Funding found for chlorine plant overhaul
The Town of Harbour Grace has moved a step closer to bringing its deteriorating chlorine plant up to standard, but not by waiting for the provincial government to provide assistance with the project.
The issue was an item on the agenda at council’s regular meeting on July 18.
The chlorine plant, which is about 15 years old, requires an investment of some $100,000.
Town staff have been monitoring the system seven days-a-week since a switch that automatically transfers chlorine flow from one tank to another failed recently.
“ We applied to the government for capital funding last fall, but we can’t wait,” said town clerk/administrator Lester Forward.
Rather than wait indefinitely for those funds, council passed a resolution to dip into its gas tax funding account to effect the necessary upgrade.
“ We want to ensure the safety of the drinking water of our residents,” Mayor Don Coombs told council. “It’s as important as roads, water and sewer.”
The gas tax agreement is a federal/provincial program that transfers federal funds to support municipal infrastructure projects that contribute to cleaner air, cleaner water and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.
Harbour Grace has a balance of $111,242.
“ Under the gas tax regulations, we’re allowed to (use) that for the water supply,” the mayor said. “ We have it there, so let’s utilize it.”
Then, if and when the town receives capital funding, the account will be replenished.
Town sponsors Blueberry Harvest
Run for 2011
In recent years, the Blueberry Harvest Run, a 26-year fixture on the Harbour Grace landscape, has run into trouble.
This year, the 10-kilometre race lost its official status with the Newfoundland and Labrador Athletic Association.
Mayor Coombs responded to correspondence from Pat Collins, a volunteer and longtime participant with the run, who requested the town to sponsor the event this year.
“It brings people into the town, it doesn’t cost the town anything, and it’s been here forever,” Coombs said. “It’s healthy living, healthy lifestyles they’re promoting. All they want us to do is open the stadium doors.”
Council followed Coombs’ recommendation to sponsor it as an official event for 2011.
Ridley Hall still on the chopping block
The fate of Ridley Hall, one of the town’s historic buildings, was again a topic of discussion at the meeting.
The heritage property, which dates back to 1834, was left in a state of disrepair after a fire in 2003.
In a letter dated June 28, 2011, the town asked the owners, Brian and Jean Flanagan of Red Deer, Alta., to either repair or remove the structure within 30 days to “avoid
Don Coombs is the mayor of Harbour Grace.
action by council.”
Brian Flanagan expressed shock that the order was made prior to contacting the building’s owners.
Coombs expressed the fear “someone is going to get in there one of these days and get hurt seriously.”
He indicated he and the councilors had no intention to “ tear down a heritage building or historic site, but we have to do something.”
Council agreed to meet with the Flanagans and discuss the issue when the couple visits the province next month, to “see if we can get this situation rectified in a speedy manner,” Coombs said.
Other sights for sore eyes
Ridley Hall is only one of several properties that have been allowed to fall into disrepair, or accumulate eyesores such as car wrecks and other debris.
Earlier, council adopted a new three-step policy that will allow it to get tougher with such residents.
The first step, which is already past, is a letter to the resident or business owner, requesting that a cleanup take place within 30 days.
Council approved a review of “those who were not in compliance with the regulations” to be tabled at the next council meeting.
The final step is legal action.