Chilliwack residents will have a chance to give the Fraser Health Authority (FHA) a piece of their mind about drinking water chlorination at a meeting scheduled for next week.
The meeting has been scheduled by FHA in response to a groundswell of opposition to the order delivered to the city on Feb. 5.
A petition at www.chilliwackwater. com started on Feb. 9 had 3,407 signatures by Wednesday afternoon.
Chilliwack MLA John Les also came out strongly opposed to FHA's order that the city chlorinate its water.
"If this isn't the epitome of lunacy, I don't know what is," Les said in a press release issued Tuesday. "For years we have built and protected a world-class source and system to supply healthy and safe water to Chilliwack residents."
Les was also upset about comments made by FHA medical health officer Dr. Marcus Lem.
"Suggesting that Chilliwack's internationally acclaimed water contains 'poo' and that while Dr. Lem would drink the water himself but would not allow his daughter to drink it, is silly, alarmist, in poor taste and without any rational foundation," Les said.
Since his comments, Lem seems to no longer be on the file and his boss, Dr. Paul Van Buynder, Chief Medical Officer for Fraser Health, has been in communication with the city.
Van Buynder told the city "While the residents of Chilliwack are rightly proud of their water supply and no one should be concerned about drinking the water, Fraser Health is working with the Chilliwack council to address the risk associated with isolated incursions of bacteria into the system. Chlorination as an added safety support is part of these discussions."
Van Buynder will be in attendance on Feb. 26 at the meeting to explain the health authority's edict.
Expecting a huge turnout, Mayor Sharon Gaetz said the city chose the biggest venue they could find at Chilliwack Alliance Church.
She also suggested FHA staff might want to bring their pajamas.
"It will be a long night," she said. At Tuesday's meeting, director of public works Glen MacPherson gave an update to council on the city's water system and the ongoing controversy over the chlorination edict.
MacPherson said the city is willing to increase the $3 million a year spent on maintenance, increase flushing from two to three times a year, and increase sampling to twice weekly. He said the city has also asked FHA if chlorination of the hillside areas could be done considering there has never been a case of E. coli detected in the main distribution system that serves 97 per cent of the city.
? The FHA meeting is scheduled for Feb. 26 at 7 p.m. at Chilliwack Alliance Church.
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