Rezoning approved for Harrison Mills water bottling plant

FVRD adopted the zoning amendment bylaw at last Board meeting

The clean and clear waters of Harrison Mills will soon be a bottled commodity.

The Fraser Valley Regional District Board adopted the zoning amendment bylaw at their last Board meeting January 27. The bylaw allows Christopher’s Springs, owned by Harrison Mills resident Chris Lepine, to build a small bottling plant on a portion of his property.

Summer Dhillon is an informal advocate for Harrison Mills. She has been working over the last few years to get a tourism board organized, including starting a website and working on signage for the community. Dhillon sees the plant as a “very positive” business for Harrison Mills.

“It will help for job creation. It’s forward thinking,” says Dhillon. “There’s great potential in what he (Lepine) wants to do.”

Area C director Alec Niemi agrees that the plant will be a good thing for the neighbourhood.

“We’re pleased to have the business in the community,” says Niemi.

He says while it will be a “small enterprise,” it will use a resource readily available in Harrison Mills.

“If we’ve got anything besides gravel here, it’s water.”

Niemi says there was no discussion on the matter at the FVRD as it was simply the adoption of the bylaw which already passed first, second and third reading in June and September, 2014.

There was certainly discussion at that time. Wendy Bales was the Area C director then and she says there was ample discussion in the FVRD and at a public hearing held on the matter.

While Bales is not opposed to industry in general, she is concerned with the location of the water bottling plant and the cumulative impact it could have in the long term.

“It’s a prime tourist area and a protected habitat,” says Bales.

She also worries about the precedent this zoning amendment bylaw sets. A question on the subject of precedent was raised at the public hearing. According to a staff report on August 28 from FVRD planner Carl Isaak, the staff response was that the approval of one application does not set a precedent.

“Each zoning application is considered by the FVRD on its own merits. The Official Community Plan for an area does set out policies and guides decision-making for rezoning applications. Water licences are also specific to a type of use and not all existing licenses would allow industrial bottling use of water, many are for domestic uses only.”

The property, located at 14400 Chehalis forest Service Road, has a spring that flows into Echo Creek, which flows into Elbow Creek then into the Harrison River. Lepine already draws water that he sells in bulk. The rezoning allows him to build a plant on the property with the plan to create jobs locally. While the licence allows them to extract 25,000 gallons per day, FVRD staff reports indicate the machinery being used is designed to process a maximum of 3,300 gallons per day.

Just Posted

Sts’ailes First Nation to vote on land code

Land Code would remove nation from 34 sections of Indian Act

Water upgrade work starts in Harrison

Participation compulsory for impacted properties

Woman charged in Abbotsford mall stabbing served time for 2001 killing

Victim in Edmonton killing was stabbed eight times with kitchen knife

Trial date scheduled for man charged with killing Abbotsford officer

Oscar Arfmann slated to go to trial in New Westminster in January 2019

Union files human rights complaint over Chilliwack school trustee’s LGBTQ comments

Board and trustee Barry Neufeld facing $50,000 tribunal charge over alleged ‘unsafe work environment’

Find Your Fit tour comes to Agassiz

Gives students hands-on experience with career-planning tools

Body discovered in burnt out car near Trail

Police report a body was found in the burnt out trunk of a 1999 Honda Civic

UPDATE: Friends mourn boy, 15, killed in Vancouver shooting

John Horgan: ‘No stone is to be left unturned until we find the perpetrator of this heinous crime’

VIDEO: B.C. Lions sign defensive back T.J. Lee to contract for upcoming season

The four-year veteran had a team-high four interceptions and 49 tackles last season with B.C.

How an immigrant to Canada helped Donald Trump prove his mental health

Test that cleared Trump was developed by doctor associated with McGill and Sherbrooke universities

Premier touches on multiple topics ahead of Asia trade trip

Housing and childcare are expected to be the focus of the BC NDP’s first budget in February.

VIDEO: Explorers uncover Canada’s deepest cave in Fernie

The cave, named Bisaro Anima, was confirmed to have broken the record on New Year’s Day

Vernon to host largest Special Olympics B.C. Winter Games in 2019

Games to be held Feb. 21-23, with more than 800 athletes expected to take part

Ex-BC Liberal staffer focused on ‘favourable’ ethnic communities in scandal: lawyer

Former communications director Brian Bonney’s sentencing hearing for breach of trust is underway

Most Read