Booth’s Harbour residents want county water
Booth’s Harbour residents have asked Norfolk County to assume responsibility for their water supply.
Norfolk council this week directed staff to prepare a report on the concept. Lee Robinson, Norfolk’s general manager of public works, will report this fall on the costs and benefits of taking over the system.
If arrangements are made, Norfolk’s municipal water system will take on over 100 new households.
The request arose because of dissatisfaction with the service provided by Booth’s Harbour Development.
Several attempts were made this week to contact a spokesperson for Booth’s Harbour Development but calls and emails were not returned.
Janette Nichols of Bee Street spoke on behalf of residents, some of whom were in the gallery at Tuesday’s council meeting.
Nichols told council she and her neighbours are “paying double the water rates compared to neighbouring towns.” Water pressure is a chronic issue and is especially low when a number of residents are showering, doing laundry or making other demands on the system.
Nichols told council full- time residents are charged $ 500 to turn off and on their water and $ 375 for a line inspection. Seasonal residents are charged $ 275 to have their water turned off in the fall and another $ 275 to have it turned on in the spring.
Nichols told council that anyone who complains about their water pressure is threatened with a termination of service.
“These are situations that occur each and every day,” she said.
“Residents should not have to go elsewhere to have a shower or wash their hair. (It) takes forever to get a pail of water, do dishes and other daily activities.
“Residents should be treated fairly and with dignity. This is a situation that will not be tolerated any longer and is totally unacceptable.”
A new Norfolk water main was extended to Booth’s Harbour eight years ago when the county ran a new water main from Port Rowan into St. Williams.
Robinson told council this week that water into Booth’s Harbour is metered and that Booth’s Harbour Development is the customer. Robinson said Booth’s Harbour Development is billed like any other customer and is free to distribute the water as it pleases.
Robinson said the water distribution system in Booth’s Harbour would have to be replaced in its entirety to meet Norfolk’s specifications. Nichols said residents understand they would have to bear this expense and suggested the cost could be spread out over several years as part of their annual tax bill.
It’s too early to say how much it would cost to renew the water distribution infrastructure in Booth’s Harbour. The calculation would be based on the amount of new piping required and the number of properties serviced.
When Norfolk County upgraded water infrastructure in St. Williams eight years ago, the cost was in the range of $5,000 per customer.
It is also unclear whether Norfolk County has the authority to supplant Booth’s Harbour Development as the water provider of record.