Pipe Dreams

Pipe Dreams

pipe dream: noun  – an idea or plan that is impossible or very unlikely to happen – Cambridge English Dictionary

So this is what I’ve had for, well, a long long time. The pipe dream of getting water and sewer service into Scotch Creek. Between the current Official Community Plan and the rules laid down by Interior Health, development, or even grandpa subdividing his too large lot, has been on hold. The only thing that would begin to open the doors to some progress is a community water system.

Right now, we are as close to making this happen as we have been for the last 20+ years. Countless water studies have been done with none of them getting to the funding stage. We are now at that stage! The CSRD began this process back in January and, with a consultant, have updated the recent plans. There seems to be a concerted effort on their part to get this to a grant application stage by August 29th of this year. If we can get that application in, the CSRD staff feel we have a very good chance of being approved, and getting a grant for up to 73% of the cost. If that is successful, and the community of Scotch Creek agrees to go ahead, we could have water service within 2-3 years. This is excellent news.

The other piece of the pipe is a sewage system. This is necessary infrastructure for progress to happen. The difference between a water system and a sewage system is that the bylaws state the CSRD has to run a water system whereas a private company can run a sewage system. In practice there has to be a minimum number of connections for this to be realistic and economically feasible. It would be great to have these two sets of pipes into the ground at the same time. There are a couple of ways this could be done but no private company is going to start this project without confirmation that community water will happen. Once water is confirmed I believe there are people out there who will step up for this service.

So the goal now it to get the water service in place. The process is to have a public open house (which would have happened on July 26th). Then with a show of community support there, the grant application is sent to the Ministry. We wait a few months and they come back with approval. At that point, firm dollar figures for local households are confirmed and those that are to be serviced by the system, vote either for or against it in a referendum.

If we get shot down along this path this time, it could be many years before the opportunity arises again. As a community we need to talk about what this might mean for us. The community health benefits and lake water benefits of drinking water untainted by septic fields. The potential development that will bring new families to the area, new businesses, a new attitude. Yes, there are some expenses for those connecting, but the benefit to the whole North Shuswap is immeasurable.

I hate to say it because there are a number of hurdles yet to cross, but I’M EXCITED by the prospect! The Cambridge Dictionary doesn’t say Pipe Dreams can’t come true.. and this unlikely one just may!

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