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Lack of bids delays water fixes


Dwayne Vautier, President of the Local Service District, in the water production building. The community of Margaree – Fox Roost has been battling water issues for years. – © Ryan King / Wreckhouse Press Incorporated

By JAYMIE L. WHITE – with files from Ryan King

MARGAREE – FOX ROOST – Having water issues is nothing new for the residents of Margaree-Fox Roost. Since the lines were first installed, the water quality has been the same.

Local Service District President Dwayne Vautier said there is one new thing about the water system now, but that isn’t always enough.

“What is new is what we’re trying to do to fix it. We’ve been awarded a grant and the grant was awarded late 2017-spring 2018, and it just made it to tenders two weeks ago and there were no bids, so here we are again,” said Vautier.

Because no companies submitted a bid, which is valued at $180,000, the whole project will be delayed.

“We found out before the long weekend that, now that the process had no takers, no bids, we have to go to tender in the Spring. The time has expired on the funds again, so we had to ask for extra time again,” explained Vautier. “That’s where we are at now. Nothing is going to happen until the Spring. It’s just the way the chips fell.”

Vautier said that since the new local service district (LSD) committee took over in 2017 they have had many unanticipated challenges that have resulted in delays, and a major setback occurred before they even took office.

“The new committee – it’s new to all of us. Before that we had a huge theft that set this community back lots of years. Since that it’s been five years of working towards this grant, and every time we turn around there’s another request from environment that slowed the whole process down. They weren’t small requests either.”

The committee, consisting of seven people, are all volunteers.

“We don’t get anything. There’s no tax breaks. There’s nothing. We are just doing it for our neighbours in the community basically,” said Vautier.

Vautier said the goal of this project is to get potable water back in the houses of residents, and that will require a lot of hard work toward a big solution for the town.

“We can manage our own water somewhat, but we can’t manage the quality because it isn’t chlorinated, so this is what the project is for,” said Vautier. “The project will give us filtration, rehabilitation of an artesian well, chlorination, and potable water as a result. It won’t happen overnight. We’ve been at this since 2017-2018, but we will go on.”

It takes time to repair or replace key infrastructure like the artesian well.

“What we’re doing is we are bringing back an existing artesian well. The well was drilled in the early ‘90s and from my understanding they burnt out a few pumps and didn’t put anything back,” said Vautier. “In any case, it was abandoned for about 10 years.”

Vautier says funding for the project is a combination of federal and provincial money with the LSD contributing 10 per cent. This works out to $700 per year per household, and that also includes streetlights, garbage, water, and fire protection.

One problem that has been noted is that there are worms and leeches coming out of the pipes. There also seems to be an issue with spores resting in the filters and growing. Vautier is well aware of the problem.

“We’ve asked Environment about it, the water people, and there’s nothing we can do to kill anything, nothing we can do but introduce chlorination, which is what we are working towards now.”

Vautier, who was in the air force for 26 years, returned to the community in 2014 with a goal of doing something to help.

“It’s a very nice community, very nice people, but we have issues that we’ve inherited. We didn’t make the issues, we inherited them because they weren’t fixed,” said Vautier. “We have taken flak from a very small percentage of the community, but they don’t understand. I’m trying to keep everybody informed and everything, but they tend to want to make up their own story.”

The hope is that the next tender in the Spring will prove more successful so that production can begin and the community’s water woes will finally end.

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