Get­ting wa­ter to the top of the is­land

“It’s not go­ing to be easy and it’s not go­ing to be cheap”, says War­den Mor­ri­son of pro­posed Dis­trict 8 wa­ter projects

The Victoria Standard - - Front Page - SEAN MACDOUGALL

The County has given two pre­sen­ta­tions for res­i­dents in the Bay St. Lawrence and Cape North com­mu­ni­ties on pro­posed wa­ter util­ity projects for the com­mu­ni­ties over the past two weeks. The pub­lic works com­mit­tee held the first meet­ing on July 19 at the Bay St. Lawrence fire hall. The pre­sen­ta­tion gave res­i­dents a rough idea on costs and the lay­out for a new wa­ter sup­ply sys­tem that would in­clude a new treat­ment plant, stor­age tank and dis­tri­bu­tion pip­ing. The com­mit­tee and res­i­dents dis­cussed how some folks in the area do not have ac­cess to any wa­ter, some have their own func­tion­ing well and oth­ers have a well that freezes dur­ing the win­ter time.

The es­ti­mated cost for the project is $4.1 mil­lion. If fed­eral and pro­vin­cial fund­ing can be se­cured, res­i­dents would be re­spon­si­ble for $1.36 mil­lion. The pric­etag is catch­ing some res­i­dents off guard.

“I’m very sur­prised that we have to pay for our own cap­i­tal costs,” said Patsy Mackin­non about the Bay St. Lawrence wa­ter util­ity project.

Coun­cil has said the costs must be cov­ered by res­i­dents to pre­vent the cur­rent $2 mil­lion wa­ter util­ity deficit from grow­ing any fur­ther. The Nova Sco­tia Util­ity and Re­view Board said the County is not al­lowed to run into fur­ther deficit with its wa­ter util­ity. The deficit comes from pre­vi­ous in­stal­la­tion projects in which an in­suf­fi­cient num­ber of res­i­dents hooked onto the sys­tem.

If the project were to move for­ward, the costs would be shoul­dered by all area res­i­dents, whether they use the line or con­tinue to use their own wells. Along with the ini­tial project costs, res­i­dents would also be re­spon­si­ble for a $1000 hook-up fee to the wa­ter line, quar­terly-billed us­age fees and any main­te­nance costs for the wa­ter sys­tem.

The July 19 meet­ing ex­plained the process the com­mit­tee per­formed to find the wa­ter source for the sys­tem. Af­ter test wells

were dug, Pub­lic Works Di­rec­tor Robert Dauphi­nee said that a well on Money Point road showed a good quan­tity and qual­ity sup­ply of wa­ter for the es­ti­mated 120 ser­vice­able units.

The com­mit­tee plans to have a sec­ond meet­ing in Septem­ber in hopes of hav­ing more res­i­dents come out. Prior to the next meet­ing, Coun­cil wants to send out in­for­ma­tion to res­i­dents in Bay St. Lawrence that will be af­fected by this project. Only three peo­ple, in­clud­ing Mackin­non, were present for the pre­sen­ta­tion. The com­mit­tee also pro­posed holdinga plebiscite to see if there are enough res­i­dents in­ter­ested in the ser­vice.

Mu­nic­i­pal Coun­cil held an­other meet­ing the fol­low­ing week on July 24 in Cape North. Dauphi­nee gave a pre­sen­ta­tion to res­i­dents on an es­ti­mated $1.1 mil­lion ex­pan­sion of the ex­ist­ing wa­ter util­ity lines from the Ding­wall area. Once again, Coun­cil is look­ing at se­cur­ing fed­eral and pro­vin­cial fund­ing for the project.

Con­di­tions of the Cape North project will be the same as those for the Bay St. Lawrence project, with res­i­dents hav­ing to cover the cap­i­tal costs along with their us­age bills, hook-up fee and main­te­nance costs.

At the meet­ing, Dauphi­nee said that the ex­ist­ing wa­ter sys­tem in Ding­wall is suf­fi­cient for ex­ten­sion up the Cabot Trail to Cape North. While some res­i­dents in the area have wells, like those in Bay St. Lawrence, they have voiced con­cerns about re­li­able wa­ter sources.

“It’s crit­i­cal that we have wa­ter,” said Cape North res­i­dent Pe­ter Sauer.

Sauer is also a lo­cal busi­ness owner in the Cape North area. His fam­ily owns and op­er­ates High­lands Hos­tel in the Cape North com­mu­nity.

“We don’t know if there’s a want yet, but we do know there is a need,” said Vic­to­ria County CAO Leanne Maceachen about the util­ity projects at the July 24 Coun­cil meet­ing in Cape North. Since Coun­cil would re­quire res­i­dents to pay for the cap­i­tal costs, they are look­ing into how many res­i­dents want the projects to go for­ward. This has led to dis­cus­sions at both meet­ings of hav­ing a plebiscite and sec­ondary meet­ings.

“…I will go to each in­di­vid­ual home prior to our meet­ing in Septem­ber to go get a count [of in­ter­ested res­i­dents] and I can bring that in­for­ma­tion back to Coun­cil,” Dis­trict 8 Coun­cil­lor Norm Mac­don­ald, home to both com­mu­ni­ties, said at the July 24 coun­cil meet­ing.

War­den Mor­ri­son has said that the dis­cus­sions with the com­mu­ni­ties are pre­lim­i­nary to find out if there is in­ter­est in pro­ceed­ing with the projects. There is cur­rently no date set for sec­ondary meet­ings for ei­ther com­mu­nity.

Four sea­sonal staff at Salty Rose’s and The Peri­win­kle Café in In­go­nish live in three trail­ers lo­cated be­hind the newly-shin­gled build­ing. Two of the trail­ers are pri­vately owned by staff who made the in­vest­ment given the cost of rent­ing ac­com­mo­da­tion. The other is rented to staff by the prop­erty owner. Photo by Sara­beth Drover.

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