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‘It tastes fine’: Niverville residents reject plan to modernize part of town’s water system

A plan to modernize part of Niverville’s water system has been flushed.

Impacted residents overwhelmingly rejected a proposal to install and connect to new water mains.

Under the proposed plan, a $3 million grant from the province would cover half the installation cost of water mains in the older area of Niverville where people currently rely on well water.

The town said the rest of the bill would go to those homeowners, which would have run them between $500 and $12,000 over ten years depending on lot sizes.

Meantime, if residents wanted to then hook up to the water main, they would face another bill ranging from $3,500 to $25,000

The town said the average property cost for both is around $19,000, plus a quarterly water bill.

Resident Trevor Laurie said there is nothing wrong with the water he gets from his well, which flows into his Niverville home.

“One – it’s free, and two – I have a lot of filters on it, so you can’t even tell that it’s well water. It tastes fine,” he said.

Trevor Laurie is pictured during an interview on May 22, 2024 at his Niverville home. (Jeff Keele/CTV News Winnipeg)

He’s talked to a few neighbours, who also aren’t on board with the new plan.

“I don’t think all of that should be on the homeowner,” he said.

Due to the high price tag, a survey was done of the 700 impacted homeowners. Half responded, and nearly 80 percent of them said no to the plan.

As a result, the town council is not moving ahead.

“It’s the proper thing to do, so it was a strenuous process to come up and say ‘no, we’re not going to do this project at this time,’” said Niverville Deputy Mayor Chris Wiebe.

Niverville Deputy Mayor Chris Wiebe.is pictured on May 22, 2024 at the town’s office. (Jeff Keele/CTV News Winnipeg)

The town said there are benefits to installing and connecting to a water main – namely safe drinking water, improved quality and the addition of fire hydrants in the neighbourhood.

“It’s actually a real benefit when it comes to firefighting in this community,” Wiebe said.

There is also that $3 million from the province that won’t be on the table forever. The town has it until 2026 if it wants to dive into the issue again.

Wiebe said the town council likely won’t revisit the issue until next year.

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