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Sunshine Coast mayor wants province to help prevent another devastating drought

As B.C. continues to see unseasonably hot and dry conditions, there are growing drought concerns on the Sunshine Coast.

The mayor of Gibsons has written a letter to the province, urging them to help prevent another catastrophic situation like the one the community faced in 2022.

“My primary reason for writing you is to share with you this significant mental health and social phenomenon that has become absolutely real in our community, because it does not show up in our water license applications or technical reports,” the letter addressed to Premier David Eby and several ministers says.

Last fall, a Local State of Emergency was put in place prompting water restrictions to be imposed due to an "imminent threat" that the supply could be exhausted. Those included ordering swimming pools, breweries, and businesses that transport and install concrete, cement and gravel to stop using potable water entirely.

This spring's hot, dry weather has Mayor Silas White looking for ways to prevent another drought.

"It's just becoming an ongoing source of anxiety in the summertime,” White told CTV News.

"I'm trying to pitch a new way of emergency planning here, of not waiting until we're already in a drought but looking at ways we can proactively speed things up and ensure we're best prepared."

His letter addressed calls on the government to speed up approvals for emergency drought measures, including the final license needed for a new well on Church Road, which would provide an additional three million litres of water per day to the Chapman water system.

It also asks for approval to lower the environmental flow requirements of Chapman Creek and support its request to siphon the Chapman and Edwards lakes this year and next year during Stage 4 water restrictions, should the need arise.

The proactive approach is something one local business owner is commending the mayor for doing.

"We're very aware of droughts and always worried about that,” said Sara Parsley, chief operations officer at Persephone Brewing Company.

The Gibsons brewery was forced to truck in water last summer when restrictions hit their communit, losing thousands of dollars.

"Several of our tanks, ideally they hold beer and cider, but we will definitely hold them with water when need be,” she said.

Parsley, who also grows berries and keeps chickens, says her entire livelihood depends on being able to use water

The Sunshine Coast is currently under a stage 1 water restriction which has been in effect since May 1, limiting water use for vehicle washing and plants.

CTV News reached out to the province for a response to the letter from the Gibsons mayor but a response was not received in time for deadline. Top Stories

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