Monday, 1 February 2016

Confederation Bridge taking a toll on Island travellers
By Samantha Steele
Jan. 29, 2016

Breanna MacKinnon is a third year Automotive Technology student. Each weekend she travels to Tidnish, Nova Scotia to visit her boyfriend.

Though many Islanders enjoy spending their time on the ‘gentle island’, a lot of starting to travel off island for recreational and personal needs.

In January, the fee for a 2-axle vehicle was raised fifty cents. MacKinnon now has to pay $46.50 to cross over.

“That’s a lot of money that I could be putting towards other things like my student debt,”

Jennifer Riley also has trouble fitting the toll into her budget while traveling.

The Holland College business student only travels once a month but that’s more than enough for her.

The recent increase has her questioning why we even have the bridge toll to begin with.

“Forty-six dollars is an awful lot of money to ask an Islander who lives here to pay just to leave sometimes just for a day.” Said Riley.
Sen. Percy Downe explained the financial deals made prior to bridge construction.
The bridge was made to last 100 years, the contract was for 35 years and the arrangement with the bridge company was that they would get 100 per cent of the tolls plus the yearly subsidy from the former ferry. In 1992, that year subsidy was 42 million. So to pay for the bridge, the company will get that subsidy and the tolls.

Downe agrees that the toll should be eliminated but the national policy on toll bridges should be the same.
As an islander, I would be happy with a reduced toll, he said
“The national position, in my opinion, has to be consistent, either everybody gets no tolls or everybody pays tolls,”

Monday, 25 January 2016

City watershed low but improving
Samantha Steele
Jan. 22, 2016

Sarah Wheatley knows what’s like to see something you love suffer.
Her love? Water, and the environment.

As a coordinator for the Winter River Tracadie Watershed Association, she is passionate about preserving the river.

Her biggest worry is the extreme water use by the residents of Charlottetown and the effect this has on the watershed.

Wheatley explained the difference between the winter and summer months.

“Between the Brackley Point road and the Union Road and it was bone dry, looked like a walking path for months and months.” She said.

She said it only started to fill up in December and later that month, the spring started to flow again
Wheatley isn't the only city resident concerned about our water use. Bob Doiron explains just how much the city is using.

The Charlottetown City councillor said that the city has started implementing its water metre project that will be completed by the end of 2019.

"Now a water metre will show you how much water you're using and you'll be charged appropriately for that,"

Doiron said water overuse will result in higher charges for some residents and hopes this will be an incentive to conserve water.

"When you say water will be forever, that's just not the case." he said.

Wheatley agrees that the water metres will help the city reduce but as the population is growing, more and more water is being drawn.

"People in Canada and North America we're (using) more in the range of 200 to 250 litres of water a day,"

She said that according to the United Nations, we should only need 50 litres.

Water overuse is inevitable and the city is now looking into opening another watershed in Miltonvale Park.

Wheatley said that when the time comes, islanders will be shocked when having to significantly reduce their intake.

"Anytime you interrupt what someone is used to doing, it throws them for a loop, we want to use less water so if we get into a drought we are used to using less water,"

Friday, 2 October 2015

P.E.I.’s overuse of water severely affecting environment
Samantha Steele
Oct. 2, 2015

“There is a sustainable level you can take each year and it will be replenished but if you take more than that or taking too much from a small area, that’s when you get problems,” says Sarah Wheatley of the Winter River-Tracadie Bay watershed group.

The City of Charlottetown is using 18 million litres of water per day. The United Nations suggests 30-50 litres per person per day.

The Winter River watershed supplies all of Charlottetown’s water and though the tough winter helped replenish the wells quickly, the dry summer made the levels low once again.

Maude Barlow is the head chairperson on the Council of Canadians.

“We are doubling our intake of groundwater every 20 years around the world.”

Barlow is also the co-founder of the Blue Water Project, which sees water as a right not a privilege.

Barlow said that if we pumped the Great Lakes as mercilessly as we pump groundwater, the lakes would be bone dry in 80 years.
Water on P.E.I. is not just used only by the residents; agriculture and factories play a huge part as to why we rely solely on groundwater.

Gary Schneider is appalled on what those industries have done to our little province.

“I don’t care whose using the water…it’s what affect that has the aquatic ecosystem.”