Semiahmoo must spend millions to connect with Surrey water system

Semiahmoo First Nation has appealed to Surrey for water, after White Rock told the band it would cut off its water supply within 18 months.

  • Oct. 11, 2016 12:00 p.m.

Surrey says the Semiahmoo reserve would have to install larger pipes if it wants to connect to Surrey's water supply.

Kelly Sinoski, Vancouver Sun

The Semiahmoo First Nation will have to spend millions of dollars on infrastructure upgrades if it is to connect to the City of Surrey’s water system.

The First Nation has appealed to Surrey for water, after White Rock told the band it would cut off its water supply within 18 months. White Rock recently bought a private water utility from Edmonton-based Epcor, which had previously supplied the Semiahmoo with water for decades, and now argues the reserve falls entirely within Surrey’s municipal boundaries.

Jeff Arason, Surrey’s utility manager, said the city already supplies water to the duty free shop on the Semiahmoo Reserve, but Semiahmoo would have to come up with millions of dollars in infrastructure improvements before other connections could be made. A study by the First Nation suggests it would need to spend around $3 million for sewer and $3 million for water pipes, he said. The study noted the reserve only has one pipe that is about six inches at one end but narrows to three-quarters of an inch at the other.

Surrey is expected to release a report on Oct. 17, outlining the “opportunities and challenges” it would face if it were to provide water to the Semiahmoo First Nation. Arason said all water pipes for residential water connections must be at least eight inches in size.

Surrey is part of Metro Vancouver’s water district, which serves every municipality in the region except White Rock. The latter provides water to its 20,000 residents using wells and the Sunnyside Uplands Aquifer.

The Semiahmoo First Nation did not return calls Friday, but has previously said White Rock’s announcement caught them off guard. The reserve has had a boil-water advisory in place for years.

White Rock countered at the time that while there is no formal agreement to provide water services to the Semiahmoo, the city had continued supplying bulk water to the reserve and is committed to securing an agreement, but attempts by city staff to finalize an agreement have been stymied by the First Nation.

ksinoski@postmedia.com

Twitter.com/ksinoski

Click here to read more stories from Vancouver Sun.

 

Just Posted

Surrey policing plan sent to provincial government for review

‘I urge our residents to come out and help us shape their Surrey Police Department,’ Surrey mayor says

Surrey councillors say they’ve now seen policing transition plan

Locke and Hundial decline to share details of the plan, repeat calls for its release to residents

RCMP target speeders in White Rock, Surrey

Officers throughout the province launch Swoop campaign

Cloverdale high school raising money for first-ever grad dinner

Bottle and clothing drive will fundraise for Cloverdale Learning Centre’s first graduation dinner

Roadside device to weed out THC can’t detect impairment, lawyer says

‘This fact alone is likely to have serious implications for Canadians’ Charter Rights,’ lawyer Sarah Leamon warns

Kelowna toddler suffers cracked skull after fall from balcony

Neighbour who found the two-year-old boy said he has a bump the size of a golf ball on his head

Baby boom seniors putting pressure on B.C. long-term care: report

B.C. leads Canada in growth of dementia, dependence on care

RCMP probe if teen was intentionally hit with ski pole by mystery skier on B.C. mountain

The incident happened on March 20 on Grouse Mountain. Police are urging witnesses to come forward

Support growing for orphaned Okanagan child after father dies in highway crash

Family thanks emergency crews for assistance in traumatic incident

Pipeline protester chimes in on Justin Trudeau’s B.C. fundraising speech

The government purchased the Trans Mountain pipeline and expansion project for $4.5 billion

UPDATED: B.C. man says he’ll take People’s Party lawsuit as far as he can

Federal judge shut down Satinder Dhillon’s ‘nonsensical’ motion to bar use of PPC name in byelection

Coquitlam RCMP release video in search for witness to crash that killed girl, 13

Witness is described as a slim Asian man with short, black hair, no facial hair and wearing glasses

Four rescued from Golden Ears mountain

Hikers from Surrey started out for Evans Peak at 6 p.m.

Most Read