Nobody knows the value of the Gibsons aquifer. That stuck out as a point of agreement when a concerned citizen met with Gibsons’ chief administrative officer.
Not much else was agreed upon.
Rosa Reid said she had been worried about unbridled development in the town and wrote a letter to Gibsons CAO Emanuel Machado.
He invited her to a meeting in his office on Friday. Reid told him she wants to know the value of the Gibsons aquifer. I was at the meeting as well, but I stayed mostly in the background.
According to town-approved plans, the George Hotel will sit atop the aquifer. According to Reid, that could cause it to breach.
“It (the aquifer) needs to be valued so you can protect that value,” Reid said. “If you don’t realize that your aquifer is worth 100 million, or 50 million or 10 million then you can’t repair it for that cost. You’re doing things in the dark.”
Machado said the town has never determined a value for the aquifer.
Gibsons should have that information before it levies development cost charges on new construction, such as one planned for Gospel Rock, Reid said. Otherwise, if the aquifer were ever depleted, the town could fall significantly short on remediation funds.
She asked Machado why he and his staff had never determined the aquifer’s value.
They follow the directions of Gibsons council, he said, and council has never asked for a valuation.
“A valuation takes time and money,” he said, adding that the aquifer’s capacity is unknown and the methodology to determine its worth is new and yet to be widely implemented.
The town is planning for an population increase to 7,300 from about 5,000 now. That’s occurring while “the assets are basically being used up,” Reid said.