Water negotiations on track

Published on Thu, Jul 12, 2001 by Brendan Shriane

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Water negotiations on track

By Brendan Shriane

The growing community of Birch Bay wants to ensure its future ability to grow.

The area went through a growth moratorium in the early 90s and Birch Bay Water and Sewer (BBWS) District, which is negotiating a new 30-year water contract with the city of Blaine, doesn’t want that to happen again.

“They’re interested in paying extra for water on a take-or-pay basis,” Blaine public works director Grant Stewart said. “They want to reserve a little bit of water they can grow into so they can plan ahead a little bit.”

City manager Gary Tomsic said the city needs to know exactly how much water it can spare for Birch Bay. “If you go with that kind of contract it makes the whole issue of ‘how much do you agree to sell them’ a pretty important decision, because you’re not going to risk your own future water growth. You’re going to make sure you’re covered before you commit anything to them and we’ve made that clear to them.”

The city doesn’t know how much water can be drawn from its aquifers, so therefore doesn’t know exactly how much water can be given to Birch Bay. “They’re comfortable moving into a contract with some of these unknowns. We’re working on contract language that can make it a livable contract as we together live through these uncertainties,” Stewart said. “There has to be some give or take, expectations have to be adjustable as we learn more.” .

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