materials, or the time of day the sample is taken.”

Councillor Connie Brothers asked if there were any health issues if the initial private testing was correct. Thomas said this was not the case and that higher levels of iron do not create a health hazard with drinking water.

Council approved the development of a sanitary sewer design for the Beruschi Road neighbourhood. Staff will prepare a preliminary Local Service Area petition for property owners on both sides of Beruschi Road.

A Local Service Area petition asks property owners in the affected area to vote on the proposed service, including costs for any new services.

Parks Canada planning campground for Mount Revelstoke National Park

Parks Canada is seeking to have a new road-accessible campground at Mount Revelstoke connected to the City of Revelstoke’s water supply under a five-year agreement. The campground is currently in development with an opening planned for the summer of 2019.

Rick Reynolds and Ron Larson of Parks Canada gave a presentation to city council at their October 24 meeting. A copy of the presentation can be viewed here.

“Visitors have an expectation of camping as part of their national park experience,” said Reynolds. “When people are disappointed we do find we lose them to other places.”

Mount Revelstoke National Park is the fourth largest national park in the country. Reynolds said a recent study found that international visitors to national parks spend an average of $3,500, including money that goes to local economies in nearby towns.

Mayor Mark McKee told council that Parks Canada’s request for water connection, which would be base on a five-year agreement, has already been sent to city staff. A report to council is expected at the upcoming meeting on November 14.

McKee also asked the delegation if there are plans for a sani dump station to be built. Reynolds said there are plans to put in a septic tank to accommodate planned facilities such as a new washroom and shower building, but Parks Canada doesn’t have plans to build a sani dump.

“Most people have holding tanks that can keep them for two days, which is usually our length of stay with campers,” said Reynolds.

Reynolds said the current plan is to direct people to the sani dump at the Frontier Restaurant.

Councillor Scott Duke was supportive of the planned campground.

“I think it’s exciting. It means more people in the park and visiting town,” he said.

Mayor offers condolences to community of Fernie

Mayor Mark McKee offered his sympathy to the community of Fernie after an ammonia leak at an arena resulted in the deaths of three men. The incident occurred on Oct. 17, resulting in the deaths of Wayne Hornquist and Lloyd Smith of Fernie, and Jason Podloski of Turner Valley, AB.

“I’d like to offer my condolences to the community of Fernie for the unfortunate accident that happened in the arena. I have talked with our parks and [recreation] director Lori Donato and we have looked at the procedures and processes we have in place,” said McKee.

McKee said the incident in Fernie serves as a wake-up call for other communities.

“It’s a reminder that accidents can happen. I’ve been assured we have strong processes and systems in place,” said McKee.