White Rock Mayor Wayne Baldwin says a letter from MLA Tracy Redies – asking for information on White Rock water issues on behalf of a constituent – is largely asking questions that have already been answered.
But he says that he and city staff will comply with her request anyway.
“The whole exercise seems a little superfluous, but we’ll pass on our information once again,” he told Peace Arch News.
Redies Dec. 18 letter, written on behalf of frequent council critic Roderick Louis, was addressed not only to Baldwin, but also to Fraser Health president and CEO Michael Marchbank, and City of Surrey operations head Vince Lalonde.
The BC Liberal Surrey-White Rock MLA – first elected last spring – asked for written answers in seeking “clarity on a number of questions that have been posed to the province and the city for many months by Mr Louis regarding water quality and safety in the City of White Rock.”
These include questions on the presence in the water of arsenic and manganese – for which the city has started work on a $14-million treatment plant, co-funded by federal and provincial grants totalling $11 million, and which is due for completion in 2019.
She asks what steps the city has taken to educate the public on water quality and what is being done to improve it, as well as why a $100,000 education outreach program – first requested in a written directive from Fraser Health in 2014 – has not been launched.
She also wants to know if the city is meeting Fraser Health guidelines for treating and reporting the presence of arsenic and whether the water quality is acceptable according to Canadian Health standards.
Redies further requests information from both Surrey and White Rock on the valves connecting the cities’ water supplies – which apparently malfunctioned during the Five Corners fire of May 2016, leaving Peace Arch Hospital impacted by shortness of water. She also noted a discrepancy between references to six valves and the four discussed in the city’s 2017 Water Master Plan.
“Pretty well most of the questions have been answered from our side,” Baldwin told PAN last week. “Maybe we’ll fact check a few things – we’ve given (Louis) responses on most of it.”
The mayor added that he has spoken informally with Redies on the matter, and that he will send her a copy of replies already given – such as the question of how many valves connect the cities’ water systems (six) – “just to point out it’s already been answered.”
“She’s just trying to respond to a constituent,” Baldwin said. “It’s not really her area. I’m pretty sure all the information is already out there. We’ll just give her the answers, whatever we can do.”
Marchbank did not respond to a request for comment by PAN press time Tuesday; Surrey media representative Oliver Lum said that, typically, such a request for information would be handled between parties involved without comment to media.
At press time, Redies had also not responded to a request for comment.