9:30 a.m., Sept. 9)
Local councillor, mayor at odds over sinkhole
Hwy. 174 sinkhole seems to be causing some dissention
between Cumberland Coun. Stephen Blais and Mayor Jim Watson.
to Blais, the stormsewer failure that caused the sinkhole
could have been avoided if not for the Rideau Valley Conservation
Authority desire to protect fish habitat during the spawning
RVCA is a provincial agency entusted with protecting the
provincial watersheds.including the natural resources
within the watersheds themselves. In many instances their
authourty supercedes that of the municipalities.
to Blais, the city applied to put a lining inside the
culvert back in February with the intent of doing the
work between April 16 and July 31. Because the project
impacted the flow of stormwater into the Ottawa River,
the application needed the approval of the RVCA in order
to go ahead.
RVCA responded with a memo stipulating that no in-water
work can occur between March 15 and July 1 of any given
year in order to protect the local fish populations during
the spawning season.
suggests that the RVCA's directive is what resulted in
the stormwater lining being delayed, ultimately resulting
in the pipe's failure and subsequent sinkhole.
Watson, however, categorically refutes Blais' assertion.
In a press release issued on Saturday, the Mayor states
that they are "completely untrue".
have been informed by the city manager that if, at any
time, our staff had been advised that the pipe was in
danger of imminent collapse, then the work would have
proceeded immediately under staffs authority,"
says Watson, who goes on to suggest that any fingerpointing
should wait until after the highway is reopened.
will be plenty of time in the coming months after
the highway is reopened to review what happened
to the culvert and what, if anything, could have been
A westbound OC Transpo bus drives by the Hwy.
174 sinkhole near Jeanne d'Arc Blvd. Fred
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