FALL RIVER: Councillor Steve Streatch is expecting shovels in the ground very soon for the start of construction on the Fall River water project.

The HRM representative said at recent council meeting, unanimous support was given to the second reading for the Fall River water extension, thus giving the go ahead.

“It has passed a second reading,” said Streatch. “There were several points of interest that were important to me as the representative of the area.”

Streatch said one of the important points was the $100k capital investment from HRM for the properties HRM owns in the area; and the planning document that shows where water can be installed has been increased to include the whole footprint by Inn on the Lake as well as all of Fall River Village.

“That opens up the door for phase two and the completion of the project in a timely manner,” he said. “What we ended up having to do is that at this juncture the funding was not available to do both so council instructed CAO Jacques Dube and staff to go to the province to apply for the deficiency that was identified in the first tender.

“As soon as we can put that budget together I want to get to work completing phase two and getting the project finished once and for all.”

Phase one is completely approved and work should be starting soon.

“My understanding is they will be breaking ground in the next couple of weeks,” said Streatch. “The money is there and everything is on track. Any deficiencies that are identified will be subtracted from the total budget, thereby reducing the Local Improvement Charge (LIC) that was heard at Regional Council.”

That LIC was initially to be $7,500 per house, but with the reduction of the number of homes being done and the project split into two phases, that has increased to an estimated $11,500.

“Therein lies the whole math of the situation,” said Streatch about the number of homes being connected being less than before. “If things had gone the way I wanted them to go we would do the whole project at once. The estimate we got from the engineers hired by Halifax Water indicated that could be the case. But when the tenders came back, we were $3 million short.

“Rather than jeopardize the whole project council decided to move forward immediately with phase one with the money we had, but in doing so we eliminated many homes that would have contributed to the LIC on Highway 2.”

Streatch had good news for the many people asking when work will begin. He is letting residents know there will be traffic disruptions with the work and for them to be cognizant of that.

“We were told during the public hearing at council that the project should get underway sometime near the end of August or the first week of September,” he said. “It’s right around the corner.”