STRATHCONA REGIONAL DISTRICT, B.C. – Groundwater is precious and must be protected.

This is according to the Strathcona Regional District.

In an emailed statement to the newsroom, manager of strategic initiatives Victoria Smith said that the SRD board recognizes groundwater is an important resource.

As such, the district does not support groundwater extraction for bottling and export purposes.

“The Board resolved to express this position through a letter to the BC Premier and by making a resolution for consideration at the next meeting of the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities (AVICC),” wrote Smith.

The draft resolution was presented and approved during Thursday’s SRD board meeting. It was written after Bruce Gibbons, founder of the Merville Water Guardians and other residents, approached the district with concerns regarding groundwater extraction for bottling purposes.

Gibbons has been following up with municipalities about changing zoning bylaws so that they do not allow bottling and selling groundwater. This is after a Merville resident applied for a license to bottle and sell groundwater on his property.

The Comox Valley Regional District denied the application.

“The regional district in Strathcona got involved when the CVRD denied the rezoning for the applicant, so he couldn’t bottle any water on his property. He immediately said he was going to the SRD and find somewhere in there where he could set up shop and bottle his water there,” Gibbons said.

“I got in touch with the SRD directors, specifically director Brenda Leigh and they stepped up and drafted a resolution to the provincial government telling them that they didn’t support approval of these licenses.”

Gibbons said he worked with director Leigh on campaigning to protect groundwater, and that she came up with the resolution, which she put forward to the other directors and asked them to approve.

Gibbons and the Merville Water Guardians have also launched their own petition that they plan to send to the provincial government. The petition asks the province to stop approving licenses for groundwater bottling and commercial sale.

The online version can be found through this link.