April 15, 2016
Re: Response to Open Letter, dated April 10, 2016.
Dear Mr. Adams, Ms. Douglas, Ms. Filipenko, Mr. Mackenzie, Mr. Mendonca, Mr. Phare and Mr. Szachury:
Thank you for your email dated April 10, 2016. We appreciate this open dialogue with your group as it gives us the opportunity to publicly address your concerns and correct some misinformation that is within your letter.
Firstly, it should be reiterated that current staff and Council at the Village of Pemberton had no knowledge of the possible side effects that low pH water has, other than corrosion. It should also be corrected, that there is not lead 'in' the Village's water source. Rather, some homes may experience leaching of metals within their home's plumbing infrastructure due to the low pH water reacting with fittings, fixtures and pipes.
With respect to Vancouver Coastal Health's Information Sheet, due to the turnover in key Village staff during 2014 and 2015 makes it hard to understand why this information was not followed up on or shared. These are priorities that should not be missed. We will work hard to improve our communication, internally and with our local partners, and we look forward to sharing the progress with the community.
We are pleased to learn that Vancouver Coastal Health has reissued the memo to local doctors advising they are to consider each patient for testing on a case- by-case basis and that School District No. 48 have amended their water testing and flushing protocols, and will be installing faucet filters and filtered water filling stations. The Village of Pemberton will continue to advocate for better communication amongst the stakeholders, and information share with other communities who are just now starting to go through the same process. Concurrently, the Village will be developing a Crisis and Emergency Communications Strategies in late 2016/early 2017.
Let me be clear that at no time have I, Council or Staff asked or demanded trust from the Community. Council and Staff recognize that trust is earned. I understand why public faith has been badly shaken; the provision of healthy water is top priority for everyone. I feel the only way to start rebuilding that faith is to work hard responding to the community's current concerns, continue to inform and engage residents throughout our processes, while finding a solution
for water treatment that will provide safe drinking water, preserves water infrastructure and the integrity of our water.
The Village has prepared responses not only to the questions asked at the March 19th citizen-led water forum, but also the Drinking Water Town Hall Meeting, held on April 5th. There were many important questions asked, several that were technical in nature and health related. To ensure the information we share is accurate and thorough, we reached out to external partners to help us answer those questions which took some time. I am pleased to advise that these questions and answers are now posted on the Village's website.
I also wanted to take this opportunity to share that the Village of Pemberton is working with Maxxim Analytics to coordinate bulk water testing at a discounted rate and we are working with RainGuard to coordinate a bulk water filter purchase at below wholesale prices for Pemberton residents. You can find more information on this at www.pemberton.ca.
I encourage you to attend our Tuesday, April 19th Committee of the Whole Meeting as we will be sharing the water conditioning system options. A Question and Answer period will follow.
I welcome the opportunity to sit down with members from your group and anyone in the community who wishes to address their concerns in person. Please call me on my cell to set up a time at your convenience 604.966.6309.
Mike Richman Mayor