Town mak­ing progress on in­fra­struc­ture re­pairs

The Packet (Clarenville) - - Front page - BY JONATHAN PAR­SONS Jonathan.par­sons@thep­ Twit­ter: @je­j­par­sons

While ag­ing in­fra­struc­ture and a gen­eral econ­omy slow­down can be a con­stant bat­tle for a mu­nic­i­pal­ity like Arnold’s Cove, Mayor Basil Da­ley says 2017 was a pro­duc­tive year for the town.

In an in­ter­view with The Packet, Da­ley said they com­pleted a $900,000 cap­i­tal works project last year un­der the clean wa­ter waste wa­ter fund, cost-shared with the fed­eral and provin­cial gov­ern­ments.

That project, fin­ished last July, saw the com­ple­tion of phase three of wa­ter and sewer, curb and gut­ter and pave­ment for Har­bour Buf­fett Road.

It was work that was long over­due.

The pipes had been in­stalled over 50 years ago, when peo­ple re­set­tled from the Pla­cen­tia Bay is­lands to Arnold’s Cove.

Look­ing ahead to this year, Da­ley says they’re con­tin­u­ing with these types of projects to ad­dress the older in­fra­struc­ture, do­ing smaller projects with town money but seek­ing gov­ern­ment fund­ing for larger projects.

“We have $1.2 mil­lion (in cap­i­tal works fund­ing) to do Bar Haven Heights, which is in des­per­ate shape for wa­ter and sewer prob­lems,” he noted.

He says this past year this area had three wa­ter leaks in one day — so they’re glad to be able to re­place the old pipes.

They’ve also de­cided to pur­chase a side­walk snow plow, which dou­bles as a sweeper, to ac­com­mo­date their 7.5-kilo­me­tres of side­walk.

Da­ley says they’ve been able to do all of this while main­tain­ing their tax rate.

They’re proud of their bal­anced bud­get, which has no res­i­den­tial or com­mer­cial tax in­crease, at 5.75 and 6.25 mills re­spec­tively. And the col­lec­tion rate is very high — about 99 per cent — and on time, he adds. The debt ser­vice ra­tio — the per­cent­age of ev­ery dol­lar the town pays to­wards the money it owes — is 16 per cent.

Ac­cord­ing to Da­ley, other ar­eas of the com­mu­nity like the fire depart­ment, re­cre­ation and her­itage com­mit­tees con­tinue to thrive.

When it comes to so­lu­tions on how to get ahead, Da­ley would like to see eas­ier ac­cess to cap­i­tal works fund­ing — as they’ve only ad­dressed about half of what is needed when it comes to ag­ing wa­ter and sewer.

“We’re work­ing with MHA Mark Browne to try and get fund­ing,” he says.

He be­lieves projects like wa­ter and sewer should take pri­or­ity be­cause they are ne­ces­si­ties.

“I know the provin­cial gov­ern­ment has money is­sues … but it’s some­thing for us that’s a big is­sue. The main thing you pro­vide for your res­i­dents is wa­ter and sewer.

“We’ve been lucky enough so far be­cause the fed­eral gov­ern­ment has been putting in 50 per cent to be able to do this work.”

Da­ley adds an­other ma­jor piece of work is on the hori­zon for Arnold’s Cove, and other towns.

The fed­eral gov­ern­ment wants mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties to tran­si­tion to sewage treat­ment plants by 2020, un­der the na­tional waste­water strat­egy.

Cur­rently the waste wa­ter and sewage from many towns flows di­rectly into the ocean.

Arnold’s Cove has three out­falls.

Da­ley says a sewage treat­ment plans would be a ma­jor ex­pense and the town will have to fig­ure out how to pay for it.

The an­swer may be worked out in the town’s next strate­gic plan.

The process of de­vel­op­ing that plan roll out in 2018, Da­ley said, and will likely in­volve

pub­lic con­sul­ta­tions with cit­i­zens to help the town un­der­stand what its res­i­dents want.


Arnold’s Cove Mayor Basil Da­ley.

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