Apparently we don’t have enough water to satisfy the needs of our current population in Nelson. Throughout the summer and into the Fall, we’ve been encouraged and then mandated to conserve water in order that safe water levels be maintained.
Acts of nature cannot easily be controlled and the current drought conditions we are experiencing is a case in point.
So why is there suddenly enough water to not only approve new development by Nelson city staff and council, but to increase the amount of households to be built in these developments? The development near Red Sands Beach has somehow increased in allowable building units to a staggering 265 units (up from the original zoning of approximately 100 units).
This will increase the population by over five per cent from our current population of 10,000 people, presuming only two people live in each new unit. There are other new developments in town, as well, which will further increase demand on our water resources.
Rumour has it that the Kutenai Landing development near Walmart is making a comeback. If city council approves this development, as well as an increase in density they will likely request, it will put additional strains on our water supply and will increase demands on other infrastructure (sewer, hydro, fire, police).
Realistically, will these new developments add so much net tax revenue to our city that these projects will pay for the infrastructure upgrades, engineering, and development of new water sources, and still increase tax revenues to the city?
As inhabitants of Nelson, we have to conserve water on a domestic level and we have been told that we’re doing a great job, but need to do more to meet these goals of maintaining safe water levels. I personally agree that we should be mindful of our water use and we should always conserve this precious resource.
Let’s start making development decisions that take all things into consideration and not just give into the mindset that growth is great and necessary, no matter what the environmental and social costs may be.
So, the question remains; do we, or don’t we, have enough water in Nelson? If we do, then we should lift all water restrictions. If we don’t, then let’s put a moratorium on all new development until adequate new sources of water are secured.
H. Ross, Nelson