Epcor director of quality assurance Steve Craik (right) and Fraser Health's Dean Scovill (left) chat with a resident during a January open house at the White Rock Community Centre.

Epcor director of quality assurance Steve Craik (right) and Fraser Health's Dean Scovill (left) chat with a resident during a January open house at the White Rock Community Centre.

White Rock water forum set

Citizens campaigning in support of White Rock purchasing its water utility are hosting a public forum on the issue Monday.

White Rock staff are expected to present next month the findings of a business case exploring whether the city should try and purchase its water utility.

To raise awareness of the issue’s significance, citizens campaigning in support of the move are hosting a public forum Monday at the First United Church (15385 Semiahmoo Ave.).

“The forum is really just to bring awareness to many of the residents,” said Margaret Woods, a former city councillor and member of the newly formed White Rock Accountable Water Committee. “They know that they’re paying their water bill to Epcor, but they don’t understand the ramifications.”

Woods is among 13 individuals registered as intervenors in an application by Edmonton-based Epcor – the current owner of White Rock’s water utility – to B.C.’s deputy comptroller of water rights to carry out millions of dollars in upgrades to the system. She said a key concern with Epcor’s Total Water Quality Management Project is cost (estimated at up to $12 million, with recovery achieved through rate increases).

Citizens and the city as a whole, she said, have nothing to gain from the work.

Monday’s forum is to feature Cornell University Prof. Mildred Warner on the benefits of publicly accountable municipal services; followed by a question-and-answer period.