The case of a Widewater couple’s resistance to the M.D. of Lesser Slave River’s bylaw requiring connection to the Southshore sewer system came to a public hearing on Oct. 10. It started out pretty hot, but cooled down considerably toward the end. Now it’s looking as if a compromise solution is likely.

All it took was the sharing of a bit of pertinent information.

As reported in The Leader a couple of weeks ago, the Hannas – Neal and Georgina – were looking at a $17,000 installation cost, or thought they were. Neal told The Leader they simply can’t afford that. Not only that, he asserted it isn’t necessary, since their own sewage-disposal system works and isn’t doing anybody any harm. He wrote the M.D. a letter to that effect, which led to the Oct. 10 hearing.

At the hearing, Hanna came out with guns blazing, accusing the M.D. of unnecessary heavy-handedness in forcing people to do things on their own land where no harm is being done.

“Seniors might as well say goodbye,” he said.

But when councillor Brad Pearson started asking questions, the picture started to get clearer and simpler. It turns out the Hannas already have the pipe right up to their property. All they’d need would be to install a grinder pump. Suddenly the cost of the project dropped to around $5,000, and the tone of the conversation changed considerably.

If I install that pump, would the payment plan be available? Hanna asked.

The M.D. had offered a 20-year financing deal from the beginning, nearly 20 years ago, to induce property owners to hook up. But recently it ran out of patience. A deadline came and went, with still 22 properties unconnected.

No hard promises were made, but judging by the mood around the council table, if the Hannas are willing to buy the grinder pump and get hooked up, the financing will be offered.

Of the other 21 other properties still not connected, council heard not all of them are occupied. The rest will have received notices from the M.D. – likely delivered in person – notifying them that they have to get hooked up or the M.D. will enforce it.

“Everybody needs to be on the system,” said councillor Pearson.

by Joe McWilliams

This item copyrighted by / Lakeside Leaader   Slave Lake, Alberta

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