Fund­ing found for chlo­rine plant over­haul

The Compass - - EDITORIAL OPINION -

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.

Photo by Bur­ton K. Janes/the Com­pass

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