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Returning Navy vet demands water and sewer from CBS council

By Craig Westcott/March 24, 2023

Charles Winsor looked like he was waiting patiently for over an hour Tuesday evening for the CBS public council meeting to end. But patient he was not. As the councillors rose from their seats, the retired petty officer stood too and addressed them before they could leave. He demanded that council ignore its carefully crafted budget and put all other priorities aside until the Town is able to provide his part of Seal Cove with water and sewer service.

“I am a 35-year vet,” said Winsor. “I graduated in 1984 from Queen E, so I know (former recreation director) Dave Tibbo, I know (former Mayor) Terry French, (current Deputy Mayor) Andrea Gosse, (Conception Bay South MHA) Barry Petten… I left in 1988 and water and sewer was at my sister’s road, Warford’s Road in Upper Gullies. Thirty-five years later, I’m trying to build a home and I don’t have the water and sewer.”

Winsor has a large parcel of land in the area of Route 60 west of Daniels Road in Seal Cove towards the border with Holyrood that doesn’t yet have water and sewer. Over the last 50 years, successive town councils have spent millions bringing water and sewer westwards from the more populated parts of town to the less populated west end. After 48 phases of funding and construction, CBS is down to the section where Winsor wants to build, as well as a short list of side streets that have been placed on a priority list for completion.

Winsor said he has been a taxpayer on four properties in CBS since 2000, including one at 1766 CB Highway. “If you grew up in CBS, it’s the store where you got custard cones on Sunday,” he said. “I own the house. In the past three weeks I’ve gone through thousands of dollars repairing water lines. That was my grandmother’s house.”

Winsor said he found out earlier that day that he can’t build a garage behind his new house because it would be over his septic field.

“I have a property 300 feet north of there and I can’t build an accessory building because I don’t have a building on it,” he added. “Look at the conundrum I’m in.”

Winsor said as a retired veteran he is going to lose out on $30,000 the Canadian Forces will provide him to move his furniture from Nova Scotia to Newfoundland because “I don’t have a garage to put it in.”

He told council to stop spending money on other projects in other parts of town.

“A T’railway. I don’t need a T’Railway,” said Winsor. “I need basic water and sewer… A new community centre? Great. I want water and sewer before a new community centre. I want my voice heard, I’m going to lobby and I’m going to petition personnel from the north boundary right to Daniels Road… Can you feel my pain, people? What are you going to do about it? Are you going to divert the funds? I know there is no more money, but it’s time to stop putting more money into the downtown core and do what’s right. You have to finish off (water and sewer on) Route 60… As you can tell, I’m pissed. I come back after I served my Queen and country 35 years, and no water and sewer still.”

Mayor Darrin Bent said the current council spent $5.7 million on the latest phase of water and sewer installation. He noted the previous council spent $11.5 million bringing water and sewer to parts of Seal Cove.

“These projects are not funded through the Town directly,” he explained. “They are only partially funded (by the Town). It doesn’t happen without the support of the provincial government in capital works funding. These things are expensive. We took four roads off the priority list (in the latest phase) and we’re working towards getting the priority list done.”

When Winsor interjected and tried to lecture council again, Bent stopped him. “I’m sorry sir, but I was respectful and listened (to you),” said the mayor. “If you’d just give me a moment, I’d like to say a couple of things. And don’t think we don’t understand. We’re working on water and sewer. But the thing about it is, we have a priority list that we go by. We apply for funding through the provincial government. We just finished one phase and we’re hoping to get funding for the next phase to continue down that road and take more of the places off the list to get to where you are. But there are people way beyond you as well.”

Bent said when the Town applies for funding, the government providing it, whether provincial or federal, directs where it is to be spent. The money from ACOA for the T’railway, for instance, had to be spent on the T’Railway.  

“That money can’t be spent on water and sewer, because they won’t give it to us,” he added. 

The same is true of other projects the Town has done.

“Downtown CBS you referenced a couple of times – they fund themselves. We don’t fund them. They spend their own money on downtown CBS,” said Bent, referring to the sidewalks and other projects in Manuels that have been paid for by the businesses in that area.

“Not all pots (of funding) are water and sewer,” said Bent. “Councils in the past and probably this council would have spent more money on water and sewer (if given the chance) to keep it going… So, we continue to chip away at it as this council has committed to do.”

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