Hay River councillors voted to renew the municipality’s water licence, despite concerns about new costs.
For the most part, the new water licence has very similar requirements to the old licence, which the town was operating under for the past ten years, according to town documents.
But according to council, it comes with several new costs implemented by the GNWT, that come with renewal including the installation costs of three new wells at the solid waste facility.
Testing water samples from near the waste facility are also adding costs, with an initial study set to cost the town $40,000.
Deputy Mayor Robert Bouchard says the GWNT continues to impose more testing requirements which cost the town money and staff time, to the point where the town may need a full-time person to deal with the water licence testing.
“They’re adding more plans and surveys they want done, it’s just like they have more downloading more for us to do yet they’re underfunding us,” he said. “It’s freeboard for them to download more information that they just put on a shelf and nothing gets done with it. But it costs the Town of Hay River more money every time.”
Mayor Kandis Jameson said a meeting had been set up with the Department of Municipal and Community Affairs where councillors could voice their concerns about the costs being pushed on smaller municipalities by the territorial government.
Several other studies have to be conducted, but Director of Public Works Mike Auge said is it too early to determine the exact costs.
The new water licence has been approved until January 30, 2031.
The water licence allows for the Town of Hay River to draw water from Great Slave Lake for use. They’ll also operate the sewage lagoon, treatment system, and solid waste facility.
The application process included several report revisions and submissions, numerous consultations, technical training, and public hearings.