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.

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