Har­bour Grace or­der­ing own­ers to re­move mo­bile homes, trail­ers from wa­ter­shed

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY BILL BOW­MAN

The Har­bour Grace town coun­cil is or­der­ing own­ers of mo­bile homes and trail­ers within the town’s wa­ter­shed area to have them re­moved.

Coun­cil voted unan­i­mously at its Sept. 12 reg­u­lar meet­ing to is­sue the or­der.

Town Man­ager Lester For­ward told The Com­pass the own­ers will have seven days from the time they re­ceive their no­tices to have their trail­ers and mo­bile homes re­moved from the site. If they do not com­ply with the or­der within that time frame, For­ward said, “ fur­ther ac­tion could take the form of a court or­der.”

The town’s wa­ter­shed takes in a large area around Ban­ner­man Lake (main water sup­ply) and Lady Lake, which flows into Ban­ner­man.

While the mo­bile homes and trail­ers may not be caus­ing any im­me­di­ate prob­lems for the town’s water sup­ply, For­ward noted as long as they are there, they present a po­ten­tial prob­lem.

The town man­ager didn’t know how many of such fa­cil­i­ties may be in the area, or whether they are in use. “But the fact that they could be in use — that’s the prob­lem,” he said.

“Any hu­man oc­cu­pa­tion in a town’s wa­ter­shed area should be dis­cour­aged,” For­ward said, adding Forestry, Environment and other provin­cial govern­ment de­part­ments would sup­port that po­si­tion.

Ad­mit­ting the hold­ing of the an­nual re­gatta on Lady Lake is “not an ideal sit­u­a­tion,” For­ward re­called, when the provin­cial govern­ment brought in new leg­is­la­tion about a decade ago, it stated: “ The re­gatta is per­mit­ted to con­tinue as long as there is no im­pact on water qual­ity.”

He said there were three cot­tages there at the time, which were also per­mit­ted to re­main there, again, “as long as there is no im­pact on water qual­ity.”

The town man­ager said the town tests it’s own water ev­ery day for chlo­rine resid­u­als. Environment also car­ries out more ex­ten­sive water test­ing quar­terly, for co­l­iform and other bac­te­ria. “ They do pretty in­depth reporting,” he said.

Over the years, Har­bour Grace has not ex­pe­ri­enced many prob­lems with its water sup­ply se­ri­ous enough to war­rant boil water or­ders.

The lat­est boil water or­der was is­sued this past sum­mer. But it had noth­ing to do with the qual­ity of water com­ing out of Ban­ner­man Lake.

Af­ter a “ma­jor shut­down of our main (20inch) line for con­struc­tion,” For­ward said, “the con­trac­tor ad­vised the town to test its water. So it was car­ried out as a pre­cau­tion­ary mea­sure, and no bac­te­ria was found.”

Usu­ally, when the town has to is­sue a boil water or­der, the prob­lem is caused by “a mal­func­tion of our chlo­rine plant, not a com­mon oc­cur­rence.”

The town’s most se­ri­ous water is­sue in re­cent times oc­curred back in the 1990s, when Har­bour Grace found it­self bat­tling a bout of beaver fever (gi­a­r­dia).

Re­call­ing that episode, For­ward said beaver fever is not caused by beavers. It’s caused by these an­i­mals com­ing into con­tact with hu­man waste, and get­ting it into the water sup­ply.

Although fish­ing is one of the ac­tiv­i­ties pro­hib­ited in the wa­ter­shed area, For­ward al­lows, “ fish­ing is not the prob­lem ei­ther, but when peo­ple are in the woods and na­ture calls ...”

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