Glooscap and Hantsport Co-operate on Water Project
September 16, 2004 10:20 AM
Some people believe Friday the thirteenth is an unlucky day.
Janis Walker, band manager of the Glooscap First Nation,
considers that date in August 2004 very lucky. It was the day her
house was hooked up to the Hantsport water system.
After years of living on unreliable well water, the new system
was quite a treat. "I did a load of wash and the water didn't
turn everything brown. I'm a happy camper."
Until recently, water problems were a way of life for Glooscap
residents. Existing wells were failing and the quality of
producing wells was sub-standard. Six years ago the band realized
that something had to be done.
Studies were undertaken to identify the problem and to suggest
solutions. "We needed another source of water," said Ms. Walker.
"We could either build our own main source or try to hook up with
Hantsport." The band decided to see if a deal could be made with
the town of Hantsport.
At the same time Hantsport was having water problems of its own.
Town water was chlorinated but not treated. Although the system
was upgraded over the years "parts of our system dated back to
1906," said Mayor Wayne Folker. He remembered discussions of a
complete overhaul taking place as far back as the early 1970s.
When the Glooscap First Nation came to talk, the town was ready
The town had no basic objection to having Glooscap hook up to its
water supply, said Jeff Lawrence, the town's chief administrative
officer, especially since the town's supply line went right past
Glooscap on its way to Hantsport. When Glooscap offered to fund
the study of the Hantsport water system, the project was off and
The study determined that an upgraded system that would serve
both Hantsport and Glooscap was feasible. But Davidson Lake, the
town's water source, needed to be deepened around the intake pipe
and the transmission pipe from the lake needed to be enlarged.
Knowing full well the pitfalls that can hinder a cross-
jurisdictional project such as this, the band and the town
decided to forge ahead. Said Mr. Folker: "Chief Shirley Clarke
and I decided we would proceed with the thing until we run into a
Fortunately, no brick wall appeared. The project enjoyed the full
support of both communities, said the mayor. "The level of co-
operation has been terrific. There have been a lot of hurdles but
one by one we're getting over them."
Band manager Walker agrees. She said all participants in the
project were kept up to date with regular meetings and surprises
were avoided. "It's been great."
She said the new system will bring growth back to Glooscap. The
band halted construction on new homes once the project was firmly
in place; it did not make sense for a homeowner to have the
expense of drilling a well that would only be used for a few
years. Ms. Walker said she hopes the new system will also
encourage businesses to consider setting up on Glooscap land. "It
gives us a boost."
Joint funding of projects can be a problem, but both the band and
the town say it hasn't been here. Glooscap funded 100 per cent of
the work required to deepen the lake and enlarge the transmission
pipe (a total of about $1.8 million). Construction of the new
water treatment plant, which is just across the road from the
Glooscap First Nation, cost $1.6 million, with the band paying 40
per cent and the town paying 60 per cent. The town is responsible
for the ongoing replacement of deteriorating pipes in its aging
water distribution system.
"It's been an interesting couple of years," said Mr. Lawrence,
"but I couldn't be happier with the level of co-operation between
the band and the town."
Glooscap's request came at just the right time for Hantsport.
"Eventually we would have been forced to upgrade our system,"
said Mr. Folker. "This project has allowed us to get ahead of the
deadlines." The town and Glooscap now have water that exceeds the
standards established for 2008.
In addition to the two principals, this $3.2-million project
involved a veritable alphabet soup of government departments and
agencies. Indian Affairs, the Atlantic Canada Opportunities
Agency, Nova Scotia Health, Service Nova Scotia and Municipal
Relations, the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board, Nova Scotia
Environment and Labour as well as an engineering consultant firm
and four sub-contractors, all played roles in the successful
development of this project.
"One hand washes the other" is an expression used to indicate how
important it is to work together. Now, because of co-operation,
when one hand washes the other in the Glooscap-Hantsport area,
they'll be washing with treated water.
Contact: John Soosaar
jal September 16, 2004 10:21 A.M.