Potable water to flow in Whiteway
The provincial government has announced that Whiteway is one of 11 Newfoundland and Labrador communities to receive potable water dispensing units.
But Mayor Craig Whalen is not yet ready tip up a glass of cold, clean water in celebration.
Whalen says his community has been working with the government for many months on the project, and he’s frustrated that it’s taken so long.
“I don’t want to run down this project, but I’m hoping all these other communities do not run into the same snarls,” said Whalen.
The province announced last weekthat these small-scale water treatment systems will be installed in the following communities:Whiteway, Fox RoostMargaree, Isle aux Morts, Lawn, Leading Tickles, Makkovik, Mary’s Harbour, Point May, Postville, Rigolet, and Seal Cove, Fortune Bay.
The systems are used to pump and treat water from the municipal supply, store the treated water and allow residents to manually collect the water from small shelters.
The cost of building each unit ranges from $325,000 to $350,000, and each has an annual operating cost of $2,500 to $3,000.
The units will provide residents with clean and safe drinking water.
They are funded by the provincial government’s Municipal Capital Works program and the drink- ing water safety initiative.
Municipalities with populations of 500 or less with drinking water issues are eligible for a provincial/municipal cost-sharing ratio of 90/10 for potable water dispensing units.
“Clean and safe drinking water is a priority for the provincial government,” said Municipal Affairs Minister Kevin O’Brien, in a news release.
“ These systems provide treated water for drinking and food preparation and are available at a low construction and operating cost.”
Whalen said his community was informed a year ago that it would receive a potable drinking water unit, and that it would be a pilot project for the rest of the province.
He said it didn’t quite work out the way it was planned.
He said the initial cost projections of between $ 250,000 and $275,000 for a single system were far below the actual costs quoted by suppliers.
“ We’ve been at this coming on two years, and we still don’t have any water,” said Whalen.
Some $60,000 was spent last year on site work in Whiteway, Whalen explained.
“ The government is making a lovely announcement today. But it hasn’t gone very smoothly for us up to this point,” Whalen stated.
The province said a number of other communities are also in the process of reviewing such projects.