Thursday, 22 March 2012

A Rural Manitoba Municipality Makes Quiet Plans for a Sewage Lagoon - Does the Reeve Have a Conflict?

Dear Editor,
I recently learned I may be getting a new "neighbour" -  a sewage lagoon. 

The municipal plow prepares a way to the site for the drill truck. (l.)             

The grader and truck on the site.(below)


The drilling begins. PinP photos
The Rural Municipality of Shell River sent in a drill truck a week or two ago to sink holes less than a mile upwind of my retirement home in the country, north and west of Roblin. The test results will determine whether the site is suitable for such a project. Apparently, it could cost millions of dollars, especially if a liner has to be installed to prevent leakage.*

Turns out, the "quarter" is owned by the Reeve, Albert Nabe.

It's also within a couple of miles of some six farm homes nearby, mostly downwind as well. I was disappointed that no one from the RM council had given me a "heads-up" about this. I heard about it, instead, from a private individual at a social event.

Is this legal, you might ask? Well, I'm told, as long as Reeve Nabe declares that he has a "conflict" and does not vote on the matter, it is.

Is it right that an elected official can benefit financially by virtue of his position?

To me, that's another matter.

But you be the judge.

While I'm writing this, I'd like to take this opportunity to apologize to Keith Radford. Keith asked me to help him fight a similar project near his farm home at San Clara a few years ago. I did not. His appeals to government fell on deaf ears. The project went ahead.

Now, myself and my neighbours face a similar situation.

No less than two R.M. councillors have told me, the lagoon is required by the province, before plans for a new cottage subdivision on Lake of the Prairies, can be approved.

I wasn't even aware there were such plans. Apparently, the province isn't either!

I think an explanation is in order.

Larry Powell

*If it goes ahead, an underground pipeline would carry the treated sewage, called "effluent," from the lagoon, into nearby Big Boggy Creek and then into Lake-of-the-Prairies, a popular fishing, boating and cottage resort.