FOGO ISLAND, N.L.
After two unsuccessful attempts at well drilling, the Town of Fogo Island is moving a drinking water project in a new direction.
Since 2015 the town has been working to bring clean and chlorinated water facilities to Island Harbour and Stag Harbour. Both of these areas, and Island Harbour’s neighbouring community Deep Bay, have no water and sewage system outside of personal artesian wells and septic tanks.
The proposed facility would provide a location for residents to fill containers of drinkable water free of charge. But Fogo Island Mayor Wayne Collins says the town has had to return to square one with the project and is now working to have these facilities in Seldom and the centre of Fogo Island.
“The Seldom facility will be connected to the town water line in Seldom and the second one we will drill another deep well around the centre of the island, close to the hospital,” said Collins. “We expect to get better results than we did previously.”
Initially, well-drilling efforts were made in Island Harbour and Stag Harbour with costs shared between the provincial government and the town. Neither of these yielded enough water to supply a facility, and the town again attempted to drill a well in each community last year.
This second effort, funded solely by the municipality, yielded the same results as the initial drilling.
“We made the decision based on surrounding residents and the water that was available to them in their personal wells,” Collins said. “But when you look at the water needed for one of those homes compared with the water needed for one of those drinking units – it’s far less and we did not yield the required amounts.
“With this second attempt, each time we drilled one of those deep wells, it cost the town around $25,000.”
The town is working to have the water facilities for Seldom and Fogo Island Central approved by the Department of Municipal Affairs and Environment. They will then award a contract for the installations.
The projected facility in Fogo Island Central is currently owned by Crown Lands, and Collins says the town has submitted an application for this area.
Now nearing three years since the project began and with the town yet to achieve the results they’ve hoped for, Collins says council is adamant about getting these facilities completed as quickly as possible.
“It’s been so many different things that have caused problems for us, some of them beyond our control,” said Collins. “When we don’t turn up sufficient amounts of water we start from scratch again.”
Also, Collins says a water and sewer project for the Stag Harbour area is on their priority list for capital works funding, and it will be requested in the upcoming round of applications to the provincial government.
Because of the aging population and the roughly 11-kilometre distance between Stag Harbour and Seldom, Hancock would prefer to see this water and sewer project go ahead.
“If you got someone 60 or 75 years old, you don’t want to have to travel to Seldom when it’s stormy to get water,” he said. “Your water should be drinkable from your tap, there’s no need of it.”
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