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Drinking it in

Holyrood gets a bucketful of provincial cash for its water supply

By Chris Lewis | July 9, 2020

The Town of Holyrood has agreed to accept some cost-shared funding from the province that will see its water supply get some long-awaited upgrades.

The funding deal wasn’t the only highlight of the June 30 council meeting. It also marked the first time since Covid-19 restrictions went into place that members of council and the media were able to meet together in the town’s council chamber.

Infrastructure and public works committee chairman Jim Joy made the motion to participate in the cost-sharing agreement which will see the province borrow $1,603,968 to help pay for the work, while the Town will borrow $145,453 to cover its share.

The money will allow the Town to install a 500,000-gallon water tank, including a control system and integration of the tank with Holyrood’s existing distribution system. The project will provide water main valves and boxes required for the connection to be successful, according to Joy.

“This is a large investment in our water system,” Joy said. “(It) will provide increased storage capacity and in turn provide further security and a safe, reliable water source to our residents.”

Joy noted the committee has been on the hunt for some time for opportunities to improve the town’s water system and will continue to do that as time goes on. He described the Town’s water supply as being the number one priority for the committee.

Deputy Mayor Curtis Buckle applauded the motion, highlighting the fact that by accepting this government funding, this major upgrade and hefty price tag will come as no burden to the town’s taxpayers.

Mayor Gary Goobie, too, praised the 90/10 cost-shared expenditure, noting the benefits it will have long into the community’s future.

“I will also add that we will continue to move forward with an emergency water supply system, in the event we ever experience a major waterline break that could compromise our supply, as was the case a few years ago,” Goobie said. “So, all in all, we’re taking a proactive approach in planning for future growth, and to ensure we provide clean, safe and sufficient water volume.”

Later in the meeting, Joy brought forward another motion to see further upgrades to the water system.

That motion, which also carried unanimously, will see the Town hire Innovative Engineering to oversee upgrades on Country Path.

Joy said the request for a “fair and reasonable bid” will allow the Town to secure the company’s services, as well as prepare a prime consultant agreement to oversee the scope of work associated with the project. It will provide, Joy said, residents of Country Path with clean and reliable drinking water.

“In recent years, this area of town has seen a lot of new development. The smaller waterline that services the area is no longer adequate,” Joy explained. “We have also discussed that the whole width of that road must be paved. That’s the main item as a condition within the tender.”

The work is valued at approximately $450,000. Joy noted there will be more discussions about the project to decide where the monies can be used most effectively. He said the ultimate goal is to improve the waterline so that it can access as many homes in the area as possible.

Low water pressure, he said, was among one of the most common problems faced by the residents.

“The discussion at further meetings will provide directions as to how best we can utilize this nearly half a million dollars,” Joy said.

Mayor Goobie also used the occasion of the first in-person council meeting in some three months to express gratitude to the provincial and federal governments, noting that since the elections in 2015, the town has received plenty of support.

“I know this may sound political, but it has to be said. Since this government took office in 2015, we’ve had considerable support from both levels of government,” Goobie said. “I have also established a positive working relationship with several cabinet ministers, and believe me, they fully understand and recognize that Holyrood is a progressive and forward-thinking town, and certainly a growth centre for the whole head of Conception Bay.”

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