County looking to create own water utility

Darrell
Darrell Cole
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Cumberland County is hoping to end a long-standing dispute with Amherst over water by creating its own utility.

"If we have our own water utility we'll be in charge of our own destiny," Warden Keith Hunter said Monday. "In other words, we'll be able to put water where we want it to go."

Cumberland County is hoping to end a long-standing dispute with Amherst over water by creating its own utility.

"If we have our own water utility we'll be in charge of our own destiny," Warden Keith Hunter said Monday. "In other words, we'll be able to put water where we want it to go."

If negotiations are successful, the county will assume ownership of the water infrastructure outside the town, purchase bulk water from Amherst and provide it to customers presently using the system. It would also be able to extend water to other areas of the county if economically viable.

"With a utility we won't have to abide by the rules and regulation of the town's water utilty. If we want to put in a certain size line we can do that. We can go where ever we find it economically viable to go and won't have to wait for another municipality to make a decision for us," Hunter said. "These negotiations will establish a rate that we have to pay the town. From there, we'll meter and collect from our own customers."

Also, if a developer wishes to construct a subdivision outside town, the county will be able to extend water to the project without having to wait for the town.

Amherst and the county have long been at odds over extending town water further into the county. A proposed subdivision on Willow Street Extension in Brookdale brought the issue to a head when the town refused to supply water to the project. The county had been planning to take its case to the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board, but feels establishing its own water utility is the better solution since it's something that has been suggested by the town.

For its part, Amherst is non-commital but is willing to sit down with county officials.



dcole@amherstdaily.com

Organizations: Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board

Geographic location: Amherst, Cumberland County, Brookdale

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