” A Community Owned and Operated Utility”
Welcome to the Sheringham Water Works website. The water utility is located in Shirley BC and supplies water to over 100 homes in the Sheringham Estates subdivision. The system has operated since the early 70s when the subdivision was formed, and is one of a very few community owned and operated water systems on Vancouver Island.
Previously owned by Hayes Heli-Logging, Sheringham Water Works Ltd was incorporated after community meetings where residents voted to purchase the water system in order to maintain community control, safeguard water quality and supply, and ensure that outside interests did not acquire the system.
After lengthy consultation with a locally elected Water Committee and with the system operator, several residents incorporated a BC limited company in early 2004. The object was to obtain an option to purchase the system so that in the future, members of the community who were water users and ratepayers would be able to acquire the water system. Two years passed, the option was running out and the system owners were approached by outside development interests. This triggered the company’s option on behalf of the community’s ratepayers and the company purchased the system.
This purchase, in turn, triggered a 180-day period during which the company was required to meet conditions set out by the Comptroller of Water and the Water Management Branch of the Province. Once these conditions were met, the Company then owned the water system. The Company expanded its shareholder base and there are now 45 shareholders, both voting and non-voting owned by community members.
Since the purchase, a full-scale and phased-in capital improvement plan has been implemented. The cost of repairing and improving the system (there had been no significant improvements since its inception) was beyond the scope of the rate structure, which necessitated a series of rate increases. The new rates are in keeping with local standards and other systems of similar size and structure. The increases ensure that funds are available for the ongoing operation of the system, repairs and maintenance and, in the long-term, repayment of shareholder loans obtained to fund immediate, urgent upgrades.
Sheringham Water Works Ltd. is 100% owned and operated by the community. SWW Ltd. takes pride in fulfilling its mandate to: provide clean, safe drinking water; promote water conservation; and protect Goudie Creek and its watershed for the use of residents now and in the future.