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Mayor’s Column – August 22, 2018

August 22, 2018


All day they’ve faced the barren waste without a taste of water, cool, clear water.

In this wide and wonderful world 2.1 billion people lack safe drinking water. More than twice that number do not have access to safe sanitation. The leading killer world-wide is unsafe drinking water – not guns and bombs and armed drones – with 3.4 million people dying each year because they are thirsty and they have to drink something.

If you are reading this piece of modern literature you have a number of options for slaking your personal burning thirst.  There are sugar-laced soft drinks guaranteed to soften your teeth while they expand your girth, black coffee potent with caffeine, and creamy hot chocolate expertly textured and blended to appeal to your basic cravings. You’ve noticed by now that the more pricy drinks we haven’t even sniffed.

One thing each drink has in common with all the others: clean, safe water is the main ingredient.

Typically, we think that it is parts of Africa, India, South East Asia, perhaps Bangladesh and the Stans where safe water is at a premium, if available at all. We’re probably right. We can give a sigh of relief as we sip a cool, safe drink and consider our good fortune.

Don’t be overly smug.

We can name some places in Oh Canada where safe water also is at a premium with no immediate help in sight, sound, smell, or taste.

What do you want to do about that? What can you do to change that circumstance?

While you are considering the various answers to the questions posed, why not simply run a glass of clean clear from your kitchen tap (never mind the bottled), sit back, and consider what it takes to keep you in clean, fresh, drinking water, by far the cheapest and most refreshing libation available in our home town and for which you would do well to give thanks. And to whom should you give thanks?

Well, for starters, consider the planning and action that brought you to this fertile vale. Someone made some right decisions; thank her; thank him. Were you born here? Bless your ancestors. Did your spouse drag you here puffing and wheezing? Give credit where credit is due.

On the local, administrative, and practical front, your District Administration and Technical Workers deserve to be acknowledged for their unmitigated efforts to keep you in clean water. It was, in fact, due to the careful planning for replacement of the aging water treatment plant and the execution of the carefully laid plans in a timely manner, that you can slake your burning thirst and bathe your tired, dirty body at the end of a grueling shift without actually having to think about the stream of clean water gushing from your faucet – or carry it in a bucket from a suspect source.

On August 13 we had a fun-filled ribbon-cutting ceremony for the sparkling new water-treatment facility completed in a timely fashion and within budget. You do right to be proud of your Administration and Staff who planned and supervised the assembly of this array of pipes, elbows, valves, and too much more to describe here. But the assembly works. Your water flows. It’s tasty and clean.

Technology like this doesn’t come cheaply. Fifty per cent of the cost was financed by the Federal Government through the Federal and Provincial Clean Water and Waste Water Fund ($1.566 million). The Provincial Government funded 33% ($1.034 Million) from its end of the same trough. This leaves only 17% ($0.532 million) for Chetwynd to contribute – still a lot of dough for a small bakery. Here’s where the Peace River Regional District through the good offices of Dan Rose, Area E Director, come into the picture. Dan contributed $0.300 million leaving a paltry $0.232 million for you, the tax payer of Chetwynd. The Chetwynd contribution to the project was taken from Peace River Agreement funds so no tax implications. How do you feel about that as you sip your refreshing clear?

These are the projects that can come together when we work together in harmony for the good of all.

Oh, by the way, when I was sleeping in my bed things were happening that I knew nothing about – but they made my life better. How is it with you?

Merlin Nichols, Mayor