Holyrood hoping feds and Province will help solve its water woes

By Craig Westcott/November 9, 2022

Holyrood is applying to the provincial and federal governments for money to help pay for what it’s dubbing a $3.3 million ‘water solution project.’

Under the application, Holyrood would pay 10 per cent of the cost, with the other levels of government, mostly Ottawa, paying the rest.

“This project will provide a safe, reliable, continued water source for the town,” said councillor Sadie King, who made the motion to apply for the money.

Holyrood has been plagued with water problems for decades with everything from lines bursting and leaking to outright shortages of water in some parts of the community. The Town has spent the past year looking for ways to finally solve the situation. The hope is this proposed project will go a long way to being a long-term solution.

“It will bring water from the Salmonier Line at Walls Road into the water source identified as North Arm River,” said King. “The project includes a water main to the source, an access road to the source, environmental registration, and a water treatment facility including commissioning and SCADA.”

SCADA is a computerized control system with sensors for monitoring and managing the operation of the water lines and treatment plant by remote control.

Councillor Bruce King asked about the project’s expected timeline. “Are we looking at a year, two years, three years? he asked. “Is there a timeline, if we’re approved, that the water situation here could be improved?”

Councillor Steve Winsor, who chairs the public works committee, said he would like to see shovels in the ground next spring, but there is a lot that would have to happen first.

“This motion combines two previous projects,” he noted. “It’s a little bit frustrating, I guess, that we had talked about it already over the last number of months and probably early on when we were first sworn in (last year). We need more water as soon as possible. A hundred percent, we’ve got to do everything we can to keep pushing this file forward.”

Winsor asked the Town’s director of business development and marketing, Marjorie Gibbons, for her opinion of how long it will take the Town’s application to make its way through the government review process.

“Councillor Winsor is correct, the thing that will determine the timeline will be government,” Gibbons said. “We are now in the application phase, so we will have that application submitted on the 28th of October. It goes into the Province for evaluation. Once the Province evaluates the application, they then make a recommendation to Ottawa and then they get approval… That approval will come sometime in 2023. Then once you get past the approval stage, there are the other mechanisms that come into consideration, which is, there has to be engineering done, there has to be an engineering company identified to do that, and even those stages take a bit of time. So, I would not predict that shovels will be in the ground and any actual construction work ’til 2024… We can’t really put a date on it, because it’s out of our control, it’s in the hands of several departments of government. But I would think the actual project itself would begin at the very earliest late 2023, but I would suspect most likely 2024.”

Mayor Gary Goobie noted the water line has already been extended to Wall’s Road, and that this project will bring the lines right to the proposed water treatment plant.

“This is a full package,” he said. “And if we can make good headway between now and 2024 – it may be ’25 – it is going to position the town very well for future growth and development. It’s a long-term thing and it will go on into perpetuity. As long as the treatment plant works, we will have lots of water… This is a tremendous investment and a tremendous upgrade and hopefully with the other levels of government absorbing 90 per cent (of the cost).”

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