Last winter Inverness County public works crews responded to a water main break in Port Hood. A similar water main break occurred in Inverness, and Mabou also faced water issues.

HALIFAX: Inverness MLA Allan MacMaster spoke to his provincial colleagues about the condition of the streets and water system in Inverness.

“Water and sewer infrastructure is old and constantly breaking and leaking,” he said during question period in the legislature on November 28. “As a result, the streets of Inverness are a mess. Are there not funds the Municipality of the County of Inverness could apply for to fix these issues?”

Minister of Municipal Affairs Chuck Porter offered to have provincial staff sit down with local municipal staff to explain available funding.

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“Yes, there certainly are through the Investing in Canada infrastructure fund,” said Porter. “Inverness has had a couple of million dollars worth of gas tax money over the last three years to invest in those kinds of things as well. The Clean Water and Wastewater Fund was about just over $0.75 million in 2016 as well that came from the province for those kinds of investments.”

MacMaster indicated that when he was campaigning through Inverness during the 2017 provincial election, one of the main issues raised was water.

“It is rusting out water-heater elements. It’s discolouring clothing. Some find the taste is poor,” said MacMaster. “I have asked many who specialize in water systems and one of them indicated that the problems may be due to the new water supply flowing through old pipes that may have chemical deposits from the old water supply.”

MacMaster noted that the bad pipes can mean bad water, and the streets are constantly being dug up, ruining pavement.

“We get complaints regularly,” said MacMaster. “The Banks Road in Inverness and LaPointe Road in Petit Etang are two recent examples of new pavement that has been dug up for municipal water lines. People wait so patiently to have their road paved only to see it spoiled. The money is there. Make a plan and give Inverness the world-class look it deserves.”

Porter indicated that the provincial government is willing to contact the local municipality.

“We would be happy to once again visit Inverness and offer whatever assistance, as I said, around those kinds of decisions and programs and all they need to do is reach out,” Porter said. “Perhaps we’ll reach out to them on a positive note.

“I’ll speak to our staff this afternoon and have them contact the new CAO, who I believe now is in Inverness.”

When contacted for comment on December 3, Inverness Warden Betty Ann MacQuarrie said she is happy to hear some financial aid might be coming from their provincial partners.

“Allan is lobbying on our behalf to get some infrastructure dollars, and that’s great,” she said. “If there’s not those infrastructure dollars, there’s a lot falling on the municipality, the tax payers, and the customers of the system.”