PORT HAWKESBURY: The Town of Port Hawkesbury and the Municipality of the County of Richmond are entering into an inter-municipal agreement to jointly own their water utility.

During the regular monthly meeting of Port Hawkesbury Town Council on March 5, councillors passed a motion from an in-camera vote, to approve the asset transfer agreement on the current provincially-owned water utility located at Landrie Lake in Richmond County. Following an in-camera vote, Richmond Municipal Council approved the agreement during their regular monthly meeting on February 25 in Arichat.

Presently, the water utility serves the Town of Port Hawkesbury and the Point Tupper Industrial Park. The new joint ownership provides both Richmond County and Port Hawkesbury the opportunity to directly manage and control their own water supply.

“I think there are some primary elements to a healthy, strong, sustainable community,” Port Hawkesbury Mayor Brenda Chisholm-Beaton told reporters following the meeting. “It’s very important you have some control over the primary water source and quality of the water – it’s just one of those elementary things.”

She said water is a foundational pillar to any community, and in the last 40-plus years, they’ve never had a boil water notice, something she said is important.

“We thought that since Landrie Lake is in Richmond County, but it is a water source that we use in the town, it made sense for the province to divest that to both Richmond County and the Town of Port Hawkesbury.”

Pending acceptance from the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board, the transfer of ownership from the province will occur on April 1.

Terry Doyle, Port Hawkesbury’s CAO, added there is not a cost to the town, but rather they are responsible to establish a reserve fund so there will be a contribution to the new utility’s reserve, which will go towards the operations and daily upkeep.