The Town of Alberton has put on hold an upgrade project for the town’s wastewater treatment lagoon, until at least the fall.
Mayor David Gordon said his council arrived at that decision during a telephone poll conducted last week.
This follows a public meeting held in Alberton where shellfish leaseholders and residents of Northport and area raised serious concerns about the potential impact the project would have on the Alberton Creek, which flows through Northport before emptying into Cascumpec Bay.
The town tried to get the project going last fall, but couldn’t get the permits before the winter weather conditions set in early.
Gordon said he agrees with suggestions during Monday’s meeting that a fall start would cause less disruptions to recreational and aquaculture activities than a project carried out in late spring.
The town hoped work on the project, which was originally planned for 2017, would start May 13, but Gordon said that start date is no longer being considered.
He said he communicated the town’s decision during a meeting with Northport mayor Wendy McNeill Wednesday morning and also notified the P.E.I. Department of Environment.
In his meeting with McNeill, Gordon proposed a committee, consisting of three representatives from Alberton and three from Northport, be formed to look at the overall project.
“That way we can work together, communicate to each other and ensure there’s no foreseeable mishaps when there’s meetings planned so nobody’s forgotten,” said Gordon.
Northport council had voiced dissatisfaction with not being notified by the town of plans to discharge the lagoon’s second cell into Alberton Creek so that work could be carried out.
McNeill said she welcomes the formation of a committee.
“It gives everybody a chance to come together and work together to see the upgrades to the lagoon happen to improve the situation.”
And while she is pleased the project has been delayed, she said she is not yet convinced it should go ahead at all.
Gordon said the environmental permits the town needs for the work to proceed will still be sought. That way, if the work goes ahead in the fall, the town isn’t left waiting for a federal election to play itself out before the permits can be issued.
The Alberton mayor said the town is currently seeking confirmation, in writing, that funding for the half-million-dollar project will remain in place until next March.