Harbour Grace wants water bombers to consider other lakes
Officials with the Town of Harbour Grace have expressed concern over the usage of Lady Lake as a refilling station for water bombers.
The issue was brought up by town councillors Joan Short and David Murphy at a May 11 public meeting.
Both feared what would happen if, during a refilling run, the plane was involved in an accident and fuel were to get spilled into Lady Lake, which feeds into Bannerman Lake, the town’s water supply.
The issue came to light after a forest fire broke in nearby Spaniard’s Bay on April 22 that required the usage of the water bombers from the Department of Natural Resources.
Harbour Grace town manager Lester Forward observed two planes “going full tilt” and refilling at Lady Lake that afternoon.
The next morning, Forward sent off an email to Floyd Barnes, an environmental specialist with the Department of Environment and Conservation who handles the Conception Bay North area, raising the town’s concerns.
The response from environment, according to Forward, was not a concern because it was not the lake that the town’s water comes from.
“I’m not satisfied with that answer and I’m still going forward,” he said. “It doesn’t make any sense to me, because if that plane, God forbid, was to crash there and all of the fuel went into Lady Lake, that will go into Bannerman Lake and into our water supply.”
The town contends that there are other options available to pilots when choosing bodies of water.
Forward said there is a pond in Riverhead that would have been more suitable for usage given its closer proximity to the fire.
Councillors questioned whether it was possible for planes to use either of the bays in either Harbour Grace or Spaniard’s Bay as refilling points.
For Harbour Grace, it is not a new issue. The town has contacted environment in the past, voicing its concern with the planes using Lady Lake.
A health issue
Officials fear an environmental disaster is possible if such an accident were to occur.
“Having bacteria in the water is one thing. That can be removed, but hydrocarbons in water, I don’t know what the cure is,” said Forward. “I don’t think there is one.”
Forward said any leakage into the water would be “a major setback” and a “serious problem” for Harbour Grace.
Deputy Mayor Ches Ash said he’s received numerous complaints of household garbage not being picked up, and “I can’t see why it is being left behind.”
Slade said town leaders and employees are spending a great deal of time fielding complaints.
“It ’ s e a t i n g awa y a t o u r resources,” the mayor said.
Several councillors suggested the issue is hindering efforts to beautify the town, and there is “no rhyme or reason” as to why some items are not being collected.
“If it’s small enough to be put in a bag, it should be taken,” said Slade.
Senior officials with the town met with a representative of the company on Thursday, May 31, andtown administrator Cynthia Davis said it went “very well.”
The owner of the company, Dave Lynch, has been dealing with some medical problems, she explained, and is now back to work.
“He will be addressing the concerns of council ,” Davis stated, adding that the company is also ready for its role in the curbside recycling program.
Mayor Slade also described the meeting as “very productive,” and offered assurances that the service would improve.
“He was gentlemanly about it, ad was very obliging,” Slade said of the company owner.
The company is a mainstay in the region in terms of the collection of household waste, and has similar contracts with several neighbouring communities, including Upper Island Cove and Spaniard’s Bay.
An official with the Town of Spaniard’s Bay, when apprised of th e s i tua t i o n i n C a rbonear, expressed surprise.
“We get the usual types of calls, but we haven’t had a problem,” said the Spaniard’s Bay town councillor.
Winston Trickett, who lives on Southside Lower Road in Carbonear, said he has “no problem” with the service.
In fact, he described the employees as “very co-operative.”
Meanwhile, no one with Lynch’s Trucking Enterprises was available for comment.
Surveillance cameras in place
Town officials have confirmed that several surveillance cameras are now in place at some locations known to be used by illegal dumpers.
Mayor Slade singled out the Fox Farm and Line Road as areas of special concern.
“We need to make a statement,” Slade said.
Pictures from the cameras were described as “very clear” making it possible to identify dumpers and the licence plates of suspect vehicles.
Illegal dumping has become a serious problem in the region, and other towns have turned to cameras as a way of curbing the problem.
The Town of Conception Bay South recently went public with pictures of an alleged illegal dumper, and charges have been laid.
The devices are called “trail cameras,” and are motion activated. Enforcement officer Gord Parsons said the cameras take three frames per second, and several can be placed in a location in order to ensure adequate coverage.
The town has purchased five cameras, as a cost of roughly $500 each.
Parsons said the cameras can be used for other purposes, including monitoring parks and the new St. Patrick’s Community Garden. He said they are also effective at night.
Amendment proposed to vehicle regulations
A notice of motion was briefly discussed about proposed changes to the regulations governing the parking of commercial vehicles in a residential area.
Council is expected to vote on an amendment at its next meeting. If approved, it will limit the number of commercial vehicles parked on a residential property to one.
Currently, the regulations are specific to commercial vehicles that carry hazardous materials such as fuel oil.
The new regulations will target larger vehicles such as buses, dump trucks and other heavy equipment. Light duty pickups and vans will not be included.
A water bomber drops its load onto a brush fire in Spaniard’s Bay last month.
Carbonear’s David Kennedy has been named a member of the Team NL mission staff that will travel to the 2013 Canada Summer Games in Quebec.
Kevin Power (left) of Eastern Waste Management discusses the operation of a waste recovery facility (WRF) with Carbonear town councillors Ed Goff, Ray Noel and Betty Forward (right). Power gave a presentation to council at its May 28 council meeting, touching on topics such as curbside recycling, hazardous waste management and illegal dumping. Power was unable to provide an update on when a new WRF proposed for Harbour Grace is to be up and running.