Canadian Manufacturing

Fix could be delayed for Cape Breton town plagued by stinky sewage

Inverness is also known for its spectacular 1.5-kilometre beach, part of which was closed to swimmers because of elevated bacteria counts

September 25, 2019  The Canadian Press

INVERNESS, N.S.—Residents of a small community in Cape Breton are worried they’ll have to suffer through another year of putrid fumes wafting from an overworked sewage lagoon, despite a highly publicized public protest.

Rose Mary MacDonald, president of the Inverness Development Association, says town council approved a plan in August that calls for completion of the final design for a new sewage treatment plant by November.

However, MacDonald says a provincial funding application for the new plant has yet to be submitted to the federal government, which means construction probably won’t be completed until the end of next summer.

“This will mean that the community of Inverness will have to go through another summer of a horrendous stench going through our homes … that has already made people ill,” MacDonald said in a statement.

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“We need all levels of government to cut the red tape and get the sewage treatment project done.”

A spokeswoman for the Municipal Affairs Department said Tuesday the province recognizes the need for upgrades to the Inverness treatment facility and is “looking at options” with the municipality.

The development association is planning to put pressure on candidates vying for election in the federal riding of Cape Breton-Canso. A special meeting with all of the candidates has been scheduled for Sept. 29 at the Inverness Fire Hall.

“They need to made aware of the need for early approval of this application for funding and why this is such an urgent matter facing the community,” MacDonald said.

The town is known for its two world-class golf resorts. The fetid wastewater facility is adjacent to Cabot Links, which opened in 2011—marking the start of the revival of a hardscrabble town that withered after its last coal mine closed in the 1990s.

The challenging course, which sits on the abandoned mine site, has been hailed by golf connoisseurs as an unpolished gem that evokes the game’s Scottish linksland heritage. A second golf course, Cabot Cliffs, opened in 2016.

Aside from the golf courses, Inverness is also known for its spectacular 1.5-kilometre beach, part of which was closed to swimmers because of elevated bacteria counts.

Residents say the local infrastructure hasn’t kept pace with the town’s growth since the courses started attracting golfers from around the world.