• James Armstrong

Council proposes resolution for Hudson Heartbeet Community Farm’s water woes


THE JOURNAL FILE PHOTO/JAMES ARMSTRONG

Infrastructure for the well drilled in October 2017 to serve Hudson’s Heartbeet Community Farm was up for discussion at the June 4 council meeting.

The issue of the non-potable water well drilled in late summer of 2017 to serve the Hudson Heartbeet Community Farm, the neighbouring dog park and Thompson Park was a major discussion point at the Hudson Town Council meeting on Monday, June 4.

“The well needs a certain type of housing,” said Mayor Jamie Nicholls when the issue was raised during the first question period by Hudson Food Collective President Cameron Stiff. “There were two options placed before council. One was a shed and the other was a temporary shelter to protect the installation of a pumping station that will allow the water to come online more quickly,” said Nicholls. He noted the Town Planning and Advisory Committee (TPAC) had not approved the proposed shed and that was why the related item on the agenda had been removed.

Critical situation for seedlings

Resident Adrian Burke expressed his appreciation for the temporary shelter as he asked how long it would take to build and to have water available for the farm.

“The situation is critical – the seed and the seedlings are in the ground,” said Burke. “The two young farmers running the farm have reported that it has cost $3,000 to $5,000 more than originally budgeted to provide water,” he said. “Even though we had rain today, we can’t go for more than 48 hours without watering.”

The mayor responded. “We are looking at about a week and a half timeline, perhaps two weeks, but I would have to verify that.” Nicholls thanked Natalie Best for signaling the issue to council. “Without her intervention, things would not have moved as quickly as they did.”

Burke emphasized that the farm was at a critical point and the entire season could be at risk without a source of water. In an interview following the meeting, Nicholls said TPAC had refused the proposed shed because it is located in the heritage corridor meaning the architectural norms for that zone had to be met.

“So we found a solution until we can come up with something prettier,” said Nicholls. “They are currently trucking water in and filling reservoirs and we are providing access to water.”

Potable water project

Recent explorations for a suitable site for a potable water well have not been successful as reported by the mayor in his opening remarks. “Fear not, we are already looking at another site further downstream closer to the Wellesley well site,” said Nicholls. “We will be obtaining a certificate of authorization subject to council’s approval tonight,” he said adding that council would be presented with expert opinions before continuing with the development of a well. Council approved the resolution later in the meeting.

Defending the chief administrator

Resident Trevor Smith voiced his concerns regarding the 2015 hiring of Director General Jean-Pierre Roy by the previous town council. “I am concerned about the controversies before he came to Hudson, his hiring, that there was an unacceptable lack of due diligence,” said Smith as he listed his reasons for a closer scrutiny of that administrative position.

“The engagement of Maître Roy as Director General was done by a recruitment firm,” responded the mayor. “There were over 50 candidates for the position, five psychometric tests were done, extensive interviews, his career was discussed in all its aspects, and the council made a very informed decision.

“Maître Roy has my full confidence, he has been doing an excellent job,” Nicholls stated.

“A town is something that works based on collaboration and cooperation with each other,” he said adding that healthy dissent is part of a healthy democracy.

“I am duty-bound as mayor to protect the people that work under me,” said Nicholls. “I cannot tolerate the dispersal of rumours that our chief administrative officer was not hired using the proper process when all evidence shows the contrary.”

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