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Harbour Grace council hopes for growth as it sets public works priorities

By Craig Westcott/November 11, 2021

The Town of Harbour Grace laid out its public works priorities for the coming year on Tuesday night as council waded through another packed agenda at its regular tri-weekly meeting.

Capital works committee chairman, Deputy Mayor Keith Skinner, began by discussing the Gas Tax funds the town receives from the provincial government. 

Skinner said his committee identified two priorities for the funding, the first being pavement for Hard Path Road in Riverhead.

“And our second priority is the top of Tarrant’s Hill for paving and upgrading the drainage covers in that area,” he added.

Council unanimously approved a motion to write the Department of Municipal Affairs asking for permission to use the Gas Tax funds for those projects.

Next, Skinner turned to the town’s regular capital works budget.

“Our first priority for capital works is the LeMarchant Street storm sewer, and the number two priority is the LeMarchant Street outfall that we have to move from where the government wharf is now,” Skinner said. “And our third priority is to upgrade the lift station in Riverhead to accommodate water and sewer from Southside and the Mercer’s Road area.”

Skinner said his committee will meet with the Town’s engineer to discuss phase one and phase two of the Mercer’s Well work.

The motion to set those three priorities passed unanimously.

Councilor Gordon Stone asked Skinner why upgrades to the lift station are such a high priority.

“The lift station that is there now is probably about 25 years old and was only built big enough – and the pumping system in it – to carry a certain part of Riverhead, a small number of people who tied into it 25 years ago,” Skinner explained. “Now we are going to be getting ready to bring Southside on stream and also the Mercer’s Road area onstream, so before we can do that, we have to upgrade that station. There’s going to have to be a bigger chamber built and the pumping system is going to have to be heavier. It’s no good to start the water and sewer for either Southside or the Mercer’s Road area until that’s done, because if we do we’ve got nowhere for the sewer to go.”

Mayor Don Coombs asked whether the work will be able to accommodate future housing expansion, because both areas have a lot of undeveloped space, which the Town would like to see utilized.

“That’s our intent,” Skinner confirmed. 

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