Water loss continues to plague Lottie Lake
Open house scheduled to discuss water improvement tax
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The mystery surrounding the water system at Lottie Lake continues to plague the County of St. Paul, as the amount of water being unexplainably lost continues to escalate. Council again discussed the issue at last week’s regular meeting on Aug. 14.
At its previous meeting, county council discussed the fact that the county is hauling water on a daily basis to the hamlet of Lottie Lake from St. Paul because the current system can’t keep up with the demand. Along with not having enough water, the county discovered that twice as much water was being used than what was showing up on residents’ water meters. Right now, between four and six loads of water are being hauled per day to the hamlet.
County brought a leak detection company in on Aug. 17 to help determine where water is going, but because of some leaky valves in one of the reservoirs, they couldn’t hear anything and will have to return this week to try again, said CAO Sheila Kitz on Friday afternoon.
A diving company is also being hired to inspect both reservoirs at Lottie Lake on Wednesday, said Kitz.
About $50,000 has been spent on hauling water to Lottie Lake from St. Paul in the last three months, and the trend seems to be getting worse, with more water being required, either due to a greater loss, or more residents using the water, said Kitz.
Councillors have also discussed replacing old meters, but if the issue was solely based on the water being metered improperly, the amount of water being used per resident would be “astronomical,” said Kitz.
“It’s just got everybody so frustrated,” said the CAO.
On Thursday evening, the county will be hosting an open house at Cork Hall for Lottie Lake residents to discuss water issues, primarily the possibility of a Local Improvement Tax. The tax would help the county to replace the distribution lines and replace old meters.
The county can impose this tax if only a specific area gets value out of an improvement being done, heard council. The county has the ability to pass on the costs of that improvement to those who get direct value from the project.
Residents do have the opportunity to say no to the Local Improvement Tax if two thirds of the lot owners, which must also equal at least half of the assessed value of the land, put a petition together against the tax.
“The level of service is still very low,” said Matt Brassard with Urban Systems, when speaking to council about the Lottie Lake water system at the Aug. 14 meeting.
Urban Systems believes the new distribution lines could be complete by Christmas if the project moves ahead soon. The project is estimated to cost about $1.4 million, which translates to about $10,000 per lot.
Kitz said she has fielded one phone call from a seasonal resident who is not happy about the proposed Local Improvement Tax.
Work is also progressing for the water transmission line that is being installed from Ashmont to Lottie Lake to bring water to the hamlet. It is estimated that there is enough water at the well to supply Ashmont and Lottie Lake with water for 20 years, said Brassard.
The transmission line should be finished by the end of August and costs on the line are lower than anticipated, said Brassard. The government has already given its approval to run water through the new line before the Ashmont treatment plant upgrades are complete, but pilot testing for the upgrading of the treatment plant is still progressing.
“From a science perspective, this is fun water to test because it is quite challenging,” said Brassard, adding, from a “get this done” perspective, it is frustrating.
Correcting the water problem in Lottie Lake will increase property values in the subdivision, said Reeve Steve Upham at last week’s meeting, adding, “The water system is the Achilles’ heel . . . There’s got to be a solution.”
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