Gore Bay council requests provincial support in changing scope of water line project

GORE BAY—Gore Bay town council has agreed it will request that the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) allow it to change the scope of a project looking at solving a problem with several water lines in town (where residents have to run their water in the winter to prevent the lines from freezing). They are also requesting the funding be maintained for this change of project that had been approved by the province for water meters in the town.

As reported previously, the town had been approved for Ontario Small Waterworks Assistance (OSWAP) funding through OMAFRA for the water meter project. However, local residents had been asked for their input and clearly indicated they were not in favour of meters.

“On the approval of OSWAP funding for the water meter project, the public works and properties committee had recommended at a meeting January 7 that council notify the ministry we will not be accessing the approved OSWAP funding,” said Gore Bay Mayor Ron Lane at a meeting Monday.

“We had a discussion previously about using the funding to install meters for any local residents who expressed their interest in having meters,” said Mayor Lane.

The public works committee, “had based its decision on a staff report given to us. However, we now have more information,” said Councillor Betsy Clark.

“We (committee) can rehash this again; this would be the third time,” said Councillor Clark.

“The issue is should we be applying for a change of scope for the project with respect to the problems with some of the water lines in town, and the funding?” asked Mayor Lane.

Mayor Lane said two key things came out of a meeting with members of the public of Gore Bay, “one was that they did not want the meters and said that if we were going to spend any money it should be used to fix the current problem with some of the residents’ water lines in town.”

“Some homes in town have to run their water in the winter so their lines don’t freeze,” said Mayor Lane. “If we could change the scope of the project to look at fixing this problem it would be more beneficial. I’m not saying I’m against water meters, but the residents asked us to look at this area and we could get definite numbers on this.”

Councillor Jack Clark said, “I have no problem with that, but we don’t have enough in the (town) budget to fix the problem.”

Mayor Lane pointed out that while this is the case, there is enough (in the budget) to start the process toward having this problem resolved.

Council was informed that there are 37 households in town that have to run water in the winter and initial cost estimates project it would cost $10,000 per household to rectify the issues. However, this figure could increase or decrease depending on what the public works department encounters when digging.

“If the people do not fix their side of the problem with the lines, they would still have to run their water in the winter,” pointed out Councillor Clark.

It was pointed out in some cases among the 37 households, if the town fixes its share of the problem, the home owners would need to do the same to solve the issue.

“The funding that has already been approved (through OSWAP) would give us enough money to do what we need to do (as the town) to correct the problem,” said town clerk Annette Clarke.

It was asked whether the town staff would carry out the work or if it would have to be contracted out. It was noted that to do the work in the prescribed time frame it would have to be contracted out.

Council agreed to pass two motions, one to oppose the recommendation from its public works committee to notify OMAFRA it will not be accessing the already approved funding and the second motion is to approach the ministry requesting a change in the scope of the project. This would entail applying to OMAFRA to change the scope of the water line replacement for lines of residents’ homes that have to run their water in the winter to prevent the lines from freezing.

Tom Sasvari