2020-10-21

Little being said about Lunenburg’s apparent sewer blunder

by Keith Corcoran

Lunenburg and federal officials aren't saying much about an apparent sewer issue in town requiring intervention of Environment and Climate Change Canada that could cost taxpayers big bucks.

A single sentence contained in Lunenburg's audited financial statements covering fiscal year 2019-2020 up to March 31, 2020 referenced a federal probe and potential complications.

"Environment Canada investigated a town waste water pump over flow under the Fisheries Act. As of year end any potential liability is unknown and therefore has not been recorded in the consolidated financial statements," reads an explanation contained in the Belliveau Veinotte report.

The town's audit committee recently discussed the report and Councillor Matt Risser asked about liability and amount of money being talked about.

"It's set out in legislation," replied Bea Renton, the town's chief administrator, during the meeting live-streamed on the internet. "It's considerable."

Renton offered to brief councillors afterward as the matter was the subject of a previous meeting not open to the public.

"Late last year the town reported to the federal and provincial governments - as required - a lift station overflow, and pump repairs were made," Renton told LighthouseNOW. "Shortly after, the lift station was put back in operation and there haven't been any issues since."

Environment and Climate Change Canada is in charge of administering and enforcing the pollution prevention provisions of the Fisheries Act, which prohibit the deposit of harmful substances into water frequented by fish.

The department "is not in a position to provide information on ongoing enforcement activities," spokeswoman Veronica Petro explained to LighthouseNOW when asked about the Lunenburg matter.

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