The Village of Telkwa has running water again, but as of press time on Monday, a boil water advisory was still in effect.
On Saturday, a couple of water lines broke on Coalmine Road which resulted in a rapid decrease in stored water in the Morris Reservoir.
“We tried to isolate it, so we could shut the water off without shutting off all the water, by the time public works got that done, and the contractor that stepped up — Barb’s Trucking — we are very thankful for their help,” said Mayor Brad Layton. “It became a safety issue with the dark, we made a decision to wait until morning, dealing with equipment in the dark and wet dirt. We put it off until morning and public works and all the people that stepped up found a significant break, fixed it and then it was apparent there was still water coming up. They went looking for another multiple break, there was a failure in the line.”
Residents took to the Village of Telkwa’s Facebook page to let out their frustrations.
Eva Currie : “That “caution” would have been nice to know last night. As we’ve had no water since 4 p.m.”
Stephen Angel: “Has anyone heard a word, comments of any kind from our so called “Mayor” or any of the council?”
Derek Peddle: “What provisions have been made for fire protection for the west side of the bridge? ( ie. Smithers tender on standby etc.). And no offence to the folks that have been working on the problem, but why haven’t the bigger, more capable contractors been called in to assist with the repairs? Over 24 hours of no water and impaired fire protection is quite extraordinary.”
But Layton said he doesn’t use social media.
“We don’t even have the whole story yet. I don’t do things on social media. If they want to talk to me, come and talk to me. I don’t do stuff for the town on my Facebook page, I just don’t. You start getting into where people think they know more than they do, the energy you spend on bringing them up to speed, it becomes a negative thing,”
The Telkwa Volunteer Fire Department opened the Highway 16 Fire Hall and had non-bottled water available for pick up by the public.
The village refilled the water reservoir, but need to do tests to make sure there are no contaminants.
Layton said the village is working hard on a long term solution.
“We are already looking at the priorities through our water study that was done, which area needs line replacement. We are already in the works to have work out in the spring for tendering for line replacement. We are also chasing more grants so can do more and more of it. We’ve already identified the top two or three priorities that we need to get working on. It just happens this area blew a line at an unfortunate time.”
He added that council does not want to raise taxes to pay for it so they have to play the grant game.
“This can and may happen again because of our failing infrastructure. We are working hard to get grant money to be able to to mitigate this happening again in the future, but until we are able to replace these old lines that have the potential to fail it could happen again unfortunately. I’m so thankful for all the people that stepped up , especially on a weekend. Everyone came together nicely and I think we are fortunate that we were able to fix it as fast as we could when there was multiple breaks in that area.”