I understand the upcoming parking lot reconstruction project at the Fort St. John Bulk Water Station has raised concerns. First and foremost, I want to reassure all users that the City has no plans to shut down the Fort St. John Bulk Water Station.

The City of Fort St. John and the Peace River Regional District have a strong, collaborative relationship, working together to provide a wide array of services that benefit all residents, both urban and rural. Our mutual agreements ensure we deliver the best value for our taxpayers while maintaining high-quality services.

We all share connections across our region through family, friends, coworkers, or businesses. Our region thrives on these interconnections, and it is through our collective efforts that we achieve better outcomes. For example, the Rural Fire Protection and Mutual Aid Agreements between the City of Fort St. John and the Peace River Regional District bolster the sustainability of the Fort St. John Fire Department and enhance fire protection for everyone. This year alone, our mutual aid agreements have enabled firefighters from Charlie Lake, Taylor, the Fort St. John Airport, and the City to work together effectively in responding to fires.

Sometimes, our negotiations with the Peace River Regional District are vigorous, but they are always aimed at securing the best value for the taxpayers we serve. These strong working relationships, at both elected official and staff levels, underscore our commitment to the region. As a Peace River Regional District Board Member, I take my responsibilities to the region seriously, knowing that we are stronger together.

Regarding the Fort St. John Bulk Water Station parking lot reconstruction project, I want to provide some clarity. The planned 19-day closure from July 3 to July 22 is a conservative estimate. We are optimistic that, with favourable weather, the closure might be reduced to 14 days. We are working closely with the contractor to expedite the project while ensuring its quality.

Suggestions to shut down only portions of the station were considered. However, a partial shutdown isn't feasible due to the scope of work, vehicle movement requirements, and the need to ensure the safety of users and construction staff. We recognize the high utilization of this facility and its importance to residents, businesses, and our neighbours. Therefore, we are committed to completing the work quickly to minimize disruption.

Additionally, necessary kiosk and software upgrades will occur the week of July 22. These upgrades couldn't coincide with the parking lot reconstruction but are essential for the facility's overall functionality. During this period, we will ensure water availability remains uninterrupted.

We acknowledge the frustration this temporary closure may cause and understand the critical importance of water access. We are doing everything possible to minimize the interruption and restore full functionality swiftly.

Thank you for your understanding and patience as we improve this vital service.

Information provided by the City of Fort St. John