PICTOU - Town council discussed how it could best finance improvements to Pictou’s water quality and clarity at the committee of council meeting Monday evening.
Chief Administrative Officer Scott Conrod presented a draft of an application to the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board that council could approve at a future council meeting if they agree with the contents of application.
The draft of the application discussed at Monday’s meeting would see an increase from the current water rate of about $80 to roughly $112 on April 1, 2013 with the rate increasing to $114 in 2014, $115 in 2015 and $116 in 2016.
The increase in the rates would help cover the costs of implementing phase one of a plan that Conrod said would improve the sanitation process of the town’s drinking water and would help with the issue of discoloured water.
“We’re proposing new upgrades in two phases. The first phase that we’re in the midst of now is about $3.2 million dollars. Phase one relates to proper disinfection and monitoring,” Conrod said.
He added that phase one involves updating monitoring and disinfection equipment, implementing municipal grade ultra violet disinfection systems at the wells and the design and acquisition of a computer monitoring system that allows for more accurate and frequent well tests.
“The ultra violet disinfection will lower our requirement of the use of chlorine as we know chlorine is interacting with the manganese causing the discoloured water,” Conrod said. “It will have a positive impact on the issue of discoloured water, but it will not fix it… because we do not have a central filtration, that is in phase two.”
Conrod stressed that these proposed rate increases could change in the draft of the town’s application depending on what council decides and other factors such as how the town plans to finance phase two of the project and government funding.
No decisions were made at the committee of council meeting and motions to approve the draft and final application must be passed by council before the application can be filed with the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board.
If council approves the application, the Review Board must also approve it before rates can increase.
Mayor Joe Hawes said this is part of council’s efforts to address residents’ concerns about the quality of the town’s water.