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Council flushes dug well policy

By Ross Lees
Former Prince Edward County councillor Sandy Latchford asked council Tuesday night to reconsider efforts to change the dug well policy at least until they had dug into the background of how the policy was established.
But the vast majority of council and a number of people from the community had already seen enough of the trickle down effects of the policy to flush it into oblivion and revert to a more realistic policy.
Councillor Kevin Gale led the charge.
In his opening salvo against the policy, Gale said all humans make mistakes and he felt the former council had established a policy which had proven “unachievable.”
“This policy has caused more grief than good and this council can correct the wrong of the last council,” he said.
Latchford, in defending the policy, said there had been a number of misconceptions and misinformation about the policy verbalized at a recent committee of the whole meeting and she tried to correct the details, but to no avail.
While most council members recognized there were severe issues with the established dug well policy, some argued the policy should not be totally rejected but amended to repair the issues and keep a policy in effect.
“We can’t just throw out the policy,” said councillor Alec Lunn. “We need to allow for remedies like testing at the tap, then revisit and revamp the policy.”
However, commissioner of planning Gerry Murphy noted the motion to repeal the dug well policy would mean the municipality would revert to the former policy until a new policy could be established from amendments to the current policy.
Councillor Brian Marisett said that while the policy is flawed, he did not want to see it repealed entirely.
“We need to give council a chance to amend the policy, to come up with something less onerous, something attainable for well users,” he said.
Councillor Terry Shortt put the final nail in the dug well policy when he stated, “This policy is too onerous for anyone to satisfy. We need to repeal it, but there is still time to table it again. By repealing it, we give those in the process of building a chance to get on with it.”
Gale, in a final statement, added, “We need to follow through with repealing this policy and then let staff come back with proposals to amend the policy.”
A motion to repeal the policy was passed and staff will bring recommendations back to council for a new policy in the future.

* * *

Dug well policy causes ‘nothing but grief’

By Ross Lees
At its committee of the whole meeting Thursday, council took first steps to make drastic changes to its dug well policy which, according to councillor Kevin Gale, “came into effect about one year ago and has caused nothing but grief.”
Council heard from several delegations and many councillors noted they had been contacted individually by various ratepayers about the “nightmarish policy”.
Mayor Peter Mertens, in introducing the request for review of the policy, said the Prince Edward County’s was one of the strictest in the area which allowed only two options – pass or fail. He explained of the 11 requests for severance during the time of the policy, it had cost those making the requests from $3,500 to $20,000 and only one severance had been achieved.
He said he had talked to one scientist who felt because of the nature of the water supply in the County, there might not be another consent approved under the current policy.  It was his opinion the policy should allow a remedy like an option to treat the water.
“There is a fundamental problem with this policy,” he told council. “We need to have staff review it and create alternatives and options.”
Councillor Terry Shortt called the policy “horrendous” while Gale asked that the policy be repealed although it was felt repealing the policy would leave a gap which could be exploited.
Mertens said he had talked to the legal department and they felt this was a liability issue.
“That’s their job and it all needs to be part of the review,” he said. “We need to be the arbitrators on this. To me, there is more than enough reason to revisit this policy.”
Council is hoping to have an amended policy before them by April 12.

Filed Under: Local News


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  1. John Thompson says:

    The County was advised that it accepts legal liability when it grants severance approval without requiring due diligence to have been done to show adequate water quaility and quantity. This was the reason for the well policy in the first place. It could have been reviewed and tweaked rather than repealed. I think they just threw the baby out with the bath water and the haste may cost all of us.

  2. Richard Parks says:

    The Well Policy was passed in response to a multiple lot
    severance application on lands well known by locals for
    having poor water quantity and quality. If I had purchased one of these lots and could not find adequate water( quantity and quality) I might ask myself who granted the severance to create these residential lots in the first place with the knowledge that water could not be found here?
    The County is the granting authority for severance , not The Province.
    Granting a severance for a lot, knowing that water is not available is dishonest in my opinion.

  3. Ray Facette-Grondin says:

    What’s next, a permit to grow grass in your yard?

  4. Bob says:

    another example of “big brother” getting involved in areas that is inappropriate and unnecessary!!!

  5. Ron Norton says:

    In my opinion there should not be a well/water condition applied to a severance consent application. The province legislates well policies and the building code controls the well/water regulations when you build a home. We in The County have asked that we prove water and install a well on a severed lot that may not have a home built on it for any number of years. The provincial water policy is currently asking,”in my opinion soon to be Legislated”, that they want any well not in use to be decommisioned or filled in at a cost of apprx.$2500.00. The County requirement for a well puts The County first in line when it comes to liability where as should we follow the provincial policies as other jurisdiction the province is liable.

  6. Jack Smith says:

    County shouldn’t have a say at all on wells owned by the landowners. These well’s have been around for years. It’s just another way for the County to get money from people that have been here for years. Water is suppose to be free, particular on private wells.

  7. Ken says:

    If the County wants to have any say in the wells of landowners, then the county should guarantee the quality of the water in said wells.

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