The battle over water usage for some residents of Thurstonia on Sturgeon Lake has reached a boiling point. They say they now face legal action if they don’t comply and help pay for upgrades.
Greg Davis has the story.
Tammy O’Donnell: We didn’t ask for this water situation – i’m totally fine if they just go away and e keep using our bottle water.
Since the early 1990s 11 homes have pumped water from sturgeon lake for daily use except for drinking.
But in 2008 the
province ordered them to install a system that was compliant with the Safe Drinking Water Act.
That order was ignored… so in 2014, the province then ordered the City of Kawartha Lakes to assume operations of the Co-Op to get residents in compliance.
Two of them – including Tammy O’Donnell – have yet to budge.
O’Donnell: We aren’t asking for their help. We have a water filtration system without their help. We’re asking them to stay out of it.
Upgrades are expected to cost up to $15,000 per household – a bill Judy Parker can’t afford to pay while on a fixed income.
Parker: So I’m waiting every morning freaking out wondering if the court order is coming and wondering what I’m going to do. I’m under duress. I don’t agree with this. It’s not something we shouldhave to doand we shouldn’t have to pay for it.
Co-Op member Linda Crawley agrees. But after 13 years she’s giving up the fight and is selling her Mclernon Street home.
Crawley: A lot of people up here are on pensions – all they have is their home. Once they lose that they will have nothing. i’d rather sell mine now and get out then wait until the city takes it.
The Ministry of the Environment has ordered that the new water system be installed by June 30th.
The city says it’s working with each resident to provide financial options and hopes everyone complies.
Robyn Carlson, City Solicitor: My assumption is that the MOE will require the city to acquire warrants for entry into those properties (for those that don’t comply). That’s something the city does not want to do but in order to stay in compliance with the order that’s on all of that may be what the city will be forced to do.
The city plans to fragment the water system to avoid any long-term responsibility. But the Co-Op doesn’t agree with splitting the bill.
Crawley: We pay taxes just like everyone else in Lindsay, we should be entitled to have potable water in our homes. And if that’s what they’re saying that’s what we have to have then the city should be paying for it.
The city is expected to submit a water safety review to the province by September 30th. Greg Davis CHEX News Thurstonia.