by Tristan Turner
Residents who in Village Champlain along 105th Avenue came to Council to air their concerns and frustration with Council and Administration regarding a foul sewage-like smell that has been plaguing the neighbourhood for years. Presenting on behalf of concerned neighbours was Jennifer Anheliger, who gave a detailed overview of what her family and community have been experiencing since she moved into the area in 2011.
From her report, a “terrible, awful smell”, similar to rotting eggs, appears every year in the spring around this time, following the snow melt. The smell is typically both present outside and inside the home and lasts for between a couple weeks to nearly two months, depending on the year. The smell has caused headaches for Anheliger, and she has related concerns for members of the community who have young children, referring to potential negative health effects from the fumes.
The Town suspects the issue lies with the municipal stormwater system, according to Director of Public Works Claude Valcourt. While attempts have been made to treat the issue in the past, including chemical treatments in stormwater ponds, Valcourt admitted that there has been limited impact from the applications. Valcourt did assure residents that the applications are a long-term help to the problem and may see increasing impact over time.
Anheliger felt the “best solution” would be to install a mechanical aeration system, and the Town is reviewing that as an option. Anheliger and Valcourt disputed at the meeting whether or not such a system was promised to treat the community or not.
“Knowing what you’re going through, it is unacceptable,” said Councillor Gord Putnam, adding he also smelled the odor from his house, a distance away from Anheliger’s the night previous. He went on to say that the Town should be ideally finding a solution that permanently solves the issue, not simply reducing how long it lasts.
Town Council expressed their sympathy for Anheliger, thanking her for bringing the issue forward, and commented on how they sought a rapid solution to the problem from Administration.
Councillor Stephen Dafoe had similar comments to Putnam and brought forward a motion that asks Town Administration to maintain present mitigation methods while pursuing possible solutions to the problem, including aerators and pond dredging. The information is to be presented to Council at their Aug. 30 meeting to get solutions in place for fall. The motion also stipulates that residents affected be regularly notified of progress being made on addressing the issue. Dafoe’s motion passed unanimously, except for Mayor Lisa Holmes and Councillor Brennan Fitzgerald who were absent.