Saturday, June 22, 2024
June 22, 2024

Developers ask to join Fulford Water System

Planners for a new development at the site of the former Fulford Inn are asking Fulford Water System (FWS) commission members to recommend the Capital Regional District (CRD) expand service area boundaries to include them. 

The proposed Ocean Estuary project — formerly known as the Vortex — is a commercial and retail development with 17 planned motel units within eight cottage buildings, a restaurant and accessory retail sales buildings all centred on an outdoor plaza, according to a CRD staff report. The project received approval for a development permit from Salt Spring’s Local Trust Committee in early 2023. 

The FWS treatment plant produces enough potable water to service the proposed development, according to CRD staff; and the existing distribution system — along with improvements and upgrades the developers would provide — would be “adequate” to provide service to “all current and proposed” water users. 

Among those improvements, a new water main would run from the current FWS boundary to the Ocean Estuary property, which lies at the head of Fulford Harbour on Fulford-Ganges Road. The impact to the level of Weston Lake — the Fulford system’s water source — would be “incremental and negligible,” states a CRD staff report. 

“As an additional user, Ocean Estuary (and any additional users along the new watermain route) would share in the fixed capital and operating costs of the system,” adds the report, “particularly the inevitable project to replace all of the asbestos / cement water lines.” 

The developers argue system improvements they are proposing will improve fire service to current water users along Fulford-Ganges and South Ridge roads. If the Fulford Water Service Commission or the CRD are not inclined to agree, staff say, the developers have said they would develop their own well and water treatment system drawing from another aquifer; but, staff added, they have also said “they don’t want to be in the water business.” 

Ocean Estuary Development is owned by Merchant House Capital, according to documents submitted for the request for expansion, whose principal and founder David Fullbrook lives on Salt Spring. 

The Fulford Water Service Commission meets Friday, May 24 at the Salt Spring Island Multi Space (SIMS) boardroom at 10 a.m.

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