Plenty of funding to go around
Town receives funding for next phase of water main upgrade
A number of west coast communities received funding from the provincial government Friday.
Reliable water infrastructure is something that Joe Reid said his town really needs.
It’s important for residents all year, but especially in the tourist season, said the mayor of Norris Point on Friday.
Norris Point, in the heart of Gros Morne National Park, sees a large number of visitors in the summer and early fall, so having a reliable source of drinking water is key for the town.
But Reid said the town’s water system has been the source of many issues for at least the last 14 years.
“It was crumbling,” he said. With that comes a lot of leaks and that means the water often has to be shut off to make repairs. And the repairs have gotten quite costly over the years.
“You don’t know what you’re going to run into when you dig it up.”
And the shutoffs impact the restaurants and inns in the town that are depending on tourist visits to make a living.
“It’s not good,” said Reid. About 10 years ago the town upgraded part of the system in Neddy’s Harbour, but it wasn’t until last summer that it was able complete a second phase along Main Street, from the town hall to the Bonne Bay Marine Station.
On Friday afternoon phase three of the town’s water main upgrade was one of 20 infrastructure projects on the west coast highlighted in a funding announcement by Premier Dwight Ball at the town hall.
A total of $14 million will be spent in joint federal-provincial-municipal funding through the Small Communities Fund.
The province is contributing over $6.9 million towards the projects and the federal government over $4.2 million.
The upgrade in Norris Point will cost $2,180,000 with the province contributing $1,120,309 of that. The town will contribute 10 per cent of the cost.
Reid said the town will have to borrow its portion of the cost, but is in a good position to be able to take that on.
Phase three will see the water system upgraded from the town hall to the Bonne Bay Health Centre.
As part of the upgrade a booster will be added in the section near the hospital.
“The water pressure at the hospital for the (fire) hydrants is not up to standard,” said Reid.
There is enough pressure in the hospital for sprinklers, but Reid said the pressure on the fire hydrants has been a concern.
The project still has to go through an engineering and tendering process so work won’t begin until next spring and continue into the tourist season.
Reid said it will be congested at times, but the contractors will be doing most of the work on the side of and not directly in the road.
Reid is hopeful that once phase three is completed the town won’t have any issues with its water for a few years. The new infrastructure will have a minimum lifespan of 50 years.
Tourism Minister Christopher Mitchelmore, left, Premier Dwight Ball and Cow Head Mayor Adrian Payne are seen during a funding announcement at the Norris Point Town Hall on Friday.