Any time you start talking about getting water to the core of Musquodoboit Harbour, you hear the same groans I heard at the June meeting of the Musquodoboit Harbour & Area Chamber of Commerce: “Oh no, we’ve been talking about that since I was the chair of the Ratepayers Commission back in the 1990s.” Only to be topped by an even louder groan, “I was sitting here 50 years ago talking about water.”
So enough talking already. We’ve known since 1968 from two test wells near the ballfield that there is a large aquifer with sufficient flow and quality to supply businesses and homes along Highway 7 from the 107 down to the Musquodoboit Harbour Bridge
Water that could supply the new high school, whether it was located where it is now, or even closer to the wells, on a site behind the Railway Museum. Water that could keep businesses like Dobbit Bakery from having to keep investing in new water purification equipment. Water that would make it more attractive to other new businesses to come in.
As it happens, at this very same Chamber meeting in June, Bruce Vienneau, the owner of the new Tim Hortons/Shell facility going up in Musquodoboit Harbour, told the group that he was spending about $100,000 for water purification equipment for the well on his site.
But wouldn’t the cost of getting good water be so high that the voters would revolt at paying the area rate to cover the cost? After all, there was a study showing that tapping into the two wells, and then building a sewage plant with tertiary treatment that would be piped into Musquodoboit Harbour would cost $30 million.
We are unlikely to ever get our hands on the funds to build the gold-plated $30 million system.
But what if we were to separate water in from water out? After all, everyone is already dealing with treating the wastewater they generate, no matter how the water comes in. What if we focused on the front end, just getting water into the core? Surely the cost would be far, far lower than all of the additional piping and the large treatment plant.
How much less, we don’t know. But if you’re tired of waiting for water, now’s your chance to step up. The Chamber’s community development plan includes water as a priority.
We believe it’s time to figure out how the community, with support and resources from the federal, provincial, and municipal levels of government, can research, propose, and deliver clean water. (For more info, go to the “Open the Aquifer Musquodoboit Harbour” page on Facebook, or email firstname.lastname@example.org).
Open the aquifer!