For six days Samuel Gibbons has been dragging buckets of water from his parents’ home in Forester’s Point to his home in St. Barbe.
St. Barbe and neighbouring Pigeon Cove have been without water since last Wednesday when the intake to the combined communities’ water supply system in Long Pond froze. The lack of water resulted in the two Northern Peninsula communities of 45 to 50 homes being declared in a state of emergency.
Gibbons is the chairperson of the local service district that governs the two communities.
“It’s very serious,” he said of the situation when contacted by phone Monday morning.
Gibbons said everything was fine with the water when he went to bed last Tuesday night. He got up at 4 a.m. and still had water.
“Six o’clock there was no water and we haven’t seen any since.”
This past summer, Gibbons said the province installed a “beautiful” $1-million water system in Long Pond.
He said the problem is not with the system itself.
“The problem is the intake for the system is not located in deep enough water.
“I guess they didn’t allow for our climate, our temperatures,” said Gibbons of the engineers who worked on the project.
The local service district doesn’t have the money needed to fix the problem, so it has to rely on government to find a solution.
But Gibbons is frustrated that solution is not coming fast enough.
“We want a fix right now,” he said.
Among the solutions he thinks may work are bringing in a pumper truck filled with water that could then be moved to tanks which could be hooked into the water system.
There’s also the possibility of pumping water from a nearby pond into the system.
“They know it’s a state of emergency and there’s no action,” said Gibbons. “You think that if someone is in a state of emergency in this province there should be something, government should have something in place, some kind of contingency plan in place that’s gonna deal with that especially when you’re dealing with communities who have no money to deal with that.”
Municipal Affairs Minister Steve Kent understands the frustrations of Gibbons and other residents and businesses in the two communities, but he said the province is doing everything it can to assist the people affected and to find a solution to the problem.