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Cape Breton Regional Municipality may hike water rates: Municipality is anticipating a $330K shortfall in its water utility budget
Joan Weeks, CBC News July 19, 2016
The Cape Breton Regional Municipality has taken the first step toward charging residents more for water after projecting a $330,000 shortfall in its water utility budget.
Council voted to hire a consultant to prepare an application to the Utility and Review Board, the provincial body that has to approve any rate increases.
Mike MacKeigan, the utility's administration manager, says one of the reasons behind the increase in costs is federal water safety standards are now tougher, making it more expensive to provide water.
At the same time, the area is losing customers who pay for water service because of outmigration and a struggling economy.
"There are occasions where we lose a large customer like Saputo ... where they would be using a high volume of water because of their production requirements," said MacKeigan.
Options for dealing with deficit
Council hired the same firm that prepared the past three applications for water rate increases, all of which were approved.
"Essentially what we need to do is we have to look at ... all of our expenditures, all of our revenue sources and try and figure out just exactly what can be done in order to eliminate or reduce the deficit," said MacKeigan.
He says once the consultant's report is completed in December or January, council can decide either to cover the deficit or to apply for a water rate increase.
MacKeigan says the price of water is still a good value.
"We've got to a level where we've got one of the best quality waters available at a price that's really a little bit low in
2 Sask. communities under boil water advisory: Residents of La Ronge and Air Ronge must boil water for 1 minute
CBC News July 19, 2016
A drinking water advisory has been issued for the Town of La Ronge and the Village of Air Ronge, Sask.
It was issued on Tuesday, and will remain in effect until further notice.
Officials are asking residents of the communities, which are about 380 kilometres north of Saskatoon, to boil their water for one minute before use.
That includes drinking water, water used to wash foods and for brushing teeth.
Officials are also advising people not to drink from public water fountains.
L.L. Bean recalls kids' water bottles over lead concerns
The Telegram July 20, 2016
FREEPORT, Maine - L.L. Bean is recalling children's insulated water bottles because of concerns about lead contamination.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission says the bottles were imported by GSI Outdoors and sold by L.L. Bean from July 2015 through May 2016 for about $20. The 13.5-ounce bottles have five prints: sharks, dinosaur bones, camouflage, flowers and butterflies.
The Maine-based retailer said it specified lead-free water bottles, but routine testing by the Chinese manufacturer revealed lead solder had been used to seal the bottoms of some of the bottles.
A spokeswoman says L.L. Bean is instituting a voluntary recall. Consumers should stop using the water bottles and reach out to L.L. Bean to return the product for refunds.
Consumer Product Safety Commission recall http://bit.ly/29Z2o7C
L.L. Bean http://bit.ly/29VAAji
Successful Love Your Lake program to be rolled out in Saskatchewan
Brian Fitzpatrick, Regina Leader-Post July 19, 2016
A lakeshore improvement program that has achieved considerable success in Ontario since 2013 is to be adopted in Saskatchewan, with local water bodies signing up for the joint initiative from Watersheds Canada and the Canadian Wildlife Federation.
For the Love Your Lake program, local surveyors evaluate lakeshore properties by boat, offering each owner a report that makes suggestions on what they can do to improve their own patch. At the same time, local bodies are provided with broader reports on steps to take to protect their waters.
In Ontario, Love Your Lake has covered 15,000 properties on 51 lakes over a three-year drive, backed by groups like the Ontario Trillium Foundation and the Rogers Foundation. The overall idea is that, if each property’s failings are addressed, the overall health of the waterway will improve as a consequence.
In Saskatchewan, South Saskatchewan River Watershed Stewards; North Saskatchewan River Basin Council; Carrot River Valley Watershed Association; Lower Qu’Appelle Watershed Stewards; and Wascana Upper Qu’Appelle Watershed Association Taking Responsibility have all signed on.
Terri-Lee Reid of the Canadian Wildlife Federation said that after training of all local assessors was done at Wakaw Lake, the program is now ready for a roll-out in the province.
“The goal is to expand the program nationally, and we had some connections in Saskatchewan and found that they wanted to be involved, so it was a natural fit,” she said. “We now have five regional partners in Saskatchewan and one in Alberta, and it seems to be working well.”
Colleen Fennig, general manager of the Wascana Upper Qu’Appelle Watershed Association Taking Responsibility said the ambitious project would be undertaken gradually.
“It’s a bit of a pilot project,” she said of her group’s summer plan, which has seen volunteers and students trained on how to perform the standardized assessments, which are ongoing.
“We are starting small with portions of Last Mountain Lake, and then next year once we have learned some lessons, we’re hoping to expand it to the rest of Last Mountain Lake, Buffalo Pound Lake and Humboldt Lake.”
Through the system, partial funding can be applied for to push the program in each region, with Watersheds Canada and the Canadian Wildlife Federation providing strategies on how to best get local communities involved.
For the assessors, their reports might include warning residents of damaging fertilizer run-off, encouraging the planting of root-binding species at the water’s edge to help to slow erosion, or offering advice on invasive species.
Although the program is designed to spot negatives, the results gathered will be confidential to each owner.
“They might be doing something that’s fantastic, or they might be doing something that they didn’t know was causing a problem,” Fennig said. “But if they are doing a good job, we want to give them a pat on the back.”
The message is that little tweaks can go a long way.
“Small things that get into the lake, they tend to add up and it becomes a big thing,” she said. “It’s mostly education and awareness. If every property owner can do what they can do to help, it will have a big impact.”
Two reserves evacuate at-risk residents due to flooding
Saskatoon StarPhoenix July 14, 2016
More than 200 vulnerable residents have been evacuated from Red Earth Cree Nation and Shoal Lake Cree Nation due to flood waters cutting off or threatening access to the communities
Rising water levels in the Carrot River have forced Red Earth to remove about 200 residents to Saskatoon as a precaution while washed-out access roads in Shoal Lake means an unknown number of people were taken to Prince Albert. The evacuees include people with chronic illnesses and pregnant women.
Most evacuees from Red Earth will be staying at Saskatoon’s Hank Reys Soccer Centre, while some will be staying in hotels.
The flooding in Shoal Lake has washed out two access roads on the reserve, according to a news release from the Prince Albert Grand Council. Shoal Lake is northeast of several other communities — such as Arborfield and Carrot Lake — dealing with extreme flooding this week. Red Earth is located near and to the west of Shoal Lake.
Shoal Lake has been under a state of emergency since Tuesday. The provincial Highways Ministry has closed access roads for safety reasons, after excessive rainfall caused significant overflows on Highways 55 East and West and the Shoal Lake 28A access road.
People remaining in Shoal Lake are not allowed to leave due to the safety concerns and those already outside the community have been told about the situation and are getting one-on-one assistance, the news release stated.
An emergency response team is in the community to ensure the health and safety of residents and to monitor water levels and road conditions.
—With files from The Canadian Press
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