HUDSON’S HOPE, B.C. — Business owners in Hudson’s Hope are frustrated with the danger and expense that the small town’s lack of potable water is causing.

Restaurateurs and hospitality professionals are writing letters to express their increasing concerns. These letters, collected by the Hudson’s Hope Water Recovery Committee, a group of concerned residents advocating for the community, chronicle the impact of this failure.

The water treatment plant in Hudson’s Hope failed on July 20th, 2022. A boil water notice and, later, a do not consume order were placed on the town. Though repairs are underway, the district expects another month without drinking water.

Ron Barr of the Stillwater Inn & Suites in Hudson’s Hope explained that the lack of clean drinking water has a major effect on the operation of the business.

“We are having serious implications in our hotel business that is affecting our day-to-day operations and business quite severely,” he said.

Not only have guests been leaving the hotel early or cancelling planned stays, but others are avoiding the town entirely and finding rooms in nearby towns. Bottled water is used for the coffee the hotel makes now, and housekeeping staff spend at least 25 per cent more time cleaning and scrubbing the residue left by the water from the washroom.

According to Barr, the extra care and time required by the lack of clean water costs hundreds of dollars a day.

“I would strongly suggest the District and BC Hydro come up with a plan on how we may be reimbursed for these economic hardships, as it is quickly adding up in dollars by the day.”

Debbie Green, the owner and operator of On The Rim, a restaurant in Hudson’s Hope, has similar, if more searingly voiced, worries.

“This water thing is a total pain in the ass,” she writes. “I’ve never seen anything like it! The water is disgusting.”

She explains that her restaurant uses a lot of water for the various sauces, juices, and coffee they make throughout the day—and the daily cleaning they do, as well. Even being careful, she says, the restaurant requires three jugs of water every day. 

“This has been very frustrating. And I know it is frustrating for everyone in this town, not just me,” she says.

Paul Janus, another entrepreneur who prepares and provides food in the community, considers the contaminated water not only a great expense to his business but a safety concern.

“Rationing [the water] I have and distributing water out of gallon jugs only adds to the stress of my days,” he explains. 

“Not to mention that constant need to remember that the water is not fit for consumption, and I could potentially make those I feed sick by habitually using the water from the tap.”

The water treatment plant that serves Hudson’s Hope draws from an aquifer that replaced the town’s previous source of water: the Peace River. 

This shift was necessitated by construction required for the Site C dam. BC Hydro paid for the plant and has committed to paying the district’s expenses as it works to repair the plant. 

Even so, problems with the plant have been ongoing, and some residents insist that, even when repaired, continued use of the well and water treatment plant will not be acceptable.

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Grace Giesbrecht

Grace Giesbrecht is a news reporter for EnergeticCity.ca who recently graduated from Trinity Western University with a bachelor of arts in Media + Communications. She was born and raised just outside of Fort St. John. She began reporting for her university’s student newspaper and interned with Ottawa Life Magazine where she developed a passion for asking questions, telling stories, and the written word. In her free time, you can find her drinking coffee, snowboarding, or reading novels.