Sunday, November 6, 2011

Speaking of "disaster"... the City really has one!

After reading the following story I can't help but think the City of Charlottetown really has a major "disaster" and that's Councillor Mitchell Tweel who can't seem to shut his mouth... here's the City trying to come to terms with what I'm sure is an important issue... so Council decide to have the Chair of the intergovernmental affairs, transit and communications committee, Cecil Villard, act as “spokesperson for the City” to help calm fears among the public... and that approach seems reasonable to me and not unlike how private enterprise would put “one” knowledgeable representative out front to communicate their issue to the public... but lo and behold out comes "Councillor Do Nothing" with his usual grand standing by trying to fear monger the public into believing the world is going to end... if there's anything that really needs fixing by Council then I’d suggest it would be figuring out some way of keeping Mitch's trap shut and that may very well prove more difficult than fixing the City's sewage problem as there's more "shit" to deal with... as a start maybe they could figure out a way to keep him away from his daily visits to the Guardian?

Charlottetown ordered to fix sewage overflow problem

The Guardian
Published on November 4, 2011
Ryan Ross

The City of Charlottetown has no choice but to fix its sewage overflow problem after Environment Canada ordered it to do so.

Coun. Cecil Villard, chair of the intergovernmental affairs, transit and communications committee, said the city is doing what it can to get the necessary funding to move forward on the sewage problem.

"We want to advance this project," he said.

On Wednesday, Environment Canada's enforcement branch sent the city an order to fix the problems that have led to sewage overflows into the city's harbour during heavy rains.

The overflow stems from a portion of Charlottetown's storm sewer and wastewater lines that are combined into one.

That has led to numerous cases of storm water combined with sewage running into the harbour at the Navy Quay lift station near the Queen Charlotte armory, which in turn caused the shellfishery to be closed down for periods of time.

To fix the problem the city will need to separate the lines, which has already been done for most of the system. There are about 12.5 kilometres left to upgrade.

So far the city and provincial government have committed to each pay one-third of the cost to fix the system, which a city employee said Wednesday has been estimated at about $18 million.

Provincial Environment Minister Janice Sherry confirmed Friday the government is still committed to its portion of the funding.

In the order, Environment Canada's inspector listed six incidents of sewage entering the harbour in a six-month span and that the city hasn't taken reasonable steps to stop it from happening.

The inspector also collected a sample from the lift station outfall on Aug. 28 and it tested for levels of fecal coliform higher than what city officials said they usually saw in their own tests.

Under the order, the city has to provide a detailed action plan within six weeks of receiving it to outline the steps it will take to comply.

The city also has to provide the inspector with further reports every 60 days that detail the plan to separate the storm water and sewage lines.

Villard said he doesn't think any level of government wants to sit on a project that has drawn as much publicity as the storm sewage issue in Charlottetown.

"We want to get it underway," he said.

The next step for the city is to follow up with the federal government to get a sense of the necessary process to negotiate federal funding for the project, Villard said.

"The issuing of an order is secondary to the financing."

In response to questions about federal funding for the project, National Revenue Minister Gail Shea wasn't available for comment, but a spokesman for her office said the federal government has already transferred money to the province for infrastructure.

That includes $175 million for a seven-year agreement as part of the Build Canada Fund to meet infrastructure needs, which has already been spent, and $3 million annually to the city in gas tax revenue.

It was a matter of setting priorities, the spokesman said.

Coun. Mitch Tweel said the city spent millions on ditch infilling and he thinks the sewage problem should be the top priority.

"This, for all intents and purposes, is an environmental disaster," he said.

Tweel also questioned the timing of the order because the Environment Department knew the overflow was happening.

"Why did it take so long?" he said.

Water and sewer committee chair Eddie Rice said he didn't think the order was all bad news and agreed the sewage issue should become a priority.

"Maybe in every cloud there's a silver lining," he said.


Anonymous said...

If Tweel is so concerned about it, why didn't he do something about it? He sits on the council that is responsible for this mess. Maybe if he worried more about his job and less about sticking his opinion where no one cares, the city wouldn't be in this mess. Typical PEI politican, ignore the problem until it blows up and then blame someone else.

Anonymous said...

sorry but that is mean and uncalled for. There is a true environmental disaster taking place affecting not only water quality but potentially the reputation of such things as the Islands shellfish industry.

please don't diminish the issue by making a personal attack on Mitchell Tweel.