Water problem simmers at Masset dock

  • Jun. 15, 2005 4:00 p.m.

Masset council is asking to meet with the group which runs the small craft harbour after hearing that water was cut off to one section of the dock over the weekend, Alex Rinfret writes.
Councillor Rollie Wheeler told council Monday night (June 13) there have been problems at the harbour for a while, with an “air of animosity” between commercial fishermen and sports boat owners.
It appears the water was cut off by a member of the committee which runs the dock, Mr. Wheeler said, in response to concerns that the “sporties” were using more than their share of water.
As of Monday night, the water had been reconnected, but Mr. Wheeler said he didn’t know how long peace would last. As a solution, he suggested that the village not charge for water used at the dock during the height of the fishing season, between now and Sept. 15.
“All I want to do is make this work for the summer,” he said. “For the amount of money those floats bring to the community I think we could swallow $500 to $1,000.”
Chief financial officer Kim Mushynsky said the dock has a water meter, so the harbour committee (which is appointed by the federal government) pays according to how much water it uses. Last summer’s bill was around $500, she said, but the year before it was $1,700. Ms Mushynsky suggested charging the harbour committee a flat rate or a capped rate instead, which could ease squabbles about whether one group was using more than another and ensure the village received at least some revenue for the water.
“I agree with what Kim says, I don’t think we should give them free water,” said councillor Ed Woode.
Both Mr. Woode and councillor Lorrie Joron said they wanted more information. They asked several questions, but no one knew exactly who is on the committee running the dock, whether commercial fishermen have priority on dock use, why no one pays moorage, and who has the authority to take action like cutting off water to one part of the dock.
“There has got to be some regulations, I need more information,” Ms Joron said. She also said that she doubted that giving the harbour free water would solve much, because the issue is not the cost but the relationship between the two groups of fishermen.
No one seconded Mr. Wheeler’s motion to give the dock free water for the summer. Mr. Wheeler then made a motion to not charge for the next two weeks, and ask the committee to meet with council during that time. This motion passed.
Mr. Wheeler however, suggested it may not be as easy as it sounds to get the committee to attend a council meeting. Committee members do not seem to like the village of Masset, he said, and one member “almost had a heart attack” when Mr. Wheeler tried to talk to him about the issues.