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Manitoba City Denies Utility Connection for Flooded RV Park

August 17, 2011 by   - () Leave a Comment

A request by a Brandon, Manitoba, businessman to be brought on line to the Wheat City municipal’s water supply proved too expensive for Brandon city councillors, the Brandon Sun reported.

Mark Kovatch, owner of Turtle Crossing Campground, RV Park and Events Center, had asked council earlier this year to consider the construction of a pipeline to bring city water onto his land at 4100 Grand Valley Road. The park was severely flooded earlier this year and is closed pending repairs.

Currently, Kovatch spends about $15,000 each year to run and maintain an onsite water treatment plant to provincial standards and had hoped the council would agree to take that cost off his plate and plug him into the municipal water supply.

However, a report from city administration presented to the council earlier this week listed the average price tag of running such a pipe from one of three nearby water main locations at approximately $1 million, a cost which councillors couldn’t swallow. They voted unanimously not to pursue the project at this time.

“The point has been made through the presentation by (administration),” Councillor Jim McCrae (Meadows) said in declining Kovatch’s request. “It’s too expensive.”

“The sad reality is we just can’t afford everything,” added Councillor Jeff Fawcett (Assiniboine). “But I do want further conversation to go on … it’s not been a really great summer for Mr. Kovatch, with the high waters and such. But I do hope that, with the development of Brandon continuing, that somewhere along the line, with the success of his operation out there, it may become more feasible to look at this.”

In his presentation to the council, the city’s director of development services, Ted Snure, noted that there are dozens of other properties within city limits that are not currently hooked up to the municipal water supply, including those in the area of Braecrest Drive west of Hamilton Drive, Rosser Avenue East from 13th Street East on, 34th Street and Grand Valley Road, Russell Street south of Richmond Avenue and Patricia Avenue and First Street.

Such properties are mostly outfitted with their own individual wells or haul their own water onto their property.

However, it remains the city’s long-term goal to eventually service all of those affected properties — including Turtle Crossing — with the utility, Snure said.

“It’s always on our radar,” he said. “Obviously, they are within the city limits and we’d like to be able to give them the same full servicing that a normal city has. But, in some cases — either because it’s too far away or construction costs are such because of terrain or whatever — you can’t do it.”

Kovatch said later he’s not 100% satisfied that the report presented to the council this week on his request is accurate, as he said he was given a quote from a local directional drilling company of $78,000 to construct a water line from his property out to 18th Street North.

However, he said he’ll wait until he has a chance to sit down and discuss the report in greater detail with Snure before asking council to re-evaluate his request.

In his original presentation to council, Kovatch had also suggested that if it didn’t want to construct a new line connecting his property with the municipal water supply, the city could simply take over the cost of running his onsite water treatment plant.

However, administration advised against that option in the report it presented to the council, suggesting that taking responsibility for the site’s water treatment equipment would mean it would have to meet the same standards expected of the city’s water treatment facility and would require substantial capital upgrades.

As for his currently closed park’s future, Kovatch said he’s making plans to rebuild his property this fall, whether he gets help from the city or not.

He said the one-in-300 year flood that deluged basically every building on his property this spring has actually given him a good sense of how that expansion should occur.

“We’ve had the worst-case scenario and now we get a chance to rebuild and anything that we do rebuild out here will be built above the level of this year’s water,” he said. “To me, it’s a pain, but it’s also a pretty good chance to rebuild.”

Kovatch estimates it will take about $750,000 just to bring the property back up to pre-flood condition, though much of that cost should be covered by insurance, he said.

Beyond the flood rebuilding, Kovatch has always maintained he’d like to expand the property’s camping spots, create an 18-hole mini golf course, an amphitheater, a floating stage, docks along the river, a catch-and release fishing hole and a walking/biking path.

He’s hopeful the property can be back up and running by June of 2012.

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