River­head res­i­dent says Mercer’s well sit­u­a­tion puts them in Third World con­di­tions

Still caus­ing wa­ter and sewage is­sues for res­i­dents

The Compass - - News - BY CHRIS LEWIS chris.lewis@cb­n­com­pass.ca

Res­i­dents of River­head once again raised their con­cerns about their liv­ing con­di­tions dur­ing a town coun­cil meet­ing in Har­bour Grace.

The July 11 meet­ing saw the coun­cil cham­bers filled — and then some — with res­i­dents of River­head con­cerned about their own well-be­ing, af­ter en­dur­ing sev­eral weeks with­out proper wa­ter and sewage ser­vices due to on­go­ing is­sues with Mercer’s well.

Mercer’s well, ac­cord­ing to River­head res­i­dent Lyda Byrne, has been un­re­li­able for many years, but has re­cently given the com­mu­nity more trou­ble than usual. In late March, the well’s pump was re­placed fol­low­ing an eight­day stint where res­i­dents had no ac­cess to wa­ter. Days later, the pump was no longer work­ing.

Ap­prox­i­mately 22 houses in River­head are ser­viced by Mercer’s well.

Now, the well is giv­ing res­i­dents is­sues again, and Byrne ex­plained res­i­dents are be­ing forced to take ad­van­tage of wa­ter from fam­ily mem­bers and friends.

“We are in a sit­u­a­tion where we can’t take a shower be­fore work, or af­ter a long shift at work,” ex­plained Byrne dur­ing the coun­cil meet­ing. “We have to rely on fam­ily mem­bers, usu­ally our par­ents, to travel to their homes to use their show­ers and bath­rooms. Ul­ti­mately, we’re dis­rupt­ing their morn­ing rou­tines as well as our own to do some­thing that we should have no prob­lems with in the first place – it is 2017, ba­sic ac­cess to wa­ter and sewage is a hu­man ne­ces­sity.”

Byrne also brought up Mayor Terry Barnes’ in­volve­ment in a pre­vi­ous meet­ing held be­tween res­i­dents, Barnes, MHA Pam Par­sons, and MP Ken Mc­Don­ald. Byrne said Barnes at­tended the meet­ing for ap­prox­i­mately 15 min­utes, de­spite the meet­ing last­ing about an hour. How­ever, dur­ing his time there, Byrne com­mended Barnes for mak­ing

sure the com­mu­nity’s is­sues were brought forth.

The meet­ing in ques­tion, or­ga­nized by res­i­dents of River­head, re­garded the well sit­u­a­tion in their com­mu­nity, where res­i­dents hoped to see a per­ma­nent so­lu­tion put in place by gov­ern­ment.

Res­i­dents also took is­sue with coun­cil’s re­cent pitch to take

own­er­ship of Har­vey Street. Byrne asked how the town could af­ford to take on such a project, when the idea of a proper fix for Mercer’s well seemed to be some­thing the Town of Har­bour Grace could not af­ford.

Dur­ing Byrne’s lengthy pre­sen­ta­tion to coun­cil Tues­day night, she noted res­i­dents have been forced to pur­chase a port-a-potty due to lack of proper sewage ser­vices. Byrne also noted res­i­dents of Har­bour Grace are aware of the sit­u­a­tion re­gard­ing Mercer’s well.

“We the res­i­dents of River­head ser­viced by Mercer’s well are tired of be­ing pushed back on the list – we, de­spite what you may think, are res­i­dents of the com­mu­nity as well,” said Byrne in her state­ment to coun­cil. “We are not ask­ing for things like the Canada Day mo­tor­cade ride through our com­mu­nity next year, so that our chil­dren and grand­chil­dren can see it. No, we are ask­ing for ba­sic hu­man ne­ces­si­ties. We are not a pot­hole is­sue, we are a third world coun­try is­sue. We are liv­ing in third world coun­try con­di­tions, and that is un­ac­cept­able in 2017.”

At the end of Byrne’s pre­sen­ta­tion, Barnes thanked res­i­dents for com­ing to speak at the meet­ing, and added he would be con­tact­ing MHA Par­sons the fol­low­ing day re­gard­ing emer­gency fund­ing so that proper wa­ter and sewage can be put in place for the com­mu­nity as soon as pos­si­ble.

COM­PASS FILE PHOTO

Lyda Byrne of River­head made a lengthy pre­sen­ta­tion re­gard­ing Mercer’s well to Har­bour Grace coun­cil dur­ing a re­cent coun­cil meet­ing.

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