Developing critical infrastructure key in 2014, says warden

Darrell Cole
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Maccan and Pugwash water, service sharing among the initiatives

Keith Hunter says 2014 will be a busy year in Cumberland County in terms of infrastructure renewal.

Cumberland County Warden Keith Hunter.

UPPER NAPPAN – As he looks forward to 2014 Cumberland County Warden Keith Hunter is looking ahead to continued momentum on building or replacing key infrastructure across his municipality.

“We accomplished a lot of great things in 2013 and we plan to keep doing that in 2014,” Hunter said. “We are seeing a lot of work done on some critical infrastructure and we expect that to continue over the next year and beyond.”

Hunter said one of the highlights of last year was coming to agreement with the Town of Amherst to extend its water service to residents in Maccan. The warden said area councillor John Kellegrew has been working on this project for nearly two decades and he’s thrilled to be seeing it nearing fruition.

“We’ve had a lot of successes in human resources development and infrastructure,” Hunter said. “The water agreement will supply 114 homes with Amherst water with the design work to be done this year and going out to tender for the 2014-15 construction season.”

The county is funding the $2.7-million project through the municipal gas tax revenues.

The $1.55-million Maccan wastewater treatment facility is now operational. Funding came from gas tax revenues, the federal-provincial-municipal infrastructure program and from capital reserves.

Another project was the Spencer’s Island boat ramp that was completed last spring at a cost of $38,000.

“It’s money well spent in that it services residents in the area but will help for tourism,” he said. “Anyone who wants to do some boating and needs a place to launch it on the Bay of Fundy, the Spencer’s Island boat launch is an option.”

Hunter said work is continuing on developing a water system for the village of Pugwash. The county is in the midst of doing wellfield development and has already spent $100,000 drillling test wells to identify an optimum source.

“Pugwash is home to a salt mine, which is a boon to the area economically, but it has also resulted in salty water,” Hunter said. “This will be great to the people of the Pugwash area to have a new source of clean, fresh potable water.”

Hunter said the county is continuing to work with Amherst on developing a sidewalk from the town to the Cumberland Regional Health Care Centre, but is going to take another look at its options after a request for proposals came in much higher than budgeted.

Looking ahead to 2014, the municipality is studying building a community centre and library complex in Pugwash. A feasibility study is underway and Hunter is hoping it will show the centre to be viable.

The warden is also looking forward to the completion of the Thinker’s Lodge redevelopment in 2014. While the process was impacted by the dissolution of the Cumberland Regional Development Association, Hunter said the municipality is working with other stakeholders to complete the work.

“The work started two to three weeks ago and we’re expecting all the work to be done by the end of April,” Hunter said. “We’re working with the provincial and ACOA on that and have taken the lead as the manager of the project.”

The county will also be talking to the Pugwash Park Commission about getting community involvement in the management of the lodge. He said the commission has been receptive to talking to the county and he hopes to see some movement on this.

Hunter is also hoping to see additional inter-municipal co-operation in the coming year in various areas, including a proposed green energy industrial park somewhere in the county.

He is also pleased to have Amherst joint the regional management office and the county is continuing to work with Amherst on sharing its corporate/finance department.

“This study will determine the feasibility of sharing the department. It may come out with a negative result, but so far it’s looking pretty positive,” Hunter said. “It’s also positive in that if it works it will save us money in the long run. There may be some positions that are not filled through attrition and there will be no positions lost right away.”

Twitter: @ADNdarrell

Organizations: Cumberland Regional Health Care Centre, Cumberland Regional Development Association, Pugwash Park Commission

Geographic location: Pugwash, Amherst, Maccan Bay of Fundy

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