Down to the waterline

By Mark Squibb | July 29, 2021

Emma’s Place residents talk dollars and sense with Tilley and Bent

Ward Three councilor Gerard Tilley and Ward One councilor and mayoral candidate Darrin Bent met with residents of Emma’s Place on Saturday, July 17 to discuss the possibly of installing water and sewer on the road.

Tilley said he read The Shoreline article, Little road, big problem, published on July 8, in which residents expressed their desire to meet with council about installing water and sewer on their street, and called a meeting with the residents.

About a dozen residents came out for the session.

“I explained the process, and that water and sewer is one of our biggest expenses, and that we can’t do that without cost-shared funding from both levels of government, and how that is usually done within three-year blocks with our Multi-Year Capital Works program,” said Tilley.

That funding, he added, was not made available during 2019-2020 due to COVID-19, through council does have around $3 million earmarked for Phase 47 of water and sewer installation.

Emma’s Place is number 17 on the priority list, meaning that as per the current schedule, it will be quite some time before water and sewer lines are installed there.

“It could at least another seven to 10 years before they get water and sewer,” said Tilley.

“Residents were obviously disappointed, but like I said, there’s no way to circumvent the list. If I were to move then up the list tomorrow, that means whoever is number five will get pushed back a couple years. I can’t move one ahead of the other, because that leaves the other person out in the dark.”

The alternative to waiting would be to install a waterline at the residents’ own expense.

“There have to be rules in place – any Tom, Dick, or Harry can’t just come in and put in water. There has to be certain regulations met. I don’t know exactly how it works, but the option is there,” said Tilley.

But it would be expensive.

“I think the cost for that would be crazy,” admitted Tilley. “I don’t think any street would be able to do it.”

Residents on Ashapple Way, however, did just that back in 2013.

“It’s my understanding that the residents at that time called council, or their ward councillor – I wasn’t on council at that time – and asked, ‘What would it cost if we wanted to put in water services?’” said Tilley. “They met with the council of the day, and I believe it was Farrell’s (Excavating) who went and put it in. The town reimbursed Farrells for their work, and the residents in turn all divided it up and paid the money they owed to council for getting the work done.”

Tilley said the ballpark figure to install a waterline on Emma’s Place would be between $300,000 and $325,000, though it could be more, or could be less.

As far as Tilley understood, all residents would have to come on board with the expense, though he was also going to confirm this with council and town staff.

And though the meeting went well, there is still no immediate solution forthcoming.

“I didn’t beat around the bush— I said ‘Guys, you’re not going to get water tomorrow,’” said Tilley, who said the next step would be to finalize a cost for installing a waterline, and then leaving the decision to residents.

One such resident is Ron Corbett, who said he was happy with how the meeting went despite it not leading to an easy solution.

“I was impressed with both of them,” said Corbett. “Between the jigs and the reels, what it comes down to is that we’re still 17 on the list to have water and sewer put in, which we already knew, and that the only way to get a waterline, like what Ashapple did, which is what the meeting was about, is if all 14 homes agree to go in on the waterline.”

Corbett said many residents were understandably put off at the idea of forking over huge amounts of cash to get the job done.

“That sort of scuttled the deal,” said Corbett.

So, for now, residents of Emma’s Place are back to playing the waiting game.

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