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