Ongoing water issues, air ambulance service feasibility and upcoming byelection
“We’ve got a million dollar program to replace our main water line that should go ahead in the spring.” – Deputy Mayor Rick Blagdon
Burgeo Deputy Mayor Rick Blagdon had a chat with The Gulf News to provide updates on some key issues facing the town:
The Town of Burgeo has dealt with major issues affecting its water over the past year.
Burgeo’s water treatment facility suffered numerous breakdowns affecting the compressors and ozone generator. A power failure caused up to $70,000 dollars in damage to the equipment.
The town was on a boil order for a month but is now been cleared for use straight from the tap.
“Right now we are off the boil order. It’s being chlorinated but it’s not being hosinated at this point,” Blagdon explained. “Right now we are waiting for a part that should arrive as early as this week, that should get our plant up and running at half capacity.”
Blagdon says getting the plant back up and running should also deal with the high levels of trihalomethanes (THMs) and haloacetic acids ( HAAs) in Burgeo’s water. THMs and HAAs are disinfection biproducts created from the interaction of chlorine with organic material suspended in the water.
Long-term exposure to excessive levels of THMs and HAAs are suspected to cause cancer and reproduction issues.
Recent testing measured Burgeo at higher than acceptable levels of 345 micrograms of THMs per litre of water. Blagdon notes that the high disinfection biproduct levels did come up at a recent council meeting, but he is confident the treatment plant will take care of that issue once it’s up and running.
The Deputy Mayor outlined that applying for funding to keep up with water line maintenance is an issue council is on top of.
“We’ve got a million dollar program to replace our main water line that should go ahead in the spring and we’re going to keep applying (for funding) for our main water line,” Blagdon clarified.
The provincial government approved $525,000 to go toward the project. Blagdon laments that amount is a drop in the bucket when he considers all the water line work the community needs.
“You’re going to need a lot of half a million dollar projects to get through a community,” he said.
Eugene Nippard, a representative from a private company called Eva Air, proposed installing an air ambulance service in Burgeo. The emergency service would involve planes that would cover the town and surrounding rural areas.
Blagdon met with Nippard, who laid out a plan in which the town would provide a significant area of fenced in, level land, 4,000 feet of runway, a terminal, hangers, water, sewer, washroom facilities and electricity.
However, Blagdon identified a major issue with Nippard’s pitch.
“Where’s the money gonna’ come ( from)?” Blagdon inquired.
He noted, “With all the issues we have down here with our water, I really couldn’t see us going after an airport. I really couldn’t see the government putting in $5-10 million when we’ve got so many other priorities.”
Blagdon concluded that the proposal was not feasible and pointed out that the hospital already has a helicopter Medivac service in place.
With the recent resignation of John Savory from the position of mayor, Deputy Mayor Blagdon says a byelection will be called to elect a new council member.
He said council will then choose a council member for the mayor’s seat.
Blagdon hasn’t yet decided whether he will put his name forward for the mayor’s position.
A date for the byelection has not yet been set.
Burgeo Deputy Mayor Rick Blagdon