The Abbotsford/Mission Water Sewer Commission (AMWSC) is working on a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the two communities to reflect each other’s position on future water use and provide options on amending the current water agreement.
Last week the commission issued a press release about the ongoing cooperation between the two communities and the need for an MOU, and most Mission councillors agreed it’s a good idea to plan ahead. However, Coun. Jenny Stevens said she had considerable concerns.
“I feel the exercise is pointlessly premature,” she said, explaining if Abbotsford residents vote against the public-private partnership option to develop Stave Lake as another water source, then staff would be doing an unnecessary job.
“On the other hand, if it does go ahead, there will be ample time to create a memorandum,” she added.
Stevens suggested deferring the work until December when the referendum results are known.
Coun. Heather Stewart agreed the MOU “sounds fishy.”
If Abbotsford will be getting its water from another source, Mission can gain more of a share of the Norrish Creek and Cannell Lake water supply, currently co-owned by Mission and Abbotsford, said Mayor James Atebe, adding options should be explored now, not later. “We need to be proactive.”
Water is a resource that’s critical, and answers should be explored as quickly as possible, added Coun. Paul Horn. While Abbotsford’s referendum may or may not pass, Horn said he would rather have an understanding already in place.
Coun. Danny Plecas agreed, saying Mission is in a more favourable position to negotiate now.
The AMWSC will review the first draft of the MOU when it’s ready, then it will be forwarded to both councils for discussions.