Quesnel City Council has endorsed a School District request for a proposed new or renovated middle school to be on city water, despite the fact that it would be located in the Cariboo Regional District.
That assurance was needed for the School District to complete a project definition report to the Provincial Government.
City Manager Byron Johnson noted that there was a safety concern with the current 30,000 gallon reservoir on the Maple Drive site…
“We’ve been told by the engineers representing the school district, and our own engineers, that standard fire flows you would want for that are 150 litres per second. That 30,000 gallons would last for 15 minutes in the event of a fire at full fire flow rates. That’s not a lot. In 15 minutes I don’t think it’s enough time for, our tankers wouldn’t even be on site yet, right, so from a safety perspective they would need better flow than that.”
There is no cost to city taxpayers should this go ahead as the $685,000 bill would be picked up by the province.
Johnson says the School District or the province would also pay the same connection fees as city residents have paid for expansion in the past, as well as the same annual fees that other schools within city boundaries pay, and the equivalent of water development cost charges…
“The point of charging for a DCC is that as a system grows there are more future capital requirements. You use more of your capacity and it means you are closer to needing new wells or a new reservoir or expanded reservoir, so there is an actual cost involved in expanding your system and that’s why we would charge that equivalent DCC rate.”
The vote was not unanimous as Councillor Shushil Thapar opposed…
“Yes city children will be going to that school, and I do like the idea of an investment of a new school in the community, but on the other hand to me, I still think the school was in the city, we have lost a few schools in the city, and it would be great if we had that school built in the city limits.”
This request still needs approval from the Cariboo Regional District Board and it would also require a special exemption to the City’s Official Community Plan that states that residents outside the city first have to become part of the city to connect to the water system.